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Oral History Transcript — Dr. Igor Rezanov

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Interview with Dr. Igor Rezanov
By Tanya Levin
In Moscow, Russia
January 19, 1999

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Igor Rezanov; January 19, 1999

ABSTRACT: In this interview, Igor Rezanov discusses his career. Topics include: Moscow Mining Institute; Institute of the Physics of the Earth; V. V. Beloussov; geosyncline hypothesis; continental drift; Alex du Toit; International Geophysical Year; Maurice Ewing; Gamburtsev method; Mohorovicic discontinuity.

Transcript

Levin:

This is Tanya Levin, and this is an interview with Igor Alexsandrovich Rezanov. And it is the 19th of January, 1999, and our translator is Alexi Anderavich Ketanof, thank you. And I don't know when you were born. Were you born in Moscow?

Rezanov:

Yes, in Moscow. 18th of November, 1927.

Levin:

Can you tell me a little bit about growing up in Russia during this time? What did your parents do for a living?

Rezanov:

My mother was a doctor. My father was an engineer. He worked at the Ministry of Railroads.

Levin:

Did he have to travel a lot to work?

Rezanov:

No.

Levin:

Did he live in an apartment or a house?

Rezanov:

His father built him a house in Moscow and he lived there.

Levin:

Interesting. Did your house have library?

Rezanov:

No.

Levin:

Does he remember liking to read as a child?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

What kind of books did he read?

Rezanov:

Pushkin was the first book which I read. And I liked Russian literature, Pushkin especially.

Levin:

His father was an engineer. Was there anyone in his family who was a scientist?

Rezanov:

No.

Levin:

Did his father talk about his work at home?

Rezanov:

No, not really.

Levin:

Were there any journals in his home?

Rezanov:

Practitional journals?

Levin:

Engineering journals.

Rezanov:

Very few.

Levin:

When he went to school in the early years did he have classes in science?

Rezanov:

No. What do you mean by classes in science?

Levin:

General classes: Literature, Russian language, history.

Rezanov:

I see. Not in the school program.

Levin:

So they taught a little bit of science. Did they have them perform science experiments?

Rezanov:

You mean at the school? No.

Levin:

When he was growing up did he have any hobbies or sports that he enjoyed?

Rezanov:

[Inaudible].

Levin:

Did he have brothers or sisters?

Rezanov:

I had a sister, but she died at the World War II.

Levin:

When World War II came, was his schooling stopped?

Rezanov:

It began at [inaudible].

Levin:

His whole family went there?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

So he was there for the whole War, or was he in that region of Kazan for the entire war?

Rezanov:

When the Soviet troops started to progress in the War he return to Moscow.

Levin:

And when he returned to Moscow, was it a long time before school started again?

Rezanov:

When I came to Moscow, I attended the courses for the preparation for the mining institute. I finished school at the mine institute.

Levin:

Let's see, this would be about twenty years later. So there was an institute after high school? How did this work?

Rezanov:

He finished the last grade in the preparation courses.

Levin:

And it was a mining school?

Rezanov:

Mining institute.

Levin:

Did they teach him a wide range of science?

Rezanov:

The problem was narrowed because it was war and it was necessary to urgently prepare the engineers.

Levin:

Did they teach any science classes? Did they teach geology?

Rezanov:

At preparation courses they taught a standard school program. And when I entered the mining institute, during the [???] with special subjects, [???] subjects.

Levin:

Specifically about mining?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Okay. And during that time there did they do practical work? Did they go out to the mines?

Rezanov:

In the institute?

Levin:

In the institute.

Rezanov:

Starting from the first course I had to practice.

Levin:

Was it practice around Moscow, or did they send them far?

Rezanov:

My practice was in Ukraine in Donbass (?) in the Donets Coal Basin in the Ukraine.

Levin:

When he finished at the institute, did he have to do a dissertation?

Rezanov:

When I finished the institute I was sent to work as a researcher in the Institute of Physics.

Levin:

Did he decide himself that he wanted to go there?

Rezanov:

Being a student, I worked as an assistant in this institute and [???].

Levin:

As a student at the university?

Rezanov:

At the mining institute.

Levin:

The mining institute. And so they requested that he come there?

Rezanov:

[Inaudible].

Levin:

Did he do any more schooling after he left the mining institute?

Rezanov:

When I finished the institute I participated in an expedition to Turkmenia; at that time, Stalin Turkmenia Channel. And it was necessary to study [???] Earthquakes would happen there. And I was a geologist in this expedition.

Levin:

So he had enough courses in geology at the mining institute to feel like he knew geology well?

Rezanov:

I prepared my dissertation using the materials for this expedition.

Levin:

His dissertation, did what he found about Earthquakes in that region help to shape what he did with his channel?

Rezanov:

Stalin died at this time and the project was cancelled.

Levin:

Did he think if it wouldn't have been cancelled, if it would have been successful, if Stalin had not died and they had continued the channel would it have held up?

Rezanov:

It's difficult to say. Fifty-fifty.

Levin:

Did he wonder why Stalin wanted this channel, if it was so possible that it might not have worked? If it was fifty-fifty.

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Yes, he wondered that. So he went back, and now he’s working at the Earth Institute. What year did he start working there?

Rezanov:

1951.

Levin:

And when he was working there, did they have seminars at this institute where people would come from outside institutes to speak?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Does he remember particular scientists that came that he knew?

Rezanov:

From the outside?

Levin:

From outside; either from the West or from Eastern Europe, or if more people were coming from a particular region.

Rezanov:

A famous geologist, Bugnov, came from Germany. At this time very few scientists came to Russia. Among geophysics the contacts were established during the International [???] 1957. At this very time the international cooperation began between Russia and other countries. Before 1957 there were few.

Levin:

Does he think that it has to do with Stalin?

Rezanov:

Of course. Stalin died 1953, and it was only after this it opened up.

Levin:

He mentioned off tape that his professor, he was trained by Beloussov. Was Beloussov teaching at the mining institute?

Rezanov:

No. When he was a student, he changed the institute. He left the mining institute and entered the Institute of Geology, [???]. And there he was under his provision of Beloussov. And in the expedition he was his personal collector.

Levin:

A personal?

Rezanov:

Collector. Assistant and [???] the Institute of Physics.

Levin:

And during this time, what books was he studying at the institute? What geophysical books or geology books does he remember as being important?

Rezanov:

The first book of Beloussov was published at this time. It was published in 1948.

Levin:

And what did they teach the students about the building of mountains or the changes because he mentioned that tectonic physics was not believed then. Plate tectonics. What did they teach about how the Earth was formed?

Rezanov:

It was a classic theory of geosyncline. I don't know if that's the correct term. It was developed by Russian scientists and it was considered to be possible. The Academician Kyneschii worked on these theories in Russia.

Levin:

Was he familiar with the work of western geologists at this time?

Rezanov:

He knew these works very well. There was a single shared approach of the views on geology. The famed geologist Og and German geologist Stille. [???] works now, and our specialists shared debuts.

Levin:

That's interesting. But in England at the time and in South Africa, some people suggested otherwise. So their views were different.

Rezanov:

But these views were not appreciated in the West or in Russia.

Levin:

That's true. When he was taught about (Alfred) Wegener and (Alexander L.) du Toit, how was it explained to him? Was it said that here are some ideas and they're wrong? How did he become familiar?

Rezanov:

He got to know about this theory at the junior grade of the institute.

Levin:

So they taught it, but did they say, “We are going to tell you about this, but we all know that it is wrong.”

Rezanov:

Yes, they taught and criticized us.

Levin:

Can he explain what their basic criticism of it was?

Rezanov:

This theory didn't take into account the geological data. It was based only on the geophysical materials. And Wegener starts the Earth's history only from the coal period.

Levin:

So did he or his professors have a problem with this theory because of the work that they did in geology themselves? The field trips or the travel they did through Russia?

Rezanov:

What problem do you mean?

Levin:

Contradictions.

Rezanov:

In 1937 there was an International Geophysical Congress in Moscow. Commissioner Hungrisky was speaking on the name of the certain scientists. He said [???]. There is no data to support this theory.

Levin:

Were there people that came from outside of the Soviet Union?

Rezanov:

It was an international congress.

Levin:

And does he remember people from outside of Russia saying, “Yes, we find that in our countries too that the geology data does not support.”

Rezanov:

Most of the people thought so.

Levin:

Were there some that didn't?

Rezanov:

The geologist du Toit of the West was almost the only person who studied Africa, and he supported the theory.

Levin:

So now he's at the Earth Institute and he worked with Beloussov. What was he like as an advisor or a mentor?

Rezanov:

He asked very much from himself and from the other people. And he was very strong in supervising people. And he disliked people who didn't share his views. He had a very high opinion of himself.

Levin:

Does he remember if ever any one of his students tried to tell him something that he did not believe?

Rezanov:

Very few. He disliked this. He was a very well organized person, and he was able to work hard and to organize people.

Levin:

Beloussov was very high up with the ranks of science.

Rezanov:

Yes, but many people disliked him. And he was not able to become a member of the Academy of Sciences.

Levin:

Because he was disliked?

Rezanov:

Many people disliked him and were afraid of him, and they considered that until he's not a in a commission he could be managed. When he will be a commissioner it will be possible.

Levin:

Was he liked by the government? Was he involved with government activities?

Rezanov:

He was not a member of the communist party.

Levin:

Interesting. So he was at the institute, and after he finished his studies there did he stay to work there?

Rezanov:

[Inaudible sentence].

Levin:

He stayed to work at the Institute of Earth Sciences?

Rezanov:

[Inaudible sentence].

Levin:

So he was studying and working at the same time?

Rezanov:

I see. You mean the dissertation?

Levin:

Yes.

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Was it assumed that after he finished his dissertation he would stay at the institute?

Rezanov:

He was not a student in this institution. He was just a researcher. During his work he prepared his dissertation. So he had no special courses. He didn't study. When he finished his dissertation he already worked there.

Levin:

Did he think about going anywhere else to work?

Rezanov:

When I finished my dissertation I started to work on the program of the International Geophysical Year in the Far East.

Levin:

How was he chosen to work for the IGY?

Rezanov:

[???] him to work on this program when this program began.

Levin:

And he worked out in Siberia, Vladivostok. Who decided what he would study when he was there?

Rezanov:

It was a program on the study of the observance of transfer from the continent to the ocean. And as a part of this program he worked at the Far East, so he had this regional study.

Levin:

Was it his idea to study this or Beloussov?

Rezanov:

It was the idea of the institute as a whole. The main task was to study the deep structures by the selestic(?) methods. The director of the Geophysical Institute, Commissioner Hungrisky, worked out a method of the deep seismic remote sensing. There were no such methods abroad. The artificial Earthquake caused by explosion was monitored at a distance of four hundred kilometers from the sea. And when English scientists were told about this they didn't believe it. For the first time this matter was widely used for the whole study of Hotsca(?) sea and cureals(?) and the fari(?) during the International Geophysical Year. In this program, the geophysical studies would remain. And we geologists only helped to interpret. This condition was mainly geophysical.

Levin:

You mentioned that it was the English that did not believe the seismic interpretation. Was it the Americans as well?

Rezanov:

I heard only one talk about it, but I did know about other cases.

Levin:

Was it the science that they didn't believe or was it the fact that —

Rezanov:

When English and American scientists came to Moscow at approximately 1956-57, they spoke with the leader of the Academician Grobsov at this time. And they said that your geophysical method is Sputnik. It was of the same significance as Sputnik.

Levin:

Interesting. Were they talking about the science implications or about the political implications?

Rezanov:

All the scientific implication.

Levin:

Did he remember talk about the possibility for using this method to monitor nuclear explosions?

Rezanov:

This is very close. It's not just the same, but approximately the same. And these books are also took place in the Institute of Physics. This is the [???] method for fixing nuclear explosions. And people of the Academician Grobsov worked in these fields.

Levin:

Were they familiar with the work of Frank Press in the U.S. and Maurice Ewing?

Rezanov:

Press was very familiar with our geophysics and had close contacts with them. Maurice Ewing? You mean the father? The eldest? His studies, Ewing's studies of the sea were [???]. He studied only the upper part of the Earth crust. The Gambetsev method allowed to study the Earth's crust to the depth of fifty kilometers. The Gambetsev method was developed mainly for the continents. The Ewing method was developed basically for the oceans.

Levin:

Interestingly enough, later Ewing became interested in the area called Mohorovicic discontinuity. The Mole Hole Project, which was very deep. But I heard that Beloussov said that the time was not right to go back east.

Rezanov:

[Inaudible sentence]. In 1962 when it was the geophysical [???] in Helsinki. They also suggested the Upper Mantle Program. They also of course had a person who suggested them. Then he was the president of the International Geophysical Union. He supervised these activities.

Levin:

How was Beloussov appointed to that position within the union?

Rezanov:

He was elected in Helsinki at a joint meeting.

Levin:

Did anyone else from Russia go that he knows? Was there a lot of Russians?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Were you there?

Rezanov:

Approximately fifteen people from Russia.

Levin:

When he went to the Far East, to Vladivostok to work, how many people were with him?

Rezanov:

Approximately five or seven people in [???].

Levin:

Were they all geologists?

Rezanov:

They were geologists and students.

Levin:

One geologist?

Rezanov:

One geologist and students.

Levin:

Were the students studying geology?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

At this time he was the geologist? Right? He was no longer a student?

Rezanov:

Yes, he was a [???] for science. He was a supervisor. He prepared his second dissertation using these materials of the Far East.

Levin:

So he went to work on the program that the institute had decided would be best. Was he able to do his own work there too? His own interest?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

So when he found something interesting, he could do the program and do this other work as well?

Rezanov:

There was a lot of interesting things, and I wrote three books and a lot of articles using these materials.

Levin:

Was he collaborating or cooperating with other scientists working in similar areas such as Greenland or maybe Alaska at this time?

Rezanov:

I don't know English and it was difficult for me to communicate with them.

Levin:

Did he study another language? Did he study German or another language?

Rezanov:

I speak a little German.

Levin:

After he got his research and this data, was there a problem with classification of data? Was some of it considered important for the security?

Rezanov:

I worked in the area where there were a lot of prisoners before. The Madagascar area. And certainly there were a lot of problems there.

Levin:

And so did he know not to print his information about that area? Or did someone tell him that was not…?

Rezanov:

Speaking about geology, I didn't meet restrictions, excluding maybe some programs of the strategic resources, but quite few restrictions.

Levin:

Does he remember perhaps there being a problem getting information out of other countries such as the U.S., which classifies, well, they had lots of restrictions on some of their data.

Rezanov:

He couldn't even [inaudible].

Levin:

Does he remember at the time the IGY being written up a lot in the newspapers such as Plot Esetia?

Rezanov:

Yes, Russia just entered this union and there were meetings inside Russia. They were reflected in newspapers.

Levin:

Does he remember it mainly being talked about in terms of what science has been done? Or was it interesting to newspapers because of the international cooperation or the political aspects that I mentioned?

Rezanov:

They wanted to show the participation of the Soviet Union in the international organizations.

Levin:

Was international considered important for the welfare of the Soviet Union?

Rezanov:

The International Geophysical Year changed a lot in the relations between the soviet and “scientists.” At this time, two centers for collection of geophysical data were organized. One was in the United States, and the second center is in Moscow at the place where the geological committee [inaudible]. And this was the second center. The International Geophysical Year could happen if all the scientists should collaborate. And from this very time the international cooperation began.

Levin:

Did he send his information, his data, to the Moscow center?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Were there duplicates of the Moscow information in the U.S.?

Rezanov:

I think that you can receive an answer in the Geophysical Center whether there would be.

Levin:

How long was he in the Far East?

Rezanov:

I worked during four summers.

Levin:

No winters. What did he and his colleagues do there for socializing? Did they have parties? Did they communicate informally?

Rezanov:

With the population? With the people there?

Levin:

With people there and also among themselves.

Rezanov:

There is a very big geological administration in Magadan. And when we came here we established contacts with local geologists. There was a rule in Magadan that after every field season ends there is a big party. We were strangers, but everyone went to this party. And I have many friends in Magadan with whom I got acquainted at this time, and continue to know. Besides the essential administration in Magadan there are local administrations in other places. The most intelligent people are geologists in Magadan.

Levin:

Where was he when Sputnik was launched?

Rezanov:

At this time he was at a conference at Sakhalin.

Levin:

What did he think when he heard the announcement?

Rezanov:

It was a very strong impression. It was a very strong impression to the Americans. The [???] told him that it was a really strong impression to the Americans. He was at one of the center's meetings. The head of this meeting was invited to the telephone. This is about Americans. And then he returned and told the people that Russians launched Sputnik. There happened a minute of silence, like in Gogart(?). Do you know this resort at the end of this book when — and after this minute of silence they rushed to the Valusuf(?) to congratulate him.

Levin:

Was he able to personally track the satellite?

Rezanov:

No.

Levin:

That's interesting. Did he receive news from home about this or, was everyone that he talked with excited about it?

Rezanov:

At the previous year the Vice President Bardum, who supervised the activities of the International Geophysical Year, was in Espania. He said then that Russians are going to launch Sputnik of the 35 kilograms. And he told [???] , but he was not believed.

Levin:

Was there any talk after Sputnik was launched about problems that might occur from spying on — because the satellite passed over other countries?

Rezanov:

No.

Levin:

How was his work in the Far East funded? Who funded it, and did they have enough money?

Rezanov:

When this problem began, a special funding for support was granted for this program. And they were allowed to employee additional people and they have some privileges.

Levin:

Extra funding?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Was he able to travel to any conferences?

Rezanov:

Inside or outside?

Levin:

Either.

Rezanov:

It was a time when scientists started to go abroad. Before the National Geophysical Year began during two previous years there were a lot of preparations. During these preparations the hints of this program Beloussov and Trotskiya often traveled abroad. And Trotskiya married an Australian and left for Australia.

Levin:

He left for Australia with the permission of the Soviet government or was he able to —?

Rezanov:

Trotskiya is a she. She got married and left the Soviet Union long after this, and so yes, she received the permission.

Levin:

Following his work and following the IGY, did he continue his research on the Far East?

Rezanov:

No. After this I received an invitation to go to Vietnam to make a model of the upgrade focus(?). He was there for one year.

Levin:

Was he invited by any institute in Vietnam?

Rezanov:

Yes, the Meteorological Administration.

Levin:

And when he was there did he work alongside other Vietnamese scientists?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Were their equipment and methods similar?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Does he remember any differences?

Rezanov:

There were quite a few measurements in Vietnam. The data from the measurements. And they questioned people about the former earthquakes.

Levin:

Did the people know Russian, or how did they communicate?

Rezanov:

He had about ten Vietnamese scientists who he taught and they assisted him, and some of them knew Russian.

Levin:

Did Vietnam participate in the IGY as well?

Rezanov:

Yes, the geophysical observatory was organized in Vietnam and Polish scientists worked there in this observatory.

Levin:

He mentioned that he wrote three books and lots of articles from his work there. When he went to prepare his papers, did he use the data centers?

Rezanov:

Yes, I did.

Levin:

Was the work that he did internationally important for his career advancement?

Rezanov:

Yes, because the geological structure in Vietnam is similar to the structure of Magadan area and this structure.

Levin:

When he published articles did it matter if they were published just in the Soviet Union or was it more important to get the work published in the East?

Rezanov:

Certainly it's more important to publish the work abroad because only if it's published in English could we internationally appreciate it. I personally published only one article in Canada. So this about thirty years there existed the international journal The American International Geological Review, which published the books. Published in English and also published in Russian. And this journal published about twenty articles of mine in English. If you're interested you can take these articles from our library and I'll show you just not.

Levin:

That is a lot of articles.

Rezanov:

He says he published three hundred and fifty articles, works. Twenty articles are not too many. But even these publications in International Geological Review are not the main thing. It's necessary to publish articles in such as a journal as the Journal of Geological Research. If you publish an article in this journal you will be heard. Now it's a problem for all Russian scientists.

Levin:

We are resuming after a short interruption, and I am looking at some of the books that have come out that he has written. So you were saying at this time it is difficult for the Russians to publish. Why is that?

Rezanov:

First it is necessary to fill a good translation. Because when we ask for translations of who has poor English, it is an awkward impression to the editorial board.

Levin:

Why was it different before?

Rezanov:

At what time?

Levin:

I heard that it is particularly hard now for Russians to publish. One of the reasons is because of the translations. So was it not so difficult before?

Rezanov:

You mean before the Perestroika?

Levin:

Yes.

Rezanov:

Before Perestroika it was more complicated because you needed to seek permission from the upper organization to publish this article. Even if a person were in the academy of sciences the permission should be received from the department. The body of that administers a few institutes and several institutions. If the institute was in the system of a certain ministry the ministry should give this permission. And they could give permission or could reject.

Levin:

Did he have any of his articles rejected?

Rezanov:

In 1970 I left the Institute of work at Math Sciences and started work at the Institute, which is in the system of the Minister of Georgia. And I had these problems when working in the system of the Minister of Georgia.

Levin:

And did he say why?

Rezanov:

No.

Levin:

Was there anything he could do to get around them or to try to work with them?

Rezanov:

No.

Levin:

Were there colleagues of his that were having the same problem?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Okay. So now, after Perestroika he said that there were lots of problems they were trying to get out. And one of them was translation. What are the other problems?

Rezanov:

I feel that the known people, the people from abroad, are preferred to unknown within a specific style of writing a work. And often it is not appreciated. And also science is done in such a way that the scientist is speaking about that he disagrees with the common opinion. If you set yourself in view it is always not appreciated at first. In the English speaking literature there is a special stereotype. And when people suggest a different approach, they take it close to heart.

Levin:

Personally?

Rezanov:

Yes. And I understood that now English speaking scientists don't know about it. It so happened that there was a very small number of Russian scientists who know English and managed to spend some personal contact with Russian scientists. And the Russian scientists know only these people. And Russian scientists are absolutely unfamiliar with most Russian scientists.

Levin:

So the writing style is different. Does he notice differences in the way that geology is conducted? The methods used between…

Rezanov:

We have a lot of achievements with which Russian scientists are not familiar with.

Levin:

Does he see a lot of work duplicated in the West that has already been done in Russia because they don't know about it?

Rezanov:

After Perestroika we have lack of money for experiments and for new equipment, and certainly we began to feel behind as Russian scientists.

Levin:

Right now where does most of their funding come from?

Rezanov:

The financial support from the Academy of Sciences is the budget part. We are almost unable to buy equipment and to organize expeditions using this money that we have. And the number of people working in institutes reduced approximately to twice. And the thing is that young people leave the institutes. And only the old people remained who are in the final stages of their career. Young people receive such a small salary that they are unable to live on this.

Levin:

Where do they go?

Rezanov:

I have two children, and both of them are geologists. One of them left for Japan. He made his dissertation and now he's working in the oil enterprise. My daughter, who works in the Academy of Sciences, now is a computer dealer.

Levin:

So they have lost a lot of scientists?

Rezanov:

They recruited from the University. And most of the university friends with whom they studied are working international firms or somewhere else.

Levin:

He mentioned that sometimes the articles were rejected because of the differences in the writing style. Can he notice what the differences are?

Rezanov:

It's difficult for me to answer this question, but I know that Nature journal published a special article in the Russian magazine Piroda to explain Russian scientists how to write articles for Nature.

Levin:

That's interesting. He also mentioned that anything different is often discouraged, and that is true. What sort of things is he noticing that the Russians do —

Rezanov:

Unfortunately the foreign geophysics are so much in the hypothesis of the political (?) that he cannot think about anything else.

Levin:

That's true. What are the latest theories that Russian geophysicists and geologists propose for the geomorphology, the movement or the building of it?

Rezanov:

When he was asked about his [???]. He asked his friend how can you hear all this stuff?

Levin:

So?

Rezanov:

We had a hypothesis which was shared by American scientists that there was that all the process is the changes the structure and the reduction of the revolution. And this is the main idea. And this approach was also shared by Americans in the ‘40s. American and English geologists considered that the level of the Atlantic Ocean simply reduced, and just so.

Levin:

Is it difficult then to understand this if you think about global warming with the icebergs melting and the ocean rising? Is that considered a problem now to this day?

Rezanov:

Now there is an idea that after the ice melting, the ocean level rose approximately four hundred meters. I made a mistake. The idea is not the level of the ocean reduced, but the layer of the ocean reduced because of the changes in the Earth structure. And this reduction was about three or four kilometers.

Levin:

The layer of the Earth below the sea?

Rezanov:

Yes, the basement of the sea.

Levin:

Is it spreading or is it changing in depth?

Rezanov:

In depth.

Levin:

In depth. Okay. So are there Russians that believe in plate tectonics? Or are there some that say yes you believe in it and some that say no it's not proving or it's just a theory? Is there just one Russian view about this or are there multiple?

Rezanov:

There are different approaches. The reduction is explained in different ways. It's necessary for the light and thick continental crust to be reduced in the upper model. It's not possible to reduce the light [???] into a heavy one(?). It's necessary to invent a way for the light crest to become heavier. And it depends on the material on which the Earth crest is constructed. But we don't know exactly what rocks are at the depth of thirty kilometers if there are granites at this depth. It's impossible to consolidate them, to make them heavier. That's why those who consider the crust consist on granites. They are right that it's impossible to reduce this crest. They insist on the spreading hypothesis. There are such rocks that consist on the materials of the upper mantle, but heliotized(?), the heliotized materials of the upper mantle. Their physical features are the same as with granites. If you de-heliotize these materials, they are the same as the mantle. It's possible if the temperature is above four hundred degrees. That's if the crest consists of this heliotized material. It's very easy to consolidate it. If you kind of warm the crest the process of the de-heliotization starts and it consolidates. And this is the theory that he insists on. There are books and articles on this topic.

Levin:

Has he found this theory accepted by others? Not just in the Soviet Union, but in other countries?

Rezanov:

At ‘40s the geophysics Hess wrote about this. But now I don't know who could share this approach.

Levin:

And about visitors, people that have come from after, of course, IGY, the international operation began, did they start to get a lot of visitors to his institute and where did they mostly come from?

Rezanov:

There were very close relations between the scientists from the Soviet Union and the Eastern Europe from socialists… There were a lot of joint international projects.

Levin:

Did the incentive for these come from one scientist who knew another scientist at a different institute, or were they between governments?

Rezanov:

Speaking about Eastern Europe, the initiative was from the government. And the government allowed and inspired these contacts.

Levin:

For the most part were they successful? Were the scientists happy with this type of contact?

Rezanov:

The scientists were happy because there were joint works and joint books published by the international stuff. They worked according to the one plant. For example, all the countries did the polio-magnetic research according to the one single plan.

Levin:

So did this cooperation continue even after the government had said, “Okay, that's what we want.” The scientists continue among themselves?

Rezanov:

Yes. And also I can mention one more problem. Fifteen years ago the Soviet scientists initiated a work on the research for the seismic profile for the Atlantic Ocean, the geo tremors from Angola to Brazil there. Many ships and scientists from abroad participated in this research. The absolute [???] materials were received about the mantle structure to depth of one hundred kilometers and they received data, which doesn't correspond to the plate tectonics theory.

Levin:

Did he work on this collaboration personally?

Rezanov:

No.

Levin:

Does he remember cooperation between the Soviet Union and Cuba?

Rezanov:

Yes, the Soviet Union had a lot of geological service of Cuba. The specialists from the Ministry of Geology and Geological Institute in Moscow worked in these programs.

Levin:

Did the Cuban government invite the Russians to come?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Were the methods that they found in Cuba or the science that they found there different from Russia?

Rezanov:

Certain scientists came there with their methods and it's clear.

Levin:

So it's different?

Rezanov:

They had their own science. A friend of mine taught geology in the University of Cuba.

Levin:

Interesting. Did Cuban students come to Russia to study?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

Does this cooperation continue today?

Rezanov:

I think not, and especially it's not as much as before.

Levin:

Does he remember any cooperation with Chile, particularly during the time that Andev(?) was in power?

Rezanov:

He's not sure. It was a very short time.

Levin:

A lot of the cooperation's with Eastern Europe — was the Soviet government particularly interested in having these ties to bring the countries closer together? Was it particularly interested in working with other communist nations?

Rezanov:

There was cooperation with China and Vietnam. Do you speak about geology or in general?

Levin:

In general, what he knows.

Rezanov:

There were a lot of joint projects with Egypt when the Aswan waters reserves was bought. We had a relationship with India and Pakistan.

Levin:

And a researcher here, say you wanted to work with a researcher in the U.S. Say someone else who was doing geology. Would you have to have permission to work with him or could you…?

Rezanov:

If you worked in the system of marketing of science he should ask his supervisor to have this permission. Sometimes these things occur, but very few of them.

Levin:

Of the things that did occur, was there a certain pattern that you could see? That this would probably happen because it wasn't protocol?

Rezanov:

I think that it depended on how influential was this person who suggested contact.

Levin:

Was it difficulty —?

Rezanov:

It depended from the position of the person that proposed this. If it was a high position it could happen.

Levin:

Did you recall difficulty with getting visas to travel? And does he recall if people had KGB agents with them or had to do that to travel to conferences?

Rezanov:

It depends. When it was a delegation, there were the agents. If not, not obligatory. So it depends how it was organized. I think that in most cases there were not.

Levin:

No agents. Has he been to any of the international conferences? Has he attended some of the…?

Rezanov:

I was in East Germany in 1962 at the jubilee of the Marharish(?) in Yugoslavia, and in Syria in the conference devoted to the history of rocket science and in the Conference of the History of Science in Romania.

Levin:

Does he remember from colleagues that went to the West for conferences, did they talk about the difficulty with translation and the worries that perhaps not everything they were saying was being translated correctly?

Rezanov:

Russians could translate their speeches. The translation was correct, but people heard people who knew English.

Levin:

They heard what?

Rezanov:

They heard people. They listened to the people who knew English themselves, I think they listened not to the translator.

Levin:

So when they travel they brought their own translators with them?

Rezanov:

Yes.

Levin:

My last question is he's written all these articles, three hundred or more articles. What would he consider looking back upon on his career, his most important work?

Rezanov:

The main scientific point or the institute?

Levin:

Scientific.

Rezanov:

I suggested the hypothesis of the information of the ocean without [???].

Levin:

He mentioned that he was involved in administrative work. What did he do?

Rezanov:

When he was in the system of the Minister of Geology he was the Chief of Laboratory. He had twelve people under his supervision. At this time he worked on the problem of the extra deep [???] and wrote a book and sent it to the American Geophysical Committee. They transmitted it, but didn't pay for this.

Levin:

Being in charge of this laboratory, was he responsible for coming up with the plans of what the laboratory would study? And did he have someone over him telling him what they wanted?

Rezanov:

Our task was to study geology of this extra deep hole. And we made our plans according to this task.

Levin:

Who set that task?

Rezanov:

There was a scientific council who coordinated all the works on this hole, and he established tasks.

Levin:

Was this from the central government: This council?

Rezanov:

At this time we had a committee on the science and technology. Something like the Ministry of Science. There were scientific councils in this committee. And there was the council of [???] in this committee.

Levin:

Okay, thank you very much for this interview.