Petr Petrovich Lazarev

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lazarev, Petr Petrovich


Born Apr. 1 (13), 1878, in Moscow; died Apr. 4, 1942, in Alma-Ata. Soviet physicist, biophysicist, and geophysicist. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1917).

Lazarev graduated from the department of medicine of Moscow University in 1901. Without attending lectures, he successfully passed the examinations of the physics and mathematics department (1903) and then worked in P. N. Lebedev’s laboratory at Moscow University. In 1911, in protest against the reactionary actions of the minister of public education, L. Kasso, he left Moscow University. After Lebedev’s death, Lazarev became head of his laboratory at the A. L. Shaniavskii University. From 1920 to 1931 he was director of the State Institute of Biophysics, which he organized; this was the first scientific research institution in Russia devoted to physics and biophysics. Beginning in 1938, Lazarev was director of the Biophysical Laboratory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

In 1911, Lazarev defended his master’s dissertation, which was devoted to temperature jumps at the gas-solid interface. In 1912 he defended his doctoral dissertation, Fading of Colors and Pigments Within the Visible Spectrum. Lazarev also developed an ionic theory of excitation and investigated processes of physiological adaptation, mainly of organs of vision but also of hearing, taste, and smell. He postulated a unified law of stimulation and worked on the problem of applying the laws of thermodynamics to biological processes. Beginning in 1918 he directed the investigation of the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly using various geophysical methods. Lazarev is also the author of works dealing with the development of the exact sciences in Russia.


Soch, vols. 1–3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950–57.


Shool’skii, E. V. “Petr Petrovich Lazarev.” Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 1945, vol. 27, issue 1, pp. 1–12.
Kravets T. P. “Tvorcheskii put’ akademika P. P. Lazareva.” Ibid, pp. 13–21.
Petr Petrovich Lazarev (1878–1942). Moscow, 1958. (Materialy k biobibliografii uchenykh SSSR.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.