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: (more…)

 

Grammar is universal, languages are different August 8, 2008

 image by axinia

That study could not leave me indifferent not only because of its amazing results, but also becasue the subject of languages is so dear to me. Apart from that I love theories  – and their proof! – showing the unity, the general oneness of all human beings. The recent research at the University of Chicago gives a good illustration to that.

“Not surprisingly, speakers of different languages describe events using the word orders prescribed by their language. The surprise is that when the same speakers are asked to ‘speak’ with their hands and not their mouths, they ignore these orders – they all use exactly the same order when they gesture,” said Susan Goldin-Meadow, the Bearsdley Rum Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology.

For the study described in the paper, the team tested 40 speakers of four different languages: 10 English, 10 Mandarin Chinese, 10 Spanish and 10 Turkish speakers. They showed them simple video sequences of activities and asked them to describe the action first in speech and a second time using only gestures. (more…)

 

 
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