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: (more…)