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Yadviga Richardovna Schmidt

e. N. Gruzdeva,

designer of publishing house


Summer of 1904 addressed to the director of Women's Pedagogical Institute in St. Petersburg the application of the graduate of the Warsaw Aleksandrinsko-Mariinsky institute Yadvigi Schmidt arrived. The girl expressed desire to graduate by the natural category of fizikomatematichesky office. As having the good certificate, the code and the certificate on the termination of a pepinyersky course (i.e. an additional VIII class with pedagogical orientation of training) the daughter of the Polish merchant Yadviga Richardovna Schmidt who was born in Lodze on August 27, 1886 was enlisted on the I course of capital institute.

The diligence and abilities of the listener were noted by many teachers. Yadviga Schmidt did not give preference to any one subject, everything was interesting to her — physics and cosmography, chemistry, geology... The well-read girl had own judgment on many questions and did not hesitate to state it.

Starshekursnitsa underwent student teaching in a gymnasium where not only gave lessons, but also had to, having visited each other lessons, to give a review of what was seen from a position of a technique and pedagogics. Yadviga Schmidt, speaking about Russian lesson devoted to a frog lowered its methodical characteristic and, according to her, "concerned the principle": "All lesson was told about a frog. At the beginning it was the living being — at the end there was an animal consisting of the head, a trunk and extremities, which skin. and so on. Behind bulky definitions the living being disappeared, there was only a word a frog with which operated of a phrase system. caring for that the subject was on the place, the verb had the corresponding termination, etc. I quite recognize that it is necessary to study the native language, to be expressed correctly, of course, it is necessary to be able — but at what here the nature, and here a frog? You learn to speak children on "classrooms" and other stories, but do not dismember all nature on the head, a trunk and extremities, do not kill in children ability to perceive, enjoy wildlife. So leaves that we returned to a classical gymnasium. A difference only that there dismembered Homer, Caesar, beauty of poetry, and here raise a hand on

the nature" 1 (emphasized in the text. — E.G.). The teacher did not accept such report as "neudovle-

"2 instrumental according to contents and inappropriate on thoughtless tone".

There was the last year of stay Ya. Schmidt at institute when on physical and mathematical office the new teacher Alexander Lvovich Gershun appeared. It was the physicist, the expert in the field of applied optics, electromagnetism and radioactivity. His lectures on theoretical physics Yadviga Schmidt stored all life, and communication with the expert physicist influenced the decision of the girl in the choice of a further way.

In 1909, having acquired the diploma and the right of teaching natural sciences and physics in averages educational zavedeniyakh3, Ya.R. Schmidt began to conduct classes in a private gymnasium of Hp of Tagantsevoy4. The young teacher sought to expand theoretical knowledge of the schoolgirls and in practice to show them application of physical laws. She developed and conducted educational tours to the tram park (for acquaintance with the device of brakes and an electric part), on the filtro-ozonic station (to show the compressor in operation), to the aeronautic park, locomotive depot, magnetic observatory in Pavlovsk, in an optical workshop, in boiler.5

Women under the Russian laws could not attend class at the universities and be engaged in scientific work. But Yadvigu Richardovnu Schmidt the fate of the school teacher did not satisfy. Having decided to deepen the knowledge of physics, it in 1911 left for half a year to France for classes in Sorbonne. There read the first (and still only in the world!) a course on radioactivity professor Maria Sklodowska-Curie. Having worked in laboratories of the famous physicist, Ya.R. Schmidt already resolved to devote herself to science.

* From a series of articles about graduates of Women's Pedagogical Institute. The beginning see: Bulletin of the Ger-tsenovsky university. 2009. No. 2, 5, 6.


In St. Petersburg she addressed professor A.L. Gershun who took her laboratorian to himself in Optical department of Obukhovski Plant. In the spring of 1913 Ya.R. Schmidt in the test commission of the university got admission to examination for a university course. Under the law of 1911 of the woman, the passed tests, were acquired together with the diploma the rights for teaching and scientific activity on an equal basis with men. Yadviga Richardovna in the first session successfully handed over a part of disciplines. The remained examinations were postponed for the next session.

Summer of 1913 Ya.R. Schmidt started to hurry to Europe again: she decided to improve the knowledge of radioactivity in England in laboratories of professor E. Rutherford. The end 1913 and the first half of 1914 were devoted to classes gamma and beta beams. Results of these experiments are published by it in the Philosophical Magazine magazine in 1914 and 1915. But stay in England hardly did not cost Yadvige Schmidt life: it got poisoned with sulphurous gas when on a cylinder in laboratory jammed the screw crane. It was found already unconscious. Explained this case with feminism of the young woman who was not wishing to ask for help of men. Told that when Rutherford summoned the victim and blamed her: "You could pay with life.", Yadviga Richardovna objected: "Yes could! But nobody has the right to interpose in my matter!" 6

Upon return to St. Petersburg Ya.R. Schmidt continued to teach lessons in a gymnasium, to work with A.L. Gershun in the field of optical fiziki7, and in the spring of 1915 successfully finished all tests in universitete8. Now the way to science before it was open.

In 1916 professor A.F. Ioffe created in physical laboratory of Polytechnical institute regularly operating scientific seminar in new physics. Recent graduates of higher education institutions, beginners and yet to nobody the famous physicists were listeners of a seminar, but some of them (N.N. Semyonov, P.L. Kapitsa, Ya.I. Frenkel, A.A. Friedman, P.I. Lukirsky) became history of science as the founders of the Soviet physics who left behind the whole schools subsequently. Yadviga Schmidt was a participant of a seminar also. Involved talented youth of A.F. Ioffe also in scientific work at the State radiological and radiological institute (GRRI) created by him in 1918 where they became heads rabot9.

Then Yadviga Richardovna got acquainted with professor of Polytechnical institute Alexander Andreevich Chernyshev who became one of the closest assistants A.F. Ioffe in GRRI who subsequently headed one of its departments. Conducting joint researches in the field of electrical equipment and radio engineering, Ya.R. Schmidt and A.A. Chernyshev in the early twenties published several articles in the Soviet technical journals — about electrons, about an oscillograph of high frequency, etc. 10 these years A.A. Chernyshev began systematic works in the field of television — "an electric teleskopiya".

Besides time the first successful experiments of L.S. Termen with electromusical instruments belong. L.S. Termen remembered: having been his first listener, A.F. Ioffe called at once some staff of institute (Mitkevich, Gorev, Chernyshev, Schmidt, Selyakova, etc.) for whom L.S. Termen played the small concert consisting of "Elegy" by Massenet, "Etude" Scriabin, Saint-Saens's "Swan" and Hey, We Will Fall a Cropper folk song 11.

Since 1919 Yadviga Richardovna Schmidt passed to teaching work from school into a higher educational institution — into Polytechnical institute where conducted classes on electromechanical fakultete12, and at all technical faculties held a position laboranta13. At institute she worked prior to the beginning of the 1930th

For the 1920th Ya.R. Schmidt (after married A.A. Chernyshev, she signed by a double surname: Schmidt-Chernyshev) divided the time between Polytechnical institute and Physics and technology institute — one of components of scientific "plant" of A.F. Ioffe where held a position of the senior physicist. Scientific work brought it the international popularity, she was often invited to the international conferences. In 1929 Narkompros was sent by Ya.R. Schmidt to the USA for scientific work for a period of three mesyatsa14. The trip took place successfully and in January, 1930 it returned to work at institute. But in 1931 after cardinal transformations of A.F. Joffe Yadviga Richardovna institute unexpectedly stopped the scientific and teaching activity and further about an occupation wrote in questionnaires: "housewife".

However, it not absolutely so. Being fluent in several foreign languages — Polish, English, French, German, Italian — Ya.R. Schmidt was engaged in the translations. She carried out the translations not only technical texts (translated documents for Committee on participation of the USSR in the international power associations, cooperated in the Akty Fi-ziko-himii SSSR magazine 15, prepared the "Pilot studies on electricity" of M. Faraday published in 1947), but also art, and paid special attention to poetry. The translations of verses of A. Mickiewicz written by her hand, O. Wilde, sonnets of F. Petrarch, V. Shakespeare and other poets are stored in archive Ya.R. Schmidt. There are also its own verses. For example:

Hi to you, hero kashtanokudry, Favourite of SSR and GPU!

I sing your bright mind and experience wise, to All your valors I sing praise.

Yes will be lit on the Urals ridges Among valleys severe and the woods From only one victorious look of Milyona of bright kilowatt-hours! 16

Not all understood and approved such change of an occupation, convinced Yadvigu Richardovnu to return to scientific laboratories. Addressed also in verse language:

Not late, but.

Once the Whole world itself lit up radio-polonium.

In its beams ionium is given rise And beryl became suddenly radium.

Since then polonium — a symbol of light, Beams, victories, beauty.

The mind captivates, attracts the poet,

Will give rise to hopes and dreams.

That radium P. But this summer new isotope is Suddenly shown:

Stikhoaktivny and at the same time Stikhoobilny as flood.

Yadviga, my council accept,

From the friend, in memory of the past:

Return polonium of chemistry,

And muses. you drive pomely.

The lira is not given to science,

That was known already by Adam and Na:

"A trouble if the pilot will undertake to sew, the tailor will take in head to Fly".

Not Polonium

But Ya.R. Schmidt so more also did not return to science. Living in the territory of Polytechnical institute, communicating with the largest physics, having been aware of the advanced developments and discoveries, she was engaged in translations of verses.

Ya.R. Schmidt-Chernyshev died on April 2, 1940

1. PFA RAS. T. 340. Op. 6. 23. L. 1-1 about.
2. In the same place. L. 2.
3. CGIA SPb. T. 918. Op. 1. 4122. L. 1-2.
4. CGIA SPb. T. 177. Op. 2. 43. L. 2.
5. PFA RAS. T. 340. Op. 6. 23. L. 9-22.
6. Tannin D.S. Rutherford. M, 1966 (Sulfurs. "ZhZL"). Page 413-414.
7. In 1914 after construction of the Optical plant on Chugunnaya Street (future association "LOMO") A.L. Gershun became his first director.
8. CGIA SPb. T. 177. Op. 2. 43. L. 2-3.
9. Frenkel of W.Ya. Abram Fedorovich Ioffe (Biographic essay)//Achievements of physical sciences. 1980. T. 132. Issue 1. September. Page 37.
10. CGA SPb. T. 3121. Op. 20. 429. L. Craw.
11. TermenL. C. Memories of A.F. Ioffe. L., 1973.
12. PFA RAS. T. 340. Op. 6. 33.
13. CGA SPb. T. 3121. Op. 20. 429. L. 3.
14. PFA RAS. T. 340. Op. 6. 32. L. 5.
15. PFA RAS. T. 340. Op. 6. 31. L. 6-7.
16. PFA RAS. T. 340. Op. 6. 25. L. 6. — Perhaps this "ode" Ya.R. Schmidt is turned to the husband A.A. Chernyshev (since 1932 to the academician) dealing with issues of high voltage and working in the field of creation of the uniform high-voltage network uniting the central and remote regions of the country?
17. PFA RAS. T. 340. Op. 6. 38. L. 1.
Shirley Tran
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