Kupfer Adolf Yakovlevich 
(06(17).01.1799–23.05(06.06).1865)


An outstanding Russian physicist, academician. 
Born in Mitau in the family of a merchant. Besides him, the family had 15 more children. Kupffer's multilateral abilities manifested from childhood.He enthusiastically read classical literature, studied French, German, Greek and English, read poems of great Italian and Spanish poets in the original. However, the natural sciences were of particular interest to the boy. At home he had a small botanical garden, physical and chemical laboratories in which he set up experiments using the simple instruments created by himself. 
Kupfer early orphaned. At the age of 14, he entered the Mitava Gymnasium, after graduating from it, he decided to study medicine. After some time studying at the University of Dorpat, he moved to Berlin. His passion for the natural sciences took its toll, and at the University of Berlin he focused his attention on mineralogy, which he studied under the guidance of the famous Weiss. Excursions in the mountains of Carinthia and in the Tyrol finally attracted him to this science. In 1819, he traveled around the Harz, then practiced practical chemistry at Strommeier in Göttingen and received his doctorate here in 1821. From Göttingen, Kupfer went to Paris, where he listened to lectures by the famous mineralogist Gai and acquired a special position of this scientist; under his leadership, in 1823 he presented to the Berlin Academy a scientific work for which he won an award; This work is considered to be a classic essay on crystallography; it showed “Kupffer's extraordinary wit in finding the simplest and most convenient methods for investigating difficult and extremely precise studies of phenomena”. 
In the same year of 1824, Kupfer received an invitation to take up the chair of physics at Kazan University; on the instructions of the ministry, he made a trip to various training centers in Europe, purchasing equipment for a physical office, and in 1824, he appeared in Kazan. Three years later, in 1827, he was elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences, and in 1828 an academician in the department of mineralogy; with the election to the Academy, he left Kazan and moved to Petersburg. 
After moving to St. Petersburg, Kupfer wrote a number of works on mineralogy, crystallography, and physics, which were of great scientific importance and placed him in a row with the first-class mineralogists of the time. His work had a great practical value: he took an active part in the commission to establish accurate measures and weights;the results of the work of this commission, which are at the same time mainly the results of the works of Kupfer, were legalized by the Highest Decree in 1835. In addition, he was actively engaged in the device in Russia meteorological observations; he was the director of the Academy of Sciences magnetic observatory founded by him; this observatory was the central body for a whole network of meteorological stations established in Russia. Together with Kemz, Kupfer founded a meteorological journal in Dorpat. 
Kupfer combined his scientific activity with teaching. 
In St. Petersburg, he lectured at the Main Pedagogical Institute, at the Institute of the Corps of Communications and in the officer classes of the Institute of Mining Engineers.

Kupfer was a Knight of the Orders of St. Anna of 1 degree (1864), St. Stanislav of 1 degree (1860), St. Vladimir of 3 degrees (1856). 
He died in St. Petersburg and was buried in the Smolensk Lutheran cemetery. Granite obelisk with a marble portrait bas-relief. 
An island in the west of Lake Taimyr.

Mountain on the northwest coast of the island of Edge Svalbard archipelago. Named in 1899-1901 by expedition on "degree measurement".

 

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