Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky: Google doodle on Russian geographer on 194th birthdayDevdiscourse News Desk | Moscow | Updated: 15-01-2021 00:05 IST | Created: 14-01-2021 23:25 IST
Happy Birthday Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky!!!
Google today celebrates the 194th birthday of Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky, a Russian geographer and statistician who managed the Russian Geographical Society for more than 40 years.
Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky was born on January 14, 1827 in a wealthy family near the city of Ryazan in Western Russia. He studied at Saint Petersburg University. Together with the renowned Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky attended secret meetings of the 'Petrashevsky Circle'.
Following Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky's graduation, he was admitted to the prestigious Russian Geographical Society, where he set out to translate work by the famous German geographer Karl Ritter. It was this project that first inspired Semenov to explore Central Asia's Tien Shan mountain range, which was almost entirely uncharted by western scientists.
Among other discoveries, Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky disproved Alexander Humboldt's earlier claims about Tian Shan's supposed volcanic origins. Semenov found no evidence of volcanic activity anywhere in the mountains. The next year, he published the first systematic description of the Tian Shan. The reputation of this monograph was such that half a century later Nicholas II of Russia authorized him to add the epithet 'Tian-Shansky' (that is, 'of Tian Shan') to his last name.
In 1856, Semenov embarked on his legendary first expedition of the Tien Shan. Over the course of two journeys, he classified enormous areas of mountainous terrain, and discovered eight new plant species. After his return, Semenov was elected vice president of the Russian Geographical Society and encouraged a new generation to follow in his footsteps as explorers. Semenov became a senator in 1882 and went on to spearhead Russia's first population census in 1897.
His insect collection consisted of ca. 700,000 specimens, while more than a hundred new species were named after him. Semenov was a member of 53 learned societies and managed the Russian Geographical Society from 1873 until his death, using this position to encourage the exploration of inland Asia, notably by Nikolai Przhevalsky and Pyotr Kozlov.
Semenov's memoirs were published after his death in four volumes. Several of his descendants, including a son, Andrey Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky, and a grandson Oleg Semenov-Tian-Shansky became scientists of note.
Google today dedicates a beautiful doodle to Semyonov on his 194th birthday.