about archive

The personal archives of Academician Sergey Ivanovich Vavilov (1891-1951) are in the custody of Archives of RAS. Personal archives of S. I. Vavilov (Fund 596) represent 5 inventories containing 1032 files on 13875 sheets of archive documents.

The information resource “Vavilov’ s archives” has been developed in Department of Insurance Documentary Fund of Archives of RAS and represents a database describing one of the sections of users fund on microfiches of Archives of RAS – personal archives of Sergey Ivanovich Vavilov. The supplement has been developed for navigation and search of the materials for specialists concerned. Such fields as “file number”, “name of file”, “material type”, and “dates of document issue” serve as a guide to a variety of documents and assist in finding sections of interest and ordering copies of documents from fund keepers.

Currently, the archive of Academician S.I. Vavilov has been completely  digitized. All documents amounting to 21,460 files of 2.76 GB are available for users of the RAS portal.

The work on digitizing of the archives has been continuing and the resource will be supplemented. The work on creation of the information resource “Vavilov’s archive” has been developed in the Department of Insurance Documentary Fund of the RAS Archives together with the Institute of Problems of Information Science of the RAS.

Sergei Ivanovich Vavilov

Sergei Ivanovich Vavilov is one of the most prominent Soviet scientists. He is deservedly regarded as one of the founders of the Soviet physics. But his important role in the development of the national science extends further. He combined the talents of an outstanding physicist-optician, remarkable organizer of the national science, a convinced philosopher-materialist, historian and a popularizer of science, a great state and public figure. He was not only an outstanding scientist whose discoveries made a great contribution to the science, but he was a person of great managerial abilities able to administer large scientific bodies engaged in solving complex problems of the present.
Especially should be marked his contribution to the education and training of scientific specialists in the country. His many years’ arduous efforts resulted in the foundation of a large scientific school of Soviet physicians working in the field of physical optics and luminescence.

Due to S.I. Vavilov’s classical investigations the doctrine of a special kind of optical radiation – luminescence became an independent section of science. Except for its numerous practical applications the luminescence is a powerful instrument for solving a cardinal problem of the modern science- the study of properties and structure of substance.

S.I. Vavilov’s indefatigable and fruitful scientific and organizational activity should be especially mentioned. In 1932, after his election Academician, Sergei Ivanovich Vavilov was appointed director of the State Optical Institute (SOI) and headed the Institute during all subsequent years. S.I. Vavilov was an organizer and a founder of P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute of the USSR AS, which under his guidance became the leading center of the studies in the field of physics in our country.

As early as in the prewar years S.I. Vavilov initiated the work in the field of nuclear physics. Of great importance was his role in organization the studies of the stratosphere and the outer atmosphere medium. Those studies forwent modern investigations of cosmic space.

In 1945 S.I. Vavilov was elected President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and remained at that post of honor and responsibility till the last days of his life. A rapid upsurge in the development of culture and science in post-war period was closely connected with a feverish and versatile activity of President of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Academician S.I. Vavilov.

S. I. Vavilov’s scientific work was remarkable for the combination of profound theoretical studies with the investigations of practical importance. His distinguished scientific achievements were marked by four Stalin’s prizes (two of them after his death).

Sergei Ivanovich Vavilov passed away early at the peak of his creative work. But his scientific achievements were too significant and his services to the motherland were too great that his name by right went down in the history of Soviet and world science.

Basic dates of S.I. Vavilov’s life and activity:

  • Sergei Ivanovich Vavilov was born on March 12 (24) at Bolshaya Presnya district in Moscow.
  • At the age of seven he entered the private school of sisters Voloshnikovy.
  • In 1901 his father sent him to a Commercial School.
  • In 1909 he graduated from the Moscow Commercial School and entered the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at the Moscow Imperial University.
  • In 1914 S.I. Vavilov graduated from the Moscow Imperial University.
  • From 1918 till 1929 – an assistant professor at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of the Moscow University.
  • 1918-1927 – a lecturer and then a professor at the Moscow Higher Technical School.
  • In 1923 he conducted a fundamental study of polarized properties of luminescence of dyestuff solutions. He derived the formula of the dependence of the degree of luminescence polarization on its excitation by linear polarized and natural light (Vavilov-Levshin’s formula).
  • In 1924 he suggested the method for experimental determination of absolute values of solutions’ luminescence energy output (Vavilov’s method).
  • In 1926 he found the relationship between processes of fluorescence and phosphorescence in liquid and solid media. S.I. Vavilov discovered the first nonlinear optical effect – deviations from the Buger’s law for uranic glass.
  • In 1927 he established the dependence of the dyestuff solution luminescence energy output on the exciting light wavelength (Vavilov’s law).
  • In 1931 S.I. Vavilov was elected Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
  • In 1932 he was appointed Director of P.I. Lebedev Physical Institute of the USSR AS in Leningrad.
  • In 1932 he was elected Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
  • In 1945 S.I. Vavilov was decorated with the Lenin’s Order for his great services in development of science and technology on the occasion of the 220th jubilee of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
  • He was decorated with the medal “For heroic labor during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”.
  • 1945-1951 – President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
  • On January 25, 1951 S.I. Vavilov died. He was buried at the Novo-Devichiye cemetery in Moscow.




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