Alexsandr Chizhevskii

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chizhevskii, Alexsandr Leonidovich


Born Jan. 26 (Feb. 7), 1897, in the city of Ciechanowiec, now in Poland; died Dec. 20, 1964, in Moscow. Soviet biophysicist; founder of heliobiology and aeroionification. Son of L. V. Chizhevskii.

Chizhevskii graduated from the Moscow Archaeological Institute in 1917 and the Moscow Commercial Institute in 1918. He also studied at the faculties of physics and mathematics (1915–19) and medicine (1919–22) of Moscow University. From 1917 to 1927 he taught a course on the physical methods of archaeology at Moscow University and the Moscow Archaeological Institute. From 1922 to 1924 he was a consultant at the Institute of Biophysics, and from 1925 to 1931, a senior research worker (professor) at the laboratory of animal psychology of the People’s Committee of Education of the RSFSR. In 1931, Chizhevskii organized the Central Scientific Research Laboratory of Ionization. From 1937 to 1942 he headed two laboratories of the Construction Administration of the Palace of Soviets of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR; from 1958 to 1962 he was head of the laboratory of aeroionification under the State Planning Commission of the USSR.

While studying the effects of cosmic physical factors on processes in living nature, Chizhevskii established the relationship between the cycles of solar activity and many phenomena in the biosphere; he showed that the physical fields of the earth and its environment should be included among the basic causes affecting the condition of the biosphere. In 1935 he discovered the meta-chromasia of bacteria, known as the Chizhevskii-Vil’khover effect, which makes it possible to predict solar emissions harmful to man on earth as well as in space. Chizhevskii was the first to experimentally determine the opposite physiological effects of negative and positive air ions on living organisms, the pathologic effect of air with reduced ion concentration, and the stimulating effect of negative air ions on living organisms (1919–30). He also made use of the artificial aeroionization in medicine, agriculture, and stock raising (1930–36). The importance of Chizhevskii’s work on aeroionification was noted in a resolution of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR in 1931. Chizhevskii also discovered the spatial arrangement of the structural elements in flowing blood.

Chizhevskii was honorary president of the international congress on biological physics and space biology (United States, 1939).


Fizicheskie faktory istoricheskogo protsessa. Kaluga, 1924.
Epidemicheskie katastrofy i periodicheskaia deiatel’nost’ Solntsa. Moscow, 1930.
Problemy ionifikatsii, vols. 1 and 3. Voronezh, 1933–34.
Strukturnyi analiz dvizhushcheisia krovi. Moscow, 1959.
Aeroionifikatsiia v narodnom khoziaistve. Moscow, 1960.
Elektricheskie i magnitnye svnistva eritrotsitov. Kiev, 1973.
Vsia zhizn. Moscow, 1974.
Zemnoe ekho solnechnykh bur’. Moscow, 1973.


Solntse, elektrichestvo, zhizn’: Sb., fascs. 1–3. Moscow, 1969–76.
Golovanov, L. V. “Vklad A. L. Chizhevskogo v kosmicheskuiu biologiiu.” Trudy 3-i Vsesoiuznoi konferentsii po aviatsionnoi i k’osmicheskoi meditsine, vol. 3. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.