Russia

Dziga Vertov – The Man with the Camera

On January 2, 1898, Soviet pioneer documentary film and newsreel director, as well as a cinema theorist Dziga Vertov was born. He is considered one of the most important early directors of documentary films because of both his experimental work and his theoretical texts. Vertov was a brother of the later Hollywood cinematographer and Oscar winner Boris Kaufman and the cinematographer Mikhail Kaufman, with whom he collaborated, for example in his most…
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Buran – The Russian Space Shuttle

Buran – The Russian Space Shuttle

On November 15, 1988, the Soviet space shuttle Buran took off for its one and only spaceflight. This remains the only Soviet space shuttle that was launched into space, as the Buran program was cancelled in 1993. The Soviet Space-craft Programme Even though the Soviet’s space-craft program started officially in the 1950’s, not a single project came into production and was organized sporadically only. The very first steps towards the Buran program…
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Vasily Dokuchaev and Foundations of Soil Science

Vasily Dokuchaev and Foundations of Soil Science

On October 26, 1903, (Julian Calendar) Russian Geologist and Geographer Vasily Dokuchaev passed away. Dokuchaev is commonly regarded as the father of Soil science, the study of soils in its natural setting. He developed soil science in Russia, and was, perhaps the first person to make wide geographical investigations of different soil types. “The scientific basis of soil science as a natural science was established by the classical works of Dokuchaev. Previously, soil…
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Dmitri Shostakovich’s Apocalyptic Soundtrack for the 20th century

Dmitri Shostakovich’s Apocalyptic Soundtrack for the 20th century

On 25 September 1906, Soviet-era Russian composer and pianist Dmitri Shostakovich was born. He became internationally known after the premiere of his First Symphony in 1926 and was regarded throughout his life as a major composer. In addition to 15 symphonies, instrumental concertos, stage works and film music, he composed 15 string quartets, which are among the major works of the 20th century chamber music repertoire. “I live in the USSR, work…
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Leonid Kulik and the Mysterious Tunguska Event

Leonid Kulik and the Mysterious Tunguska Event

On August 19, 1883, Russian mineralogist Leonid Alekseyevich Kulik was born. Kulik is noted for his research in meteorites. In 1927, Kulik conducted the first scientific expedition (for which records survive) to study the Tunguska meteor impact site, the largest impact event in recorded history, which had occurred on 30 June 1908.[1] Leonid Kulik – Bachground Leonid Kulik was born in Tartu, Estonia, which was later to become part of the Soviet Union, and was…
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Andrey Markov and the Markov Chains

Andrey Markov and the Markov Chains

On June 14, 1856, Russian mathematician Andrey (Andrei) Andreyevich Markov was born. He is best known for his work on stochastic processes. A primary subject of his research later became known as Markov chains and Markov processes, i.e. sequences of random variables in which the future variable is determined by the present variable but is independent of the way in which the present state arose from its predecessors. Markov Chains I guess, as…
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Sir Waldemar Haffkine – A Saviour of Humanity

Sir Waldemar Haffkine – A Saviour of Humanity

On March 15 1860, Russian bacteriologist Sir Waldemar Mordechai Wolff Haffkine was born. Haffkine is best known for an anti-cholera vaccine that he tried out successfully in India. He is recognized as the first microbiologist who developed and used vaccines against cholera and bubonic plague. He tested the vaccines on himself. Lord Joseph Lister named him “a saviour of humanity”.[4] Early Years Born as Vladimir Aaronovich Khavkin, Waldemar Haffkine was born into a family of Jewish teachers living…
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Peter the Great and the Grand Embassy

Peter the Great and the Grand Embassy

On March 10, 1697, Russian Tsar Peter the Great began his diplomatic mission to Western Europe, referred to as the ‘Grand Embassy‘. The goal of this mission was to strengthen and broaden Russia‘s influence in Western Europe and to find allies against the Ottoman Empire. What makes the mission so special is that Peter the Great led the mission himself, but incognito under a wrong name. “Alas! I have civilized my own…
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Nikolai Gogol and Russian Surrealism

Nikolai Gogol and Russian Surrealism

On March 4, 1852, Russian novelist Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol passed away, whose novel Myortvye dushi (Dead Souls) and whose short story “Shinel” (“The Overcoat”) are considered the foundations of the great 19th-century tradition of Russian realism. However, later critics have found in his work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of surrealism and the grotesque. “What a dreary world we live in, gentlemen.” — Nikolai Gogol, How the Two Ivans Quarrelled (1835)…
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Vladimir Bekhterev and the Bekhterev’s Disease

Vladimir Bekhterev and the Bekhterev’s Disease

On January 20, 1857, Russian neurologist Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev was born. He is often referred to as father of objective psychology, but is best known for noting the role of the hippocampus in memory, his study of reflexes, and Bekhterev’s disease. Moreover, he is known for his competition with Ivan Pavlov regarding the study of conditioned reflexes.[1] “Only two know the mystery of brain: God and Bekhterev.” — Friedrich Wilhelm Theodor Kopsch, as…
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