Evgeny Konstantinovich Fedorov

Evgeny Konstantinovich Fedorov

Evgeny Konstantinovich Fedorov (1910-1981) is an outstanding scientist and geophysicist, renowned polar explorer, who lead the Soviet Hydrometeorological Service, was an academician, a state and public figure, and received the title of a Hero of the Soviet Union.

E.K.Fedorov was born on the 10 April 1910 in Bendery, Moldova.

His father, Konstantin Nikolaevich Fedorov, a Russian officer, in the end of 1916 was transferred to Nizhny Novgorod

In 1916, after his family moved to Nizhny Novgorod, Evgeny Fedorov commenced his studies in an experimental pilot school established under the auspices of Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical Institute. Hungry for knowledge, Evgeny also attended courses of English in the evenings. He also took part in a radio workshop and soon learnt to independently assemble tube receivers.

In 1927, Evgeny Fedorov graduated from school and went to Leningrad to pursue university studies. He was not sure what to study and where but wanted to become an engineer being interested in technology and radios equipment, he also wanted to work in the wild nature. Evgeny tried passing exams to several institutes and failed realizing however that his vocation lied in the nexus of applied sciences and natural phenomena. He went back home and after a year of preparations successfully passed exams to enter Physics Department of Leningrad State University specializing in geophysics.

Already after completing his first year of university studies, Evgeny Fedorov embarked on his first independent expedition to the Northern Urals in order to perform a geomagnetic survey. His first scientific paper was published as a result of this expedition. Upon his graduation, Evgeny Fedorov was transferred to the All-Union Arctic Institute in Leningrad and later in a group of young professionals was transferred to work in Observatory at Tikhaya Zemlya on Franz Josef Land headed by researcher I.D. Papanin.

In 1934, a decision was made to expand the polar station at Cape Chelyuskin based on the Taimyr Peninsula. I.D. Papanin as the head of this polar station invited several colleagues he knew from their work together on Franz Josef Land, including Evgeny Fedorov and his spouse. Besides stationary magnetic observations E.K. Fedorov decided to carry out a magnetic survey of the Taimyr Peninsula. That laid the foundation for the studies of Earth's magnetic field as well as for its connection with the solar activity and the northern lights.

Between 21 May 1937 and 19 February 1938 Fedorov as a geophysicist together with Papanin (head), Krenkel (radio equipment operator) and Shirshov (oceanographer) participated in the first Soviet drifting station expedition 'North pole-1’. Evgeny Fedorov conducted regular magnetic and gravimetric measurements, determined the way astronomical coordinates of the station, assisted the team with other labor-intensive observations and duties at the station. The drift lasted 274 days. On 14 February 1938 icebreakers "Taimyr" and "Murman" reached approached the remaining fragment of a once-gigantic iceberg and rescued the four explorers who have heroically performed the expedition.

Papanin’s team scientific achievements and outstanding work were highly appreciated by the Soviet  Government, the Soviet and broader international scientific and cultural community. They were awarded honorary titles and were elected to the membership of various public and scientific organizations. For their heroism Papanin, Krenkel, Shirshovu, and Fedorov were awarded the title of a Hero of the Soviet Union and received the Order of Lenin.

Evgeny Fedorov returned to Leningrad and continued working at the Arctic Institute processing data and preparing publications to be printed following up the expedition of their drifting station.

In 1939, Fedorov was appointed as Director of the Arctic Institute but only a few months later was transferred to Moscow where he became the Chief of the Hydrometeorological Service under the Council of People's Commissars. Evgeny Fedorov quickly became fluent in dealing with the complex economic processes of the large Hydrometeorological Service and efficiently managed its multifaceted activities. The establishment of hydrometeorological stations and sites actively continued. Many of the sites emerged in remote areas. The Service expanded hydrometeorological data collection and prediction centers as well as the network of upper-air stations. Construction of plants was planned to produce meteorological instruments, including new ones. The Service started baric topography mapping, which increased reliability of weather forecasts. Prospective network of stations/sites development plan was put forward.

After the WWII began, the General Directorate of Hydrometeorological Service under the Council of People's Commissars, headed by EK Fedorov, included key departments of the Meteorological Service of the Air Forces and the Hydrometeorological Service of the Navy. The General Directorate became part of the country’s armed forces.

The long-established and experienced Air Force Meteorological Service and the Hydrometeorological Service of the Navy faced a number of new issues. Military service system in ground troops enabled the shift from fragmented to a more holistic use of hydrometeorological parameters within a well-functioning system. On the basis of the weather and hydrometeorological data received by the sites at the frontlines, the hydrological regime weather forecasts by central and front-line services, the leadership scheduled operations and fine-tuned them. Headquarters of the Supreme High Command, General Bureau, and troops were very demanding and very perceptive of the newly esbliahsed hydrometeorological service. All that enabled the service to deploy communications, transportation, and to create a rapid-response technical framework necessary for the army. The war experience proved it was right to include Hydrometeorological Service at the time of war into the active military forces.

By the end of the war, Evgeny Fedorov had the rank of lieutenant-general being the only head of a hydrometeorological service who participated in military activities. During the restructuring and the reestablishing of many new sections and activities of the Hydrometeorological Service during the WWII, Evgeny Fedorov demonstrated his leadership and inspirational potential. In 1946, after the war, Hydrometeorological Service and all its units became independent from the Ministry of Defense again directly reporting to the Government of the USSR. This gave the start to the civil time activities of the Service.

However, in August 1947 on a false denunciation, Evgeny Fedorov was dismissed from the Service, robbed of his ranks and sued for "anti-patriotic and anti-state actions". Court of Honor accused Fedorov of allowing the transfer abroad of some scientific works and information due to poor control of the foreign service department. This made te Lieutenant-General, Hero of the Soviet Union, a member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, of delegates of the World Conference of Democratic Youth, the head of the Soviet delegation at the international meteorological conference in Geneva, Stalin Prize winner an ordinary chief of the Atmospheric Electricit Laboratory at the Geophysical Institute. Despite all these hardships, with his natural energy, Fedorov took up the task of reestablishing an integrated Elbrus high-mountain expedition. The first years in summer and winter the researchers spent living in tents, yet all the field observations were carried out duly, they even developed a new method for studying ion spectrum in the atmosphere. E. Fedorov put forward the idea of finding a scientifically sound method of influencing cloud formation processes to stimulate liquid and solid precipitations fallout. The implementation of this idea would be of huge benefit to the national economy of the country.

By 1952, permanent research bases, a weather station and Elbrus observatory were created. In addition to the physical properties of clouds, the expedition also studied physical properties of snow, and initiated avalanche research. In 1952, E. Fedorov became the Head of the Geophysical Complex Expedition, appointed by the Director of the Geophysical Institute that was overseeing the Elbrus expedition. In 1956, the Geophysical Institute was divided into Institute of Applied Geophysics (IPG), Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IFA) and the Institute of Physics of the Earth (IPE). E. Fedorov became the Director of the IPG. In the same year Elbrus expedition was reorganized into Kabardino-Balkarian branch of IPG, and later into Mountain Geophysical Institute - Research Centre for the study of the physics of clouds and precipitation, the physical properties of snow, ice shelf, debris flows, landslides, avalanches. On the basis of the fundamental theoretical research method for exposure to hail processes via inclusion in the hail clouds special reagents missiles was developed, for which in 1969 a group of scientists of the Hydrometeorological Service, including EK Fedorov, was nominated for the State Award.

In 1958, negotiations began on the termination of nuclear weapons tests. Upon Kurchatov’s suggestion, E.K. Fedorov was appointed as the head of the Soviet delegation to these negotiations. He was one of the most experienced scientists in the area of applied geophysics. E.K. Fedorov prepared a report on the development of recommendations on the organization of the monitoring system observation of nuclear explosions in different types of environment. However, the Geneva talks stalled in 1962 and were discontinued. The USSR proposed a treaty for banning tests in the atmosphere, outer space and under water, and the treaty was signed in 1963, which greatly contributed to the development, scientific evidence and other results of the expert group in 1958-1959 under the direction of EK Fedorov.

In 1960, EK Fedorov became a full member of the USSR Academy of Sciences - elected academician and chief scientific secretary of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and in 1962 he was appointed Chief of the Hydrometeorological Service of the USSR Council of Ministers (SU HMS of the USSR) and in 1963 soughttransfer of IPG with a branch in Obninsk, Highland Institute in Nalchik, the National chemical Institute in Novocherkassk in the field of conducting USSR Academy of Sciences at the State University of HMS,  from where he was transferred from Minmorflot AARI. Thus it increased scientific potential GU HMS seriously. At that time, special studies were carried out to determine the amount of the existing network of stations to provide the necessary information forecasting for service agencies and national economy requirements. The results showed a network failure in the Far North, in Central Asia and the Far East. However, it was expensive to build stations in remote places. The only solution was to use of weather radar, satellites, and unmanned stations. Based on these data, E.K. Fedorov achieved the creation and launch of special meteorological satellite "Cosmos-144" and "Cosmos-156". They made satellite "Meteor" system along with ground complex. Aircraft were widely used: ice reconnaissance spread to the Far East and the Baltic Sea, aerial reconnaissance laboratory of water in the snow cover, air reconnaissance of crop condition and plant matter, etc. The general scheme of integrated automation was developed and approved. The aim was as follows: collection of hydrometeorological information from all over the northern hemisphere maximum three hours later after the observation period of weather in Moscow. Revolutionary innovation in the service of the forecasts was the transfer of finished cards from meteorological centers in different forecasting cell, which immediately eliminated the tedious and time-consuming step of gathering information and applying it on the map.

E. Fedorov took part in the design and implementation plan for the establishment of the World Weather Watch, approved by the 5th Congress of the WMO, where he was the vice President. Three categories of meteorological centers were created: worldwide centers, carrying out a data exchange between regional and territorial ones. It was a change in the principles of hydrometeorological data collection and processing for the study of climate, drawing guides, reviews. Computers were used for these tasks. E.K. Fedorov was the initiator of the expansion of sea and ocean HMS research. Special fleet was built for these purposes, consisting of different types of research vessels: four "Professor Vize" type vessel, eight of the "Passat" ships, five ships of the "Akademik Shuleikin", six vessels "Rudolph Samoylovich" ,seven vessels "Vadim Popov," research icebreaker "Otto Schmidt" ,research vessel "Mikhail Somov" and others. The studies were conducted in the Arctic, Antarctic, tropical waters and in the waters of the middle latitudes to conduct t national and international research programs on a range of subjects, including missile sensing of the atmosphere and the upper troposphere. Great value E.K. Fedorov laid great weight on generalization activities in HMS. He wrote popular science books, published articles in newspapers and magazines, often lectured to a wide audience.

In 1974 E.K. Fedorov was re-elected to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR as a deputy chairman of the Soviet Peace Committee and a member of the World Peace Council Bureau. In the same year he submitted the application resignation but he asked to reserve his right to be the head of IPG, and this request was granted. In the early 70s some scientists began to discuss issues of further development of mankind. E.K. Fedorov was  in this discussion. He published two books: "The interaction of society and nature" and "The environmental crisis and social progress." In these works he with optimism looked at the future of mankind. He saw this future in harmonious interaction with nature and environment. In 1979, E.K. Fedorov led the Soviet delegation at the first World Climate Conference and was one of the main speakers. Upon his initiative, an important document was adopted "A call to the nations,"  which warned people of the world about the possible catastrophic consequences of global climate change in connection with military and industrial activities.

In 1980, E.K. Fedorov was included into the USSR delegation for the 35th session of the UN General Assembly, the agenda of which was the question of the historical responsibility of States for the preservation of nature of the Earth.  IPG research indicated that many harmful effects on the environment extended beyond the state-pollutant. He made a report on global environmental problems: tropical deforestation, the deterioration of soil fertility, desertification of land, pollution of the atmosphere, ocean, land and water. The USSR proposed to proclaim the historical responsibility of states for the preservation of the natural environment for present and future generations. The resolution was adopted by a majority vote. This performance was one of the last state acts of E. Fedorov`s social activity, it embodied his personal research.

E.K. Fedorov holds the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, six Orders of Lenin, Order of October Revolution, Order of Kutuzov 2nd degree, two Orders of Red Banner of Labor and medals. The winner of the Stalin Prize (1946) and the State (1969) Prize of the USSR. He is an honorary citizen of Obninsk and Bendery.

Evgeny Fedorov lived an interesting and fulfilling life and died on 30 December 1981. He is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow. The Institute of Applied Geophysics in Moscow, one of the streets in Moscow, and one of the central streets of Bendery (1982), a cross-country skiing site in Obninsk, a polar station at Cape Chelyuskin (1983), research ship  of Roshydromet (1987), the Russian Federal service for Hydrometeorology were named after E. Fedorov for the outstanding contribution into environmental monitoring, research and development activities, which are of great scientific and practical importance for Roshydromet.