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20.05.2019 09:03 Alter: 61 days
Kategorie: IESP News

Obituary Prof. Dr. Victor Georgievic Gorshkov


On May 10, 2019, Victor Gorshkov, passed away. He died in St. Petersburg at the age of 83 years, after more than a year of incurable illness. Victor served for many years honorary member of the Institute of Earth System Preservation (IESP). We, the members of IESP lost an outstanding scientist and friend who inspired us in many ways. In particular, we learned from him understanding the scientific processes activated by forest ecosystems, driving the transport of atmospheric water deep into the continents.

Victor graduated in theoretical physics from the Leningrad University. For several years, he worked as a scientist at the Theory Division of the Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute. After an almost fatal incident on board of a hijacked airplane, Victor radically changed his research field. Taking advantage of the fundamentals of theoretical physics, he began to study the “Miracle of Life.” He was convinced that one could not understand nature without experiencing firsthand how nature works. Therefore, he spent, year by year, several months in the White Sea Forest area for intensive field studies. He taught courses at the Faculty of Physics and Mechanics, today the Polytechnic University of Peter the Great.

Victor's lectures focused on investigating the physical and biological bases of life stability, including such diverse aspects as genetic stability, climate stability, and ecological stability of ecosystems. This integral view on the problem of life is unique and could be formulated only using the approach and methodology of theoretical physics. The findings of his research allowed him to formulate the biotic regulation concept, which quantifies these principles of stability. His biotic pump concept is an aspect of biotic regulation that relates specifically to how life regulates the water cycle. He developed this concept together with his former graduate student, Anastassia Makarieva. It is based on the physical principles of water vapor disequilibrium. The results of his scientific approaches and his findings were published in various international journals and books. To be mentioned is exemplarily the book entitled “Biotic Regulation of the Environment – Key Issue of Global Change,” published by Springer (2000).