Exhibition Devoted to Vladimir Vernadsky, Great 20th-century Researcher

The exhibition Planetary Personality, marking the 140th birth anniversary of great universalist of the 20th century Vladimir Vernadsky (1863-1945), has opened in the State Darwin Museum in Moscow.

The exhibition sheds light on different aspects of his scholarly endeavors - geology, biology, thinking. Vladimir Vernadsky had been a member of the St.Petersburg Academy of Sciences since 1912, of the Russian Academy of Sciences since 1917, USSR Academy of Sciences, first president of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, a member of the Czechoslovak and Paris academies of sciences.

The exhibition tells a story, above all, about his fate where the man and researcher are inseparable, said the exhibition overseer Ivan Savinov, Candidate of Biology. Focus is on the role of Vernadsky as the founder of the innovatory teaching of biosphere and its evolution into noosphere /"sphere of reason"/, the role of living organisms and man in planetary processes.

"The creative genius of Vernadsky is reflected in the noosphere concept, created in the 1920s," explained Savinov. The term "noosphere" was coined, half a century before Vernadsky, by Austrian geologist Zuss. Vernadsky of Russia was the first to show that the biosphere is one of the structural specifics of our planet and man cannot exist without it. In his declining years Vernadsky wrote his work A Few Words about the Noosphere, which is his behest to mankind.

Only in the end of the century was the value of his work fully understood and Vernadsky's ideas underlay the sustainable development concept under the aegis of the United Nations.

A great academic school, pupils and followers, a host of books and articles are the aspects of Vernadsky's work. The exhibition reflects stages in his life, research work as the founder of geochemistry, biogeochemistry, radiogeology and the biosphere teaching, activities as the organizer of many research institutions, his range of interests.

A small collection of minerals and fossils symbolizes "the traces of the former biospheres," said Ivan Savinov. There is also a collection of minerals from different parts of the former USSR visited by Vernadsky as mineralogist and crystallographer.

Opting for their own way in life, Vernadsky's children have translated into reality the just-surfacing aspects of their father's talents. Both ended their lifetimes in the United States. The daughter, whose ambition was to be an artist, went to Czechia, graduated from the medical chair of the Charles university in Prague, and died in the 1970s in the United States.

His son, Georgy Vernadsky, was a well-known specialist in Russian history and a lecturer for many years in American universities.