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Russian Geological Research Institute (VSEGEI)

Grigory Petrovich Helmersen. 1803-1885

Helmersen Grigory (Gregor) Petrovich was organizer and first Director of GeolCom (1882). Born in the city of Dukershof (Estonia). He graduated from the Derpt University (1825) and the St.&nbap;Petersburg Mining Institute (1838). Adjunct of the Academy of Sciences in the Department of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (Geognosy and Palaeontology) (1844). Extraordinary Academician of the Academy of Sciences (1847). Ordinary Academician of the Academy of Sciences (1850). Geologist. Mining engineer. Lieutenant General of the Corps of Mining Engineers. He was seconded to the Ministry of Finance (1827). Professor (1838–1863), Inspector (1840–1856), Director (1856–1872) of the Mining Institute. Under him, the Mining Institute was transformed from a closed military educational institution to an open civil educational institution. Founder of the Russian school of geological mapping; compiled one of the first geological maps of the European part of Russia (1841). Developed instructions for geological expeditions of the Academy of Sciences. Travelled almost the entire European part of Russia. He conducted field research in the areas of the Engelhardt expedition to find gold deposits in the Urals; Southern Urals, Kyrgyzstan, parts of the Altai mountain system; Moscow coal basin, Central Russia; coal prospecting in the Tver, Oryol, Kaluga provinces; copper ore deposits at the Volkhov rapids; Narova River, Lake Peipsi (1838–1839); Donetsk coal basin; geology of Khiva, Bukhara, Kokand, Northwest China (1839). He described brown coal deposits in the Ukraine. He supervised mapping of the Donetsk basin, western slope of the Urals and other regions. Published scientific papers on the ice age. He investigated the reasons for the decline in production at the Olonets province mines (1856–1859). Honorary Member of the Russian Imperial Technical Society (1872). Founding member of the Russian Geographical Society (1945). He was awarded the Konstantinovsky Medal of the Geographical Society. Demidov Prize (1842). The Russian Academy of Sciences instituted a prize in his name. An island off the west coast of the Yuzhny Island of Novaya Zemlya is named after him. His name is immortalized in the Devonian brachiopods and Neogene foraminifera.