Dr. Arkady Pilchin gave his life to Geoscience. It was his everlasting wish to help propel our understanding of a great many geological processes and features in the right direction. Dr. Pilchin was very thorough in his research, he always emphasized looking at things from multiple angles. As a geophysicist he would analyze everything not only from geological, but also from physical and chemical standpoints to keep his own research grounded in physical possibility, and warn others of straying from it. Much of his work deals with pressure-temperature conditions and the stability of rocks and minerals. He would put pieces of the puzzle together like a detective, and believed that you always have to begin with the evidence and interpret what it is saying, rather than starting from hypotheses and then looking for evidence to support them. Despite all his efforts at such objective and analytical presentation of his research, much of his work challenged accepted notions in geology, and he unfortunately saw a good deal of academic discrimination in having his work published. He was very pleased to have been able to publish two very important papers, ‘Is paleomagnetic data reliable?: A critical analysis of paleomagnetism’ and ‘Critical analysis of the plate tectonics model and causes of horizontal tectonic movements’ in the March and June issues of NCGT Journal this year.
Dr. Pilchin co-authored the books ‘Iron and its Unique Role in the Earth Evolution’ (Mexican Geoph. Soc., 2006) and ‘Applied Geothermics’ (Springer, 2014). His paper 'Methodology of Curie discontinuity map development for regions with low thermal characteristics: An example from Israel' (Earth and Planetary Science Lett., 2006) and book chapter ‘The Early Earth and Formation of the Lithosphere’ (Nova Science, 2009), both written with L. Eppelbaum, received great attention from the international Geoscience community. He also co-authored numerous thermal maps for Azerbaijan, Caucasus, Israel and Eastern Mediterranean. Most recently, he completed the book ‘Enigmatic Features of Early Earth Evolution’ which is now being edited for publication in Springer early next year.
Arkady Pilchin was born December 2, 1951 in Baku, Azerbaijan. With a physics teacher father, geography teacher mother, and an uncle laureate of the highest government honour for developing techniques in imaging the ocean bed for prospecting, he was an avid student of science and literature from his youth. After graduating from Azerbaijan State University in 1973, he was sent to work in the Southern Branch of the All-Union Institute of Geophysical Prospecting Methods of the Ministry of Geology of USSR, where he began in the Gravity and Magnetic Laboratory. His duties required scientific inquiry as well as field work. In 1979, he was transferred to the Laboratory of Abnormally High Stratum Pressure, where he continued to work for the next ten years. He would complete his PhD in Geothermics and Earth Thermodynamics in 1983. There was civil unrest in the region as the former Soviet Union began breaking apart, and for fear of his family’s safety Dr. Pilchin decided to leave the country. For his family, he would have to leave everything he had twice. He immigrated first to Israel in 1990, where he briefly worked as a volunteer in the University of Tel-Aviv with his long-time friend and colleague Professor Lev Eppelbaum, and then again to Canada in 1993.
Despite difficulties, Dr. Pilchin continued to be passionate about his field of study and remained dedicated to his work for the rest of his life. In 1995, he founded Universal Geoscience & Environmental Consulting Company (UGECC) in Toronto, to represent his research, and from then on the results of his work were presented for publication in books, journals, and conferences under UGECC. He made no money working in Geoscience, the reward for him was always to drive our understanding in the right direction. He would continue working on scientific research in his spare time on his own for as long as he could, and with over 130 publications he humbly made a great contribution to the Geoscientific community.
Dr. Arkady Pilchin had a rare and valuable ability: to construct an all-encompassing geological-geophysical pattern from odd and isolated indicators. Dr. Pilchin had an extraordinary breadth of scientific perception and will be remembered by his colleagues for his seminal contributions to different branches of Geophysics and Physics of the Earth, a great capacity for scientific analysis, for his contagious enthusiasm, childlike curiosity, and overwhelming optimism.