On 20 November 2019 a grave disease claimed the life of deputy editor-in-chief of the Volcanology and Seismology journal, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexey Vsevolodovich Nikolaev - a prominent member of the national and global geophysical community who made a significant contribution to research in seismology, earthquake prediction, geodynamics, and other areas of theoretical and applied geophysics. An internationally acclaimed scientist, Alexey V. Nikolaev developed original geophysical methods and techniques for studying the structure and the dynamics of the Earth and received with their help a series of outstanding results in fundamental geophysics. He held a rightful place in the top echelons of Russian and global geophysics.
Alexey Nikolaev was born 29 October 1934 in Moscow, USSR. In 1957, he graduated from the department of geology at the Lomonosov Moscow State University and was assigned to the Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, with which he was affiliated throughout his entire life and where he rose from a lab technician to head of department of Physical Basics of Exploration Geophysics and, later on, director of the Specialized Institute for Experimental Geophysics. Nikolaev’s research interests were broad and encompassed seismicity of random media, geophysical monitoring, nonlinear geophysics, earthquake prediction, seismic tomography, vibroseismic research, induced seismicity, vibration influence on oil deposits, geophysical metrology, and other areas of contemporary geophysics. Alexey Nikolaev was a participant in the Chernobyl accident clean-up effort. Days after the 26 April 1986 disaster, he traveled to the contaminated area of the Chernobyl power plant to conduct the necessary research under high-risk radiation exposure levels. His scientific achievements were honored by his election to the Academy of Sciences of the USSR as a corresponding member in 1990.
Alexey Nikolaev made a significant contribution to training the next generation of scientists. He was a talented teacher, a brilliant lecturer, a friendly and responsive person. Aleksey Vsevolodovich was an opponent of dozens of dissertations, both doctoral and candidate works. And the number of reviews of dissertations and reviews of various kinds cannot be calculated. His numerous grateful PhD students and followers work fruitfully in many scientific organizations of Russia and the former Soviet Union countries.
Alongside research, Alexey Nikolaev conducted multifaceted scientific administrative work. For many years he led the Russian expert council of earthquake prediction and seismic risk and hazard assessment with the Ministry for Civil Defense, Emergency Management, and Disaster Response and the Russian Academy of Sciences. He maintained close ties with researchers from many countries globally and was elected to serve on governing bodies of several international scientific structures. In 1983 – 1991 he served as vice-president and in 1991 – 1995 as president of the International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior – IASPEI.
Alexey Nikolaev authored over 400 scientific papers and innovations. In 1998 he was awarded the title of Laureate of the Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of science and technology.
We knew Alexey Nikolaev not only as a gifted scholar, but as a wonderful, friendly, compassionate person with incredible integrity and sense of humor that helped him to preserve optimism and stamina even during the final days of his illness.
Alexey Nikolaev’s scientific research will remain a bright spot in global and national geophysics and the memory of this outstanding scientist and exceptional person will always be in our hearts.
Alexey Zavyalov, RAS, Moscow