Vernadsky Publishes The Biosphere (Great Events from History II: Ecology and the Environment Series)
Article abstract: Vladimir Vernadsky’s publication of The Biosphere inspired imaginative investigations and speculations about humankind’s role in shaping the world’s environment.
Summary of Event
A pioneer in the field of biogeochemistry, Vladimir Vernadsky was given professional direction early in his life. An older cousin who was a retired army officer and an independent man of extensive reading remarked to Vernadsky that “the world is a living organism.” Profoundly impressed, Vernadsky within a few years began his scholarly studies of the earth’s physiology"the ways in which its matter and biota, including humankind, interact and affect one another and their common planetary environment.
Vernadsky was graduated from St. Petersburg University in 1885 and earned his Ph.D from the University of Moscow in 1897. Vernadsky was professor of crystallography and mineralogy at Moscow University from 1890 until 1911. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, he spent three years at the Sorbonne University in Paris, where he wrote extensively on the subjects of geochemistry and biochemistry, crystallography and mineralogy, geochemical activity, marine chemistry, the evolution of life, and futurology, displaying all the signs of a polymath. From 1926 until 1938, he directed the State Radium Institute in Leningrad; he was among the earliest scientists to recognize the tremendous importance of radioactivity as...
(The entire section is 2161 words.)
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