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 Alexander Fersman


Born:   27 October, 1883
Deceased:   May 20, 1945

Russian geochemist and geophysicist

      

Fersman Alexander Evgenievich, Russian geophysicist, was born in St. Petersburg in 1883. The boy spent almost all his early days in Crimea. Future scientist was five, when he learnt to read, and six, when he fell in love with minerals. The boy did not forget about his hobby, when he started attending Odessa classic gymnasium. In 1901 Alexander Fersman finished his secondary education and was admitted to Odessa University, but after one year of studies young man transferred to Moscow University, since he heard good things about its geology department. Fersman’s large collection of various minerals moved to Moscow with its owner, who passed it to the university’s museum.

In Moscow Fersman was the student under Vladimir Vernadsky, an eminent scientist. Alexander was the best student of the world famous researcher – he wrote five scientific paper, while being a student. Fersman finished studies at Moscow University in 1907 and was sent abroad to continue his education: first to Paris and then to Heidelberg. In 1909 Alexander Fersman returned to Russia as a teacher and continued his collaboration with Vernadsky. Joint work of two talented and clever researchers resulted in a new science – geochemistry, which studied behaviour of chemical elements in Earth’s crust. Fersman concluded that distribution of minerals was a result of complex migrating patterns of chemical elements and reactions of various substances in a complex physical and chemical environment.

At that time a new university appeared in Moscow: Shanyavsky University, which was a public educational institution between 1909 and 1919. In 1909 Fersman became a professor of mentioned university, and two years later read first university lecture course in geochemistry. The same year Alexander Fersman became professor of mineralogy at Higher Women Courses in St. Petersburg, established and edited the “Nature” magazine and worked as a senior keeper of Mineralogy Museum of the Academy of Sciences. Fersman dreamt of finding mineral treasures of our country and organized several exploration companies.

 

”Native
Native sulfur
It was the time of active geological studies of Russian vast expanses. Academician Alexander Fersman, who gained the title in 1919, started organizing one expedition after another. First one was to the Urals, then – to the Kola Peninsula, Tien Shan, Caucasus, Kyzyl Kum, Kara Kum, Altai, and etc. The scientist discovered deposits of apatites and copper-nickel ores in the Khibin mountains and native sulfur in the Kara Kum desert. Active field life did not prevent Fersman from a whole heap of other responsibilities.

The scientist published over one thousand of scientific books and papers. Being one of the founders of geochemistry, Fersman wrote a fundamental book – four-volume “Geochemistry”, for which he got the platinum medal of London geological society. Alexander Fersman paid much attention to chemical elements of the Earth and their migration. The scientist suggested a geo-energy theory, in which linked patterns of mineral formation with energies of crystal lattices. The academician was among first researchers, who justified the necessity of geochemical methods for searching mineral deposits. Fersman spent 25 years studying pegmatitic veins, which often contain valuable minerals, in order to unveil the laws of mineral distribution. Enormous work resulted into “Pegmatites”, a book, which later became classic in geology.

Alexander Fersman was always fascinated by formation process of gems and colourful stones. The scientist was an expert in precious and ornamental stones and wrote many popular papers and books. The researcher had many awards for his scientific and organizational activities. Two minerals – fersmite (titan-columbic oxide) and fersmanite (titan-columbic silicate) – bear his name.

The scientist died in Sochi on May 20, 1945, and was buried in Moscow on the Novo-Dyevitchiye cemetery.

Source:

    Krugosvet.ru

Anna Kizilova


Tags: Russian science Russian scientists Alexander Fersman   




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