History 29/01/20 “Glowing monk”: what is so called academician Seeds Volfkovich

Simon of Volfkovich was a major Soviet scientist-chemist, laureate of the state prize of the USSR. However, the greatest popularity he received as “a glowing monk”.

What did the scientist

According to the Big biographical encyclopedia, major works of academician Seeds Volfkovich were related to technology of production of mineral fertilizers and inorganic chemistry. Volfkovich in the early 20-ies of the studied electro-thermal sublimation of phosphorus using domestic raw materials. Electro-thermal sublimation, as it says in Big encyclopedia of oil and gas, is one of the steps in the manufacture of phosphorus (a total of four raw material preparation, sublimation in electric furnaces, the furnace gas cleaning from dust and condensation of phosphorus).

Volfkovich was the first one in 1922 – 1923 had received phosphorus in model furnaces, using as raw material the suburban low-grade phosphorites. The experiences of the Soviet chemist helped to build the first in the USSR industrial furnace for the production of phosphorus at the black river plant.

In the second half of 20-ies became Volfkovich has developed a new technology for producing concentrated phosphate fertilizer, the first in the Soviet Union investigated the methods of disposal of fluorinated gases (they are allocated in the processing of phosphate rock into fertilizer at all stages of the process; in the process of disposal can be obtained, for example, such chemical compounds as sodium fluoride included in the toothpaste).

Simon of Volfkovich is the author of many theoretical works and practical experiences in inorganic chemistry, but in the scientific world it is more known as a scientist who has made a great contribution to the industrial production process of mineral fertilizers.

Called to explore new fields

At the IXth Mendeleev Congress on General and applied chemistry (1965) Simon of Volfkovich made the report “Production and application of mineral fertilizers” and lamented the fact that the volume of proven reserves of phosphate rock in the USSR scarce, though, according to scientists of the Soviet Union by the mid-60’s was ranked first in the world in deposits of phosphorous ore.

Volfkovich noted that the volume of industrial production of phosphorus are rising, the reserves of phosphate rock production is on the Kola Peninsula, in southern Kazakhstan. In addition, raw materials can be obtained by processing of bottom marine sediments and other natural sources. Demand for phosphorus will never run out and therefore need to master the extraction and industrial processing of poorer ores of phosphorus – sooner or later this approach will still have to come.

As he “lit”

According to the memoirs of the Seeds of Volfkovich, a “living Ghost” he was just 20 years when he worked at the Moscow University the experiments on electro-thermal sublimation of phosphorus. It was new, and the scientist has not taken the necessary measures of protection against gaseous phosphorus. The hours of operation at an electric furnace so absorbed in the clothing and shoes of the academician that Volfkovich glowed in the dark bluish light, when returning home on a dark Moscow streets. The sole of the Shoe by friction on the pavement carving out the sparks.

Volfkovich tried to explain gathered at each a walk, the crowd of onlookers what it is. But I noticed that people don’t believe him and accept the wonderful phenomenon of supernatural forces. So first in the area of Mokhovaya street, in which the scientist was late in the evening from the Moscow state University and later across the capital rumors about the night “luminous monk”.

… “a Glowing monk” died in 1980 at the age of 84 years. Honored Soviet scientist, judging by the list of archive of Russian Academy of Sciences, was a five-time holder of the order of Lenin, was awarded the order of Labor red banner, four times gold medal and one silver. In addition, the number of awards Seeds of Volfkovich gold medal. D. I. Mendeleev and Lomonosov, StalinSkye’s award of II degree and many others.

Nicholas Syromyatnikov

© Russian Seven

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