Dimitrij Alekseevich Rodionov: Krumbein MedalistRodionovThe development of mathematical geology is connected with and based on activity of many specialists from all over the world. The International Associ- ation of Mathematical Geology, since its foundation in Prague in August 1968, has been constantly helping to introduce this discipline into the daily practice of geologists and their associates. Many of those who made considerable con- tributions to this development have been awarded the Krumbein Medal.

In the year 1994, the name of Dimitrij Alekseevich Rodionov has been added to this list of Krumbein medalists. Some of the distinguished medalists already have died, but Dimitrij is the first to received this award posthumously. The recipients for this highest honor of the IAMG are judged on three criteria: their contribution to the science, their service to the profession, and their personal support of the IAMG. I do not have know any other person among possible candidates on a global scale who would be better suited for this honor than Dimitrij from the point of view of all three criteria.

Jan Harff in his Memorial of Dimitrij (Math. Geology, v. 27, no. 6, 1995) presented his biographical data as well as his scientific achievements. Let me, therefore, focus on some personal remembrances which can perhaps, I hope, illustrate the remarkable personality of our distinguished Russian colleague.

I learned for the first time about D. A. Rodionov in 1965 during a summer holiday in Sochi on the Black Sea. Here, I met one of the Russian pioneers in mathematical geology, Ivan P. Sharapov (born 1907), who described to me distinctly the situation in the USSR, and among addresses of mathematically oriented geologists he gave me was that of Rodionov, whom he described as a "young man." During my first "official" visit to the USSR in December 1967, when I attended a conference of mathematical geologists in Novosibirsk, I again met Ivan Sharapov, who arranged my first meeting with Dimitrij. He looked very young, but he evidently had the respect of the 400 participants. Therefore, I was not surprised in August 1968 that Dimitrij arrived in Prague to attend the 23rd International Geological Congress and was a participant in the foundation meeting of the IAMG. He was elected one of the first IAMG Councilors despite the Soviet invasion of Prague just one day earlier. Dimitrij did not make any personal comment on this unhappy development, but in my opinion he was shocked by them. Later, one of our colleagues from a third country (who knew Dimitrij well from previous times) confirmed to me that I was right.

Another personal meeting took place in Prague and at Pribram in October 1970. It was the third session of the new international section on "Mathematical Methods in Geology," but for the first time since 1968 with representatives from other parts of the world including several future Krumbein medalists and IAMG dignitaries (M. David, Dan Merriam, and Tim Whitten). Rodionov arrived as the first Russian specialist, and he attended later as one of the most faithful among all foreign visitors to the Pribram Symposia. Since that time, I had regular contacts with him including many sessions at Pribram and conferences in the USSR. He was always a smiling "young man," and his look appeared friendly even in situations when he could not express controversial opinions. His impact on the development of mathematical geology in the East was great, and respect accompanied him everywhere. The fact that four of his monographs and numerous articles were published abroad gives testimony to how much his work was appreciated.

When our meetings took place in Moscow, he always was a marvellous and tireless host. At various dinners in his home, I came to appreciate the large specter of his personal interests (including cooking and various sports). Unfortunately, since about 1987, he had problems with his heart, but he remained always optimistic. In July 1994, we both attended an international conference on Basement Tectonics at Potsdam. Living in the same hostel, we spent several evenings together in a small restaurant -- Dimitrij as usual was in good humor. We made plans for future meetings, especially for the Mining Pribram Symposium. He promised to come and to present with his colleaque, Susanna Sirotinskaya, a paper on "Ethical aspects of mutual scientific East-West contacts in mathematical geology." In September, he phoned me confirming his arrival in Prague where he wanted to celebrate his 63rd birthday. On Monday 3, October 1994, I was in Pribram making the last technical arrangements one week prior to the Symposium, and I reconfirmed a hotel reservation for Dimitrij. It was then that I had an urgent phone call from my wife with sad and unexpected news. We got a message from Moscow that Dimitrij died the day before. On the day when he was to arrive in Prague, his funeral took place in Moscow.

Nevertheless, Susanna came to Pribram and brought me the last manuscript of Dimitrij -- his talk prepared for the geoethical meeting (and written in the hospital). Let met reproduce here the abstract of this paper; I feel we can consider it as his last testament.

"During last years when various international meetings in mathematical
geology (as well as in other fields of earth sciences) are being organized some
specific contradictions are observed between participants of developed countries
and those coming from the eastern countries, especially from the countries of
the former USSR or of the former Council of Economic Mutual Aid.

The point is that the organizers of international meetings in western de-
veloped countries fix the registration fees at a level which makes it very difficult
for representatives of eastern countries to take part in those meetings.

Moreover the requirements for papers to be published in proceedings of
conferences or in scientific journals in the West are in many situations unfeasible
for representatives from eastern countries because of the deficiency of essential
equipment.

Therefore, it is necessary to arrange some special agreements which would
ensure a representative participation of scientists from eastern countries and
which would avoid any other discrimination of them."

Vaclav Nemec

 

 

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