Dmitrii Shcherbakov

Shcherbakov, Dmitrii Ivanovich


Born Jan. 1 (13), 1893, in Novozybkov, in what is now Briansk Oblast; died May 25, 1966, in Moscow. Soviet geologist and geochemist. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1953; corresponding member, 1946).

Shcherbakov was a student of V. I. Vernadskii and A. E. Fersman. After graduating from Tavrida University (now the University of Simferopol’) in 1922, he worked for the Commission for the Study of Natural Productive Forces and in other organizations of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Between 1928 and 1938 he was scientific director first of the Tadzhik-Pamir expedition and then of the Middle Asian expedition of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. From 1930 to 1938 he worked at the M. V. Lomonosov Geochemical Institute (later the Institute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy, and Petrography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR). From 1938 to 1941 he was head of the section on mineralogy and geochemistry of the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Between 1943 and 1948 he was scientific director of a section at the All-Union Institute of Mineral Raw Materials. In 1963 he became director of two scientific divisions of the Institute of the Geology of Ore Deposits, Petrography, Mineralogy, and Geochemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Between 1953 and 1963 he was academician-secretary of the department of geological and geographic sciences of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Shcherbakov conducted geological studies in Middle Asia and the Caucasus, on the Kola Peninsula, and in Transbaikalia. His major research was in the field of trace and rare elements. His scientific prognoses provided the basis for the discovery of commercial deposits of antimony and mercury in Kirghizia, native sulfur in the Karakum Desert, and molybdenum, tungsten, and arsenic in the Caucasus. Shcherbakov was one of the pioneers in orientation and superdeep drilling and in the determination of the absolute ages of geological formations and the compilation of metallogenic maps. He is also known as a popularizer of the geological and geographic sciences.

A recipient of the Lenin Prize, Shcherbakov was awarded two orders of Lenin, three other orders, and various medals. The mineral shcherbakovite (a silicate of niobium and tantalum) is named after Shcherbakov.


Izbr. trudy, vols. 1–3. Moscow, 1969–71.


Dmitrii Ivanovich Shcherbakov: Zhizn’ i deiatel’nost’’, 1893–1966. Moscow, 1969.