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Chernyaev, Ilya Ilyich

Chernyaev, Ilya Ilyich

(b. Spasskoye, Vologda district, Russia, 21 January 1893; d. Moscow, U. S. S.R., 30 September 1966),


Chernyaev, a pupil of L. A. Chugaev, graduated in 1915 from St. Petersburg University and was retained in the department of inorganic chemistry by Chugaev, so that he could prepare for a teaching career. During the same year he published his first scientific work, which dealt with the chemistry of complex platinum compounds.

Chernyaev was one of the Russian scientists who took an active part in the organization and development of science from the beginning of the existence of the Soviet state. From 1917 on, he worked in the platinum department of the Commission for the Study of the Productive Capacity of Russia; from 1918 to 1933 he worked at the Institute for Platinum and Other Precious Metals; and from 1923 to 1925 and again from 1937 to 1938 he did important work in the field of refining platinum metals, chernyaev’s crowning achievement was the development of methods to obtain platinum, palladium, and rhodium in a spectroscopically pure state. During the period from 1934 to 1941 he was in charge of the department of complex compounds of the Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the U. S. S.R., and from 1941 to 1964 he was director of the Institute. In 1943 he became a full member of the Academy of Sciences of the U. S. S.R.

Chernyaev’s scientific activities were closely connected with his work as a teacher. From 1925 to 1935 he lectured on inorganic chemistry at the Univerisity of Leningrad and also gave special courses on the chemistry of platinum metals and structural theory of complex compounds. In 1932 he was named professor of inorganic chemistry at Leningrad University. Chernyaev also taught at the Petroleum Institute of the University of Moscow.

Chernyaev’s main contribution to the development of science lay in the chemistry of complex compounds, especially of palatinum metals. In 1926 he discovered (while working with nitroso compounds of bivalent platiunm) the transeffect priniciples, which played a large part in the development of the chemistry of complex compounds. On the basis of these priniciples Chernyaev, with the help of his students and coworkers, achieved a number of directional syntheses of new complex compounds. Furture development of the stereochemistry of complex compounds was based largely on the of transseffects and their consequences.

Chernyaev completed an important work cycle in the study of the optical activity of complex platinum compounds. He divided the tetravalent ethylene-diamine compounds (PtEnNH3NO2Cl2)Cl (En=ethly-enediamine) into optical antipodes and proved the correctness of the geometric configuration theory concering the dependence of the optical activity of certain compounds on their steric structure. Chernyaev divided about ten different complex compounds of tetravalent platinum, into optically active antipodes. Furthermore, he discovered the phenomenon of a change in the rotation symbol of the polarization plane in optically active amino compounds of tetravalent platinum at the time of their transmutation into amido (or imido) compounds.

Chernyaev studied a number of oxidation-reduction processes in the presence of complex platinum compounds. These investigations contributed to the further interpretation of the structure of similar compounds and of the structure of similar compounds and of the reaction mechanism in which they are involved. Especially, it was shown that in nitro compounds of platinum the latter is combined with an NO2 group over nitrogen.

Of special importance was Chernyaev’s work in the analytical chemistry of platinum metals: methods of identifying and purifying platinum metals and a method for the quantitative identification of nitrogen included in the composition of intraspherical nitrogroups.

During the last decade of his life Chernyaev studied the complex compounds of thorium and uranium. These studies contributed greatly to the establishment of the nuclear fuel industry in the U. S. S.R. Chernyaev was one of he founders and leaders in the U. S. S.R. of an important school of chemists specializing in the study of chemical complexes.


1. Original Works. Chernyaev’s writings include “Voprosy khimii komplocksykh soedineny” (“Problems in the Chemistry of Complex Compounds”), in Uspekhi khimii, 5 (1936), 1169; “O geometricheskoy izomerii soedineny chetyrekhvalentoy platiny” (on the Geometric Isomerism of Tetravallent Platiny” (“On the Geometric Isaomerism of Tetravalent Platinum Compouns”), ibid., 16 1947), 385; and also “Eksperimentalnoe obosnovanic zakonomernostii transvliania’ (“Experimental Basis of the Principles of Transeffects”), in Izvestia sektora platiny i drugikh blagorodnykh metallov, no. 28 (1954), p. 14. He also was editor of Kompleksnye soedinenia urana (“Complex Uranium Compounds"; Moscow, 1964).

II. Secondary Literature. On Chernyaev or his work see A. V. Babaeva, “Vydayushchsya sovetsky ucheny I. I. Chernyaev (k 60- letiyu so dnya rozhdenia)” (“The Outstanding Soviet Scientist I. I. Chernyaev [on the Occasion of His Sixtieth Birthday]”), in Zhurnal obshchey khimii, 23 (1953), 5; Ilya Ilyich Chernyaev (Moscow-Leningrad, 1948), no. 9 in the series A. N. S.S. S. R. Materialy k Bibliografii Uchencykh S. S. S. R., Seria khimichesikh Nauk (Soviet Academy of Sciences, Materials for the Bibliographies of the Scientists of the U. S. S.R., Materialy k Bibliografii Uchenykh S. S. S.R., Seria Khimicheskikh Nauk (Soviet Academy of Sciences, Materials for the Bibliographies of the Scientists of the U. S. S.R., Chemical Sciences Series); V.M. Vdovenko, “Radiokhimia” (“Radiochemistry”), in Razvitie obshchey, neorganicheskoy i analiticheskoy khimii v SSSR (“The Development of General, Inorganic, and Analytical Chemistry in the U. S. S.R."; Moscow, 1967), p. 196; and O. E. Zvyagintsev, et al., “khimia kompleksnykh soedineny” (“The Chemistry of Complex Compounds”), ibid p.137.

D. N. Trifonov

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