Mikhail Lomonosov

Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov (/ˌlɒməˈnɒsɒf/;[1] Russian: Михаи́л (Михáйло) Васи́льевич Ломоно́сов, IPA: [mʲɪxɐˈil vɐˈsʲilʲjɪvʲɪtɕ ləmɐˈnosəf] (listen); November 19 [O.S. November 8] 1711 – April 15 [O.S. April 4] 1765) was a Russian polymath, scientist and writer, who made important contributions to literature, education, and science. Among his discoveries were the atmosphere of Venus and the law of conservation of mass in chemical reactions. His spheres of science were natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, art, philology, optical devices and others. Lomonosov was also a poet and influenced the formation of the modern Russian literary language.

Mikhail Lomonosov
M.V. Lomonosov by L.Miropolskiy after G.C.Prenner (1787, RAN)
Portrait by G. Prenner, 1787
Native name
Михайло Васильевич Ломоносов
Mikhaylo Vasilyevich Lomonosov

19 November 1711
Died15 April 1765 (aged 53)
Alma materSlavic Greek Latin Academy
St. Petersburg Academy
University of Marburg
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Christine Zilch
Scientific career
FieldsNatural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, philology, poetry, optics
InstitutionsSt. Petersburg Academy
Academic advisorsChristian Wolff

Early life and family

Lomonosov was born in the village of Mishaninskaya (later renamed Lomonosovo in his honor) in Archangelgorod Governorate, on an island not far from Kholmogory, in the far north of Russia.[2] His father, Vasily Dorofeyevich Lomonosov, was a prosperous peasant fisherman turned ship owner, who amassed a small fortune transporting goods from Arkhangelsk to Pustozyorsk, Solovki, Kola, and Lapland.[2] Lomonosov's mother was Vasily's first wife, a deacon's daughter, Elena Ivanovna Sivkova.[3]

He remained at Denisovka until he was ten, when his father decided that he was old enough to participate in his business ventures, and Lomonosov began accompanying Vasily on trading missions.[3]

Learning was young Lomonosov's passion, however, not business. The boy's thirst for knowledge was insatiable. Lomonosov had been taught to read as a boy by his neighbor Ivan Shubny, and he spent every spare moment with his books.[3] He continued his studies with the village deacon, S.N. Sabelnikov, but for many years the only books he had access to were religious texts. When he was fourteen, Lomonosov was given copies of Meletius Smotrytsky's Modern Church Slavonic (a grammar book) and Leonty Magnitsky's Arithmetic.[4] Lomonosov was a Russian orthodox all his life, but had close encounters with Old Believers schism in early youth and later in life he became a deist.[5][6]

In 1724, his father married for the third and final time. Lomonosov and his stepmother Irina had an acrimonious relationship. Unhappy at home and intent on obtaining a higher education, which Lomonosov could not receive in Mishaninskaya, he was determined to leave the village.[7]

Education in Moscow and Kiev

Lomonosov-house marburg1
The Lomonosov house in Marburg, Germany.

In 1730, at nineteen, Lomonosov went to Moscow on foot, because he was determined to "study sciences".[7] Shortly after arrival, he admitted into the Slavic Greek Latin Academy by falsely claiming to be a son of a Kholmogory nobleman.[8] In 1734 that initial falsehood as well as another lie for him to be son of a priest nearly got him expelled from the academy but the investigation ended without severe consequences.[9]

Lomonosov lived on three kopecks a day, eating only black bread and kvass, but he made rapid progress scholastically.[10] It is believed that in 1735, after three years in Moscow he was sent to Kiev to study for short period at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. He quickly became dissatisfied with the education he was receiving there, and returned to Moscow to resume his studies there.[10] In five years Lomonosov completed a twelve-year study course and in 1736, among 12 best graduates, was awarded a scholarship at the St. Petersburg Academy.[11] He plunged into his studies and was rewarded with a four-year grant to study abroad, in Germany, first at the University of Marburg and then in Freiberg.[12]

Education abroad

The University of Marburg was among Europe's most important universities in the mid-18th century due to the presence of the philosopher Christian Wolff, a prominent figure of the German Enlightenment. Lomonosov became one of Wolff's students while at Marburg from November 1736 to July 1739. Both philosophically and as a science administrator, this connection would be the most influential of Lomonosov's life. In 1739–1740 he studied mineralogy, metallurgy, and mining at Bergrat Johann Friedrich Henckel's laboratory in Freiberg, Saxony; there he intensified his studies of German literature.[13]

Lomonosov Poltava 1762 1764
The most grandiose of Lomonosov's mosaics depicts the Battle of Poltava.

Lomonosov quickly mastered the German language, and in addition to philosophy, seriously studied chemistry, discovered the works of 17th century Irish theologian and natural philosopher, Robert Boyle, and even began writing poetry. He also developed an interest in German literature. He is said to have especially admired Günther. His Ode on the Taking of Khotin from the Turks, composed in 1739, attracted a great deal of attention in Saint Petersburg.[13] Contrary to his adoration for Wolff, Lomonosov went into fierce disputes with Henckel over the training and education courses he and his two compatriot students were getting in Freiberg as well as over very limited financial support which Henckel was instructed to provide to the Russians after numerous debts they made in Marburg. As the result, Lomonosov left Freiberg without permission and wandered for quite a while over Germany and Holland unsuccessfully trying to get a permission from Russian envoys to return to the St.Petersburg Academy.

During his residence in Marburg, Lomonosov boarded with Catharina Zilch, a brewer's widow.[14] He fell in love with Catharina’s daughter Elizabeth Christine Zilch. They were married in June 1740.[15] Lomonosov found it extremely difficult to maintain his growing family on the scanty and irregular allowance granted him by the Russian Academy of Sciences. As his circumstances became desperate, he resolved and got permission to return to Saint Petersburg.[13]

Return to Russia

Lomonosov returned to Russia in June 1741, after being abroad 4 years and 8 months. A year later he was named an Adjunct of the Russian Academy of Science in the physics department.[13] In May 1743, Lomonosov was accused, arrested, and held under house arrest for eight months, after he supposedly insulted various people associated with the Academy. He was released and pardoned in January 1744 after apologising to all involved.[13]

Lomonosov was made a full member of the Academy, and named Professor of chemistry, in 1745.[13] He established the Academy's first chemistry laboratory.[16] Eager to improve Russia’s educational system, in 1755, Lomonosov joined his patron Count Ivan Shuvalov in founding Moscow University.[16]

In 1760, he was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 1764, he was elected Foreign Member of the Academy of Sciences of the Institute of Bologna [17] In 1764, Lomonosov was appointed to the position of the State Councillor which was of Rank V in the Russian Empire's Table of Ranks. He died on 4 April (o.s.), 1765 in Saint Petersburg. He is widely and deservingly regarded as the "Father of Russian Science",[18] though many of his scientific accomplishments were relatively unknown outside Russia until long after his death and gained proper appreciation only in late 19th and, especially, in 20th centuries.


Ekaterina II and Lomonosov
Catherine II of Russia visits Mikhail Lomonosov in 1764. 1884 painting by Ivan Feodorov.

In 1756, Lomonosov tried to replicate Robert Boyle's experiment of 1673.[19] He concluded that the commonly accepted phlogiston theory was false. Anticipating the discoveries of Antoine Lavoisier, he wrote in his diary: "Today I made an experiment in hermetic glass vessels in order to determine whether the mass of metals increases from the action of pure heat. The experiments – of which I append the record in 13 pages – demonstrated that the famous Robert Boyle was deluded, for without access of air from outside the mass of the burnt metal remains the same".

That is the Law of Mass Conservation in chemical reaction, which was well-known today as "in a chemical reaction, the mass of reactants is equal to the mass of the products." Lomonosov, together with Lavoisier, is regarded as the one who discovered the law of mass conservation.[20]

He stated that all matter is composed of corpuscles – molecules that are "collections" of elements – atoms. In his dissertation "Elements of Mathematical Chemistry" (1741, unfinished), the scientist gives the following definition: "An element is a part of a body that does not consist of any other smaller and different bodies ... corpuscle is a collection of elements forming one small mass."[21] In a later study (1748), he uses term "atom" instead of "element", and "particula" (particle) or "molecule" instead of "corpuscle".

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" (first articulated in a letter to Leonhard Euler dated 5 July 1748, rephrased and published in Lomonosov's dissertation "Reflexion on the solidity and fluidity of bodies", 1760).


Scheme of the Lomonosov-Effect during a transit of Venus.

Lomonosov was the first to discover and appreciate the atmosphere of Venus during his observation of the transit of Venus of 1761 in a small observatory near his house in St Petersburg.[13][22]

In June 2012 a group of astronomers carried out experimental reconstruction of Lomonosov's discovery of Venusian atmosphere with antique refractors during the transit of Venus (5–6 June 2012).[23] They concluded that Lomonosov's telescope was fully adequate to the task of detecting the arc of light around Venus off the Sun's disc during ingress or egress if proper experimental techniques as described by Lomonosov in his 1761 paper[24] are employed.[25]

Lomonosov 1761German Fig
Diagrams from Mikhail Lomonosov's "The Appearance of Venus on the Sun, Observed at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences on 26 May 1761"

In 1762, Lomonosov presented an improved design of a reflecting telescope to the Russian Academy of Sciences forum. His telescope had its primary mirror adjusted at an angle of four degrees to the telescope's axis. This made the image focus at the side of the telescope tube, where the observer could view the image with an eyepiece without blocking the image. However, this invention was not published until 1827, so this type of telescope has become associated with a similar design by William Herschel, the Herschelian telescope.[26]

Chemist and geologist

In 1759, with his collaborator, academician Joseph Adam Braun, Lomonosov was the first person to record the freezing of mercury and to carry out initial experiments with it.[27] 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.[13]

In 1763, he published On The Strata of the Earth – his most significant geological work.[28]


Lomonosov's observation of iceberg formation led into his pioneering work in geography. Lomonosov got close to the theory of continental drift,[29] theoretically predicted the existence of Antarctica (he argued that icebergs of the South Ocean could be formed only on a dry land covered with ice),[30] and invented sea tools which made writing and calculating directions and distances easier. In 1764, he organized an expedition (led by Admiral Vasili Chichagov) to find the Northeast Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by sailing along the northern coast of Siberia.[13]


Lomonosov was proud to restore the ancient art of mosaics. In 1754, in his letter to Leonhard Euler, he wrote that his three years of experiments on the effects of chemistry of minerals on their colour led to his deep involvement in the mosaic art. In 1763, he set up a glass factory that produced the first stained glass mosaics outside of Italy. There were forty mosaics attributed to Lomonosov, with only twenty-four surviving to the present day. Among the best is the portrait of Peter the Great and the Battle of Poltava, measuring 4.8 by 6.4 metres (16 ft × 21 ft).[31][32][33]

Grammarian, poet, historian

In 1755 Lomonosov wrote a grammar that reformed the Russian literary language by combining Old Church Slavonic with the vernacular tongue. To further his literary theories, he wrote more than 20 solemn ceremonial odes, notably the Evening Meditation on the God's Grandeur. He applied an idiosyncratic theory to his later poems – tender subjects needed words containing the front vowel sounds E, I, Y and U, whereas things that may cause fear (like "anger", "envy", "pain" and "sorrow") needed words with back vowel sounds O, U and Y. That was a version of what is now called sound symbolism.

In 1760 Lomonosov published a History of Russia.[34][35] In addition, he attempted to write a grand epic about Peter the Great, to be based on the Aeneid by Vergil, but he died before he could finish it.[36]


RR5217-0001R М.В. Ломоносов
1992 Russian gold coin

His granddaughter Sophia Konstantinova (1769–1844) married Russian military hero and statesman General Nikolay Raevsky. His great-granddaughter was Princess Maria (Raevskaya) Volkonskaya, the wife of the Decembrist Prince Sergei Volkonsky.[37]

The city of Lomonosov, Russia (former Oranienbaum, Russia from 1710–1948), and a lunar crater bear his name, as does a crater on Mars and the asteroid 1379 Lomonosowa. The Imperial Porcelain Factory, Saint Petersburg was renamed after him from 1925 to 2005. In 1948, the underwater Lomonosov Ridge in the Arctic Ocean was named in his honor.  Moscow State University was renamed '’M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University'’ in his honor in 1940.

The Lomonosov Gold Medal was established in 1959 and is awarded annually by the Russian Academy of Sciences to a Russian and a foreign scientist.

Lomonosovskaya Station on the Nevsko-Vasileostrovskaya Line of the Saint Petersburg Metro is named after him. It was opened in 1970.

The street "Lomonosova iela" in the Maskavas Forštate district of Riga is named in honor of Lomonosov. During the Soviet era a main street in Tallinn, Estonia, was named in his honor as "Lomonossovi M.", but from 1991 it was renamed Gonsiori after Jakob Johann Gonsior, a 19th-century alderman and lawyer.[38]

The Akademik Lomonosov, the first of a series of Russian floating nuclear power stations, is named for him. It is expected to be operational at Pevek, Chukotka in September 2019.[39][40]


English translations
  • Lomonosov, Mikhail (1767). A Chronological Abridgement of the Russian History. Translated by J.G.A.F. for T. Snelling. [London, Printed for T. Snelling].
  • Lomonosov, Mikhail (1966). Panegyric to the Sovereign Emperor, Peter the Great. Translated by Ronald Hingley in Marc Raeff, ed. Russian Intellectual History: An Anthology. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-0391009059.
  • Lomonosov, Mikhail (1970). Mikhail Vasil'evich Lomonosov on the Corpuscular Theory. Translated by Henry M. Leicester. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674574205.
  • Lomonosov, Mikhail (2012). The Appearance of Venus on the Sun, Observed at the St.Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences on May 26, 1761. Translated by Vladimir Shiltsev in "Lomonosov's Discovery of Venus Atmosphere in 1761: English Translation of Original Publication with Commentaries". arXiv:1206.3489.
  • Lomonosov, Mikhail (2012). On the Strata of the Earth. Translation and commentary by S.M. Rowland and S. Korolev. The Geological Society of America, Special Paper 485. ISBN 978-0-8137-2485-0.
  • Lomonosov, Mikhail (2017). Oratio De Meteoris Vi Electrica Ortis – Discourse on Atmospheric Phenomena Originating from Electrical Force (1753). Translation and commentary by Vladimir Shiltsev. arXiv:1709.08847.
  • Lomonosov, Mikhail (2018). Meditations on Solidity and Fluidity of Bodies (1760). Translation and commentary by Vladimir Shiltsev. arXiv:1801.00909.
German translations

See also



  1. ^ "Lomonosov". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. ^ a b Menshutkin 1952, p. 11.
  3. ^ a b c Menshutkin 1952, p. 12.
  4. ^ Menshutkin 1952, p. 13.
  5. ^ Galina Evgenʹevna Pavlova; Aleksandr Sergeevich Fedorov (1980). Mikhail Vasilievich Lomonosov: his life and work. Mir. p. 161. The atheistic direction of Lomonosov's scientific and artistic creativity was not always consistent. His world outlook, just as that of many other representatives of the age of enlightenment, possessed elements of deism according to which God, having created the universe, assumed no control over its development which was governed by the laws of nature. Lomonosov's deism was no chance factor. As Karl Marx aptly put it, deism was the most convenient and easiest way for many materialists of the 17th-18th centuries to abandon religion.
  6. ^ Andrew Kahn (2008). Pushkin's Lyric Intelligence. Oxford University Press. p. 130. ISBN 9780191552939. No atheistic conclusions spring from 'The Orb of Day has Set' to reverse Lomonosov's deism, but the poem still intrudes a painful gap between man and nature.
  7. ^ a b Menshutkin 1952, p. 15.
  8. ^ Menshutkin 1952, p. 16.
  9. ^ Menshutkin 1952, p. 20.
  10. ^ a b Menshutkin 1952, p. 17.
  11. ^ Menshutkin 1952, p. 23.
  12. ^ Menshutkin 1952, p. 24.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Menshutkin 1952.
  14. ^ Pavlova, Galina E., and Fedorov, Aleksandr S. Mikhail Vasilievich Lomonosov: His Life and Work (English Translation). Mir: Moscow, 1980.
  15. ^ Pavlova, Galina E., and Fedorov, Aleksandr S. Mikhail Vasilievich Lomonosov: His Life and Work (English Translation). Mir: Moscow, 1980. ISBN 0-8285-2895-0, ISBN 978-0-8285-2895-5
  16. ^ a b Cornwell, Neil and Christian, Nicole. Reference Guide to Russian Literature, p. 514. Taylor & Francis: London, 1998
  17. ^ R. Crease and V. Shiltsev, "Mikhail Lomonosov (1711–1765): Scientist in Politically Turbulent Times" in Il Nuovo Saggiatore, vol. 33, issue 5–6 (2017), pp. 43–56 https://www.ilnuovosaggiatore.sif.it/issue/54 Archived 30 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ V. Shiltsev, "Mikhail Lomonosov and the dawn of Russian science", Physics Today (February 2012), vol. 65, http://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.1438
  19. ^ Menshutkin 1952, p. 120.
  20. ^ Pomper, Philip (October 1962). "Lomonosov and the Discovery of the Law of the Conservation of Matter in Chemical Transformations". Ambix. 10 (3): 119–127. doi:10.1179/amb.1962.10.3.119.
  21. ^ Lomonosov, Mikhail Vasil'evich (1959). Mikhail Vasil'evich Lomonosov on the Corpuscular Theory. Translated by Leicester, Henry M. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 56–57.
  22. ^ Shiltsev, Vladimir (March 2014). "The 1761 Discovery of Venus' Atmosphere: Lomonosov and Others". Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. 17 (1): 85–112. Bibcode:2014JAHH...17...85S.
  23. ^ A.Koukarine, et al., "Experimental Reconstruction of Lomonosov's Discovery of Venus's Atmosphere with Antique Refractors During the 2012 Transit of Venus" (2012)
  24. ^ V. Shiltsev, "Lomonosov's Discovery of Venus Atmosphere in 1761: English Translation of Original Publication with Commentaries" (2012)
  25. ^ V. Shiltsev, I. Nesterenko, and R. Rosenfeld, "Replicating the discovery of Venus's atmosphere", Physics Today, Feb. 2013 / Volume 66, Issue 2, p. 64 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "On an optic pipe improvement" – Lomonosov M.V. Selected works in two volumes. Volume I: Natural sciences and philosophy. Moscow: Nauka (Science) publishing house, 1986 (in Russian). Name in Russian: «Об усовершенствовании зрительных труб» – М.В. Ломоносов. Избранные произведения. В двух томах. Т. 1. Естественные науки и философия. М.: Наука. 1986
  27. ^ Lomonosov M.V. Meditations on Solidity and Fluidity of Bodies (1760) / translation and commentary by Vladimir Shiltsev (2018); https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.00909
  28. ^ Lomonosov M.V. On the strata of the Earth: a translation of "O sloiakh zemnykh" / translated by S.M. Rowland, S. Korolev. Boulder: Geological Soc. of America, 2012. 41 p. (Special paper; 485)
  29. ^ Life and Death of Alfred Wegener Archived 11 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine by Alexey Fedorchuk (in Russian)
  30. ^ Eduard Belcher Prediction of Antarctica by Lomonosov  (in Russian)
  31. ^ Elena Lavrenova. "Lomonosov biography". Foxdesign.ru. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  32. ^ "М.В. Ломоносов: к 300-летию со дня рождения". narfu.ru. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  33. ^ "М.А. Безбородое М.В. Ломоносов. Фабрика В Усть-Рудицах". Grokhovs1.chat.ru. 5 December 2001. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  34. ^ A Chronological Abridgement of the Russian History, by Michail Lomonosov
  35. ^ hist.msu.ru
  36. ^ Alex Preminger, Terry V.F. Brogan. The New Princeton encyclopedia of poetry and poetics. MJF Books, 1993. (originally from the Pennsylvania State University), p. 1104
  37. ^ Sutherland, Christine (1984). The Princess of Siberia: The Story of Maria Volkonsky and the Decembrist Exiles. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-23727-1.
  38. ^ Hamilton, Simon. "A Rambling Dictionary of Tallinn Street Names". Archived from the original on 26 June 2011.
  39. ^ Russian floating nuclear power station undergoes mooring tests, NuclearPowerDaily.com, 7 July 2016, accessed 25 July 2016.
  40. ^ "Work starts on on-shore infrastructure for Russian floating plant". World Nuclear News. Retrieved 4 January 2019.


Further reading

  • Crease, Robert (November 2011). "Mikhail Who?". Physics World.
  • Shiltsev, Vladimir (November 2011). "Nov. 19, 1711: Birth of Mikhail Lomonosov, Russia's first modern scientist". APS News. 20 (10).
  • Shiltsev, Vladimir (February 2012). "Mikhail Lomonosov and the dawn of Russian science". Physics Today. 65 (2): 40–46. Bibcode:2012PhT....65b..40S. doi:10.1063/PT.3.1438.
  • Crease, Robert (August 2012). "Transit Watching". Physics World.
  • Crease, Robert; Shiltsev, Vladimir (December 2013). "Pomor Polymath: The Upbringing of Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov, 1711–1730". Physics in Perspective. 15 (4): 391–414. Bibcode:2013PhP....15..391C. doi:10.1007/s00016-013-0113-5.
  • C.A. Johnson (June 1964). "Lomonosov's Dedication to His Russian grammar". Slavic Review. 23 (2): 328–332. doi:10.2307/2492939. JSTOR 2492939.
  • Peter Hoffmann: Michail Vasil'evič Lomonosov (1711–1765). Ein Enzyklopädist im Zeitalter der Aufklärung. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2011. ISBN 978-3-631-61797-7
  • Norbert Nail (March 2012): Russi intra muros: Studenten aus Sankt Petersburg 1736–1739 bei Christian Wolff in Marburg. Zum 300. Geburtstag des Universalgelehrten Michail Vasil'evič Lomonosov am 19. November 2011. In: Studenten-Kurier 1/2012, pp. 15–19. ISSN 0931-0444
  • Steven Usitalo (2013): The Invention of Mikhail Lomonosov (A Russian National Myth), Academic Studies Press. ISBN 978-1618111739
  • M.W. Lomonossow in Freiberg. Herausgegeben anlässlich der Einweihung des Lomonossow-Hauses in der Freiberger Fischerstraße am 7. Februar 2014 (russisch u. deutsch). Freiberg: TU Bergakademie 2014. (Darin: F. Naumann, Michail Wassiljewitsch Lomonossows Weg in die Wissenschaft; F. Naumann, Das Lomonossow-Haus und seine Geschichte; C. Drebenstedt / B. Meyer, Deutsch-Russische Montanbeziehungen im Wandel der Zeit]. [Russian and German]
  • R.Crease and V.Shiltsev, "Mikhail Lomonosov (1711–1765): Scientist in Politically Turbulent Times" in Il Nuovo Saggiatore, vol. 33, issue 5–6 (2017), pp. 43–56 https://web.archive.org/web/20180130092120/https://www.ilnuovosaggiatore.sif.it/issue/54
  • Robert Crease / Vladimir Shiltsev: Fueling Peter's Mill: Mikhail Lomonosov's Educational Training in Russia and Germany, 1731–1741. In: Physics in Perspective, Vol. 20, Issue 3, September 2018, pp. 272–304. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00016-018-0227-x

External links

1379 Lomonosowa

1379 Lomonosowa, provisional designation 1936 FC, is a stony background asteroid from the central regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 19 kilometers in diameter. Discovered by Grigory Neujmin at the Simeiz Observatory in 1936, the asteroid was later named after Russian physicist and astronomer Mikhail Lomonosov.

Akademik Lomonosov

Akademik Lomonosov (Russian: Академик Ломоносов) is a non-self-propelled powership to be operated as the first Russian floating nuclear power station. The ship was named after Academician Mikhail Lomonosov.

Alexander Sumarokov

Alexander Petrovich Sumarokov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Петро́вич Сумаро́ков; 25 November 1717 [O.S. 14 November], Moscow – 12 October 1777 [O.S. 1 October], Moscow) was a Russian poet and playwright who single-handedly created classical theatre in Russia, thus assisting Mikhail Lomonosov to inaugurate the reign of classicism in Russian literature.

Conservation of mass

The law of conservation of mass or principle of mass conservation states that for any system closed to all transfers of matter and energy, the mass of the system must remain constant over time, as system's mass cannot change, so quantity can neither be added nor be removed. Hence, the quantity of mass is conserved over time.

The law implies that mass can neither be created nor destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space, or the entities associated with it may be changed in form. For example, in chemical reactions, the mass of the chemical components before the reaction is equal to the mass of the components after the reaction. Thus, during any chemical reaction and low-energy thermodynamic processes in an isolated system, the total mass of the reactants, or starting materials, must be equal to the mass of the products.

The concept of mass conservation is widely used in many fields such as chemistry, mechanics, and fluid dynamics. Historically, mass conservation was demonstrated in chemical reactions independently by Mikhail Lomonosov and later rediscovered by Antoine Lavoisier in the late 18th century. The formulation of this law was of crucial importance in the progress from alchemy to the modern natural science of chemistry.

The conservation of mass only holds approximately and is considered part of a series of assumptions coming from classical mechanics. The law has to be modified to comply with the laws of quantum mechanics and special relativity under the principle of mass-energy equivalence, which states that energy and mass form one conserved quantity. For very energetic systems the conservation of mass-only is shown not to hold, as is the case in nuclear reactions and particle-antiparticle annihilation in particle physics.

Mass is also not generally conserved in open systems. Such is the case when various forms of energy and matter are allowed into, or out of, the system. However, unless radioactivity or nuclear reactions are involved, the amount of energy escaping (or entering) such systems as heat, mechanical work, or electromagnetic radiation is usually too small to be measured as a decrease (or increase) in the mass of the system.

For systems where large gravitational fields are involved, general relativity has to be taken into account, where mass-energy conservation becomes a more complex concept, subject to different definitions, and neither mass nor energy is as strictly and simply conserved as is the case in special relativity.

Dmitry Ivanovich Vinogradov

Dmitry Ivanovich Vinogradov (Russian: Дмитрий Иванович Виноградов) (c.1720 – 5 September [O.S. 25 August] 1758) was a Russian chemist who developed Russian hard-paste porcelain; he was the founder of the Imperial Porcelain Factory.

Vinogradov was born into a low-income household in Suzdal and was trained at the Slavic Greek Latin Academy where he came to know Mikhail Lomonosov. In 1736, Lomonosov, Vinogradov and a third student from the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, Gustav Ulrich Raiser, went abroad to study chemistry, metallurgy, and mining under Christian Wolff in Marburg, Hesse, and Johann Friedrich Henckel (Chemist) in Freiberg, Saxony. Upon his return to Russia in 1744, Vinogradov was sent to a ceramics manufactory that was established that year under the direction of Christoph Conrad Hunger, who had been induced by Empress Elizabeth to come to St Petersburg from Stockholm.

At that time hard-paste porcelain was produced only in China and Japan and in Meissen, Saxony, where a deposit of suitable kaolin had been discovered and first successfully employed in 1709 (see Meissen porcelain). Other European factories were beginning to emulate Meissen wares, but in soft-paste porcelain. The recipe for porcelain was a closely guarded secret at Meissen and the price of Meissen porcelain might exceed the price of silver of equal weight.

Hunger proved to be unable to produce porcelain from the materials at hand and was dismissed in 1748, leaving the venture in the hands of Vinogradov. Eight years Vinogradov and Mikhail Lomonosov spent developing an original Russian recipe for porcelain. In 1752, Vinogradov published a treatise advertising his success in producing the first satisfactory samples of porcelain, made of Russian raw materials, employing clay from Gzhel) mixed with finely-ground Olonets quartz and alabaster. Vinogradov trained the first Russian master craftsmen of porcelain at the factory. The first products were small wares, cups, snuffboxes and their lids, cane heads, doorknobs, knife handles and the like.

The production of large items, like plates, was going to be essential if the manufactory was to produce more than small luxuries. In December 1756 Vinogradov completed the construction of a large furnace and made a successful first firing. As a mark of its impending success the venture was renamed the Imperial Porcelain Factory. The Imperial factory's greatest period of success was to come under the direction of Prince Alexander Vyazemsky, after Vinogradov's death (in St. Petersburg in 1758). The factory exists today as the Imperial Porcelain Factory.

Georg Wilhelm Richmann

Georg Wilhelm Richmann (Russian: Георг Вильгельм Рихман) (22 July 1711 – 6 August 1753), (Old Style: 11 July 1711 – 26 July 1753) was a Baltic German physicist. He proved that thunder clouds contain electric charge.

He was born in Pernau (today Pärnu, Estonia) in Swedish Livonia, which in 1721 became part of the Russian Empire as a result of the Great Northern War (1700–1721). His father died of plague before he was born, and his mother remarried. In his early years he studied in Reval (today's Tallinn, Estonia); later he studied in Germany at the universities of Halle and Jena.

In 1741, he was elected a member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. He did pioneering work on electricity and atmospheric electricity, and also worked on calorimetry, in doing so collaborating with Mikhail Lomonosov. Richmann also worked as a tutor of the children of Count Andrei Osterman. In 1741, he translated Alexander Pope's Essay on Man into German from French.

He was electrocuted in St. Petersburg while "trying to quantify the response of an insulated rod to a nearby storm." He was attending a meeting of the Academy of Sciences, when he heard thunder. The Professor ran home with his engraver to capture the event for posterity. While the experiment was underway, a supposed ball lightning appeared and collided with Richmann's head leaving him dead with a red spot on his forehead, his shoes blown open, and parts of his clothes singed. An explosion followed "like that of a small Cannon" that knocked the engraver out, split the room's door frame, and tore the door off its hinges.

Reportedly, ball lightning traveled along the apparatus and was the cause of his death. He was apparently the first person in history to die while conducting electrical experiments.

Ivan Barkov

Ivan Semyonovich Barkov (Russian: Ива́н Семёнович Барко́в, IPA: [ɪˈvan sʲɪˈmʲɵnəvʲɪtɕ bɐrˈkof] (listen); c. 1732–1768) was a Russian poet, the author of erotic "Shameful Odes". He was a student of Mikhail Lomonosov, whose works he frequently parodied. He was also a translator and editor at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Leonty Magnitsky

Leonty Filippovich Magnitsky (Russian: Леонтий Филиппович Магницкий), born Telyatin (Russian: Телятин), (June 9, 1669, Ostashkov – October 19, 1739, Moscow) was a Russian mathematician and educator.Magnitsky was born into a peasant family. According to some accounts, he graduated from the Slavic Greek Latin Academy in Moscow. From 1701 and until his death, he taught arithmetic, geometry and trigonometry at the Moscow School of Mathematics and Navigation, becoming its director in 1716.

In 1703, Magnitsky wrote his famous Arithmetic (Арифметика; 2,400 copies), which was used as the principal textbook on mathematics in Russia until the middle of the 18th century. Mikhail Lomonosov was himself taught by this book, which he called the "gates to his own erudition". This book was more an encyclopedia of mathematics than a textbook, and the first secular book to be printed in Russia. In 1703, Magnitsky also produced a Russian edition of Adriaan Vlacq's log tables called Таблицы логарифмов и синусов, тангенсов и секансов (Tables of logarithms, sines, tangents, and secants).

Legend has it that Leonty Magnitsky was nicknamed Magnitsky by Peter the Great, who considered him a "people's magnet" (магнит, or "magnit" in Russian). For his educatorial achievements he was ennobled in 1704, and was given numerous awards and gifts by the Tsar.

Lomonosov Bridge

Lomonosov Bridge (Russian: Мост Ломоносова) across the Fontanka River is the best preserved of towered movable bridges that used to be typical for Saint Petersburg in the 18th century.

The original Tchernyshov Bridge, measuring 63 metres long by 14,7 metres wide, was constructed between 1785 and 1787. During the mid-19th century industrialization other bridges had their towers removed to facilitate traffic, but Tchernyshov Bridge retained the original appearance, with four rusticated Doric pavilions with small domed caps. Its movable middle section of wood was replaced by a metal one in 1912. The bridge was renamed after Mikhail Lomonosov in 1948.

Lomonosov Current

The Lomonosov current (also called Lomonosov Under Current or Equatorial Under-Current) is a deep current in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Lomonosov current was discovered in 1959 during the 5th cruise of the research vessel Mikhail Lomonosov by an expedition of the Marine Hydrophysical Institute of the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences, based in Sevastopol. Researchers onboard set four buoy stations containing current chart recorders at 30°W. One of them, that was set at the intersection of this meridian with the equator under the thin layer of the South Equatorial Current had recorded the strong current eastwards. Its average flow speed was 96 cm per second and maximal speed — 119 cm per second. It is named after Mikhail Lomonosov.

The Lomonosov current is 200 km wide, 150m thick and flows to the east. It starts near the coast of Brazil at some 5°N, crosses the equator and ends at some 5°S in the Gulf of Guinea. Its speed ranges from 60 to 130 cm per second, maximal speed being achieved at depths between 50 m and 125 m. Transport of the Lomonosov current ranges from 22.5 to 28.3 Sverdrup.

Lomonosov Mountains

The Lomonosov Mountains (71°31′S 15°20′E) are a somewhat isolated chain of mountains extending 18 nautical miles (33 km) northeast–southwest, located 20 nautical miles (37 km) east of the Wohlthat Mountains in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. They were discovered and first plotted from air photos by the Third German Antarctic Expedition, 1938–39, and were mapped from air photos and surveys by the Sixth Norwegian Antarctic Expedition, 1958–59. The mountains were remapped by the Soviet Antarctic Expedition, 1960–61, and named after Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov.

Lomonosov Ridge

The Lomonosov Ridge (Russian: Хребет Ломоносова, Danish: Lomonosovryggen) is an unusual underwater ridge of continental crust in the Arctic Ocean. It spans 1,800 kilometres (1,100 mi) between the New Siberian Islands over the central part of the ocean to Ellesmere Island of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The ridge divides the Arctic Basin into the Eurasian Basin and the Amerasian Basin. The width of the Lomonosov Ridge varies from 60 to 200 kilometres (37 to 124 mi). It rises 3,300 to 3,700 metres (10,800 to 12,100 ft) above the 4,200-metre (13,800 ft) deep seabed. The minimum depth of the ocean above the ridge is less than 400 metres (1,300 ft). Slopes of the ridge are relatively steep, broken up by canyons, and covered with layers of silt.

The Lomonosov Ridge was first discovered by the Soviet high-latitude expeditions in 1948 and is named after Mikhail Lomonosov. The name was approved by the GEBCO Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN).


Lomonosovfonna is an ice cap at Spitsbergen, Svalbard. The glacier is located northeast of the fjord Billefjorden. It covers an area of about 600 square kilometers, and divides Ny-Friesland from Olav V Land. It is named after Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov.


Lomonosovskaya (Russian: Ломоно́совская) is a station on the Nevsko-Vasileostrovskaya Line of Saint Petersburg Metro, opened on December 21, 1970. It is named after Russian polymath Mikhail Lomonosov.

Lomonosovsky Prospekt

Lomonosovsky Prospekt is an avenue in Moscow, Russia. It runs from Vavilova Street in the east (continuing Nakhimovsky Prospekt) to Mosfilmovskaya Street in the west (after which it continues as Minskaya Street).

The street was named in 1956 after Mikhail Lomonosov, a Russian scientist and active contributor to the founding of Moscow State University whose new campus had been by then constructed in the vicinity of the avenue.

As part of the cancelled Fourth Ring Road (ru), Lomonosovsky Prospekt is a busy chord connecting radial streets, with major crossings such as Leninsky Prospekt and Prospekt Vernadskogo (Moscow).

The avenue is serviced by two metro stations, Universitet, built in 1959, and another one, bearing the same name as the avenue, that opened in March 2017.

Mikhailo Lomonosov (satellite)

Mikhailo Lomonosov (or MVL-300) is an astronomical satellite of Moscow State University (MSU) named after Mikhail Lomonosov.

Monastery of the Holy Mandylion, Moscow

The Monastery of the Holy Mandylion or Zaikonospassky Monastery (Заиконоспасский монастырь in Russian) is an Orthodox monastery on the Nikolskaya Street in Kitai-gorod, Moscow, just one block away from the Kremlin.

It was founded in 1600 by Boris Godunov. At first called "Saviour the Old", the monastery gradually acquired its present quaint name which alludes to its location and means "the Saviour behind the icon shops".

In the late 17th century, the monastery's learned administrators such as Symeon of Polotsk and Sylvester Medvedev had it transformed into a hotbed of enlightenment. Between 1687 and 1814, it was home to the Slavic Greek Latin Academy, Russia's first secondary education establishment. There is a memorial plaque in honor of its most famous student, Mikhail Lomonosov. After Lomonosov founded the Moscow University in 1755, the academy declined in importance.

The surviving buildings include the Baroque katholikon of the Holy Mandylion (originally constructed in 1660-1661; rebuilt in 1717–1720 and 1742), several 17th-century chambers as well as a former school building which dates to 1822. After the October Revolution, the monastery's distinctive belltower was pulled down and the remaining buildings were given to the Moscow State Institute for History and Archives.

The Russian Orthodox Church had the Zaikonospassky Monastery reopened in 1992. It has been involved in litigation with the institute's successor over ownership of these assets. In 2014, the belltower was rebuilt to the same design.

Nikolay Popovsky

Nikolay Nikitich Popovsky (Russian: Николай Никитич Поповский) (1730?- 13 February 1760) was a Russian poet and protégé of Mikhail Lomonosov. Son of a priest serving at Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, in 1748 he was chosen by Vasily Trediakovsky at Lomonosov's behest amongst ten students from the Moscow Slavyano-Greko-Latin Academy to be enrolled in the university attached to the Academy of Sciences. While still a student at the university, he translated Horace's Ars Poetica into Russian verse, whereas Trediakovsky had produced only a prose rendition. The Horace translation, including the odes, was published by the Academy of Sciences in 1753. In 1753 at Lomonosov's suggestion he translated the first part of Alexander Pope's "Essay on Man" from a French version; publication was delayed until 1757 due to opposition by the Russian Orthodox church. He wrote an ode in honour of Empress Elizabeth's ascension to the Russian throne (1754), and another in the name of Moscow University for her coronation (1756). His poem in honour of Elizabeth on the occasion of the New Year's fireworks display of 1755, at one time thought to have been written by Lomonosov, is in fact a translation of Jacob Stahlin's poem "Verse an Ihre Kayserliche Majestät unsere grosse und huldreichste Monarchin gerichtet worden".

Sponsored by Lomonosov, Popovsky in 1755 became rector of the University Gymnasium in Moscow; in his inaugural address, "On the Content, Significance, and Scope of Philosophy" he championed conducting lectures on the subject in Russian rather than Latin, a proposal which Moscow University eventually put into practice twelve years later.

Science and technology in Russia

Science and technology in Russia have developed rapidly since the Age of Enlightenment, when Peter the Great founded the Russian Academy of Sciences and Saint Petersburg State University and polymath Mikhail Lomonosov founded the Moscow State University, establishing a strong native tradition in learning and innovation.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Russia produced a large number of notable scientists, making important contributions in physics, astronomy, mathematics, computing, chemistry, biology, geology and geography. Russian inventors and engineers excelled in such areas as electrical engineering, shipbuilding, aerospace, weaponry, communications, IT, nuclear technology and space technology.

More recently, the crisis of the 1990s led to the drastic reduction of state support for science and technology, leading many Russian scientists and university graduates to move to Europe or the United States. In the 2000s, on the wave of a new economic boom, the situation has improved, and the government launched a campaign aimed into modernisation and innovation.

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