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 Ivan Yefremov

Born:   April 9, 1907
Deceased:   October 5, 1972

Russian scientist and paleontologist


Ivan Antonovich (Antipovich) Yefremov, famous Russian science fiction author and paleontologist, is born near Saint Petersburg in the family of a timberman on April 9, 1907 – this year he usually mentions as his birth-year, however, historians claim Ivan Yefremov is born in 1908 and adds himself a year to start working as a grown up.

Ivan’s genius starts shining in his childhood, when he learns to read at 4 and falls in love with Jules Vernes’s books and stories about travelers, sailors and scientists at 6. In 1914 Yefremov family moves to Berdyansk, where Ivan starts going to school. 1917 brings Socialist revolution and divorse of Ivan’s parents. In 1919 his mother moves to Kherson, marries a military man and moves off with him, leaving her children to her sister, who soon dies of typhus. Little Ivan joins Red Army troops and follows them to Perekop. In 1921 Yefremov quits the army and heads for Petrograd (former Saint Petersburg) with a strong intention to study, finishing secondary education in two and a half years.

Ivan Antonovich has to work for food together with his studies and tries himself as a docker, a sawyer, a driver assistant and a driver at night. In 1923 Yefremov passes examinations in the Petrograd’s nautical school and becomes a coastal navigator, leaving to Far East the following year. Paleontology is brought to his life by academician P. Sushkin, who is his teacher and guide in this interesting scientific field. Yefremov finishes the navigation season of 1924 and returns to Leningrad to enter biology faculty of the university. Since mid-twenties he lives in expeditions, making numerous findings and discoveries.


Paths of paleontologic journeys of Ivan Antonovich Yefremov run through the Volga region, the Ural and Central Asia, bringing exciting and valuable findings. In thirties Yefremov participates in geological expeditions to the Ural, Siberia and Far East. In 1935 Ivan Yefremov receives an external degree of Leningrad Institute of Mining and the same year brings him the candidate degree in biological scences, upgrading to Doctor of Biological Sciences in spring of 1941. Yefremov already resides in Moscow, since the Institute of Paleontology moves there in 1935. The scientist publishes a monograph, covering osteology and anatomy of Eotriassic labyrinthodont (Benthosuchus sushkini Efr.), which later brings him and his co-author Bystrov honorable diplomas of English Linnaean Society.


In the forties of the twentieth century Ivan Yefremov develops a new scientific field – taphonomy, the study of fossil decay patterns in sedimentary rocks over time. The manuscript “Taphonomy” is finished in 1943, however, authors manage to publish it only in 1950 as “Taphonomy and Geological Chronicles” and receive State Prize for their work in 1952. New scientific field is recognized only in 1970s, however, Ivan Antonovich successfully applies its conclusions during his expedition to the Mongolian Gobi, resulting in great amount of priceless samples. At the time of said expedition Ivan Yefremov heads the ancient vertebrate department of the Paleontology Institute.

During the Great Patriotic War (World War II) Ivan Antonovich starts writing his first stories of unusual, in which predicts diamond deposits in Yakutia and holography. Under desert skies Yefremov dreams of writing a story about humanity’s future in space. His dream comes true in the novel “Andromeda Nebula”, coming off the press in 1957 and determining lives of thousands of people. The second novel of Ivan Antonovich, “Razor’s Edge”, becomes his favourite and offers mankind solutions to secrets of society management and education, as well as development of human sciences and nuclear disarmament. However, real tendencies of global development appear to be different, and the writer comes out with another novel, “The Bull’s Hour”, warning humans about possible social, moral and ecological catastrophes.

Years of hard work cut up the heart of Ivan Yefremov, and it stops on October 5, 1972. Great writer and scientist doesn’t see his fourth novel “Thais of Athens”, dedicated to his wife and friend Thaisia Yefremova, coming off the press.

    Ivan Yefremov’s biography

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian science Russian scientists    

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