Lepekhin, Ivan Ivanovich
Born Sept. 10 (21), 1740, in St. Petersburg; died there Apr. 6 (18), 1802. Russian explorer and naturalist. Academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1771).
From 1760 to 1762, Lepekhin studied at the university of the Academy of Sciences, and from 1762 to 1767 at the University of Strasbourg, where he received the degree of doctor of medicine. Between 1768 and 1772 he led the academy-sponsored expedition that investigated the Volga Region, the Urals, and the north of European Russia. In 1773 he journeyed through the Baltic Region and Byelorussia. In 1783 he became permanent secretary of the Russian Academy. Lepekhin was the author of works on botany, zoology, Russian philology, and other subjects. He expressed advanced ideas on permanent changes on the earth’s surface, on the causes of cave formation, and on changes in plants and animals caused by the environment. His principal work was a description of the 1768–72 expedition. Entitled Journals of a Trip... Through Various Provinces of the Russian State (vols. 1–3, 1771–80; vol. 4, 1805), this work contains much factual data on the geography and ethnology of Russia.