Sumgin Mikhail Ivanovich

A scientist, one of the founders of the Soviet permafrost.
Born in the village of Krapivka, Lukoyanovsk district, Nizhny Novgorod province, in a peasant family. By nationality Mordvin.
Sumgin received his first education in a rural school and Lukoyanovsk city school, which he graduated in 1887. Immediately after graduating from college, he worked in agriculture for hire, and in 1893 he moved to St. Petersburg, where he got a job in zincography, while at the same time preparing to receive a certificate of maturity. He passed the exams with excellent marks and in 1895 entered the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of St. Petersburg University.
At the university, while studying the basic course of physical disciplines, Sumgin also studied history, philosophy, and natural history. It was during these years that he was formed as a highly erudite, versatile scientist. However, after passing the entire course, he did not have time to pass the exams, since in 1899 he was arrested and expelled for taking part in a student strike.
He managed to return to scientific work only 12 years later, when in 1911 he began working as head of the research station Bomnak on the See River in the Amur Region. His knowledge, abilities naturally did not go unnoticed. A year later, Sumgina was appointed head of the Meteorological Bureau of the Amur District in Blagoveshchensk. In this post, he led not only scientific, but also great organizational work: he was engaged in expanding the network of meteorological stations, improving the quality of observations, and attracting young scientific personnel. In addition, he founded and edited the “Proceedings of the Meteorological Bureau of the Amur Region”, which were accessible to a wide circle of readers.
During these years, Sumgin turned his attention to the problem of permafrost, the “Russian sphinx”, which had not been studied at that time, as he later wrote. It is very likely that the construction of the Amur railway, which in practice faced a destructive influence on the construction of a defrost of frozen soils, gave impetus to this.


12 line  house 33. Sumgin lived here in apartment 29 at the time of 1934

Pursuing the accumulation of facts, Sumgin developed a special questionnaire with questions about permafrost, and distributed it among wide circles of the local population. Permafrost research has become his life's work. By the beginning of the 1920s, there were 4–5 permafrost veterans throughout the country who had been working on the problem before the revolution and had not lost interest in it during the turbulent military and revolutionary years. About the same was the young researchers. The factual material was separated by publications of various departments, not analyzed, not generalized, not systematized. This heavy load was shouldered by Sumgin. Already in 1927, he published his fundamental work, The Permafrost of Soil within the USSR. This book was the impetus for the organization of systematic research and helped to outline their main directions.
In 1930, the Commission for the Study of Permafrost, headed by Academician V.A. Obruchev. Sumgin became its scientific secretary, and later deputy and head of scientific activities of the Institute of Permafrost, of the Academy of Sciences of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Special systematic permafrost studies began, young scientific personnel were trained, primarily at Leningrad University, where Sumgin gave the first course of permafrost lectures. In 1936, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences.
Sumgin described the state of affairs at this time: “... a systematic research period began to study permafrost and frozen soils in general, work began on creating a new branch of knowledge — permafrost”. Sumgin's role here was leading.
The war has slowed this work. On the very first Nazi air raid on Moscow, Sumgin was heavily wounded. His already shaky health in those years was undermined. In serious condition, he was evacuated to Tashkent, where, nevertheless, because of his physical capabilities, he continued his scientific work.  Sumgin began studying the seasonal freezing of soils in Central Asia, but death interrupted his activities.
The peninsula in the southwest of the  Georg Land island of the Archipelago Franz Josef Land. The name was given in the 1950s by Soviet cartographers.


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