by Edouard TROPP, Dr. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), chief academic secretary of St. Petersburg Scientific Center Presidium, RAS
In 2011 we will mark 300th birth anniversary of the great Russian scientist-encyclopedist, creator of Russian scientific and literary language Mikhail Lomonosov (1711-1765).
"THE MAIN PART OF NATURAL SCIENCE"
"I must give Mr. Lomonosov* his due as he is endowed with the most wonderful wit for explaining physical and chemical phenomena,"--wrote one of the greatest mathematicians, mechanics, astronomers of the 18th century, member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences Leonhard Euler. Lomonosov himself characterized physics as "the major part of natural science". His interest in this science arose when he was a student and he kept it during his whole life.
In 1736 Lomonosov was sent to Germany, to the University of Marburg (previously he studied at the Moscow Slavonic-Greek-Latin Academy and Petersburg Academic University) to master chemistry and mining. In 1738 he attended lectures of the celebrated philosopher Christian Wolff (a foreign honorary member of St. Petersburg AS from 1725) devoted to theoretical and later experimental physics, and it is not accidental that his first work dealt with this subject. Curious enough the fact that to the student's dissertation in physics was attached a translation of the ode of French writer Francois Fénelon (the theory of versification he studied in Marburg independently). Thus, the great coast-
* See: E. Karpeyev, "A Giant of Russia's Enlightenment", Science in Russia, No. 3, 2003.--Ed.
dweller was facing a dilemma: to become a "physicist" or a "lyric poet."
An inquisitive youth learned from Wolff not only the principle of "liberal philosophizing," but also a whole scope of methodological and general scientific ideas, including axiomatic construction of physics according to Euclid's geometry. Lomonosov thought Wolff to be the author of the "mat ... Читать далее