Wild Heinrich Ivanovich 
(17(29).12.1833-05.09.1902)

 

Physicist and geophysicist, Swiss by birth. 
Born in Uster, in the Zurich canton of Switzerland, where he spent his childhood years. He studied at the University of Zurich. In 1857, Wild received a Ph.D. Three years later, he became a professor at the University of Bern, in 1858–1868. was director of the astronomical observatory in Bern. In 1863, Wild founded several meteorological stations, thus laying the meteorological network of Switzerland, creating a number of physical and meteorological instruments for it. 
In 1868, after the death of Academician L.M. Kemtsa The Russian Academy of Sciences found itself in a very difficult situation, since it could not find a worthy candidate for the post of Director of the Glavnaya Physical Observatory (GFO) from among its members and Russian scientists. They remembered Wilde, whom Kemz himself highly valued, as a major physicist and meteorologist. 
In 1868, Wild was elected an academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences and director of the GFO, which he headed until 1895. Since 1879, he was president of the International Meteorological Committee: he was engaged in setting up a network of meteorological stations and observatories, created instruments for them, organized and carried out the processing of observations and their publication. By the end of Wilda’s directorship in the HFO, the network of meteorological observations in Russia consisted of 729 stations, 934 rain-measuring stations, over a thousand points were observed over thunderstorms, snow cover, opening and freezing of water bodies. In dozens of points, the temperature of the soil on the surface and depth was recorded, evaporation and the duration of sunshine were studied. 
Wild was one of the initiators of the discovery in 1878 of the Pavlovsk Observatory, which, with his efforts, soon became the “exemplary meteorological institution of the Old and New Worlds”. 
The contribution of Wild to the organization and conduct of the First IPY of 1882–1883 ​​is great. In 1880, he was elected chairman of the I International Polar Expedition (IPE), which united the efforts of 14 states. Under his leadership, real steps were taken to implement the ideas of the initiator of the IPY K. Weyprecht. Wild led the development of the expedition's programs, maintained contacts with the national polar commissions both during the preparatory period and in the process of conducting polar research. After completing the observations, he compiled a program for processing and publishing materials, which he implemented with great energy, meticulousness and punctuality until 1891, when many volumes of observations were put into set. All handwritten copies were transmitted by the participating States to the HFO, which became the world data center for the I International Polar Year. 
Fairly attaching great importance to factual material, Wild abstained from any generalizations and conclusions, demanding the same from his employees. A.I. Voeikov characterized him as “scientific mediocrity.” Under Wilde, the observatory left a number of talented scientists. Actively and successfully opposed Wild to the elections to the Academy of Sciences of D.I. Mendeleev. 
In 1895, Wild left Russia and went to Switzerland. By this time, its prestige in the Academy of Sciences began to fall: there were major domestic scientists who knew Russian reality better and better understood the needs and requirements of Russian meteorology. The last straw that initiated Wild’s resignation was the fire at the Pavlovsk Observatory, during which the pavilion burned down for absolute magnetic observations. However, even being outside of Russia, Wild continued to be keenly interested in the affairs of the HFO, which he gave nearly thirty years of life.

The merits of Wild are awarded with the 2nd degree Order of St.Anna, 3rd degree St. Vladimir, the Austrian Order of Franz-Joseph. IRGO noted the extensive work of G.I. Wilde "On Air Temperature in the Russian Empire" with the F.P. Litke Medal. 
He died in Zurich. 
Cape Eclips Bay and an island in Middendorf Bay near the coast of Khariton Laptev. Named in 1901 RPE.

 

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