Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 716-717


Fesenkov, Vasilii Grigorevich

  • Alexander A. GurshteinAffiliated withVavilov Institute for History of Science & Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences Email author 

BornNovocherkassk, Russia, 13 January 1889

DiedMoscow, (Russia), 12 March 1972

After the Bolshevik Revolution, Vasilii Fesenkov, a astrophysicist of the older generation, was the leading planetologist and scholar in meteoritics of the pre-spaceflight era, one of only a few academicians (Soviet Academy of Sciences) in the field of astronomy (from 1935), and an outstanding and enthusiastic promoter of Soviet astronomy.

Fesenkov was a 1911 graduate of Kharkov University. (After the disintegration of the USSR, it came into the possession of the Republic of the Ukraine.) One of his teachers was Gustav Struve. In 1912–1914, he received internships at the Paris, Meudon, and Nice observatories. Twenty-eight years old at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, soon thereafter Fesenkov organized in Moscow the first State Astrophysical Institute (1923), which he headed until its reorganization (en masse with two other bodies) into the Shternberg State Astronomical Institute [GAISh]. During the bloody ...

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