Oleg Georgievich GAZENKO
The USSR State Prize and the RF Government Prize laureate, RAS Academician, Doctor of Biology, Lieutenant-General of Medical Service
Born on December 12, 1918 in the village of Nikolaevka, Stavropol region.
In 1941, Oleg Gazenko graduated with honours from the Military Faculty of the 2nd Moscow Medical Institute and, as all graduates, went to the front as the Military Doctor of the 3rd rank (Captain of the Medical Service). Throughout the War, he served as the Head of the military infirmary in the 197th Airfield Service Battalion of the 15th Air Force on the Western, South-Western, Bryansk, Baltic and Belorussian Fronts.
After the War, in 1946-1947, O. G. Gazenko went through special training at the Leningrad Military Medical Academy, the Department of Physiology, the Aviation Medicine Laboratory, where under the direct supervision of major physiologists - Academician Colonel-General L. Orbeli and Professor Major-General M. Brestkin he studied the problems of high-altitude physiology and the state of higher nervous activity under hypoxia.
In 1947, he was appointed to the Institute of Aviation Medicine of the USSR Ministry of Defense and went from Research Associate, Head of Laboratory and Head of Department positions to the Deputy Head of the Institute for Scientific Work.
The expertise of a physiologist and doctor helped Oleg Gazenko in solving such problems of aviation as the work of flight personnel in adverse climatic conditions. Therefore, when the Soviet aviation started active development of the Arctic and arid regions of the country, he, as a flagship doctor and the Head of the Medical Research Group in 1948-1950, took part in Air Force high-latitude air expeditions "North pole-2, 3, 4", repeatedly worked at drifting stations, islands and the coast of the Arctic Ocean, as well as in Karakum and other places difficult for aviators to perform their duties. In 1951-1952, he took part in military action in North Korea.
Since 1955, Oleg Georgievich focused his efforts on the research in the field of space biology and medicine, becoming one of the ideologists, managers and active performers of research programs on artificial biological satellites of the Earth. The results of biological and physiological studies on living organisms in space flight and ground-based laboratory experiments simulating a number of space flight factors made it possible to justify the possibility of human flights into space, and when preparations for the Yuri Gagarin flight began, O. G. Gazenko took a direct part in them.
Since 1969, by the decision of the Central Committee of the CPSU (the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) and the Council of Ministers, he was attached to the 3rd Main Directorate under the USSR Ministry of Health as the Director of the Institute of Biomedical Problems and worked in this position until 1988. In this position, his extensive scientific experience, erudition and organizational talent were fully manifested. The main scientific works of Oleg Gazenko during this period were devoted to fundamental problems of space biology and medicine. Studies of the human body reactions to space flight conditions and the disclosure of the mechanisms of the biological effect of weightlessness on living organisms allowed the scientists to substantiate the principles and methods of protecting humans from the effects of adverse flight factors, create a system of measures to maintain the health and performance of space crews in flight and after returning to the conditions of the Earth's gravity, as well as a system of medical support for astronauts and preventive procedures to preserve their health and safety.
Since 1978, Oleg Gazenko worked on the justification and implementation of a system of physiological, hygienic and psychological measures that would ensure the realization of long-term space flights.
O. G. Gazenko was an outstanding organizer of science. On his initiative and under his direct supervision, a series of biological studies was performed on the specialized "Kosmos" biosatellites. Scientists from Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, the USA, France and other countries took part in these studies.
To quickly and effectively solve the problems of space biology and medicine, the scientist managed to attract the best specialists of the Academy of Sciences, higher school and other departments. For several decades, Oleg Georgievich consolidated the work of these organizations and in many cases was the actual leader of such work.
The contribution of O. G. Gazenko to science is also reflected in the extensive (more than 250) list of his scientific works, which include monographs, reference books, and manuals. Among the most important publications are the books "Animals in space" (1960), "Life and space" (1961), "Space cardiology" (1967), "Humanity and space" (1987), and others.
Convinced of the need for a broad exchange of information on medical and biological problems of space exploration, Oleg Georgievich actively participated in the publication of the multi-volume serial publication "Problems of space biology" (since 1963, about a hundred volumes have been published), as well as in the publication of the journal "Space biology and medicine" since 1969 (later – "Space biology and aerospace medicine"), where he was the Editor-in-Chief for 19 years.
O. G. Gazenko was a regular author and ideological inspirer of the "Science and life" journal, largely defining its image, from 1961 and to the end of his life remaining a member of the Editorial Board, and then the Editorial Council of the publication.
Oleg Georgievich served as the initiator and co-editor of two editions of the Russian-American work on space biology and medicine "The fundamentals of space biology and medicine" (in 3 volumes, 1975), editor of the journal "Advances in physiological sciences", Executive Editor of the "Scientific results of research in space flights" series, member of the editorial boards and editorial councils of a number of journals ("Izvestiya RAS. Biological series", "Aerospace and environmental medicine", etc.), Chairman of The Scientific Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences for space biology and medicine.
In 1988, Oleg Georgievich retired with the rank of Lieutenant General of Medical Service.
Since 1987 and for many years was the President of the All – Union (now - Russian) Physiological Society named after I. P. Pavlov. He paid special attention to the introduction of bioethics standards in the practice of physiological research and in the programs of medical universities.
O. G. Gazenko was a member of the Board of Directors of the International Galileo Foundation (USA, since 1982), and was one of the leaders of the Bioastronautics Committee of the International Astronomical Federation. With his participation, international symposiums "Man in space" were regularly held.
Oleg Gazenko's diverse and extremely fruitful scientific and public activity received wide, including international, recognition, as evidenced by the high titles and awards he earned.
He was a Doctor of Biology, a Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1976), the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (1992), the International Academy of Sciences and the International Academy of Astronautics (1965), an Honorary Member of the K. E. Tsiolkovsky Academy of Cosmonautics (1998), the American (1987) and Polish (1976) Physiological Societies, and an Honorary Professor at the Wright University (Dayton, Ohio, USA, 1988), Honorary Doctor of the Russian (1997) and Polish (1982) Military Medical Academies, member of the Order of the Dolphin, which unites figures who have made a significant contribution to the establishment of international intellectual cooperation.
Oleg Georgievich was awarded numerous high government awards. He is a laureate of the USSR State Prize (1976), the RF Government State Prize (1997, for research on biosatellites), the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland", IV degree, the Guggenheim International Prize for Cosmonautics of the International Academy of Astronautics (1976), the Association of Space Researchers Award (1991, for the work on bioastronautics), The L. Bauer Prize (USA, 1978, for the development of bioastronautics), the R. Loveless Award (USA, 1990, for the work on space medicine), the P. N. Demidov Prize (1998, for the development of space physiology), the "Triumph" Prize.
O. G. Gazenko was awarded the Pavlov Gold Medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Purkinje Gold and Silver Medals of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, the Jansenius Gold Medal (Slovakia), the Order of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences for Services to Science, the Order of the Polar Star (Mongolia), The Timofeev-Resovsky Medal, the Russian Geographical Society Medal, and other distinctions.
He was awarded with the Orders of Lenin and the October Revolution, three Orders of the Red Star, the Order of the Patriotic War, II degree, the Order of the Badge of Honour, two "For Battle Merit" medals, "For the Victory over Germany", "For the Capture of Berlin", Zhukov, jubilee medals.
In 1989-1991, he was a People's Deputy of the USSR, was a member of the Committee on Science and Education of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and was a member of the Commission to investigate the Tbilisi events on April 9, 1989.
In his last years, Oleg Georgiyevich worked as an adviser from the Russian Academy of Sciences at the RF State Scientific Centre - the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where worked actively and fruitfully. At the Institute, he headed the work of the specialized Academic Council for the defense of doctoral dissertations. In addition, in the Department of Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, he served as a Deputy Academician-Secretary of the Department. As a member of the Russian-American Expert Council, he participated in the assessment of measures to ensure the safety of work on the International Space Station being constructed.
In one of his last interviews Oleg Gazenko said: "I am deeply convinced that space exploration is one of the main ways of further development of human civilization, even if it is not yet very clear to most people, the Space is already giving us so much, perhaps invisibly. Sooner or later, people will understand this."
The RAS Presidium Program "Fundamental science - to medicine", which aims to implement the results of fundamental research obtained in the field of Natural and Exact Sciences into national healthcare, primarily in the RAS medical system, was the last creation of Oleg Gazenko. Since its foundation in 2002, he has been the permanent Chairman of its Scientific Council. Under his leadership, several dozens of innovative projects were formed within the framework of the Program, the results of which make a significant contribution to the development of domestic healthcare.