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Birthday anniversary of the first Russian academician Mikhail V. Lomonosov

19 November 1711

8 (19) November 1711 in the village of Denisovka, Kurostovskaya volost, near the settlement of Kholmogory, Archangel Province, into the family of a coast-dweller was born Mikhail Vasilievich Lomonosov, eminent Russian statesman, organizer of science and popular education in Russia, person of encyclopaedic knowledge, poet who laid down the foundations of the Russian literary language.

 In December 1730 Lomonosov, eager to be educated, left his father’s house for Moscow. Passing himself off as a noble’s son, in January 1731 he entered the Moscow Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy of the Zaikonospassky Monastery. Upon graduation, among the best students he was sent to St. Petersburg to be accepted as a student of the Academic University. One year later he was sent to Germany to study chemistry and metallurgy.

In Germany Lomonosov first studied at the Marburg University under the supervision and guidance of the well-known physician and philosopher H. Wolf, then he studied in Freiberg, taught by chemist and metallurgist I. Henkel. Lomonosov stayed abroad until 1741. Having returned to Russia in January 1742, he was appointed adjunct of the Academy of Sciences as a physician. In August 1745 he became the first Russian scholar elected for the position of a chemistry professor (academician).

The work of Lomonosov in the Academy of Sciences was many-sided. In 1746 he was the first to deliver lectures on physics in Russian; published the translation of “The experimental physics” by H. Wolf. In 1748 on his initiative was built the first Russian chemical research laboratory. He researched atmospheric electricity, formulated himself the laws of conservation of matter and movement, developed a teaching of colors’ nature. In May 1761, when the Venus was following the Sun’s disc, he discovered that the Venus had an atmosphere. While making analysis of rocks, he proved the organic origin of oil, peat and coal.

For many years the scholar had been developing the technology of obtaining color glass at beats and mosaic plant built in Ust-Ruditza near St. Petersburg. Lomonosov himself created a series of mosaic portraits and the famous monumental mosaics “The Battle of Poltava” (1762-64). Mosaic works of the Russian scholar were highly appreciated by the Russian Academy of Sciences which in 1763 elected him its member.

Along with scientific work, Lomonosov was also engaged in literature, having published a series of odes and tragedies and become one of the founders of accentual-syllabic versification. The theory of “three styles” developed by the academician played a significant role in the formation of the Russian literary language.

In 1751 the researcher undertook a detailed study of some sources of the Russian history. Basing on original documents, he started to work on of “The Old Russian history from the beginning of the Russian people to the death of the Grand Duke Yaroslav the First or 1054” published in 1766. Being concerned about the spread of education in Russia, Lomonosov insisted on the establishment of a university of European type available to all sections of the population. His work succeeded: in 1755, under his joint project with count I. I. Shuvalov, was organized the Moscow University which is currently named after the first Russian academician.

In 1757 Lomonosov was appointed a councilor of the Academic Conference. He proposed a plan of reorganization of the Academy’s management and a draft of its Regulations. From 1760 the scholar was in charge of the Academic University and the Academic classical school.

During his entire life Lomonosov initiated various scientific, technical and cultural events of the prior state significance meant to develop productive forces of Russia. In his last years, scientific works of the academician were appreciated beyond the borders of Russia too – Lomonosov was elected an honorary member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences (1760), then of the Bolognese Academy of Sciences (1764).

In spring of 1765 Mikhail Vasilievich Lomonosov caught cold and died on 4 (15) April. He was buried at Lazarevskoye cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg.

Lit.: Берков П. Н. Ломоносов и литературная полемика его времени 1750—1765. М.; Л., 1936; Будилович А. С. Ломоносов как натуралист и филолог. СПб., 1869; Гордеев Д. И. Ломоносов — основоположник геологической науки. М., 1961; Дик Н. Е. Деятельность и труды М. В. Ломоносова в области географии. М., 1961; Западов А. В. Отец русской поэзии. О творчестве Ломоносова. М., 1961; Куликовский П. Г. М. В. Ломоносов — астроном и астрофизик М., 1961; Летопись жизни и творчества М. В. Ломоносова. [К 250-летию со дня рождения]. М.; Л., 1961; Ломоносов. Сборник статей и материалов. Т. 1—9. М.; Л., 1940-1991; М. В. Ломоносов в воспоминаниях и характеристиках современников. М.; Л., 1962; Павлова Г. Е., Фёдоров А. С. Михаил Васильевич Ломоносов. М., 1986; Полное собрание сочинений. Т. 1—10, М.; Л., 1950—1959; Рукописи Ломоносова в Академии наук СССР: Научное описание. М.; Л., 1937; Электронное научное издание «Ломоносов» // Фундаментальная электронная библиотека ФЭБ «Русская литература и фольклор». 2002. URL: http://feb-web.ru/feb/lomonos/default.asp.

From the Presidential library materials:

История Императорской академии наук в Петербурге / [cоч.] Петра Пекарского. СПб., Т. 1. 1870;

История Императорской академии наук в Петербурге / [cоч.] Петра Пекарского. СПб., Т. 2. 1873;

Mikhail Lomonosov (1711-1765): collection;

Шевырёв С. П. История Императорского Московского университета, написанная к столетнему юбилею. 1775—1785. М., 1855.