Lomonosov, Mikhail Vasilyevich

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Lomonosov, Mikhail Vasilyevich

Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov (mēkhəyēl´ vəsē´lyəvĬch ləmənô´səf), 1711–65, Russian scientist, scholar, and writer, an outstanding figure in 18th-century Russia. Lomonosov was the son of a prosperous fisherman. Concealing his peasant background, he obtained an extraordinarily broad education. He was chosen by the St. Petersburg Academy to study the sciences and philosophy in Germany. In 1741 he received a lifetime appointment to the Russian Academy of Sciences. In his experiments he anticipated such modern principles as the mechanical nature of heat and the kinetic theory of gases. To promote education, Lomonosov wrote a history of Russia (1766) and a Russian grammar (1755). In his poetry he adopted tonic versification, thus altering the character of Russian prosody. For his reform of the Russian literary language he chose an idiom midway between the Old Church Slavonic and spoken Russian.

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