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Mikhail Lomonosov, a Short Biography

You can read the Biography of M. Lomonosov in the original Russian version.

His childhood

Mikhail Vassilyevich Lomonosov, scholar and lexicographer, founder of the Moscow State University (MSU), was born on November 08, 1711 in the village of Mishaninska (now renamed Lomonosov), in the Region of Arkhangelsk on the shore of the White Sea.

His father, Vassily Dorofeyevich Lomonosov was a fisherman and hunter. He was a good man but absolutely illiterate. His mother, Elena Ivanovna, died when Lemonosov was 9 years old. Life with his step mother was un-bereable for him.

The best memories from his childhood were his trips at sea with his father and his literacy and mathematic lessons with a local church minister. Melentie Smotrisky’s “Grammar” and Simeon Polotsky’s “Arithmetic” were for the boy, according to his own words “The Gates to scholarship”.

In December 1730, the passion for knowledge pushed Michael to take the decision to leave his home with the help of some fishermen. He made his way, first on boat and then on foot to Moscow. He was then 19 years.

Lomonosov’s years of studies

It took young Lomonosov 3 weeks to reach Moscow where no one was waiting for him. He joined the school system on his own, and together with younger students began to study sciences. Kids made fun of him at first, but gradually they got used to him and love the quiet and intelligent boy.

He lived very poorly, often dinning with just a piece of bread. In 5 years he went through the entire school program. He then continued his studies at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. A year later, being among the best students, Mikhail Lomonosov was sent to the Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg.

There he continued his intensive studies of the sciences, as well as the study of European languages.

At the age of 25, he was sent to study in Germany. For 3 years he studied at the University of Marburg, then in Freiberg. After that, he spent a year travelling through Holland. Mikhail Lomonosov studied mathematics, physics, chemistry, metallurgy, mining and Western European literature. He was engaged in poetic translation.

In Germany, Lomonosov married a German girl, Elisabeth-Christine Tsilh. Their son Ivan died at an early age and their daughter Elena Lomonosova had four children with her husband Alexei Konstantinov who served as the librarian of the Empress Catherine II.

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His return to Russia

In 1741, Mikhail Lomonosov returned to Russia and began working at the Academy of Sciences and Arts. Until his death in 1765, Mikhail Lomonosov worked tirelessly for the benefit of Russian science, enthusiastically engaged in physics, chemistry, astronomy, instrumentation, geography, metallurgy, geology, philology and history. He developed the project of Moscow State University which now bears his name.

Елена Буланова