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Lomonosov, Mikhail Vasilyevich is aRussian poet, scientist, and grammarian who is often considered the first great Russian linguistic reformer. He also made substantial contributions to the natural sciences, reorganized the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences, established in Moscow the university that today bears his name, and created the first coloured glass mosaics in Russia.
Lomonosov was the son of a poor fisherman. At the age of 10 he too took up that line of work. When the few books he was able to obtain could no longer satisfy his growing thirst for knowledge, in December 1730, he left his native village, penniless and on foot, for Moscow. His ambition was to educate himself to join the learned men on whom the tsar Peter I the Great was calling to transform Russia into a modern nation.
His bitter struggle began as soon as he arrived in Moscow. In order to be admitted to the Slavonic-Greek-Latin Academy he had to conceal his humble origin. In January 1736 Lomonosov became a student at the St. Petersburg Academy. In 1739 in Freiberg, Lomonosov studied firsthand the technologies of mining, metallurgy, and glassmaking. He freely indulged the love of verse that had arisen during his childhood with the reading of Psalms. Lomonosov returned in July 1741 to St. Petersburg. The Academy gave the young scholar no precise assignment, and the injustice aroused him. In May 1743 he was placed under arrest. Two odes sent to the empress Elizabeth won him his liberation in January 1744, as well as a certain poetic prestige at the Academy.
While in prison he worked out the plan of work that he had already developed in Marburg. "276 Notes on Corpuscular Philosophy and Physics" set forth the dominant ideas of his scientific work. Appointed a professor by the Academy in 1745, he translated Christian Wolff's ("Studies in Experimental Philosophy") into Russian and wrote, in Latin, important works on "Cause of Heat and Cold", "Elastic Force of Air", and "Theory of Electricity". In 1748 the laboratory that Lomonosov had been requesting since 1745 was granted him; it then began a prodigious amount of activity. He passionately undertook many tasks and recorded in three years more than 4,000 experiments, the results of which enabled him to set up a coloured glass works and to make mosaics with these glasses. "Discourse on the Usefulness of Chemistry", "Letter to I.I. Shuvalov Concerning the Usefulness of Glass" and the "Ode" to Elizabeth celebrated his fruitful union of abstract and applied science. Anxious to train students, he wrote in 1752 an introduction to the physical chemistry course that he was to set up in his laboratory. The theories on the unity of natural phenomena and the structure of matter that he set forth in the discussion of the "Origin of Light and Colours" and in his theoretical works on electricity in 1753 and 1756 also matured in this laboratory.
Encouraged by the success of his experiments in 1760, Lomonosov inserted in the "Reflections on the Solidity and Fluidity of Bodies" the "universal law of nature"--that is, the law of conservation of matter and energy, which, with the corpuscular theory, constitutes the dominant thread in all his research.
From 1755 he followed very closely the development of Moscow State University (now Moscow M.V. Lomonosov State University), for which he had drawn up the plans. Appointed a councillor by the Academy in 1757, he undertook reforms to make the university an intellectual centre closely linked with the life of the country. He wrote several scholarly works which constituted an important contribution both to science and to the development of commerce and the exploitation of mineral wealth.
He continued to lead a simple and industrious life, surrounded by his family and a few friends. He left his house and the laboratory erected in his garden only to go to the Academy. He was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and of that of Bologna. The publication of his "Complete Works" in 1950-83 by Soviet scholars has revealed the full contributions of Lomonosov, who has long been misunderstood by historians of science.
Exercise 15. Answer the questions:
1. Who is Lomonosov??
2. What was Lomonosov’s father occupied with?
3. Why did the Russian scientist leave his village for Moscow?
4. When and why was Lomonosov placed under arrest?
5. Enumerate the results of Lomonosov’s scientific work.
6. Did the great scientist contribute to the development of Moscow State University?
Exercise 16. Give the English equivalents to the following expressions:
Грамматик, реформатор, носить чьё-либо имя, рыбак, удовлетворить жажду чего-либо, присоединиться к образованным людям, горькая борьба, скрывать, производство стекла, несправедливость, освобождение, определённый поэтический престиж, взять на себя много задач, тесно связанный с жизнью страны, минеральное богатство, вести простую и прилежную жизнь, историк.
Exercise 17. Give the Russian equivalents to the following expressions:
Natural sciences, coloured glass mosaics, to educate oneself, to transform the country into a modern nation, to be admitted, firsthand, love of verse, amount of activity, abstract and applied science, encouraged by the success, solidity and fluidity of bodies, conservation of matter and energy, scholarly works.