Nikolaj Ivanovich Vavilov

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(1887—1943)


Vavilov is recognized as the foremost plant geographer of contemporary times. To explore the major agricultural centers in this country and abroad, Vavilov organized and took part in over 100 collecting missions. His major foreign expeditions included those to Iran (1916), the United States, Central and South America (1921, 1930, 1932), the Mediterranean and Ethiopia (1926-1927). For his expedition to Afghanistan in 1924 Vavilov was awarded the N.M.Przhevalskii Gold Medal of the Russian Geographic Society. From 1931 to 1940 Vavilov was its president.

These missions and the determined search for plants were based on the Vavilov's concepts in the sphere of evolutionary genetics, i.e. the Law of Homologous Series in Variation (1920) and the theory of the Centers of Origin of Cultivated Plants (1926).

N.I.Vavilov was a prominent organizer of science. In the period from 1922 to 1929 he headed the Institute of Experimental Agronomy (the former ASC) which developed in 1930 into the V.I.Lenin All-Union Academy of Agriculture; from 1930 to 1935 Vavilov was its first president. From 1930 to 1940 he was director of the Institute of Genetics. Vavilov organized and participated in significant home and international scientific meetings and congresses on botany, genetics and plant breeding, agricultural economy, and the history of science. All around the world N.I.Vavilov has gained respect and renown; he was elected member of many academies of sciences and various foreign scientific societies.