Vinogradov, Aleksandr

Vinogradov, Aleksandr Pavlovich


Born Aug. 9 (21), 1895, in St. Petersburg. Soviet geochemist. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1953; corresponding member, 1943), vice-president of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1967), and Hero of Socialist Labor (1949).

Vinogradov graduated from the Military Medical Academy and the department of chemistry of Leningrad University (1924). He was a student and close associate of V. I. Vernadskii. In 1945 he became director of the V. I. Vernadskii Laboratory of Geochemical Problems under the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and in 1947, director of the V. I. Vernadskii Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He became head of the subdepartment of geochemistry at Moscow State University in 1953.

Vinogradov’s studies cover a wide range, from biogeochemistry to space chemistry. He has studied the changes in the chemical compositions of organisms in connection with their evolution, especially the content of rare and dispersed elements (microelements) in organisms; he introduced the concept of biogeochemical regions and described the related biogeochemical endemics of plants and animals. Vinogradov also developed the biogeochemical method of prospecting for minerals. On the basis of isotope research he demonstrated that oxygen in photosynthesis is formed from the water and not from the carbon dioxide. In geochemistry he introduced the idea of the creation of a physicochemical theory of geological processes. He studied the geochemistry of a number of elements, particularly rare elements in soils, as well as the composition of the rocks of the East European (Russian) Platform. He determined the average composition of the primary rocks of the earth. Vinogradov proposed the hypothesis of a universal mechanism of the formation of planet crusts on the basis of the zone refining of the silicate phase and developed the idea of a chemical evolution of the earth. Vinogradov founded a new line of scientific work in the USSR, termed the geochemistry of isotopes, the fractionation of the isotopes of the light elements O, S, C, K, and Pb as well as 14C and T during natural processes. He contributed to marine geochemistry. Together with associates he determined the absolute age of the earth and of the Baltic, Ukrainian, Aldan, and other shields, as well as of the rocks of India, Africa, and other regions. He conducted radiochemical research and took a direct part in the establishment of the nuclear industry in the USSR. He studied the composition of meteorites (various forms of carbon, gases, and others). He investigated the chemistry of planets; from data obtained with the aid of interplanetary space probes, he established the presence of basaltic rocks on the moon’s surface and determined the composition of the Venusian atmosphere. He directed the study of Luna 16 samples of lunar soil obtained from the surface of the Sea of Fertility. He organized research on the sensitivity of chemical analyses in the V. I. Vernadskii Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. This made it possible to determine the ’’purity” of many present-day materials and thereby contributed to technological progress. Vinogradov is editor in chief of the Atlas of Lithological-paleogeographic Maps of the Russian Plat-form (1960-61), the four-volume Atlas of LithologicalPaleogeographic Maps of the USSR (1967-68), and a series of books on an analytical chemistry of various elements. He is a member of the international Pugwash Conference of Scientists, workers for peace (since 1958). He is a member of a number of American and French geological societies. Vinogradov is honorary president of the International Association of Geochemistry and Space Chemistry. A deputy to the third convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR, he has received the V. I. Lenin Award (1934), three State Prizes of the USSR, and a Lenin Prize. He has been awarded five Orders of Lenin, two other orders, and various medals.


“Khimicheskii elementarnyi sostav organizmov moria,” parts 1-3. In Trudy Biogeokhimicheskoi laboratorii AN SSSR, vols. 3, 4, 6. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935-44. (Revised and expanded edition —The Elementary Chemical Composition of Marine Organisms. New Haven, Conn. 1953.)
Geokhimiia redkikh i rasseiannykh elementov v pochvakh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1957.
Khimicheskaia evoliutsiia Zemli. Moscow, 1959.
“O proiskhozhdenii veshchestva zemnoi kory.” Geokhimiia, 1961, no. 1, pp. 3-29.
Vvedenie v geokhimiiu okeana. Moscow, 1967.
“Khimiia planet.” In the collection Nauka i chelovechestvo. Moscow, 1969.


Aleksandr Pavlovich Vinogradov. Moscow, 1965 (AN SSSR. Materialy k biobibliografii uchenykh SSSR. Seriia khimicheskikh nauk, issue 35).