Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Schmidt, Otto Yul’evich

  • Alexander A. Gurshtein
Reference work entry

BornMogilev, Belarus, 18/30 September 1891

DiedMoscow, Russia, 7 September 1956

Otto Schmidt was a prominent Soviet researcher of the Arctic, a geophysicist, and an authority on cosmogony. He put forward the very challenging Schmidt theory of the origin of the solar system, in accordance with which the planets were formed from loose “meteoritic” (solid) material that had been gravitationally captured by the Sun as it passed through an interstellar gas and dust cloud.

Of German and Latvian descent, Schmidt graduated with a gold medal from a high school in Kyiv (Kiev; 1909). In 1909–1913, he continued with his education at Kyiv University as a mathematician. Being a Bolshevik activist, after the October Revolution of 1917, he was a board member of several People’s Commissariats (ministries). Schmidt was a vocal proponent of developing the higher education system, publishing, and science in Soviet Russia. In this time he became one of the founders and Editor-in-Chief of the Great Soviet...

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Selected References

  1. Brontman, L.K. (1938). On top of the world: the Soviet expedition to the North pole, 19371938. New York.Google Scholar
  2. Levin, Aleksey E. and Stephen G. Brush (1995). The Origin of the Solar System: Soviet Research 1925–1991. New York: American Institute of Physics.Google Scholar
  3. McCannon, John (1998). Red Arctic: Polar Exploration and the Myth of the North in the Soviet Union, 1932–1939. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Otto Iulevich Shmidt: Zhizni deiatelnost’. Moscow: Nauka, 1959 (In Russian).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vavilov Institute for History of Science & Technology, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia