Krasovsky, Theodosy Nicolaevich

views updated

Krasovsky, Theodosy Nicolaevich

(b.Galich, Kostroma guberniya, Russia, 26 September 1878; d. Moscow, U.S.S.R., 1 October 1948)

earth sciences, mathematics.

Krasovsky graduated from the Moscow Geodetic Institute in 1900. Until 1903 he studied physics and mathematics at Moscow University and astronomy at the Pulkovo observatory. An instructor at the Geodetic Institute from 1902, he became professor in 1916 and chairman of higher geodesy in 1921. He was also a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R., an Honored Scientist and Technol. ogist of the R.S.F.S.R., and in the mid-1930’s, vice. president of the Baltic Geodetic Commission.

Krasovsky contributed considerably to the study of the geometry of the figure of the earth—the“spheroid.” He devised an efficient method of adjusting primary triangulation, deduced the parameters of the earth’s spheroid, and drew up scientific specifications for triangulation and subsequent geodetic work for the U.S.S.R. subcontinental territory. With M. S. Molodenski, Krasovsky was a pioneer in his emphasis on geodetic gravimetry rather than isostatic theory.

He reorganized the institutions of higher geodetic study in the U.S.S.R., and his pupils were future Soviet specialists. In his last years Krasovsky studied the earth’s interior by combining geodetic and other geophysical as well as geological data. The figure of the earth now generally accepted differs only slightly from the “Krasovsky spheroid.”


I. Original Works. The most important of Krasovsky’s more than 120 published works arc in Izbrannye sochinenia (“Selected Works”), 4 vols. (Moscow, 1953-1956). Vol. I is devoted to the figure of the earth and to the adjustment of primary triangulation, and contains an essay on Krasovsky’s life and works; vol. II to various branches of geodesy, field astronomy, and map projections; vol. III to geodetic control; and vol. IV to the geometry of the spheroid. A few of Krasovsky’s papers and reports were published in German in Comptes rendus de la Commission géodésique baltique, sessions 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 (Helsinki, 1931-1937).

II. Secondary Literature. The most comprehensive source is G. V. Bagratuni, T. N. Krasovsky (Moscow, 1959), which includes a bibliography. There is a short obituary by V. V. Danilov and M. S. Molodenski in Izvestiya Akademii nauk SSSR, Geograf.-geofiz. ser., 13 , no. I (1949), 3-4; and brief information on Krasovsky is in Bolshaya sovetskaya entsiklopedia (“Greater Soviet Encyclopedia”), XXIII (1953), 231, with portrait.

O. B. Sheynin