Borodovskii, Vasilii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Borodovskii, Vasilii Andreevich


Born Feb. 20 (Mar. 4), 1874 in the village of Berezhniany, Smolensk Province; died Jan. 28 (Feb. 10), 1914, in St. Petersburg. One of the first Russian radiochemists.

Borodovskii graduated from the University of Iur’ev (modern Tartu) in 1902, whereupon he became an assistant there and lectured on radioactivity (1907). Working in the laboratory of J. J. Thomson and E. Rutherford (1908–10), he prepared a master’s dissertation on the theme “Absorption of Beta Radiation of Radium” (Iur’ev, 1910), which he defended at Moscow University (1911). Using an original methodology in the experiment, Borodovskii demonstrated that the absorption of beta radiation by liquids and solid bodies is an additive property of matter and that the absorption of beta radiation by a unit of mass of a chemical element is directly proportional to the cube root of its atomic mass. This dependence, known as Borodovskii’s law, like the law of Dulong and Petit, permits the determination of the order of magnitude of the atomic mass of the elements. From 1912, Borodovskii directed the chemical laboratory of the Main Board of Weights and Measures, where he continued the research started in Iur’ev on the radioactive residues obtained when extracting uranium from tyuyamunite ores, thus discovering their radium content. (In 1921, V. G. Khlopin and I. Ia. Bashilov obtained the first Soviet radium preparation from this same material.)


Zaitseya, L. L. “V. A. Borodovskii i ego raboty po radioaktivnosti.” Voprosy istorii estestvoznaniia i tekhniki, 1956, issue 2, pp. 124–37.
Zaitseva, L. L. “Novye materialy o zhizni i nauchnoi deiatel’nosti V. A. Borodovskogo.” Voprosy istorii estestvoznaniia i tekhniki, 1960, issue 10, pp. 93–100.


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