The Biography of Alexander Chizhevsky

Alexander Chizhevsky (1897-1964) was a prominent scientist of the 20th century who founded heliobiology, aero-ionization, electrohematology. He was also a pioneer of cosmo-biology, an inventor, a poet and a painter.

He was born on 7 February in the town of Tsekhanovets of Belsky uyezd in Grodno Governorate (now Poland) to Chizhevsky L. V. who was the captain of artillery, and Neviandt N.A. Alexander Chizhevsky spent his early years on the western borderland of Russia where his father’s military service took place.

In 1913 the family moved to Kaluga. His father bought a residence on Ivanovskaya street where Alexander Chizhevsky lived and worked for 16 years (from 1913 till 1929). It was there that he founded two new scientific disciplines: heliobiology and aero-ionization

In 1914 Alexander Chizhevsky met Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the pioneer of the astronautic theory. Their acquaintance developed into a lifelong friendship which continued till the last days of Tsiolkovsky.

In 1917 having graduated with distinction from Moscow Archaeological Institute, the young scientist defended two master’s theses: “Russian lyric poetry of the 18th century” and “The evolution of physico-mathematical sciences in the ancient world”. He defended his Doctorate of Philosophy thesis “On the periodicity of the world-historical process” in 1918 at Moscow State University. He became Doctor of Historical Sciences at the age of 21 and Professor a year later.

At the same years Chizhevsky performed research on aero-ionization. He set up a home laboratory in his father’s house, constructed an electroeffluvial chandelier (which later became known as “chizhevsky chandelier”) and discovered beneficial effect of negative ions in the air on living organisms.

Alexander Chizhevsky’s interests were also painting and poetry. In 1915 in Kaluga he published his early poems and 4 years later his second collection of poetry “Book of Poems” was born. After the revolution broke out, Chizhevsky reflected a lot on the place and role of art, in particular poetry, in society. His reflections were shaped into an aesthetic treatise “Academy of Poetry” published in Kaluga in 1918.

Since 1929 Alexander Chizhevsky lived and worked in Moscow. Beginning from 1931 he was Head of the Central Research Laboratory for Ionisation in USSR and since 1938 Chizhevsky worked as a scientific consultant of aero-ionification in the Construction Department of Palace of the Soviets.

In January 1942 he was arrested due to denunciations and was sentenced to 8 years. In 1950 he was released and settled in Karaganda for 8 more years.

In 1958 he returned to Moscow where he worked as a scientific consultant of aero-ionification and conditioning laboratory of “Soyuzsantehnika” under the USSR State Planning Organization.

In 1962 Chizhevsky was rehabilitated and then retired. He died on 20 December 1964 and was buried in Pyatnickoe cemetery in Moscow.