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Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky
Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky was an Ukranian-Russian scientist (1863-1945) whose expertise was remarkably diverse: he studied in the fields of geochemistry, mineralogy, biogeochemistry and cristallography. He was also a distinguished naturalist and philosopher. He founded and became director of the Biogeochemical Laboratory of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1928. Although he did not introduce himself the concept of the term biosphere, coined by E. Seuss (1831-1914), it is his concept of the biosphere that is accepted today and opened the way to interdisciplinary sciences such as biogeochemistry, geomicrobiology and ecosystem studies.

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky was convinced of the critical usefulness of maintaining close scientific contacts with foreign colleagues and travelled extensively across Europe (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria and Italy), both for research and teaching.

Although his achievements have only been recognised lately in Western countries*. Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky is one of the earlier and most prominent European proponent of interdisciplinary research on Biogeosciences.

* This short biography is partly based on the foreword, by Margulis et al., to the English-Language edition of his book on the biosphere (Vernadsky V. I., 1998. The biosphere. Copernicus, New York, 192 p.) and on articles published in the Winter 2000-2001 issue of the scientific magazine "21st Century Science & Technology".