Engineer of Revolutionary Russia: Iurii V. Lomonosov (1876-1952) and the Railways
This book is the first substantial study in any language of one of revolutionary Russia's most distinguished and controversial engineers - Iurii Vladimirovich Lomonosov (1876-1952). Not only does it provide an outline of his remarkable life and career, it also explores the relationship between science, technology and transport that developed in late transit and early Soviet Russia.
Lomonosov's importance extends well beyond his scientific and engineering achievements thanks to the rich variety and public prominence of his professional and political activities. His generation - Lenin's generation - was inevitably at the forefront of Russian life from the 1910s to the 1930s, and Lomonosov took his place there as one of the country's best known and ultimately notorious engineers. As well as an innovative engineer who campaigned to enhance the role of science, he played a major role in shaping and administering the Russian railways, and undertook several diplomatic and scientific missions to the West during the early years of the Revolution. Falling from political favour during an assignment in Germany (1923-1927), he achieved notoriety in Russia as a `non-returner' by apparently declining to return home. Thereby escaping probable arrest and execution, he began a new life abroad (1927-1952) which included a research post at the California Institute of Technology in 1929-1930, collaborative projects with the famous physicist P.L. Kapitsa in Cambridge, a long-time association with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London, and work for the British War Office during the Second World War.
From Marxist revolutionary to American academic, this study reveals Lomonosov's extraordinary life. Drawing on a wide variety of official Russian sources, as well as Lomonosov's own diaries and memoirs, a vivid portrait of his life is presented, offering a better understanding of how science, technology and politics interacted in early twentieth-century Russia.
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