Per aspera ad astra – through hardship to the stars

Only a few from the science, education, politics and business searching for sustainable solutions and new identities know and recognize that Vernadsky’s fate was the fate of a planter. However, an ever-growing population recognises that there is nothing useless in nature; not even uselessness itself.2 Therefore the time has come to look into Vernadsky’s ideas, concepts and suggestions more seriously.

Much of Vernadsky’s work appears to have been destined for the future, as confirmed by the lasting interest in his work. The actuality of Vernadsky’s work developed over decades, mostly in the shadow of political, economic, and scientific contradictions. His work covers a wide range of priorities and areas of interest to persons involved in science, education and politics.

Humankind is still not ready for utilizing what the nature offers in abundance and what Vernadsky described in one of his greatest predictions during a lecture dedicated to the Autotrophy of Humankind delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1923. Humanity as a geological force would no longer use chlorophyllous plants and algae; humanity would promote its own intellectual development using new synthetic and geocosmic technologies, including isotopic spectra of non– radioactive elements that compose living matter. At the time of the lecture, only a few isotopic spectra of such elements as carbon, calcium, nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur were known.

Although we became hostage to fortune1, we are not ready utilize nuclear and thermonuclear energy in full; the increasing inadequacy of the isotopic spectrum of atoms in food and a sharp increase of heterotrophy resulting from ignorance have caused new and not easily manageable risks, including those in the public health sector. The development of genetic and engineering technologies against the background of the growth of endo-ecological aggressions (mycotic, protozoal, bacterial, viral, prion and nanobacterial) are causing serious political, economical, ethical and socio-financial challenges in both, the developed and less developed countries. 

This reflection, a literary philosophical essay focuses on some of aspects related to Vernadsky’s life and what is sometimes called the Vernadsky's-Darwin phenomenon. Vernadsky stated that life is a powerful geological force. Darwin was well aware of the reciprocal influence of organism and environment. In the formalization instrument of paradoxical relation between biological systems and the environment Vernadsky as a planter offered suggestions for creating alternative solutions in science, organization and the management of integration processes including those in education, business and politics. As an innovator, Vernadsky presented more questions than answers; he invited us to act as we do act. 


To understand the philosophical, analytical and observational potential of Vernadsky‘s work, it is helpful to study not only the work of western scientists, but also work done by Václav Smill (1943, Czech – Canadian scientist and policy analyst)3 and Vlail P. Kaznacheev (1924, an Academician of the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences), to name a few. To do this, one also must accept an approach devoid of anthropocentric chauvinism and recognise that hegemonic cultural and political ambitions regarding civilisation carry an inherent danger. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904 – 1984) once stated,

I believe that we are all able to live the way we want. The main obstacle is ignorance – scientific ignorance, personal ignorance and cultural ignorance. If we do not know what we are culturally enacting then we cannot possibly do what we want. I believe that knowing oneself is the most important thing a human being can do for himself, by learning to act not as one should, but as one does. The, how, is the hallmark of our individuality, it is an enquiry into the process of acting. If we look at how we do things, we might find alternative ways of doing them, i.e .have some free choice. For, if we have no alternative, we have no choice at all.

The evolving global scientific community, using Baconian methods (Sir Francis Bacon, 1561 – 1626, the creator of empiricism) recognises slowly that there are not such things as applied sciences, only applications of sciences and that in the field of observation the chance favours only the prepared mind.4 These observations are preconditions to understanding

Vernadsky‘s competence and creative heritage in geology, mineralogy, geochemistry and biogeochemistry, the history of natural science, philosophy, research and management.

Vernadsky‘s competence results from the ability and power observe and comprehend, appreciate the importance of being persistent, work hard, be disciplined and know the value of history. These virtues occupied Vernadsky in a time of cardinal revision of views on matter, energy, space and time, later described by the Russian theorist of non – orthodox ethnogenesis, L.N. Gumilev (1912-1992) as passionarity pushes.5 Vernadsky‘s understanding of this process demonstrates his striking ability to foresee the future.

On December 29, 1910, in a speech at the General Meeting of the Academy of Sciences Vernadsky postulated: The radioactivity phenomena open to us the source of atomic energy that is millions times stronger than all the other sources of energy that the mankind could ever imagine. This speech followed the establishment of a permanent radium expedition in 1912, a radium department at the Commission for Studying Natural Productive Forces in 1917 and finally the State Radium Institute in 1922. At this institute, Vernadsky‘s collaborators formulated the law of coprecipitation of radium and other elements present in solutions in extremely low concentration with crystalline precipitates. From this come the experience and examples of peaceful uses of nuclear reaction such as environmental protection, nuclear fuel reprocessing possibilities, and radioactive waste management.

In 1923, in a lecture at Charles University, Vernadsky delivered another example of his prognosticating ability. During lectures at the Sorbonne dedicated to the Autotrophy of Humankind, Vernadsky convincingly demonstrated the difference between tactical and strategic approaches to the survival of humanity and the planet as geocosmic phenomena.

In Collection of the Biochemical Laboratory published in 1927, Vernadsky stipulated: Biogeochemistry explores the atomic composition of organisms, its relationship to the atomic structure of life, the disclosure of all the organism’s properties directly determined by an atomic structure. The living organism whose combinations are studied in biogeochemistry is restricted to weight, volume and the size of the responding space, atomic quantitative composition and geochemical energy.

A year later, on October 1, 1928, was officially established the Biogeochemical laboratory. Before, in February 5, 1928, Vernadsky formulated the two principles of biogeochemistry and documented his interest in study of the relationship between living matter and radioactive elements. This interest covers studies of the possibility of radium and uranium concentration actively affecting physiological processes and also the proven fact that fossils (coal, chalk, oil, gas and other) and many rocks of the Earth crust originate from an activity of living matter.

Vernadsky further developed Christian Huygens‘ (1629 – 1695)6 idea, defined in his famous paper Cosmotheoros (1698), of living matter as a substance with specific properties. Erwin

Bauer (1890 – 1938?), one of the youngestever members of Soviet Academy of Sciences, formulated in his Theoretical Biology (1935) the principle of the stable non-equilibrium: No living system is ever at equilibrium. It continuously performs work against equilibrium, demanded by the physical and chemical laws appropriate to the actual external conditions and the Principle of external work increase as historical trend.7 In layman‘s terms, he meant that a living substance (organism) and living systems are capable of selforganisation as a result of their ability to concentrate energy actively drawn from the environment. This is an analogy of one of Vernadsky‘s ideas related to Russian cosmism, a philosophical and cultural movement that emerged in Russia early 20th of the last century. 8

Vernadsky‘s concept of Cosmism is a holistic representation of the Universe with its two fundamental laws: 1) The biogenic migration of chemical elements in the biosphere tends toward a maximum of manifestation. 2) The evolution of species, intending towards the creation of new forms of life, must always move in the direction of increasing biogenic migration of the atoms in the biosphere. 

Russian cosmism, Vernadsky and Kaznacheev 

Any reflection on Vernadsky should include the relation between Vernadsky and the Russian cosmism movement. This relation represents an integration process of natural philosophy, history, ethics, religion, evolution, cosmos and humankind. It is therefore not surprising that cosmism offers valuable insights into the current state of affairs of our civilization. 9

The leading personality in Russian cosmism was Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov (1828 1903), a radical advocate for an extension of life by scientific means.10 Also Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857 – 1935), the originator of the idea of animated atom and radiant mankind who once said that The Earth is the Cradle of the Mind -but one cannot eternally live in a cradle. Tsiolkovsky was also the first man who suggested the use of jet engines for space flights. In the article Investigation of Outer Space Rocket Devices, published in 1903, he showed for the first time that a rocket could perform space flight. No foreign scientists appreciated his research, which today is a major scientific discipline. His research and studies on the behaviour of moving blood cell and the peculiarities of the erytrocyte sedimentation reaction and other discoveries related to diagnostics remain unknown to many in the West even today. They should be discovered.

Alexander Chizhevsky (1897 – 1964) and his studies on sun‘s influence and effects on biology, called heliobiology, should also be mentioned. Chizhevsky discovered air ionization and showed the vital effects of negative ions in the air and of the external global stimulus.

Thus, a quick look at Vernadsky‘s work should be sufficient to understand that Vernadsky and Russian cosmism with its rich tradition cannot be separated. Vernadsky‗s concept of Cosmism does not contradict Plato's definiton of the hylozoic view in Timaeus, the old Docta Ignorantia and Concordantia Catholica (Nicholas of Cusa) and many other fundamental discoveries. 11 Working within the concept of Russian cos-

mism has also influenced other scientists such as Kaznacheev; Nobel Prize Laureate in chemistry Ilya Prigogine (1917-2003), author Introduction into the Thermodynamics of Irreversible Processes; and Hermann Haken (1927), author of Synenergetics: An Introduction. It is therefore plausible that the Russian cosmism inspired a host of new ideas, many of which were successfully developed and commercialized in the West. They undoubtedly complemented the scientific approaches of inventive processes resulting in many new products and new scientific discoveries. 12

Discovery in astrophysics is one of them. The work of Nikolai Kozyrev (1908 – 1983), a Russian astronomer and astrophysicist may help illuminate astrophysics‘ influence on the concepts in Vernadsky‘s and Kaznacheev‘s work. In 1934, Kozyrev published a comprehensive treatise on the radiation equilibrium of the extended photosphere of stars in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomic Society (London). His discovery of nitrogen in the form of N2 in the 1930th was not proved by Venera 5 and Venera 6 until 1969. For his work, the USA International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) awarded Kozyrev a medal engraved with his name and decorated with seven diamonds in the form of the Ursa Major constellation. 13

Vernadsky was exposed to astrophysics via his schoolmate A.N. Krasnov (1862 – 1914), a Russian naturalist and artist, an extraordinary professor in the Department of Physical Geography and Antropogeography and the founder of the Batumi botanic garden (1912). Both belonged to the same group of students, called culturalists.14 Vernadsky‘s observations of the sky and particularly of Andromedis undertaken from Krasnov‘s flat, later observations in Switzerland and the related study impressed Vernadsky very much indeed.

This period in his life during which Vernadsky visited Germany, Switzerland, France and England had a lasting effect on Vernadsky. Vernadsky‘s observations made in Europe enhanced the historical knowledge and experience he gained during expeditions with V. V. Dokuchaev (1846-1903), the father of pedology. Dokuchaev‘s most famous work is Russian Chernozem (1883). As a result of Dokuchaev's works, a number of Russian soil terms are in the international soil science vocabulary: chernozem, podsol, glev, solonec. A crater on Mars was named in his honour. During expeditions with Dokuchaev such as the ones to Sestroreck or to Nizhnegorodsk (18821887) Vernadsky learned quite a bit regarding the uniqueness of the Volga River. Building on impressions from these expeditions he began to paint himself an ideal picture of the nature putting it into a historical time frame. 15

Both Vernadsky and Kaznacheev followed the giant J.W. Goethe (1749-1832), who is an excellent example of a non-analytical personality. Well before our time, Goethe was able synthesise all of nature: the biosphere in whole and biosphere in its individual representations. His work shows, that scientific evidence reflects a significant amount of spiritual quality and wisdom. Goethe stated in 1795 that Nature does not like jokes. It is always true, serious, always strict; mistakes and fallacies have come from man. One of many similar examples delivered the Italian aircraft designer R. L. Bartini (1897-1974), a discoverer in the technosphere: The evolution of the machine is an acting model of the evolution of living nature. The technosphere follows the same path but a tan accelerated pace.

Novosibirsk‘s academic institutions such as the Centre of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (established by Kaznacheev) or the International Research Institute of Cosmic Anthropoecology (ISRICA)16, the Institute of Cytology and Genetics and other institutions have been using Vernadsky‘s strategic ideas in research of the biophysics of living matter since the mid-1960th. The principles of the work were the registration of processes, the interrelations between living objects at a distance and in isolation from known information carriers, including the influence of cosmic fields and the relation between the sun and the Earth. Some work used the method of biological indication of cells cultures. The influence of non–ordinary cosmophysical processes on the biosystem was studied by using a method of cell suspension. Histochemical examinations were made to establish the content of lipids and glycogens in the monolayer cells during a week before and after the solar eclipse. 17

Vernadsky considered the role of water in History of natural waters. Kaznacheev also conducted studies on the identical issue: stored water and translation of information as key elements of cosmophysical information fields and the evolutionary succession of living matter and intelligence. In the study, the Si-carrier was used in experiments.18 The data published also indicate noticeable luminescence between other phenomena.19

Another Kaznacheev‘s research resulted in those involved in the research of sodium spectrum, studies involving the difference between

the assumption that water as a certain liquidmolecular and electrically unstable or nonequilibrium system that resembles proteinis nucleic living matter for which a field form of living matter exists. He thus emphasises the importance of a special cosmophysical role of water in which field forms of living cosmic matter participated and protein-nucleic life emerged and developed. This also relates to autotrophy. 20

Also the results of studies as represented by A.I. Khaloimova, V.E. Kholmogorova, and N.P. Lekhtlaan – Thynisson during the International Congress on Weak and Superweak Fields and Radiation in Biology and Medicine held 2003 in St. Petersburg are based on Vernadsky‘s ideas: The sensitivity of liquid water and water solutions to weak and superweak physical effects gives grounds to predict that the point of phase transition – weak (chaotic) liquid water changing to liquid water having structured areas – is an important factor in the functioning of cells and organisms in general. Such an increase in negentrophy in liquid water and the appearance of spatial structure induced by weak and superweak physical actions as manifestated in the microproperties of living water call for more applied and theoretical investigations of the physical, chemical and biological properties of water.

Not well known to scientific public is a German professor emeritus Waltraud Wagner (1931). Her work in biophysics, chronobiology and experiments undertaken mainly in Germany, have no statistical relevance to our current understanding of scientific proofs. However, her studies of water and water solutions may interest electromagnetic field and information and in other aspects of electromagnetic fields and life. 21

Clearly, water as the key element of studies of geobiology, geochemistry and geological history invites further research. Research could develop a test device that could quantitatively express a measure of entropy-negentrophy in a variety of water containing media. Studies could also help to verify Kozyrev‘s hypothesis of the absorption or liberation of energytime flow during phase changes in the living and non-living matter of the Universe.

On the other side of Atlantic, the 2008 Noble Prize Laureate in Physiology, Luc Montagnier (1932), a virologist, filed for a U.S. patent on the technology of detecting phantom replicas of DNA in water. Essentially, DNA Replication at a Distance, reported by Nobel scientist builds on research first published in 1992 by Russian scientists Peter Gariaev and Vladimir Poponin, both knowinf well Vernadsky‘s work. 22

A complementary example in the form of an article (Carruthes, 1910) appeared in the scientific journal Nature more than 100 years ago. This article offers an excellent example of systemic thinking and Vernadsky‘s reasoning. 23

Vernadsky later recalled reflecting on the few data available, concluding that locusts comprise the identical atoms as minerals, the atmosphere and water, only in another combination. If one imagines that all things growing, moving, swimming or flying are matter, only in a different form, the conclusion is logical that in addition to the quantitative, qualitative parameters can also be studied. The result is a strange state of atoms independently moving within their combinations.

Decades later, Kozyrev formulated in his Theory of Time an analogy: The flow of ideas is similar to the flow of water in the river. The people are coming and going and the flow of water does not care about and continues.

Another example from the same period is from German economist Lujo Brentano (1841931): ...if we would give each and every living person on Earth one square meter of land and put them all together, they would not cover the size of Lake Constance (Bodensee). (Brentano 1908, 1916; free translation by author)

Brentano showed that the rest of the Planet would be free, how small the human mass is in relation to the mass of the Planet, and that the power of such a small mass does not depend on the matter of the mass. It also follows that the geological evolutionary process corresponds to the biological unity of all: Homo sapiens, his geological ancestors Sinanthropus, and others. This process has been developing continuously for innumerable generations. It can be defined as the law of nature, a part of natural history.24 It is impossible to bring evolutionary processes back to a lower level.

Vernadsky paid a great attention to all of the above. His reflections also touch on the correlation between biogenic migration of atoms and the evolution of species. He suggested that an organism‘s elemental chemical composition, radium concentration, for instance, is a species characteristic. This is close to the reasoning of other scientific giants such as N. Bohr (18851962). He defined the paradox of reflection as the main paradox of consciousness and asked, How does the group of atoms know about its own existence?

Another giant, Erwin Schrödinger (18871961) in his answer to the question, What is life?, which he raised in his famous lecture in February 1943 at Trinity College, Dublin suggested that the protein structure is encoded in genes in an aperiodic sequence of nucleotides. He defined the structure of living system as aperiodic crystal.

A brief semantic excurse into the history of a salubrious crystal, the salt, demonstrates an integrated view on different topics. A very close to Vernadsky‘s reasoning.

The roots of the words soldier and salary can be traced to Latin words related to giving or receiving salt. Salt was used as currency in ancient Rome. A soldier's salary was cut if he was not worth his salt. Aside from economics, salt has also cultural and religious significance. 25

Salt is also a good antiseptic, which is why the Roman word for these salubrious crystals is the cousin to Salus, the goddess of health. One of the busiest roads leading to Rome was the Via Salaria, the salt route, over which Roman soldiers marched and merchants drove oxcarts full of the precious crystals up the Tiber from the salt pans at Ostia.

The history of the world according to salt is simple: animals wore paths to salt licks, men followed, trails became roads, and settlements grew beside them. When humans shifted from salt-rich game to cereal grains, more salt was required to supplement their diet. With underground deposits beyond reach, scarcity kept the mineral precious: salt became one of the world's most important trading commodities. Salt relates to a social symbolism as the medieval equivalent of the Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette suggests.26

The important issue when considering history, the use of salt and Vernadsky‘s work is that salt comes from dead, dried-up seas or living ones. It can bubble to the surface as brine or manifest in the form of salt licks and shallow caverns. Below the skin of the earth salt, salt lies in white veins, some of them hundred meters deep.

It can be evaporated from salt pans boiled down from brine, or mined from shafts. A reflective Vernadsky wrote the following to his future wife: collect facts for their own sake, as many now gather facts, without a program, without a question to answer or a purpose is not interesting. However, there is a task (for scientists) which someday those chemical reactions which took place at various points on earth; these reactions occur according to laws which are known to us, but which, we are allowed to think, are closely tied to general changes which the earth has undergone by the earth with the general laws of celestial mechanics. I believe there is hidden here still more to discover when one considers the complexity of chemical elements and the regularity of their occurrence in groups...

Vernadsky‘s work on geological history and on isotopes complements Kaznacheev‘s studies of ageing and pathological processes, like atherosclerosis. These processes are characterized by the accumulation of 12C and reduction of 13C isotope content.27 Deeper consideration in this direction and stipulation allow referring to the evolution of autothropy as a gradual progress of interactions between the protein-nucleic substrate of planetary life and the cosmophysical world while interacting with atomic molecular structures. This interpretation confirms the inconsistency of macromolecular and information genetic programs. It offers at the same time an important question: What issues should natural science tackle to achieve autotrophy on Earth?

At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, it appears that we have realized the accumulated information of the human genome. 10 17 – 10 18 bits of information and the structure of DNA indicate that the human genome reflects the environmental changes over billions of years caused by the life of the biota themselves and of the entire biosphere.

However, there is no time to produce new mutant forms as the environment changes approximately 10 times faster than the succession of human generations and generative cells. Thus the human being finds himself facing a space for which he has neither resource nor forwarding basis. A new paradigm appears. These days are similar to passionarity pushes, during which the science makes quantum jumps, similar to what occurred during Vernadsky‘s time.

Kaznacheev, like Vernadsky before him, was asking what deep mechanisms and levels existed at the dawn of intelligence as a planetary phenomenon and how such mechanisms later changed and developed. Can such natural phenomena be referred to as natural cosmophysical phenomena sui generis? In reference to Vernadsky‘s work on geological history, Kaznacheev formulated the concept of the archeology of intelligence. The concept allows a search for answers to the above questions.

Before we had access to such concepts, Vernadsky wrote in 1940, The human mind is not a form of energy, but it acts in much the same manner. When mental work is done, it is only redistributed, not enhanced. When muscles work, tension arises to do new work, while the brain works, there occurs the absorption of one part and intensification of another part.

Some 100 years before we could comprehend it, the already mentioned genius Goethe wrote Anschauungstheorie and showed us how to proceed. Paul Kammerer (1880-1926) and his Law of Seriality, which was observed even by Einstein to a possible idea, offer more help. Das Gesetz der Serie was never translated into English. It states that all events are connected by waves of seriality, unknown forces that combine what we perceive to be the peaks or groupings and coincidences. Even Cybernetics, coined in 1945 and an independent science since 1948, can find its place in Vernadsky‘s concept of Biosphere. 28

Vernadsky was also of interest to the Russian scientific giant, Pyotr Kapitsa (18941984).29 At the International Science Symposium in Moscow in 1959 Kapitsa encouraged scientists to take a fresh look at Vernadsky: ...the majority of phenomena are described by existing laws and regularities, but still I think that one of the basic properties of animate nature – its ability to self – reproduce may be a manifestation of natural forces still unknown and not explained by known laws and regularities or interrelations between elementary particles. We have no evidence to argue that in chaos of sufficient length made up of atoms that alternate according to certain rules there cannot appeal a new property similar to the property of self-reproduction in animate nature. In certain atoms and simple molecules this property appears unnoticeable.

The fact that Vernadsky‟s holistic philosophical approach could be represented as contrasting with perspectives based in narrow academic disciplines and the lack of a policy and decision-making dimension allowed Vernadsky‟s ideas to exist also in pre and post-war Czechoslovakia. 

Vernadsky in Czechoslovakia and Czech republic 

The first Vernadsky‘s visit to Prague was in 1874. Vernadsky was 11 years young and travelled with his parents around Europe. According to archives of Charles University, the Academy of Sciences 30 and some private ones it seems that Prague played a very important role in Vernadsky professional and private life, especially later. Vernadsky‗s direct and indirect influence on the Czech scientific community during his life, in the sixties of the 20 and now in the 21st century remain to be examined.31

One of Vernadsky‗s scientific friends was Academician František Slavík (1876-1957) 32. He was the grandson of J.S.J. Ryba (1765-1815), the composer of the famous Czech Christmas Mass (Mše vánoční). Slavik and Vernadsky met for the first time in Prague in 1902. Vernadsky travelled back from Copenhagen to Russia. During this stop in Prague Vernadsky learnt between others about ore mines in Czechoslovak republic. This may be one of many reasons leading Vernadsky in 1908 spotting as the first scientist the begin of an atomic era. The fact of spotting an atomic era is important when considering possible reasons why Vernadsky never emigrated, as his son George and his daugther Nina did.

Vernadsky‟s personal experience gained during the turbulent times of the civil war, in particular, in his capacity as the founder and the first president of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, serving from 1918 to 1919, appeared to confirm his sense of Ukrainian identity and his understanding of how crucially important the history was.

This view is close to the view of his son, George (1887-1973). Geroge‗s life story is linked to Prague. It provides hints in regard to father‘s decission not to emigrate.

After the fall of Crimea to the Bolsheviks in 1920, George (Vernadsky) left Russia for Constantinople, moving to Athens later that year. At the suggestion of Nikodim Pavlovich Kondakov (1844 – 1925), an art historian, with special expertise in the history of Russian Christian icons, he settled in Prague, teaching there from 1921 until 1925 at the Russian School of Law. There, in association with Nikolai Trubetzkoy and P.N. Savitsky, he participated in formulating the Eurasian Theory of Russian history and continued to work on this topic after he emigrated to USA in 1938.

Vernadsky, his wife and their daugther Nina met with George in Prague in May 1922. In Prague, at Charles University (Bohumil Němec (1873 1966)33 was the rector) Vernadsky delivered a lecture on May 22nd. The lecture was dedicated to chemical composition of living matter in relation to chemical composition of Earth‗s crust and it was published by his new scientific friend František Slavík. 34

From Prague Vernadsky travelled to Paris where he arrived on July 8. Th initial length of stay, one academic year, was extended till December 1925. In Vernadsky‘s letters to his friend Ivan Ilyich Petrunkevich 35 (1843-1928) who lived in exile in Prague one can read about Vernadsky‗ sense of duty and attitude towards Russia.

Vernadsky‘s departute from Paris in December 1925 followed the arrival in Prague on January 5th 1926. Vernadsky stayed and lectured in Prague (Charles University) and Brno (Masaryk University) till March 3. During the stay Vernadsky wrote a unique preface36 to his new book The Biosphere and could also establish serious working relation with Radim Kettner (1891-1967), the founder of modern czech geological school. Vernadsky was impressed with it. In appreciation he gave Kettner a few of his own signed works. During the same time František Slavík proposed the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences to accept Vernadsky as a member (1926). According to Dr.M. Flek, ex-secretary of the Internationl foundation of V.I.Vernadsky at the USSR Academy of Sciences, in one of letters Vernadsky encouraged the ex-rector of Charles University, botanist and academician Bohumil Němec (1873 1966) to write in Czech (Můžete mi psát česky). This indicates that Vernadsky did manage also the Czech language.

On March 3, Vernadsky returned to Leningrad with his wife only. Their daugther Nina decided to stay in Prague and studied at Charles University‗ medical faculty. After the completion of her studies she worked in a psychiatric clinic, married to a young archeologist N.Tolle.

Prague became important, in certain sense fatal city to Vernadsky. It offered him the posibility to meet with children, enjoy the relative tranquility which was absent in Russia and read lectures. Vernadsky visited Prague periodicaly from 1928 till 1936, including Carslbad in October 1935 where he absolved free weeks health treatment.

In 1928, as an example, Vernadsky gave 12 lectures in French language at Charles University. They covered topics in geochemistry. In 1934, as another example, Vernadsky‘s 16 lectures on radiology became the event of the year.

The year 1936 appears to be significant in Vernadsky‘s life. In 1936 he celebrated in Prague his golden wedding (50 years of marriage) and at the same time also the 50th anniversary of the very important brotherhood (братство) of personalities of which he was a member. The brotherhood honoured Vernadsky for his 50 years of scientific and pedagogical activities with two volumes (606 and 666 pages) prepared by his friends, students and collaborators, mostly noted scientists: Fersman (1883 – 1945), Shubnikow (1901 – 1937), Kurchatov (1903 – 1960), Chlopin (1897 – 1961), Hahn (1879 – 1968), Born (1882 – 1970), Slavik (1876 – 1957) and others. In 1936 he began work on the book of life and lectured in England, France and Czech Republic. These were Vernadsky‘s last visits abroad.

In this context one can ask why Prague became the Russian emigrant‘s base, and how Russian populаr university in Prague and Vernadsky himself influenced the czech scientific community. 37

There is not a clear evidence available and therefore not a clear answer possible as far as Vernadsky is concerned. It seems that the closest to Vernadsky‘s views was academician Bohumil Němec. Further can be stated that Vernadsky appreciated czech technologies related to uran mining and processing. Vernadsky also showed a serious interest in polarographic method invented by Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry (1959), Jaroslav Heyrovsky (18901967), called also the father of electroanalytical method. Therefore there may be more scientists who were close to Vernadsky‘s view. But the number is smaller than the one of those who were sceptical.

As far as the influence of other Russian emigrants living in Prague at that time is concerned, there are contemporary works available dealing with this issue.38 In general, it can be said, that Czechs are conservative and they don‗t differ from other western scientists.

Those emigrants who left Prague and returned to Russia, such as M.Gorkij, V.F. Bulgakov (Tolstoj‘s secretary), M. Cvetajeva, P. Bagatyrjev, who returned from Slovakia, seem to have resolved the fundamental conflict between the personal freedom and the feeling of professional security.

In case of Vernadsky one can add and observe, that Vernadsky accepted the new Russia. He did all what he could to support its development. This confirms one of his letters to his son George, dated 1939. This view complements a fact, that Vernadsky enjoyed respect at home and abroad. Not to mention that Stalin and his inner circle understood well the importance of atomic energy, a topic Vernadsky brought up as early as 1908.

Verndasky‟s teachings about biosphere provided the ideological basis for the environment-related academic activity in 1970s and 1980s in Czechoslovakia. They were conducted within the framework of the UNESCO international programme Man and Biosphere (MAB). During the 1980s, Vernadsky‟s ideas were influential in Czech academic debates, as the additional chapter to the translation of Duvigneaud‟s La synthèse écologique dated in 1985 and co-authored by three senior members of the Institute of Landscape Ecology, demonstrates. The chapter contains a polemical debate with Duvigneaud on the exact meaning of Vernadsky‟s concept of noosphere.

Late in 1980s, Vernadsky‟s environmental thoughts reached the peak in popularity in some segments of Czech academia. Czech Society of

V.I. Vernadsky was founded in that decade, an exhibition in 1989 dedicated to Vernadsky was held in Prague and České Budějovice. In that time Vernadsky‟s ideas were widely used as methodological concepts underpinning research projects conducted by the Institute of Landscape Ecology.

Scientific, technical, rational, apolitical and value-free interpretations of environmental issues were dominant in scientificenvironmental circles of the 1970s and 1980s. This was the only type of reasoning that did not contradict the official ideology of social advancement based on scientific-technological progress and which enabled an effective scientific argumentation with authorities.

Results and discussion 

Sense or better, purpose and ideas which we are able and willing to produce do exist outside of space and outside time as we recognize them from applied definitions. They do exist above the reality as we perceive it. Therefore, purpose and ideas meet with reality in nolocation. This indicates that purpose and ideas influence reality continuously, but never specifically (not in concrete actions) and nowhere (not in concrete locations).

Those who divide the world into locations and identity in terms of material and informational objects have difficulty understanding that a purpose and an idea have no specific location. Vernadsky represents an example of an integrated approach based on self – reflection and reflection on natural phenomena.

Thus, with current methods at macro and micro levels, we cannot predict and can barely prognosticate all movements, reforms and other actions, even in the future that we can only imagine. It is possible to oppose one paradigm only by accepting another one; solving one problem creates a new problem.

Therefore a canonical presentation of humans, genetics and psychology, the system of education, attitudes, spirituality and others could become more and more confined within a certain pure knowledge as Vernadsky wrote with deep concern.

Geological history and the philosophy of science for all the right, wrong and faulty opinions that we may find in them, use a language which is not easily understandable. We have trouble understanding because we tend be not patient enough and tend solve problems by replacement known images. It is linguistics and its effects on the development of individual and group behavioural archetypes, psychology and creativity and on the ability to manage stress that offers space for ecological, efficient and economical creativity. 39

Linguistics also warns not to misuse language to deceive people and invites us to think clearly and critically regarding what is being sustained and at whose expense and for whose benefit.

Geological history shows that the modern open public space of science and life was democreative; the current, modern trends appear to be de–demo-creative. The ongoing process of change from demo-creative to de–demo-creative open public space demonstrates the current state of world affairs. The other side geological history suggests that our cells have retained programmes of autotrophy. These autotrophic systems have seemingly been replaced–hopefully temporarily– by heterotrophic and mitochondrial energy processes to which the macromolecular structures of genetic DNA–RNA systems are related.

Vernadsky‘s conditions for life based on autotrophy are the complete and final exclusion of wars out of the life of society; human settlement all over the terrestrial surface of the Earth; the development and improvement of the means of communication and exchange; the development of an economic, political, cultural cooperation between peoples; the discovery of the new power sources; the elimination of racial oppression; the elimination of any hostility of nationalistic or religious ground; the elimination of hunger, starvation, destitution, serious diseases, and epidemics; the conservation of the nature of the Earth; the rational renewal and development of the biosphere.

The eradication of wars would therefore be the first real manifestation of the Noosphere. Noosphere – an era in geologic time in which humanity as a whole is a powerful geologic entity able to transform the Planet – means a return of human interactions to the initial autotrophic system through which the living matter emerged and developed.

In Words about the Noosphere Vernadsky optimistically stated, We are currently experiencing a new geological evolutionary change in the Noosphere: we have begun to enter the Noosphere. We are entering this new natural process at a menacing time – a time of destructive world war. However, only one fact is important for us, namely, that the ideals of our democracy are in harmony with an elemental geological process, the laws of nature, and that these laws are in conformity with the Noosphere. We can face the future confidently, it is in our hands and we will not fail.

Vernadsky‘s philosophical–scientific concept for survival on Earth and life preservation is based on autotrophy; his social and political acting and views show that Vernadsky was and remains a planter of a new sciences and a planter of how to conduct peace. 


The importance of History

Although Vernadsky said that the progress in arts, science, music, literature are apparent; that great Greece works of thought and arts are not higher than the contemporary; Dante is not below contemporary scientists and thinkers like Toljstoy and Calvin; Here there is no progress40, he understood that history recounts past acts and occurrences independent on their qualities. And concluded that no man, no condition of life, no profession, science, nor government, much less a single individual, can be perfect, wise and useful without a knowledge of the same. Knowing the history is the precondition for understanding. 

The importance of Innovation

Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626), a beacon for the safe arrival of scientific methods that Vernadsky used, offered a priceless piece of advice for our work that remains relevant today: As the births of living creatures, at first are ill-shapen so are all innovations, which are the births of time. Yet notwithstanding, as those that first bring honour into their family, are commonly more worthy than most that succeed, so the first precedent (if it be good) is seldom attained by imitation... Surely every medicine is an innovation; and he that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator; and if time of course alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?...For otherwise, whatsoever is new, is unlooked for; and ever it mends some, and pairs others...If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.

Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 1592), often called the father of modern scepticism directs our attention to the identification of innovations: There is nothing useless in nature; not even uselessness itself. Vernadsky‘s work is the best example of an innovative work.

Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1892), known as the father of microbiology, did not accept the division of science. Vernadsky followed his statement: There is no such thing as a special category of science called applied science; there is science and its applications, which are related to one another as the fruit to the tree that has borne it.

As any innovation and any solving of problem creates new problems, new knowledge reveals new areas of ignorance, and the need for experiments. Vernadsky‘s experiments avoided ignorance and showed how to integrate the past and present and that there is only one natural science. 

The importance of Science, Time and Free movement

During a lecture delivered at Vassar College in New York on May 14th, 1921, Marie Curie (1867 – 1934), with whom Vernadsky began to work on radioactive minerals in 1924 in Paris, said: We must not forgot that when radium was discovered, no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this proves that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science

Vernadsky‘s work fit this criterion in full. His noted The Biosphere was done ahead of his time; however it took lot of time to get it to the public abroad.41 The delay did not affect the importance or quality of Vernadsky‘s work, which eventually reached the USA. A plea for the establishment of a biogeochemical laboratory was published in English already in 1923. The fundamental matter-energy difference between the living and inert natural bodies of the biosphere and The Biosphere and The Noosphere were published in USA in 1943–1945.

Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan did write in What is life? 42 : ''...remarkably, Vernadsky dismantled the rigid boundary between living organism and non-living environment, depicting life globally before a single satellite had returned photographs of Earth from orbit. Indeed, Vernadsky did for space what Darwin had done for time: as Darwin showed all life descended from a remote ancestor, so Vernadsky showed all life inhabited a materially unified place, the biosphere''.

Fred Pearce‘s compliment in New Science of 1998 said that Vernadsky remains ''green from the grave'' until now. These and all the other citations answer some of the many questions Vernadsky’s – Darvin phenomenon raises.

Vernadsky‘s physical and intellectual mobility and work at home and abroad showed how free movement of scientists and exchange of scientific and general information can benefit the development of science and influence the development of societies. 


Hardly anything of significance in my life would have been achieved without an early introduction into clear (critical) thinking and the thinking out of box. Such thinking was introduced to me by Karel Anton in elementary school in the small village I was born in. He gave me a lifelong lasting present, a Socratic quotation: A test of three sieves: The truth, The Goodness, The Usefulness.

Further thank belongs to Vlail Petrovich Kaznacheev. I have been able to observe and share his work and life since 1992, beginning with the Expo 1992 in Sevilla, Spain. He introduced to me Vernadsky at a practical level, step by step, thus enhancing the present I was given by the respected school director, Anton. There are no words to describe the energy, freshness of thoughts and scope of Kaznacheev‘s knowledge I have been privileged to receive and enjoy since we met for the first time.

Final thanks belong to my daughter Olga. Although not as close to me anymore and as I would wish, she has been the source of all the resources I required and used while helping create a world to which we all want to belong.



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Year: 2014
City: Kostanay
Category: Philosophy