The life of Professor Mendeleev

Random Mendeleevs

Relatives of Dmitry Ivanovich on the paternal side bore the name of the Sokolovs. Until the end of the Tver Theological Seminary, Sokolov was the father of the scientist Ivan Pavlovich. Seminarians, as a rule, received the name of the church in which they were to serve. Ivan Pavlovich was sent to serve in the Tver province in the possession of the nobles Mendeleev. So, having no ties with the old family, the family of the future scientist also became Mendeleev. But only nobles could pass on the surname to the children. By 1834, when Dmitry Ivanovich was born, his father had long received a noble title, which means the son could inherit his last name from him. If it were not for the legal subtleties of the XIX century, we would now have the Periodic Law and the Sokolov table.

Mendeleev Library - 20 thousand volumes. (Museum-archive of DI Mendeleev St. Petersburg State University. Author: Anna Vlasova)

The latter will be the first

Dmitry Ivanovich is the last child in the family, the seventeenth, not the fourteenth, as biographers sometimes write. Three infants of the Mendeleev couple died unrecorded, without even receiving names.

When the father lost his sight, and with him the position of the director of the gymnasium, family concerns fell on the shoulders of Maria Dmitrievna, the mother of Mendeleev. She came from the famous Korniliev family in Siberia. Her brother gave her a dilapidated glass factory near Tobolsk. At that time, 160 serfs were at the disposal of the Mendeleevs. Through the efforts of the mother, the plant again began to produce small dishes. There, as a boy, Dmitry Ivanovich could observe the work of glassblowers.

Cedar bump, which the professor brought from the Urals. (Museum-archive of DI Mendeleev St. Petersburg State University. Author: Anna Vlasova)

So that the latter would not be bored, his six years old are given to the Tobolsk gymnasium. We studied there for seven years and took it from seven, so Mendeleev was forced to stay in the first grade for two years. Grades were set from zero to five, and Dmitry Ivanovich often grabbed zeros according to God's law and behavior. As he wrote, they transferred him from class to class, because they saw in him some inclinations. In fact, the young man was rescued by his parents' acquaintance — his father, before his illness, headed this same gymnasium. There was someone for Dmitry Ivanovich: Peter Pavlovich Ershov, the author of the famous Humpbacked Horse, taught him Russian literature. Later he will lead the gymnasium. The Ershov family was friendly with the Mendeleevs. Moreover, at the age of 28, Dmitry Ivanovich marries the adopted daughter of Ershov, Feozwe.

Extract from the certificate of high school student Mendeleev. (Museum-archive of DI Mendeleev St. Petersburg State University. Author: Anna Vlasova)

Russia in the XIX century was divided into school districts, each of which was by university. Tobolsk belonged to the Kazan district. Finish Mendeleev excellent classical gymnasium, could become a student of Kazan University. But then, it seems, he thought little about science: according to the old gymnasium tradition, he burned textbooks with his friends, and left his mother to decide his future fate. The father had already died by this time, and the older brothers and sisters lived independently. Maria Dmitrievna wished her son to get a higher education. She sold the property in Tobolsk and went to Moscow to visit her brother so that he could help her nephew get settled in the First Throne. Uncle was unable to help out, but on one of his evenings Mendeleev was impressed by the meeting with Gogol himself.

In the Twelve Collegiums is the most complete Mendeleev archive. (Museum-archive of DI Mendeleev St. Petersburg State University. Author: Anna Vlasova)

No road - go to the teachers

At the autopsy at the entrance exam, Mendeleev fainted - the way to the medical academy was closed for him. He entered the Main Pedagogical Institute at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics. And again, as once in a gymnasium, in an unacceptable year - then students were recruited every two years. Therefore, Dmitry Ivanovich was a freshman twice. The Institute at that time shared the building of the Twelve Colleges with the university. Mendeleev was taken bureaucratic, which means that after graduation he should work as a simple teacher.

Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev's handwriting. (Museum-archive of DI Mendeleev St. Petersburg State University. Author: Anna Vlasova)

Mendeleev's dissertation on isomorphism brought him a medal and the right to an internship in Germany. There he took up the capillary properties of a liquid, participated in the chemical congress in Karlsruhe - in general, he gave himself up completely to work, and for his diligence received an illegitimate daughter from a German actress.

Upon his return to Petersburg, the scientist became the editor of a technical encyclopedia and wrote the first Russian textbook of organic chemistry.

On Mendeleev's environments. (Museum-archive of DI Mendeleev St. Petersburg State University. Author: Anna Vlasova)

Noisy environments

On December 31, 1865, Mendeleev defended his famous dissertation on combining alcohol with water, and in 1866, as professor of chemistry, he was given an apartment near the university laboratory. The first owner of the apartment was Resurrection, a teacher of Mendeleev. Friends and colleagues often gathered in Dmitry Ivanovich's living room — first on Fridays, then on Wednesdays. Here was the grandfather of the Russian botany (and Alexander Blok’s own grandfather) Beketov, Wagner, who founded the Solovki zoological station and wrote “Kota Murlyki Tales”, physicist Petrushevsky, Repin, Kramskoy, critic Stasov. All guests could leave their autographs in colored chalk on a memorable tablecloth, and their wife and daughters embroidered them with threads.

Autographs of Shishkin, Kuindzhi, admiral Makarov, Blok. (Museum-archive of DI Mendeleev St. Petersburg State University. Author: Anna Vlasova)


There is a version that the first wife of Mendeleev was six years older than him. Such a marriage in the XIX century was considered indecently bold. But judging by the wedding certificate, the difference between the spouses is only a year. True, the passport was not asked at the time in the church, and we can doubt the accuracy of the record. Dmitry Ivanovich lived alone in the apartment - the relationship with his wife went wrong, and he soon found a replacement for her. The sister asked the professor to shelter her niece, a student at the Academy of Arts. She introduced her uncle to her seventeen-year-old friend Anna. The professor began to often invite the girl to his evenings. The result - Anna's pregnancy (she was expecting Lyubov Dmitrievna, whom Blok was to fall in love with) and the accusation from the lawful wife of adultery. The Holy Synod forever forbade Mendeleev to marry, but he still got married by bribing a priest. Beketov begged Theosva Mendeleeva consent to divorce. It came to Alexander II, who acknowledged the new marriage of a scientist.

In the summer, Mendeleev went out for a walk in the garden through the window. (Museum-archive of DI Mendeleev St. Petersburg State University. Author: Anna Vlasova)

On a big balloon

In August 1887, a solar eclipse was expected not far from Klima. The Russian Technical Society singled out Dmitry Ivanovich an aerostat so that he could observe the solar corona at an altitude of 3300 meters. On the eve of the flight it was raining, so the ball did not want to take off. The professor was in a hurry: the eclipse lasted three minutes. Mendeleev had only to shove out of the pilot's basket and throw out the ballast, which he did. Downstairs the commotion began, the scientist who had flown away was searched for the direction of the wind and even equipped the train. But Mendeleev drifted in the other direction, to Tver. He descended spectacularly: with a bloated beard (he himself said that he had shaved and cut hair once a year - in the spring to heat), blowing and waving a white flag. During the brave flight of Mendeleev received a diploma and a medal, which is now stored in the museum.

Luggage and roll-ups

Mendeleev was fond of photography (he even wanted to leave science and open a photo studio at one time) and collected albums with works of art, because the paintings were not affordable for him: for example, Kuinji's Moonlit Night on the Dnieper cost 5,000 rubles, and the chemistry salary of a professor was 3 thousand. There is a legend that Dmitry Ivanovich glued his bags and almost put them up for sale in Gostiny Dvor. Whether this is true is difficult to say, but a table made by the hands of the professor has been preserved. And thanks to him, the first electric street clock appeared in Petersburg.

Cup Dmitry Ivanovich. (Museum-archive of DI Mendeleev St. Petersburg State University. Author: Anna Vlasova)

From the gymnasium of the time Mendeleev loved rolling cigarettes. When he was told that smoking was harmful, the professor answered: “This is all nonsense. I ran smoke through a fleece with bacteria. Bacteria are not all killed. ” But just his sick lungs brought him to the grave: he died of inflammation before he was six days old and was 73 years old.

The excursion was conducted by the research associate of the Museum-archive DI Mendeleev at St. Petersburg State University Nikolai Pozdnyakov.

Watch the video: Dmitri Mendeleev: Great Minds (March 2020).