Birthday anniversary of Otto Schmidt, one of the organizers of the North Sea Route development

30 September 1891

“I am grateful to my fate for the life it gave me.

There have been so many interesting and good things!”

O. Schmidt

18 (30) September 1891 in Mogilev, was born Otto Yu. Schmidt, Russian statesman and public figure, scientist, one of the organizers of the Northern Sea Route.

In 1909, Schmidt graduated with honors from the 2nd classic school of Kiev and entered the Physics and Mathematics Department at Kiev University. While a student at the university, he wrote his first scientific papers on group theory, for one of which he was awarded a gold medal. From 1916, the researcher began working as a lecturer at Kiev University.

After the revolution of 1917 Schmidt was appointed a member of the boards of several People’s commissariats and one of the organizers of higher education and science. In 1921-1924 the scientist headed the State Publishing House. It was his idea to organize the edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, whose editor-in-chief he had been during 1929-1941. At the same time Schmidt actively contributed to the reform of higher education and development of a network of research institutions. During this period, as a professor at Moscow State University, he lectured at the Pedagogical University, the Communist Academy and the Moscow Forestry Institute.

In 1928, Schmidt participated in the first German-Soviet Pamir Expedition, organized by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. The expedition was to study the structure of mountain ranges, glaciers, mountain passes and climbing the highest peaks of the Western Pamir. The following year, was organized an Arctic expedition on the board of icebreaker "Sedov", headed by Schmidt. The expedition successfully reached Franz Josef Land, and in the bay Silent the scholar created a polar geophysical observatory and examined the straits of the archipelago and some of the islands. Two years later, under the guidance of the researcher was organized the second Arctic expedition, during which were discovered the islands of Wiese, Isachenko, Voronin, Dlinny, Domashny, west coast of the Severnaya Zemlya and the island, later named in honor of the chief of the expedition -  Schmidt island.

In 1930-1932 Schmidt served as director of the Arctic Institute, and then - head of the Northern Sea Route (1932-1939). In February 1933 he was elected a corresponding member, and in June 1935 – academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In 1937, on his initiative was organized the Institute for Theoretical Physics, Academy of Sciences of the USSR, which he directed until 1949.

In 1932, Schmidt prepared an expedition on the icebreaker "Sibiryakov", which, in one navigation season, passed the whole Northern Sea Route, laying a solid start to regular voyages along the coast of Siberia. In 1933-1934 under his supervision was carried out a new expedition on the steamer "Chelyuskin" in order to study the possibility of navigating the Northern Sea route on the non-icebreaker ship. In 1937 the scholar organized a high-latitude air expedition to the world's first drifting research station "North Pole-1" in the central part of the Arctic Ocean, and in 1938 headed the operation on rescue of the staff of the station from the ice. June 27, 1937 for the organization of the drifting station Schmidt was named a Hero of the Soviet Union and awarded the Order of Lenin and the "Gold Star" medal.

Schmidt combined his expedition operations with the work at Moscow University, and from 1951 - with the post of chief editor of the journal "Nature." In addition, he was an honorary member of the Moscow Mathematical Society, the All-Union Geographical Society and the Moscow Society of Naturalists and a member of the National Geographic Society of the United States of America.

Schmidt is the founder of the Moscow school of algebra. In the mid-1940s he put forward a new cosmogonical hypothesis on the formation of Earth and planets of the solar system (hypothesis of Schmidt), which he continued to develop with a group of Soviet scientists to the end of his days.

For his services, the scientist was awarded three Orders of Lenin, two Orders of Red Banner of Labor, the Order of Red Star and medals.

Otto Yu. Schmidt died on September 7, 1956 and was buried at Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

After Schmidt are named: an island in the Kara Sea, a peninsula in the northern part of the Novaya Zemlya, a cape on the coast of the Chukchi Sea, as well as one of the peaks and a pass in the Pamir Mountains. In 1995, the Russian Academy of Sciences established the Medal of Otto Schmidt for outstanding scientific work in research and development of the Arctic.

Lit.: Воскобойников В. М. Зов Арктики: [Героическая хроника об О. Ю. Шмидте]. Новосибирск, 1985; Курош А. Г. Отто Юльевнч Шмидт. К 60-летию со дня рождения // Успехи математических наук. 1951. Т. 6, вып. 5; Левин Б. Ю. Отто Юльевич Шмидт // Земля и Вселенная. 1966. № 5; Матвеева Л. В. Отто Юльевич Шмидт, 1891-1956. М., 1993; Новиков В. Д. Из истории освоения Советской Арктики. М., 1955; О. Ю. Шмидт и советская геофизика 80-х годов. М., 1983; Отто Юльевич Шмидт. Жизнь и деятельность. М., 1959; Памяти О. Ю. Шмидта. [1891—1956]. Некролог // Вестник АН СССР. 1956. № 10; Подвигина Е. П., Виноградов Л. К. Академик и герой. М., 1960; Хильми Г. Ф. Штрихи к портрету О. Ю. Шмидта // Природа. 1973. № 4; Якушева Г. В. Отто Юльевич Шмидт — энциклопедист : Краткая иллюстрированная энциклопедия. М., 1991.

Works: Об уравнениях, решаемых в радикалах, степень которых есть степень простого числа. Киев, 1913; Абстрактная теория групп. Киев, 1916; Избранные труды. М., 1959–1960; Происхождение Земли и планет. М., 1962; Четыре лекции о теории происхождения Земли. М., 1954.

Based on the Presidential Library’s materials:

Водопьянов М. В. К сердцу Арктики. Л., 1939 ;

О. Ю. Шмидт на ледоколе «Садко» (1938 г.) : [фотография]. 1938;

Development of the Arctic: collection;

Экспедиция на Памир, 1928 г. : [фрагменты кинохроники]. СПб., 2010.