Sokolovsky, Oleksii

Sokolovsky, Oleksii [Соколовський, Олексій; Sokolovs'kyj, Oleksij], b 13 March 1884 in Velyka Burimka, Zolotonosha county, Poltava gubernia, d 25 April 1959 in Kharkiv. Agronomist and soil scientist; full member of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences from 1929, the All-Ukrainian Academy of Agricultural Sciences from 1926, the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences from 1935, and the Ukrainian Academy of Agricultural Sciences from 1956. He graduated from Kyiv University (1908) and the Moscow Agricultural Institute (1910) and worked in the laboratories of the soil scientists D. Prianishnikov and V. Viliams. In 1924 he was appointed a professor, and in 1944 director, of the Kharkiv Agricultural Institute. He was the first president of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Agricultural Sciences. In the mid-1930s he was arrested, and spent several years in GULAG concentration camps. From 1945 he headed the Laboratory of Soil Science at the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR and then the Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry (1956–9), into which the laboratory was reorganized. Sokolovsky introduced a new approach in soil colloids research, made important contributions to the theory of the soil’s colloidal complex, and proposed a genetic system of soil classification. He discovered new colloidal soil technology and developed a chemical method of improving saline soils and an alkalinization method of dealing with water filtration in irrigation canals. In his numerous publications he dealt with the physical and chemical properties of soil, the effect of cation exchange on the mechanical and hydroscopic properties of the soil, the melioration of podzols and saline soils, and the role of calcium in the fixation of mineral colloids and humus in the soil. He wrote a textbook on soil science, Kurs sil's'kohospodars'koho hruntoznavstva (A Course in Agricultural Soil Science, 1951), which appeared in Ukrainian and Russian and was reprinted several times. An edition of his selected works came out in 1971.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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