Russian scientist and poet. Born 1711 in Arkhangelsk, died 1765.
At the age of 19, Lomonosov went to Moscow to study, learning philosophy, theology, languages and literature. He then went on to learn physics, chemistry, mineralogy and geography at Marburg and Freiburg.
Lomonosov contributed significantly to the natural sciences, formulating original (if now dated) theories on the nature of matter and of motion. In 1745, he became professor of chemistry at St. Petersburg and instituted Russia's first chemical laboratory. That same year, he described heat as a motion of ethereal particles and cold as a reduction of this motion. With G.V. Rikhmann (1711-1753), he carried out experiments on the conduction of electricíty from thunderclouds (à la Benjamin Franklin). In chemical experiments, Lomonosov demonstrated that weight is a constant during chemical processes.
A particular interest in the production of glass led Lomonosov to gain the patronage of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna for the establishment of glassblowing factories, at which manycoloured glass for mosaic work was created. One of his mosaics, The Battle of Poltava, may still be seen in the Academy of Sciences at St. Petersburg.
Since many of Lomonosov's scientific discoveries were unpublished or never became widely known outside Russia (it was only in the early 20th century that a number of his manuscripts were discovered in Russian archives), his scientific achievements tend to be overlooked.
Of more fame were his literary achievements. In 1739, he wrote Rules for a Russian Versification, which adapted the principles of Classicism to the unique characteristics of the Russian language. His Grammar of Russian (1755) and his style manual The Three Styles (1757) set the theme for a whole generation of writers.
Lomonosov also reinvigorated the classical ode, particularly with his Ode in Memory of Empress Elizabeth's Accession to the Throne (1747 and with two odes from 1751 depicting nature, Morning and Evening Reflections on the Grandeur of God. Both these odes salute the greatness of science rather than temporal power or religion.
In 1755, Lomonosov helped to establish the University of Moscow, which still bears his name.
In 1948, the port city of Oranienbaum, near St. Petersburg, was renamed Lomonosov in his honor.