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Encyclopedia > Trofim Lysenko

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (Russian: Трофи́м Дени́сович Лысе́нко) (September 29, 1898November 20, 1976) was a Soviet politician who made pretense of being a biologist. During the 1930s, he led a campaign promoting his pseudoscience now known as Lysenkoism, causing tremendous damage to Soviet agriculture, the effects of which were still felt until mid-1960s in the USSR. September 29 is the 272nd day of the year (273rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1898 (MDCCCXCVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... November 20 is the 324th day of the year (325th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... Soviet redirects here. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A politician is an individual who is a formally recognized and active member of a government, or a person who influences the way a society is governed through an understanding of political power and group dynamics. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... Phrenology is regarded today as a classic example of pseudoscience. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ...

Contents

Biography

Lysenko, the son of Denis and Oksana Lysenko, came from a peasant family in Ukraine and attended the Kiev Agricultural Institute. In 1927, at the age of 29, while working at an experiment station in Azerbaijan he was credited by the Soviet newspaper Pravda with having discovered a method to fertilize fields without using fertilizers or minerals, and with having proved that a winter crop of peas could be grown in Azerbaijan, "turning the barren fields of the Transcaucasus green in winter, so that cattle will not perish from poor feeding, and the peasant Turk will live through the winter without trembling for tomorrow" (a typical peasant "miracle" of the early Soviet press). The winter crop of peas, however, failed in succeeding years. The front page of an issue of Pravda. ... Binomial name Pisum sativum L. A pea is the small, edible round green bean which grows in a pod on the leguminous vine Pisum sativum, or in some cases to the immature pods. ...

Lysenko speaking at the Kremlin in 1935. At the back (left to right) are Stanislav Kosior, Anastas Mikoyan, Andrei Andreev and the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin
Lysenko speaking at the Kremlin in 1935. At the back (left to right) are Stanislav Kosior, Anastas Mikoyan, Andrei Andreev and the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin

Such would be the pattern of Lysenko's success with the Soviet media from 1927 until 1964—reports of amazing (and impossible) successes, which would be replaced with claims of new successes once the old ones became failures. What mattered more to the press was that Lysenko was a "barefoot scientist"—an embodiment of the mythical Soviet peasant genius. from Nature Reviews Genetics 2, 723-729 (2001); doi:10. ... from Nature Reviews Genetics 2, 723-729 (2001); doi:10. ... The Moscow Kremlin The Moscow Kremlin ( Russian: Московский Кремль) is the best known kremlin ( Russian citadel). ... StanisÅ‚aw Kosior Trofim Lysenko speaking at the Kremlin in 1935. ... Anastas Hovhannesi Mikoyan (Armenian Ô±Õ¶Õ¡Õ½Õ¿Õ¡Õ½ Õ€Õ¸Õ¾Õ°Õ¡Õ¶Õ¶Õ¥Õ½Õ« Õ„Õ«Õ¯Õ¸ÕµÕ¡Õ¶; (November 25, 1895 [O.S. November 13] - October 21, 1978) was an Armenian Old Bolshevik and Soviet statesman during the Stalin and Khrushchev years. ... “Stalin” redirects here. ... 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ...


Lysenko's "science" was practically nonexistent. When he had any clearly formed theories, they were generally a mishmash of Lamarckism and various confused forms of Darwinism; the majority of Lysenko's work consisted of so-called "practical directions" for agriculture, such as cooling grain before it was planted. Lysenko's primary procedure was a mixture of so-called "vernalization" (by which Lysenko generally meant anything he did to plant seeds and tubers) as well as hybridization. During one period, for example, he picked a spring wheat with a short "stage of vernalization" but a long "light stage," which he crossed with another variety of wheat with a long "stage of vernalization" and a short "light stage." He did not explain what was meant by these stages. Lysenko then concluded on the basis of his stage theory that he knew in advance that the cross would produce offspring that would ripen sooner and as such yield more than their parents and thus did not have to test many plants through their generations. Though scientifically unsound on a number of levels, Lysenko's claims delighted Soviet journalists and agricultural officials, as they sped up laboratory work and cheapened it considerably. Lysenko was given his own journal, Vernalization, in 1935, with which he generally bragged about forthcoming successes. Lamarckism or Lamarckian evolution is a theory put forward by the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck, based on heritability of acquired characteristics, the once widely accepted idea that an organism can acquire characteristics during its lifetime and pass them on to its offspring. ... Charles Darwin Darwinism is a term for the underlying theory in those ideas of Charles Darwin concerning evolution and natural selection. ... This article contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ... In genetics, hybridisation is the process of mixing different species or varieties of organisms. ...


The Soviet press reported great successes from Lysenko's early initiatives, though in the end almost all would result in failure. However, what most caught the Soviet government's eye about Lysenko was his success at motivating peasants. Soviet agriculture was deeply damaged by the mandatory collectivization movement in the early 1930s, and many peasants were at best unenthusiastic and at worst prone to destroy their grain to keep it away from the Soviet government. Lysenko energized the enthusiasm of the peasants, making them feel truly in control and participants in the great Soviet revolutionary experiment. By the late 1920s, the Soviet political bosses had given their support to Lysenko. Lysenko himself spent much time decrying academic scientists and geneticists, claiming that their isolated laboratory work was not helping the Soviet people. In his personality, he was quick to anger and could tolerate no criticism. By 1929 the skeptics of Lysenko were politically censured for only being able to criticize rather than prescribe new solutions. In December 1929, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin gave a famous speech elevating "practice" above "theory", elevating the judgment of the political bosses above that of the scientists and technical specialists. Though the Soviet government under Stalin gave much more support to genuine agricultural scientists in its early days, after 1935 the balance of power abruptly swung towards Lysenko and his followers. Collective farming is an organizational unit in agriculture in which peasants are not paid wages, but rather receive a share of the farms net output. ... The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... For a non-technical introduction to the topic, please see Introduction to genetics. ... 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... “Stalin” redirects here. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ...

Lysenko studying wheat
Lysenko studying wheat

Central to Lysenko's tenets was the concept of the inheritability of acquired characteristics. While Lysenkoism was advanced primarily in the service of Soviet agriculture, its implications for the field of human biology were not lost on the Soviet leadership. almost certainly from http://e3. ... almost certainly from http://e3. ... The inheritance of acquired characters (or characteristics) is the hereditary mechanism by which changes in physiology acquired over the life of an organism (such as muscle enlarged through use) are transmitted to offspring. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ...


Lysenko was put in charge of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences of the Soviet Union and made responsible for ending the propagation of "harmful" ideas among Soviet scientists. Lysenko served this purpose faithfully, causing the expulsion, imprisonment, and death of hundreds of scientists and the demise of genetics (a previously flourishing field) throughout the Soviet Union. This period is known as Lysenkoism. He bears particular responsibility for the death of the prominent Soviet biologist, Nikolai Vavilov, at the hands of the NKVD. For a non-technical introduction to the topic, please see Introduction to genetics. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... Nikolai Vavilov Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov (Николай Иванович Вавилов, November 25/(November 13), 1887— January 26, 1943) was a prominent Russian botanist and geneticist. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


After Stalin

After Stalin's death in 1953, Lysenko retained his position, enjoying a relative degree of trust from Nikita Khrushchev. However, mainstream scientists were now given the ability to criticize Lysenko for the first time since the late 1920s. In 1962 three of the most prominent Soviet physicists, Yakov Borisovich Zel'dovich, Vitaly Ginzburg, and Pyotr Kapitsa, set out the case against Lysenko, his false science and his policy of political extermination of scientific opponents. This happened as a part of a greater trend of combating the ideological influence that had held such sway in Soviet society and science. In 1964, physicist Andrei Sakharov spoke out against Lysenko in the General Assembly of the Academy of Sciences: Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (Russian: , Nikita Sergeevič Chruščëv; IPA: , in English, , or , occasionally ); surname more accurately romanized as Khrushchyov; April 17 [O.S. April 5] 1894–September 11, 1971) was the leader of the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin. ... Yakov Borisovich Zeldovich (Russian:Яков Борисович Зельдович) (March 8, 1914 – December 2, 1987) was a prolific Soviet physicist. ... Vitaly Lazarevich Ginzburg (Russian: ; born October 4, 1916 in Moscow) is a Soviet/Russian theoretical physicist and astrophysicist, a member of the Academy of Sciences of the former Soviet Union, and the successor to Igor Tamm as head of the Academys physics institute (FIAN). ... Semenov (on the right) and Kapitsa (on the left), portrait by Boris Kustodiev, 1921 Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa (Russian Пётр Леонидович Капица) (July 9, 1894 – April 8, 1984) was a Soviet/Russian physicist who discovered superfluidity with some contribution from John F. Allen and Don Misener in 1937. ... Andrei Sakharov, 1943 For the historian, see Andrey Nikolayevich Sakharov. ...

He is responsible for the shameful backwardness of Soviet biology and of genetics in particular, for the dissemination of pseudo-scientific views, for adventurism, for the degradation of learning, and for the defamation, firing, arrest, even death, of many genuine scientists. [1]

The Soviet press was soon filled with anti-Lysenkoite articles and appeals for the restoration of scientific methods to all fields of biology and agricultural science. Lysenko was removed from his post as director of the Institute of Genetics at the Academy of Sciences and restricted to an experimental farm in Moscow's Lenin Hills (the Institute itself was soon dissolved). After the dismissal of Khrushchev in 1964, the president of the Academy of Sciences declared that Lysenko's immunity to criticism had officially ended, and an expert commission was sent to Lysenko's experimental farm. A few months later, a devastating critique became public and Lysenko's reputation was completely destroyed in the Soviet Union, though it would continue to have effect in China for many years. Location Position of Moscow in Europe Government Country District Subdivision Russia Central Federal District Federal City Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov Geographical characteristics Area  - City 1,081 km² Population  - City (2007)    - Density 10,469,000   9684. ...


The official cabinet of T. D. Lysenko was located on a second floor of the Biological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, still located in Moscow on Leninskiy prospect, 33. His room was right above the room where Lina Stern worked. Almost all famous Russian biologists worked in this building, and most of them became Lysenko's victims sooner or later - including Nikolai Vavilov. Lysenko was visiting his office right up to his death. On the other side of the doorway he had a private toilet (as a privilege of being a director, a common practice in Russia). When he was stripped of his privileges, the toilet was also taken away by a new director; to Lysenko's enormous chagrin, it was converted to a public one for women. The ruins of his large experimental greenhouses can be still seen (2005) on the back grounds of the institute. Lina Stern Lina Solomonovna Stern (1878-1968) was credited with inventing Soviet penicillin which saved thousands of lives at the fronts of World War II. Born in Liepaja, Latvia to a Jewish family and educated in Geneve, Switzerland, she pursued a brilliant academic career and performed original research in biochemistry... Nikolai Vavilov Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov (Николай Иванович Вавилов, November 25/(November 13), 1887— January 26, 1943) was a prominent Russian botanist and geneticist. ...


Lysenko died in 1976.


See also

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. ... Gregor Johann Mendel (July 20, 1822[1] – January 6, 1884) was a German-Czech Augustinian priest and scientist often called the father of modern genetics for his study of the inheritance of traits in pea plants. ... VASKhNIL (Russian language: ВАСХНИЛ) was the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences of the Soviet Union. ...

References

  • Graham, Loren, Science in Russia and the Soviet Union, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993).
  • Graham, Loren, What Have We Learned About Science and Technology from the Russian Experience?, (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1998).
  • Joravsky, David, The Lysenko Affair, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970).
  • Lecourt, Dominique, Proletarian Science ? : The Case of Lysenko, (London: NLB ; Atlantic Highlands, N.J. : Humanities Press, 1977). (A Marxist, though anti-Stalinist, history of Lysenkoism)
  • Lysenko, Trofim, The Science of Biology Today, (New York: International Publishers, 1948). Text of an address "evoked by the international discussion of the subject of inheritance of acquired characteristics," according to an introductory note. Delivered before a session of a meeting of the V.I. Lennin Academy of Agricultural Sciences on July 31, 1948, when Lysenko, its president, was at the apex of his power. [For an online version of the text see the Lysenko "Report" provided in the External Links section, below.]
  • Medvedev, Zhores, The Rise and Fall of T.D. Lysenko, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969)
  • Soyfer, Valery N., Lysenko and the Tragedy of Soviet Science New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994.

Marxism is the political practice and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. ... The inheritance of acquired characters (or characteristics) is the hereditary mechanism by which changes in physiology acquired over the life of an organism (such as muscle enlarged through use) are transmitted to offspring. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Trofim Lysenko - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1274 words)
Lysenko, the son of Denis and Oksana Lysenko, came from a peasant family in Ukraine and attended the Kiev Agricultural Institute.
Lysenko served this purpose faithfully, causing the expulsion, imprisonment, and death of hundreds of scientists and the demise of genetics (a previously flourishing field) throughout the Soviet Union.
Lysenko was removed from his post as director of the Institute of Genetics at the Academy of Sciences and restricted to an experimental farm in Moscow's Lenin Hills (the Institute itself was soon dissolved).
Lysenkoism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1705 words)
Lysenkoism was a campaign against genetics and geneticists which happened in the Soviet Union from the middle of the 1930s to the middle of the 1960s, centered around the figure of Trofim Denisovich Lysenko.
Lysenko used his position to denounce biologists as "fly-lovers and people haters," and to decry the "wreckers" in biology who he claimed were trying to purposely disable the Soviet economy and cause it to fail.
Lysenkoism is invoked by biological determinists for the same reason that eugenics and scientific racism are invoked by social constructivists—both were historical events viewed as the extremes to which politics could be used to trump science with disasterous effects, and both imply that the practitioners so-labeled are interested in producing propaganda rather than science.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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