Palibin Ivan Vladimirovich 

An outstanding Russian botanist and paleobotanist. 
Born in Tiflis in a military family. Secondary education in the 3rd Moscow Cadet Corps. Military service did not deceive him, from a young age he showed an interest in the natural sciences. He began work in the botanical office of Moscow University, studied the flora of the Moscow region. 
In 1895 Palibin moved to St. Petersburg and began working in the Botanical Garden, with which he linked his whole life. For several years he worked privately and only in 1902, already, being a famous scientist, he finally got a full-time position as just an assistant junior conservative. 
Palibin’s scientific activities began with a study of the flora of the Far East. Soon he published his first scientific work. The expedition was not long in coming. In 1899 on instructions from the
Imperial Russian Geographical Society, Palibin traveled to Mongolia and North China, where he collected extensive collections and mapped a caravan route over 3000 km long. For a report on this journey, the Imperial Russian Geographical Society awarded him a silver medal in 1902. And in subsequent years, Palibin did not interrupt his ties with the Far East, publishing a number of works on the flora of Korea, Mongolia, China and Transbaikalia. 
In 1901 Palibin at the invitation of Admiral S.O. Makarov participated in the first Arctic voyage of the newly built "Ermak" icebreaker. He conducted unique for that time surveys of archipelagos Franz Josef Land, Spitsbergen, the northern island of Novaya Zemlya, collecting extensive valuable collections of representatives of the Arctic flora. For many years Palibin kept with love a memo about this campaign: a miniature model of the anchor "Ermak". 
In 1903  Palibin was sent to Sweden, Denmark and Norway to process the collected materials. For the brilliant performance of work, he was awarded the gold medal of the
Imperial Russian Geographical Society. 
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Palibin has increasingly begun to attract paleobotany. Gradually  he became the largest Russian specialist in the field of tertiary flora. Since Palibin did not have a higher education, he formally could not get a degree. To do this, he had to go abroad to Switzerland, where during 1906–1910. He studied at the University of Geneva. In 1908, having passed the exam for a doctorate degree, he wrote a thesis necessary for the award, but its publication was delayed, then it was frustrated by the world war, revolution, civil war. Only in 1934, by the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences, he was approved to the degree of Doctor of Biological Sciences and only in 1939 - in the rank of professor. The main parts of his thesis were published in 1935 in editions of the Academy of Sciences. 
Since 1911 the study of the Black Sea-Caucasian flora has become a part of Palibin's scientific interests. During the years 1916-1923. he is a rabbi director of the famous Batumi Botanical Garden. 
Since 1923 as a prominent scientist, Palibin returned to his native Leningrad Botanical Garden, where he worked first as a senior curator and then as head of the Museum of the Botanical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Under his leadership, the museum has become a treasury of the world flora. 
Palibin spent the hardest period in besieged Leningrad and was transported to Moscow only in January 1943. The blockade has undermined the health of the scientist. In June 1945 he suffered a blow, from the consequences of which he never recovered. 
Returning to Leningrad in 1946, in the same year he became an Honored Scientist of the RSFSR. Palibin worked as much as he could, hoping for restoration of health and return to his beloved work. However, this did not happen. 
He was buried in Petersburg at the Shuvalovskoye cemetery. The grave could not be found. 
Cape in the north-west of the island South Hochstetter archipelago Franz Josef Land. The name was approved by the decision of the Arkhangelsk Regional Executive Committee of August 26, 1963.

Mountain range in the extreme north-western part of the island of Edge, Svalbard archipelago. The coordinates are 78º 08.4'N   21 º 02'E.


Return to the main page