Sapozhnikov Vasily Vasilyevich
botanist and geographer.
Born in Perm in the family of a teacher of the lower rank of the
2nd grade of the Perm Military Gymnasium. The
grandfather came from the peasants of Urzhumsky district of Vyatka
was from a poor merchant family. The
family had eleven children, but most died in early childhood. Only
three brothers survived to adulthood. In
1878, the family broke up. My
father went to his homeland, where he had been a teacher for some
time, and soon died. Mother
and children moved to Omsk.
Since childhood, Sapozhnikov showed a love of nature, travel. From
the age of 13, he often went on boat tours of Kama, spending several
days in them.These campaigns hardened him, brought up the ability to
endure the hardships of travel, developed observation.
After graduating from the Perm gymnasium in 1880, Sapozhnikov, on
the advice of a teacher of history and geography, entered the
natural department of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at
Moscow University and graduated in 1884 with a degree in natural
the professors with whom he studied at the university were the
zoologist A.P. Bogdanov,
physicist A.G. Stoletov,
chemist V.V. Markovnikov,
physiologist K.A. Timiryazev.Under
the leadership of Timiryazev, Sapozhnikov carried out his first
scientific research on the geotropism of roots, which was his Ph.D.
(thesis) essay and prompted him to engage in photosynthesis. Upon
graduation, Sapozhnikov was left to prepare for a professorship. For
the sake of earning money, he was forced to teach lessons in natural
history at the Aleksandrovsky Commercial School and chemistry at the
Alekseevsky Junior School of Infantry, and also to give lectures on
plant physiology at Lubyanka women's courses. The
number of lessons and lectures reached 38 hours per week.
In 1890, Sapozhnikov defended his master's thesis on the
assimilation of carbohydrates in the leaves of plants. The
doctoral dissertation defended in 1894 was also connected with this
these works, Academician N.A. Maximov
called him "a prominent scientist and brilliant researcher".
In 1891-1892 Sapozhnikov
got acquainted with Western European science and new teaching
visited Berlin and Leipzig, stayed at the campus of Tübingen, where
he worked in the laboratory of Professor G. Fechting. In
1891, Sapozhnikov, together with G. Fechting, and in 1892
independently climbed the glaciers of Switzerland and Northern
Italy, which predetermined his interest in glaciology.
In 1893, Sapozhnikov left work at Moscow University and went on
to become a professor at the Department of Botany at the Medical
Faculty of Tomsk University. This
department he headed the rest of his life for more than 30 years. He
also headed the Botanical Garden and the Botanical Cabinet.
Sapozhnikov was a great teacher, lectures built as a fascinating
story about the life of the plant world. He
had a strong and pleasant voice (baritone), a natural gift of
eloquence, the ability to express any complicated thought in a short
and expressive way. For
his high pedagogical skills and enthusiasm, he was called "Siberian
nightingale" and "Chrysostom". In
the course of teaching, Sapozhnikov paid much attention to the
demonstration of living exhibits and plants, which even in the
bitter cold came from the Botanical Garden to the audience on
specially equipped sleighs. He,
one of the first in Russia, showed at his lectures hand-made slides,
which he painted himself.
After moving to Siberia, the focus of research on Sapozhnikov
shifted toward general and botanical geography, which was due to his
desire to explore the natural resources of Siberia. During
the years 1895–1923 He
completed more than 20 expeditions to Altai, Sayan, Semirechye,
Western Mongolia (Mongolian Altai), Zaisan, and Turkish Armenia. First
of all, his attention was devoted to the Russian Altai. As
a result of four expeditions (1895, 1897, 1898, 1899), the works On
Altai, Katun and Its Origins appeared. The
first of these works was awarded the IRGO silver medal, and for the
second he was awarded the highest gift from the office of His
Imperial Majesty and Medal
the high mountainous region of the Altai, in addition to large
floristic fees, he opened about 40 new glaciers (previously only two
were known). First
he climbed the saddle of the main peak of Altai - Belukha,
determined the height of her and a number of other peaks. In
1912 they published the guidebook “Paths in the Russian Altai”. Academician
said that “V. Sapozhnikova
mark a whole epoch in Altai research”.
According to G.N. Potanin,
Sapozhnikov was a rare scholar who "constantly and widely shared the
results of his research and through popular lectures and academic
and academic works, which, like his travel essays and travel
reports, were written in a fascinating form in a simple and
accessible language". In
total, he published 95 scientific papers.
Active research activity Sapozhnikov combined with public,
participated in the work of the Society of Naturalists and Doctors
at Tomsk University, was elected as a companion of the chairman and
chairman of the board of the company and remained so until the end
of his life. At
meetings of the society made over 20 reports and reports. He
took part in the work of the XII Congress of Russian natural
scientists and doctors in Moscow, in 1917 founded the Tomsk branch
of the Russian Geographical Society and became its first chairman. Sapozhnikov
was one of the active members of the care society about primary
education, an ardent popularizer of scientific knowledge, the
founder of public lecturing in Siberia. In
addition to Tomsk, he also read them in Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Omsk,
Barnaul, in Samara and Perm, and taught a course in the philosophy
of natural science at the Higher Historical and Philosophical
Courses in Tomsk.
As rector of Tomsk University, he was a strong supporter of
female education in Siberia.
Social activities Sapozhnikova went far beyond Siberia. He
repeatedly participated in the Russian congresses of naturalists and
doctors, botanical congresses, by the end of his life he was an
honorary member of 11 scientific societies and institutions,
including the Russian Botanical Society, the Berlin Society of
Geography, and the Russian Geographical Society. In
addition, he was a member of the Moscow Society of amateurs of
natural science, ethnography and anthropology, the Moscow Society of
Naturalists, the Moscow Geographical Society, the State Solontsov
Institute in Moscow, the Society for the Study of Siberia. With
his assistance, the Irkutsk University was opened and the Siberian
Academy of Sciences Institute of Research was established in Tomsk.
In June – September 1919, together with E.V. Nikitina
Sapozhnikov explored the Arctic flora in the lower reaches of the Ob
and on the Gulf of Ob.
The sputtering life of Sapozhnikov was unexpectedly interrupted. In
the fall of 1923, he caught a bad cold and, with pneumonia, spent
more than a month in the clinic. X-ray
in January 1924 showed the presence of a malignant neoplasm in the
few months later he was gone.
According to the memoirs of contemporaries, Sapozhnikov was a
gentle, cheerful, sociable and witty person who knew how to attract
people and help them in difficult times. He enjoyed the confidence of
the students and often saved them with money. He
was very popular among the population of Siberia, especially loved
by the indigenous people of Altai. He
spoke fluent Altai, loved to dance, have fun, understood theater,
music and painting.
He died in Tomsk.
the Gulf of Ob. Named
in 1919, by the head of the Ob expedition D.F. Kotelnikov.