Nesmeianov, Aleksandr Nikolaevich
Born Aug. 28 (Sept. 9), 1899, in Moscow. Soviet organic chemist; public figure. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1943; corresponding member, 1939); Hero of Socialist Labor (1969). Member of the CPSU since 1944.
Upon graduating from Moscow State University in 1922, Nesmeianov remained to work there, becoming a professor in 1935 and head of the subdepartment of organic chemistry in 1944; from 1944 to 1948 he was dean of the university’s department of chemistry, and from 1948 to 1951 rector of the university itself. He organized the construction of Moscow State University on the Lenin Hills. While working at the university, he also conducted research at the Ia. V. Samoilov Scientific Research Institute of Fertilizers, Insecticides, and Fungicides from 1930 to 1934 and, beginning in 1934, at the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (he was the director of the institute from 1939 to 1954). Between 1946 and 1951 he was academician-secretary of the academy’s department of chemistry. From 1951 to 1961 he was president of the academy itself. In 1954 he became director of the academy’s Institute of Heteroorganic Compounds, and in 1961 academician-secretary of the department of general and organic chemistry.
From 1947 to 1961, Nesmeianov served as chairman of the Committee for the Lenin Prize and State Prize of the USSR in science and technology. He was active in the work of the World Peace Council and the Soviet Committee for the Defense of Peace.
Nesmeianov’s main research is devoted to the chemistry of organometallic compounds. In 1929 he proposed a diazo method for synthesizing organomercurial compounds that he and his co-workers later extended, through further research, to the synthesis of organometallic compounds of tin, lead, tellurium, antimony, and bismuth (the Nesmeianov reaction). He studied the various types of interconversions in organometallic compounds and developed simple, efficient methods for synthesizing organometallic compounds of magnesium, zinc, cadmium, aluminum, tellurium, tin, lead, antimony, and bismuth from organomercurial compounds. Together with R. Kh. Freidlina, Nesmeianov proved that the products of addition of heavy metal salts to unsaturated compounds (which he called quasicomplexes) have a structure similar to that of covalent organometallic compounds.
Through research on the metallic derivatives of oxo-enol systems and α-mercurated oxo compounds, Nesmeianov and his co-workers were able to shed light on the complex relationship between the structure and dual reactivity of metal derivatives of tautomeric systems. He developed the concept of the conjugation of simple bonds and of reactions involving transfer of the reaction center and, with O. A. Reutov, explained the electrophilic substitution mechanism in a saturated carbon atom. Nesmeianov was the first to synthesize chloronium, bromonium, and triaryloxonium compounds and to discover the phenomenon of metallotropism. In 1952, Nesmeianov began extensive research on ferrocene derivatives, as well as on derivatives of other “sandwich” compounds of the transition metal group. Together with K. A. Kocheshkov, he has edited and published a series of monographs entitled Synthesis of Organometallic Compounds and is currently publishing the series Methods in Heteroorganic Chemistry. Nesmeianov and his co-workers have also conducted a great deal of research on the chemistry of chlorovinyl ketones (with N. K. Kochetkov) and on the synthesis of aliphatic compounds by telomerization.
Nesmeianov is a member of several foreign academies. He was a delegate to the Nineteenth and Twentieth Congresses of the CPSU and a deputy to the third, fourth and fifth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He has been awarded the State Prize of the USSR (1943), the Lenin Prize (1966), six Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and several medals.
WORKSIzbr. trudy, vols. 1–4. Moscow, 1959.
Khimiia ferrotsena. Moscow, 1969.
Elementoorganicheskaia khimiia. Moscow, 1970.
Issledovaniia v oblasti organicheskoi khimii. Moscow, 1971.
Nachala organicheskoi khimii, books 1–2. Moscow, 1969–70. (With
N. A. Nesmeianov.)
REFERENCESAleksandr Nikolaevich Nesmeianov. Moscow, 1951. (AN SSSR: Materialy k biobibliografii uchenykh SSSR: Seriia khimicheskikh nauk, fasc. 15.)
Freidlina, R. Kh., M. I. Kabachnik, and V. V. Korshak. “Novyi vklad v razvitie elementoorganicheskoi i organicheskoi khimii.” Uspekhi khimii, 1969, vol. 38, fasc. 9.
M. I. KABACHNIK