Timofeev-Resovskii, Nikolai Vladimirovich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Timofeev-Resovskii, Nikolai Vladimirovich


Born Sept. 7 (20), 1900, in Moscow. Soviet biologist.

Timofeev-Resovskii graduated from Moscow State University in 1925. A student of S. S. Chetverikov and N. K. Kol’tsov, he was a research worker in the Institute of Experimental Biology from 1922 to 1925. He worked in Germany from 1925 to 1945. Having returned to the USSR, he headed various departments in the Institute of Biology of the Ural Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1955 to 1963 and in the Institute of Medical Radiology of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR at Obninsk from 1964 to 1969. He has been a consultant to the Institute of Medical Biological Problems of the Ministry of Health of the USSR since 1969.

Timofeev-Resovskii’s principal works are in the fields of genetics, radiobiology, biogeocenology, and the theory of evolution. He is one of the founders of quantitative radiation genetics and radiation biogeocenology. He published many research reports on the genetic effects of radiation that led to some basic formulations in modern radiobiology—namely, the “hit principle” and the target theory. Together with M. Delbrück, Timofeev-Resovskii developed the first biophysical model of gene structure and proposed the possibility of genetic modification. His work includes studies on population genetics. Through his research on the initial stages of intraspecific differentiation, he formulated and developed the theory of microevolution.

Timofeev-Resovskii became a member of the presidium of the N. I. Vavilov All-Union Society of Geneticists and Selectionists in 1966, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1973, and a member of the Leopoldina Academy of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1969. He was awarded the GDR’s Darwin Medal in 1959, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic’s Mendel Medal in 1965, the United States’ Kimber Genetics Award and Gold Medal for an outstanding contribution to genetics in 1966, and the GDR’s Mendel Medal in 1970.


Primenenie printsipa popadaniia v radiobiologii. Moscow, 1968. (With V. I. Ivanov and V. I. Korogodin.)
Kratkii ocherk teorii evoliutsii. Moscow, 1969. (With N. N. Vorontsov and A. V. Iablokov.)
Ocherk ucheniia o populiatsii. Moscow, 1973. (With A. V. Iablokov and N. V. Glotov.)


Vorontsov, N. N., and A. V. Iablokov. “K70-letiu N. V. Timofeeva-Resovskogo.” Biull. Moskovskogo obshchestva ispytatelei prirody, Otdelbiologicheskii, 1970, no. 5 (bibliography).
Astaurov, B. L. “Za vydaiushchiisia nauchnyi vklad v genetiku: Kimberovskaia premiia—sovetskomu uchenomu.” Priroda, 1967, no. 6.


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