Borisyak Aleksey Alekseevich
(22.07(03.08).1872–25.02.1944)


Outstanding Soviet paleontologist and geologist.
Born in the town of Romny in the family of a land engineer. His maternal grandfather became famous in the Crimean War while defending Sevastopol, his paternal grandfather was a famous researcher of the geology of Donbass.
Because of the father's work, the family often changed their residence. Nevertheless, his parents managed to give his son a good home upbringing and education, which in the autumn of 1891 enabled him to enter the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of St. Petersburg University.
Here he listened to fascinating lectures by the distinguished anatomist PF Lesgaft, who developed his interest in biology. Nevertheless, a year later Borisyak moved to the Mining Institute, which he graduated with honors in 1896.

Independent work Borisyak began as an assistant in the Geological Committee. Under the influence of academicians A.P. Karpinsky and F.N. Chernyshev, and especially Professor S.N. Nikitin Borisyak became interested in paleontology and in order to better understand the biological features of the organisms, on the advice of Nikitin, he attended the full course of zoology at St. Petersburg University and even had practice at the Sevastopol Biological Station.

 

Memorial plaque. Petersburg, nab. Lieutenant Schmidt, d . 1/2

 

Fundamental education obtained at the Mining Institute and the university, and natural endowments and dedication allowed Borisyak to become one of the largest world-class geologists, whose research covered a wide range of scientific geological problems. He worked on general paleontology, studying Jurassic mollusks, paleontology of vertebrates and especially mammals, continuing the work of his grandfather, studied the geological structure of the Donets Basin and Crimea, developed the theory of facies, developed and deepened the theory of geosynclines, which he based on understanding the tectonics of the Earth's crust in various stages of its development. Borisyak considered the history of the Earth as a single natural process of the development of physiographic conditions and organic life.
Unfortunately, Borisyak's field research did not last long. Since 1912, due to a serious illness, he was no longer able to go on an expedition and was mainly engaged in the processing of collections collected by other researchers. Trying not to leave any collection without descriptions, he put into practice the distribution of the collected minerals among various specialists. This made it possible to concentrate the efforts of each on some particular species, eliminating the scatteredness that often interfered with paleontologists.
During his life, Borisyak held various scientific positions. Until 1932 he headed the paleontological department of the Geological Committee, during 1911–1930. He was a professor and head of the department of historical geology of the Leningrad State Institute, in 1939 he founded the department of paleontology at Moscow State University and headed it until 1942, in 1930–1944. He was the director of the Paleontological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, created on his initiative.
In 1923, Borisyak was elected a corresponding member, and in 1929 a full member of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1943, for many years of outstanding work in the field of science and technology, he won the Stalin Prize 2 degrees.
The difficult conditions of the war years exacerbated Borisyak's disease. He died in Moscow. He was buried at the Novodevichy cemetery.
Islands near the southern coast  McClintock Island in archipelago  Franz-Joseph Land. In the 1950s, Soviet cartographers were named.

 

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