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Science and Medicine in Imperial Russia

583 pages7 hours


The author’s intention to write “Science and Medicine in Imperial Russia” was to acquaint the American medical and scientific professionals, and, hopefully, the general public, with the accomplishments of Russian scientists and physicians in the areas of their professions. The authors has limited his story to medicine, chemistry, and biology, the areas of his extended experience. American public’s thinking, due to a number of reasons, is that Imperial Russia was a “swamp” (to use President Trump’s expression), in which nothing of medical or scientific importance has ever been discovered or developed. This author, of course, thinks otherwise, and presents in this volume an ample amount of evidence to show that in the fields listed above, the accomplishments of the Russians were surprisingly numerous. As an example, one can cite the discoveries of Russian organic chemists (especially at the Kazan University), which, arguably, were exceeded only by the Germans. The problem in Russia was the lack of funds to put the basic science discoveries to practical use. As an example, one can mention the discovery of the aniline synthesis method by Zinin, a professor at Kazan University. Aniline became the basis for the synthesis of modern dyes, immediately picked by Western European nations, but not by the Russians. And such lists of accomplishments without putting them into practical use were many. This book provides descriptions of Russia’s discoveries, largely using original scientific and medical publications written by its scientists and physicians of Russia in Russian -lunguage journals, of which there were many, or, for the most part, in German publications. The Russians published largely in German, and less so in French journals in order to have a broader audience. Few foreigners knew the Russian language, but all knew German and/or French.

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