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Golden Names of Russia

Grigory Perelman ranks ninth on the list of ”One hundred living geniuses” compiled by the British newspaper The Telegraph, and is known worldwide as a phenomenally talented mathematician. In his homeland, however, he is famous not so much for having found an original method for proving Poincaré’s hypothesis, as for having rejected a prize of one million dollars. And in the history of Russian science, this is not the first time such a situation has happened.
The word ”pioneer” is often used to refer to Ignaty Brod. Among his achievements are the creation of a revolutionary doctrine of oil and gas bearing basins, the organization of specialized departments in major domestic universities, and the discovery of dozens of hydrocarbon fields in the North Caucasus and Dagestan. He received the award that kept him alive for the discovery of the Archedinskoye field in Volgograd Oblast. It was from there that the first batches of gas were sent through the trunk pipeline to the war-ravaged Stalingrad. ”Forgotten” Story
June 10, 2021, marked the 90th anniversary of the birth of Boris B. Kudryashov, the legendary “Bur Burych”, a professor at Mining University. As a result of his scientific work, it became possible to drill the world’s deepest hole in the ice of Antarctica, 3769 m deep, and open the subglacial Lake Vostok, which plays an enormous role in the study of climate change in recent millennia.
On January 28, 1820, the Russian expedition led by Thaddeus Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev discovered Antarctica, but its exploration began only 70 years ago. If the names of the discoverers are known to every schoolboy, then not everyone can name the scientists who began the actual study of the new continent.
In the late 19th century, Russia mined 40 times more platinum than the rest of the world combined. And yet, despite the skyrocketing demand, over 80% of that was exported to Europe at a meagre cost. What did a mining engineer do to stem the flow of huge losses?
Boris Bokii is rightly considered one of the founders of mining science who propelled early-20th-century coal mining to a new level. His brother was by no means a less prominent figure. Up to date, he is often called ’the most unusual person in the history of Soviet intelligence services.’
When Yuri Bilibin was convincing officials that there were large reserves of placer gold in the country’s northeast, members of the commission expressed disbelief. They wanted even to re-certify him as a mining engineer. The expedition took place, nevertheless. The participants lost provisions and part of their equipment while rafting, almost dying of cold, but the nuggets they found on the banks of the Kolyma tributaries changed the whole of gold mining in Russia.
In the late-19th century, Alexander Auerbach, a renowned mining engineer, set up mercury production, becoming thus the first to do so in Russia. His business was expected to be an imminent success. So how come 20 years later, he declared himself bankrupt?
Nikolai Zelinsky first familiarised himself with poisonous gases in 1886 when he accidentally synthesised mustard gas whilst running an experiment. Thirty years later, when the Germans began using this substance as a chemical weapon in World War I, he invented an ”antidote” — the world’s first-ever gas mask.
Vladimir Shukhov is renowned for designing Russia’s first oil pipeline and refinery. He was also the first to commercialise motor gasoline into production. Yet, nearing the end of his life, he was sentenced to a ”suspended death by shooting”…