Mikhail Lomonosov

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
Fascinating man, I was going to write about him on November 19th, his birthday, but I forgot.

November 19th, 1711, he was born, in Arkhangelsk region, in northern Russia

his father, like most men over there, was a fisherman,a successful and prosperous one, owned his own ship in fact; but the boy did not want to continue in his footsteps.

Most of the population back then was illiterate, but young Mikhail dreamt of an education, and went, with a group of other kids (against his dad's wishes), to a priest, who taught them all how to read and write

He then, eventually, at 19, left home due to many factors (father still pushing him to get all that nerdy bookish nonsense out of his head and get working on his fishing boat; not getting along with father's new wife; and still wanting higher education) and traveled, mostly on foot, with only a couple of his favorite books and few money or other possessions, from his native Arkhangelsk to Moscow

Even today, on a plane, it takes nearly two hours to get between these two cities

Lomonosov went that distance, again, mostly on foot, sometimes hitching rides on horse carriages and sleighs he encountered along the way!

In Moscow, he became the only student of non-aristocratic blood to get into the Slavic Greek Latin Academy (Russia's first and, back then, only university)

To do this, he pretended to be the son of a nobleman. The lie was eventually exposed, but he was such a bright and dedicated scholar, they actually did not feel right to kick him out, decided he deserved to stay, at that point. He eventually even earned scholarships to universities in Europe!

Lomonosov would become Russia's greatest, most famous scientist

Among other things, he is said to have first discovered the formula for vodka and distilled that God awful drink as we know it today


He would open his own university, which would bear his name

The huge modern campus, built under Stalin in the 40s

It is now the greatest university in all of ex-Soviet Eurasia, and it still remains the LOMONOSOV Moscow State University


He was one of the favorites of Empress Catherine II; here he shows her one of his inmventions

He was also a talented artist, who created many beautiful frescoes and mosaics

This rendering of the Battle of Poltava, at the Academy of the Sciences building in St. Petersburg, is also one of his works

For all of that, Lomonosov was far from a geek or your typical artsy type :D He was a typical brutish provincial Russian man, who took no shit from anyone, and was, in fact, famous and infamous for his physical prowess and oft violent temper (hey, even his bloody surname translates as "Nose Breaker" lmao)

According to various stories about him, one time, for example, in 1742, another man apparently stole his (expensive) coat, reportedly the gardener, at the place where he was staying. A drunk and very angry Lomonosov barged into that man's quarters, where the latter had just been entertaining a bunch of friends, a big group of other men, they too all were drinking. Lomonosov demanded his coat back. The other guy basically told him to take a fucking hike. Lomonosov then proceeded to "beat up every man in the room" and later it took FIVE policemen to physically restrain him. Another time, three thuggish sailors accosted him on the street in St. Petersburg, intending to rob him. Lomonosov "knocked out two of the sailors, and punched down the third one as well, and then stood with his foot on that man's face, yelling obscenities at him, according to witnesses".
Как дрался Михайло Ломоносов

:D Hell of a guy...
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