1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

M.Lomonosov – a great sample of Russian Intellectual Quest November 19, 2008

People of great intellect and benevolent nature has been always fascinating me since my childhood. My regular readers know about my adoration for Nicola Tesla (post here). Another great personality, a universal genius of Da Vinci level (again generally unknown outside of Russia) is for me Mikhail Vasiliyevich Lomonosov (1711-1765). He was a physicist, a painter, an astronomer, a geographer, a historian, a poet and a statesman…Lomonosov was a Russian genius, a scholar, the first learned man in Natural Science, a researcher who gained the world fame, who was the supporter of Russia’s Enlightenment and who was struggling for the development of Russian science by its own way in the world.

His story is a brilliant example of the hunger for knowledge and a good example for everyone who claims that life conditionings do not let people to develop or achieve much. His life is a great example of a genuine seeking and will power. In a way, Lomonosov is for me a symbol of the Russian intellectual quest.

Lomonosov was born in the village in the Far North of Russia. When he was ten years old, the young Lomonosov had to help his father, a fisherman, and work. But the boy’s thirst for knowledge was unbounded. He almost learned by heart the few books he had access to – and, seeing there was no chance of education at home, he decided to walk(!) to Moscow (this took him 3 weeks in winter).

An opportunity occurred when he was nineteen and by the intervention of friends he obtained admission into the Slavic Greek Latin Academy in 1731. In only 5 years he completed a 12 year course, finished at the top of his class. He ultimately received a 2 year grant to study in German universities. Upon his return to Russia in 1745, he was appointed professor of chemistry at the Academy itself.

Among his amazing heritage are some following discoveries and ideas:

  • He regarded heat as a form of motion,
  • suggested the wave theory of light,
  • contributed to the formulation of the kinetic theory of gases,
  • and stated the idea of conservation of matter in the following words: “All changes in nature are such that inasmuch is taken from one object insomuch is added to another. So, if the amount of matter decreases in one place, it increases elsewhere. This universal law of nature embraces laws of motion as well, for an object moving others by its own force in fact imparts to another object the force it loses”.
  • In 1748, he also created a mechanical explanation of gravitation.
  • Lomonosov was the first person to record the freezing of Mercury
  • and to hypothesize the existence of an atmosphere on Venus based on his observation of the transit of Venus of 1761
  • Believing that nature is subject to regular and continuous evolution, he demonstrated the organic origin of soil, peat, coal, petroleum and amber. In 1745, he published a catalogue of over 3,000 minerals,
  • and in 1760, he explained the formation of icebergs.
  • As a geographer, Lomonosov got close to the theory of continental drift, theoretically predicted the existence of Antarctica and invented sea tools which made writing and calculating directions and distances easier.
  • Lomonosov was proud to restore the ancient art of mosaics.
  • he wrote more than 20 solemn ceremonial odes, notably the Evening Meditation on the God’s Grandeur.
  • In 1755, he wrote a grammar that reformed the Russian literary language by combining Old Church Slavonic with the vernacular tongue. ´
  • He applied an idiosyncratic theory to his later poems – tender subjects needed words containing the front vowel sounds E, I, YU, whereas things that may cause fear (like “anger”, “envy”, “pain” and “sorrow”) needed words with back vowel sounds O, U, Y. That was a version of what is now called sound symbolism.

Lomonosov was well regarded by contemporary European scientists; he was elected honorary member of the Swedish (1760) and Bologna (1764) academies of science. He worked persistently to upgrade the quality of Russian scientific education, and his efforts resulted in the founding in 1755 of what is now Moscow State University.  Lomonosov occupies a central place in the history of Russian science, and he is memorialized in place names and honorary scientific medals.

Below is the picture of Lomonosov State University in Moscow -as majestic as his work.

P.S. Yesterday I suddenly felt a desire to post something on this great soul – and found out that Lomonosov was born on the 19. November (today would be his birthday!). I could impossibly know that! Coincidence or collective consciousness?




14 Responses to “M.Lomonosov – a great sample of Russian Intellectual Quest”

  1. Scietech Says:

    I learned a lot about Lomosonov from this post. His name has been in the news recently because of the Lomosonov Ridge in the Arctic over which a future war might be fought 😐

  2. Sahaja Says:

    Wow…..amazing facts and I am surprised I did not hear abt him before :O ….. hmmm do u believe in coincidences?? 😛

  3. axinia Says:

    thank you, Scitech, for this reminder!

    Sahaja, – I do not believe in coincidences 🙂 I believe in life being a play of wonderuful laces….

  4. Sahaja Says:

    Ya I thought so 🙂 …..thats y wondered why u said it might be a coincidence in the post 🙂

  5. Sailaja Says:

    Axinia dear, It’s HE who does everything, We do nothing. It’s HIS will that such a noble soul be introduced to all of us commemorating his Birthday!!!!! and it’s YOU who HE used as HIS instrument. Cool vibs. Thanks a lot.

  6. axinia Says:

    Sahaja, I asked if it is considence in order not to sound too bold 🙂

    Sailaja, thanks 🙂 I am just enjoying watching that play (and taking part in it!).

  7. radha Says:

    we are working on a new toy including innovations and inventions of the world and we included this genius too. glad to read more about him and happy Birthday!

  8. axinia Says:

    that is really intresting, radha!!!
    I wonder how would this toy look like?

  9. radha Says:

    it s a globe coming with a booklet called “Passport to the world”. Now in the Invention section there is a small picture of Lomonosov and if you touch it with a wireless pen, the pen will talk and tell you something about the man. 🙂 smart eh?

  10. artworkofhorus Says:

    A mad topic! It was always for me a symbol of knowledge desire and intelligence. A good example of the youth. An example always.

  11. axinia Says:

    @radha, I love this idea of a toy!! I wonder if Nicola Tesla is also on there???

    @artworkofhorus, thank you!

  12. Alex Says:

    I would like to implement a few developments of Mr Tesla. Do you know some people that have the knowledge to help on ?

    • axinia Says:

      Not really, sorry.
      I belive that Tesla could have implemented his developments himself but he saw the the mankind was not ready for it.

      As soon as we are ready, I am sure all his ideas will be implemented easily (you will just get the knowledge autocatically)…

  13. Nelson Says:

    M.Lomonosov biography is one of my favor book during the high school. he is a great man in Russia, beside Puskin and Leo Tolstoy. I still kept Lomonsov’s book, I reading this book to my son in every morning during the breakfast time to inspire him. I still feel each word in book burning my soul even after so many years. I couldn’t believe a man could devote himself to what he love and achieve a such huge goal. His power is from the love for his country and his people!

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