Russian scientist, scholar, and writer, outstanding figure in 18th-century Russia. A son of a prosperous fisherman, he concealed his peasant background and traveled on foot from the Far North of Russia to Moscow where, in spite of being mocked by other much younger students, 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. He succeeded in the widest variety of sciences and studies. In his experiments he anticipated such modern principles as the mechanical nature of heat and the kinetic theory of gases; wrote a history of Russia and a Russian grammar; adopted tonic versification in poetry, thus altering the character of Russian prosody; restored the ancient art of mosaic, producing some outstanding pieces of art. In 1755 he founded the Moscow University, now named after him.
Bio by: julia&keld