Born on July 25, 1917 in the city of Petrograd in the family of a lawyer, Vladislav Voevodsky as a child received an excellent and comprehensive education. In 1940 he graduated with honours from the Physical Engineering Department of the Leningrad Polytechnical Institute, majoring in chemical physics. While at the Institute he was awarded the Stalin Scholarship, which saved him from expulsion as he refused to deny his repressed father. In spring 1941 he enrolled in a military school but was soon expelled as the son of an executed “public enemy”.
V.V. Voevodsky had a rare and special talent to see from observing chemical processes the picture of the “inner world” of a chemical reaction that later was confirmed by direct experiments. A favorite student of N.N. Semenov, V.V. Voevodsky performed a great number of fundamental studies in the field of kinetics chemical reactions in gas phase. He made a seminal contribution to the development of the theory of hydrogen oxidation, created a new method for measuring rate constants of fast reactions, developed the first quantitative theory of thermal decomposition (cracking) of hydrocarbons, developed the understanding of the mechanisms of heterogeneous catalytic reactions. Together with N.N. Semenov and M.V. Volkenstein he developed a theory of heterogeneous catalysis involving free radicals.
The works of V.V. Voevodsky laid the foundation for a new area of research on the connection between the structure of the active transient radicals and their reactivity in chemical processes. He played an extremely important role in the introduction of physical methods to study the mechanisms of chemical processes. One of these methods was electron paramagnetic resonance. The EPR spectrometer developed under the guidance of V.V. Voevodsky for many years was produced by Soviet industry, which allowed setting up an extensive program of studies on the chemistry of free radicals in our country. In particular, V.V. Voevodsky studied the role of radicals forming upon radiation impact on substances (radiation chemistry).
V.V. Voevodsky always combined fruitful research activity with teaching. In 1946 - 1952 he taught at the Chair of Chemical Kinetics of the Chemical Department at MSU, holding the position of Assistant Professor. However, on September 1, 1952 he was fired from the department. The reason was the notorious “bourgeois antischolarly theory of resonance” by Linus Poling that many chemists suffered for those years. In 1953-1961 V.V. Voevodsky taught at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, holding the position of Full Professor since 1955, where he organized the Chair of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion and was the Dean of the Department of Molecular and Chemical Physics. Since 1961 he taught at the Novosibirsk State University, where he was the Dean of the Department of Natural Sciences and the Head of the Chair of Physical Chemistry. He brought up a large group of students and followers, who became the core of his Moscow and Novosibirsk laboratories.
V.V. Voevodsky was one of the founders of the Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion of the Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, where until his last days he worked as a Head of laboratory and as a Deputy director for science. His talent of the scientist, educator and organizer bloomed in the Novosibirsk Scientific Center. V.V. Voevodsky gave much energy to strengthening and expanding international cooperation of the Soviet scientists. He was an active participant in organization and proceeding of numerous international conferences, symposia and workshops, giving lectures and talks all over the world.
In the beginning of January, 1961 the laboratory of V.V. Voevodsky (elected in 1958 a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR) moved together with him to Novosibirsk from Moscow, where it was created at the Institute of Chemical Physics of the Academy if Sciences of the USSR. Besides V.V. Voevodsky himself, the core of the laboratory was built up from the graduates of PhysTech and other institutes and universities with work experience of 2-4 years . Then the laboratory was augmented by the graduates of the NSU. Among them were Academician R.Z. Sagdeev – the Head of the International Tomography Center; Doctors of Sciences O.A. Anisimov, N.P. Gritsan, Yu. A. Grishin, S.A. Dzuba, A.B. Doktorov, N.L. Lavrik, T.V. Leshina, N.N. Medvedev, V.F. Plyusnin, V.V. Khramtsov, who are now at ICKC and working actively both as researchers and as tutors.
Since the very beginning V.V. Voevodsky actively participated in the work of the University. He became the Dean of the Department of Natural Sciences and the Head of the Chair of Physical Chemistry. Before that he had a not insignificant experience as a tutor in MSU and PhysTech, where he held the position of the Dean of Physicochemical Department. During his first years in Novosibirsk he doubled as the Dean at both MPTI and NSU. One of the features of the Voevodsky’s school was freedom. It began with the freedom for the student to choose the lab to go for practice. In his courses he brought together theoretical background and practical applications of modern physical methods finding use in chemical research. Voevodsky had a clear vision that modern chemistry and biology required specialists with physical background. He immediately initiated organization of the corresponding majoring specialization and later graduation chair at the Physical department. His main assistants became A.I. Burshtein and Yu.N. Molin (head of the chair since 1973), the ñurrent Head of the chair is its graduate Prof. S.A. Dzuba.
Laureate of the State Prize (1968, posthumously - 20.02.1967).
Ya.B. Zeldovich, V.V. Voevodsky. Thermal explosion and flame propagation in gases. Moscow, 1947.
A.B. Nalbandyan, V.V. Voevodsky. Mechanism of hydrogen oxidation and combustion. Moscow-Leningrad: AS USSR Publishing, 1949.
V.V. Voevodsky, F.F. Volkenstein, N.N. Semenov. Problems of chemical kinetics, catalysis and reactivity. Moscow, AS USSR Publishing, 1955.
V.V. Voevodsky. Physics and chemistry of elementary chemical processes. Moscow: Nauka, 1969.
Academician V.V. Voevodsky. Herald of Acad. Sci. USSR, 1967, No.4, p.110.
Vladislav Vladislavovich Voevodsky. Izvestiya Acad. Sci. USSR, Chemistry, 1967, No.6, p.1401.
V.V. Voevodsky. Zh. Fiz. Khim, 1967, No.12, p.3159.
Vladislav Vladislavovich Voevodsky. Kinetika i Kataliz, 1967, V.8, No.3, p.706.
V. Dorofeeva, V. Dorofeev. Long-range action. Yunost, 1970, No.10, p.93.
Archive materials: Archive RAS, f. 411, inv. 3, f. 269, l. 17 ob, 66-69.