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Outstanding people

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- Who glorified Russia?

- Every country is proud of its outstanding people. Russia can be really proud of its great people. Russian scientists and inventors made a great contribution to the development of arts, science, technology, medicine. Their names are world-known. Almost in every field of human activity they achieved great results. M. Lomonosov was one of the most learned men in Europe. He was an outstanding innovator both in the humanities and sciences. He inspired the foundation of the first Russian University. Mendeleev's greatest discovery was the Periodic System of Elements. Russia is rightly called the mother of aviation and interplanetary navigation.

- Who are you going to talk about?

- I admire the achievements of the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. Ivan Pavlov is known chiefly for his development of the concept of the conditioned reflex. In a now-classic experiment, Pavlov trained a hungry dog to salivate at the sound of a bell, which was previously associated with the sight of food. He developed a similar conceptual approach, emphasizing the importance of conditioning, in his pioneering studies relating human behaviour to the nervous system.

- Was Pavlov's work appreciated?

- Yes, certainly. Ivan Pavlov was awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology in 1904.

- What do you know about Pavlov's early life?

- Pavlov, the son of a priest, was born on September 14, 1849. He spent his youth in Ryazan. In 1870 he entered the University of St. Petersburg, where he studied chemistry and physiology. After receiving the M.D. at the Imperial Medical Academy in St. Peters burg, he studied in Germany. Pavlov's first independent research was on the physiology of the circulatory system. From 1888 to 1890 in St. Petersburg he investigated cardiac physiology and the regulation of blood pressure. In 1890 he became professor of physiology.

- What law did Pavlov formulate?

- Pavlov formulated the law of the conditioned reflex.

- How long was the scientist occupied with the subject?

- The subject occupied Pavlov's attention from about 1898 until 1930.

- What did Pavlov try to explain with his law?

- From about 1930 to 1936, Pavlov tried to apply his law to the explanation of human psychoses. During this period Pavlov announced the important principle of the language function in the human activity as based on long chains of conditioned reflexes involving words. The function of language involves not only words, he held, but an elaboration of generalizations. Pavlov's work laid the basis for the scientific analysis of behaviour.

- Who else glorified Russia?

- Tsiolkovsky did.

- What is Konstantin Tsiolkovsky noted for?

- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky is the father of rocket flying. He was among the first to work out the theoretical problems of rocket travel in space. He is the greatest Russian research scientist in aeronautics and astronautics who pioneered rocket and space re search and the development and use of wind tunnels for aerodynamic studies.

- What family did Konstantin Tsiolkovsky come from?

- Tsiolkovsky's father was a forestry official.

- What event had an important impact on his early life?

- At the age of nine Tsiolkovsky lost his hearing. He had to study at home. The boy became withdrawn and lonely, yet self- reliant. Books became his friends. He developed an interest in mathematics and physics and, while still a teenager, began to speculate on space travel.

- Did Konstantin Tsiolkovsky study anywhere?

- At 16 Konstantin Tsiolkovsky went to Moscow to study chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, and mechanics. Listening to the lectures with the aid of an ear trumpet, he expanded his grasp of the problems of flight. But in 1876 Tsiolkovsky's father called him home to Vyatka.

- What did Tsiolkovsky do then?

- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky passed the teachers examination and was assigned to a school in Borovsk, about 100 km from Moscow. There he began his teaching career. Then Tsiolkovsky was transferred to another teaching post in Kaluga

- What did Konstantin Tsiolkovsky do in Kaluga besides teaching?

- There in Kaluga Konstantin Tsiolkovsky carried out his re search in astronautics and aeronautics. While investigating aerodynamics, however, Tsiolkovsky began to devote more attention to space problems.

- Did Konstantin Tsiolkovsky publish books and articles on the problems he studied?

- In 1895 Tsiolkovsky's book "Dreams of Earth and Sky" was published, and in 1896 he published an article on communication with inhabitants of other planets. That same year he also began to write his largest and most serious work on astronautics. "Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices" dealt with theoretical problems of using rocket engines in space, including heat transfer, a navigating mechanism, heating resulting from air friction, and maintenance of fuel supply.

- What did Konstantin Tsiolkovsky do later in life?

- In the final 18 years of his life, Tsiolkovsky continued his re search on a wide variety of scientific problems. His contributions to stratospheric exploration and interplanetary flight were particularly noteworthy and played a significant role in contemporary astronautics. In 1919 Tsiolkovsky was elected to the Academy of Sciences.

- Russia is proud of its outstanding painters. Who are going to talk about?

- My talk is about Vassily Perov. He was the leader of the critical movement of the 1860s. In his paintings Perov expressed his protest against the unjustness of society. The son of a public prosecutor, Perov studied at Arzamas at the Art School of Alexander Stupin. During the 1850s Perov attended the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Pavel Fedotov's domestic scenes, William Hogarth's pictorial satire and genre painting of the "Little masters" had a great influence on Perov. In his early works the artist criticized social behaviour. Perov's compositions show the painter's profound knowledge of the people's routine life. Perov reached the peak of his success as a genre painter in the later half of the 1860s.

- Can you tell us about one of Perov's well-known works of art?

- "The Last Inn at the City Gate" (or "The Last Pub") is considered to be one of the best art works of Russian painting. The artist depicts the city outskirts on a dark winter evening. A sledge in front of the inn, the sign "Parting", a girl in the cold street, the city gate with the Russian coats of arms and the road to nowhere - all these attain a symbolic meaning. The dark, muted colours convey the feeling of loneliness in the cold estranged world.

- What other paintings were created by Perov?

- Perov was the founding-member of the Wanderers. During the 1870s he created portraits of such outstanding Russian personalities as Alexander Ostrovsky and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Perov's genre paintings of the 1870s present a sympathetic and humorous, rather than tragic treatment of everyday life. The "Hunters Resting", of 1871, became one of the most popular Russian Realism canvases.

- What trend did Perov turn to at the end of his career?

- In his later life like other Wanderers, Perov turned to monumental historical paintings. "Nikita Pustosvyat. The Dispute about Faith", is very expressive. The Wanderers contributed much to the development of Russian historical painting, the peak of which is the brilliant canvases of Vassily Surikov.

- What movement did Perov's works of art foreshadow?

- Perov's work was extremely varied and at times showed un expected stylistic potential. Some of his late religious and allegorical paintings foreshadowed Symbolism and Art Nouveau.

- Who were Perov's pupils?

- Perov was a perfect teacher. From 1871 he taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Among his pupils were Nikolay Kasatkin, Sergey Korovin, Mikhail Nesterov and Andrei Ryabushkin.

- Can you tell us about an outstanding British politician?

- I can tell you about Winston Churchill. This formidable politician became Prime Minister in May 1940. This was one of the rare moments when events and the man were to be perfectly matched. Winston Churchill, then aged sixty four, saw himself as destined for the part.

- What kind of man was Winston Churchill?

- Sir Winston Churchill led Great Britain from the brink of de feat to victory as wartime prime minister. He was not only a determinant leader, author, orator, and statesman he perfectly knew the history of the country, and was powerful enough to hold people together. Yet Winston Churchill was a man of contrasts. He was a democrat unable to see that Britain's colonial subjects deserved democracy too; decisive, yet a poor manager of his own cabinet; far-sighted and effective in his own view and practice of global diplomacy, stubbornly wrong-headed at times about military strategy. Winner of the most crucial war in Britain's history he was immediately dismissed by the British electorate from all further conduct of their affairs.

- What did Winston Churchill do in his youth?

- In his youth, in India, Sudan and the Boer war, Winston Churchill was a daring officer and a war correspondent. After a sensational rise to prominence in national politics before World War I, he acquired a reputation for erratic judgement in the war itself and in the decade that followed.

- What do you know about Winston Churchill's activity from 1939 onward?

- Politically suspect in consequence, he was a lonely figure until his response to Adolf Hitler's challenge brought him to leader ship of a national coalition in 1940. With Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin he shaped Allied strategy in World War II, and after the breakdown of the alliance he alerted the West to the expansionist threat of the Soviet Union. He led the Conservative Party back to office in 1951 and remained prime minister until 1955, when ill health forced his resignation.

- Can tell us about a great British poet?

- Yes, certainly. I shall to tell you about Lord Byron, an English Romantic poet and satirist whose poetry and personality captured the imagination of Europe. Renowned as the "gloomy egoist" of his autobiographical poem "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" in the 19th century, he is now more generally esteemed for the satiric realism of "Don Juan".

- What family did Byron come from?

- Byron came from a well-to-do family but his father squandered most of his mother fortune. At the age of 10, Byron unexpectedly inherited the title and estates of his great-uncle William, the 5th Baron Byron. Byron went to Harrow, one of the most prestigious schools of England. In 1805 Byron entered Trinity College, Cambridge.

- Were Byron's first books popular?

- In 1806 Byron had his early poems privately printed in a volume entitled "Fugitive Pieces". Byron's first published volume of poetry "Hours of Idleness" appeared in 1807. A sarcastic critique of the book in "The Edinburgh Review" provoked his retaliation in 1809 with a couplet satire "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers" in which he attacked the contemporary literary scene. This work gained him his first recognition.

- Was Byron interested in politics?

- Yes, of course. In 1809 Byron took his seat in the House of Lords. In February 1812 he made his first speech in the House of Lords.

- What poem brought Byron fame?

- "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" did. At the beginning of March 1812, the first two cantos of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" came out and Byron "woke to find himself famous." The poem describes the travels and reflections of a young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure, looks for distraction in foreign lands. Besides the description of Byron's own wanderings through the Mediterranean, the first two cantos express the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras.

- What other verse tales did Byron create?

- Byron created a number of gloomy verse tales. "The Giaour". "The Bride of Abydos", "The Corsair" sold 10,000 copies on the day of publication. Byron went abroad in April 1816, never to re turn to England. At Geneva Byron wrote the third canto of "Childe Harold". In 1817 he created the poetic drama "Manfred" whose protagonist reflects Byron's own Romantic spirit. In 1817 Byron wrote his greatest poem "Don Juan". In this poem Byron was able to free himself from the excessive melancholy and reveal other sides of his character and personality - his satiric wit, and his unique view of the comic rather than the tragic discrepancy between reality and appearance.

- Did Byron take part in any war?

- In 1823 Byron participated in the struggle of the Greeks for their independence from the Turks. He sent ? 4,000 of his own money to prepare the Greek fleet for sea service. Byron made efforts to unite various Greek factions. He took personal command of a brigade of Greek soldiers. But a serious illness in February 1824 weakened him, and in April he contracted the fever from which he died. Deeply mourned, he became a symbol of disinterested patriotism and a Greek national hero.

- What do Byron's works reveal?

- Lord Byron's writings are more autobiographic than even those of his fellow self-revealing Romantics. Upon close examination the paradox of his complex character can be resolved into understandable elements. Byron early became aware of reality's imperfections, but the scepticism and cynicism bred of his disillusionment coexisted with a lifelong tendency to seek ideal perfection in all of life's experiences. Consequently, he alternated between deep-seated melancholy and humorous mockery in his reaction to the disparity between real life and his unattainable ideals. The melancholy of "Childe Harold" and the satiric realism of "Don Juan" are thus two sides of the same coin.

- Can you tell us about an American outstanding personality?

- Yes, I shall tell you about Abraham Lincoln.

- What is Abraham Lincoln notable for?

- The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln preserved the Union during the Civil War and brought about the emancipation of the slaves. Among American heroes, Lincoln continues to have a unique appeal for his fellow countrymen and also for people of other lands. This charm derives from his remark able life story - the rise from humble origins, the dramatic death - and from his distinctively human and humane personality. His relevance endures and grows especially because of his eloquence as a spokesman for democracy. In his view, the Union was worth saving not only for its own sake but also because it embodied an ideal, the ideal of self-government, which was of interest to the people of the entire world. Hence the universality of his continuing appeal.

- What is known about Lincoln's childhood?

- Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a backwoods cabin in Kentucky.

- What was Abraham Lincoln's father?

- His father, Thomas Lincoln was a sturdy pioneer.

- What is known about Abraham Lincoln's youth?

- In December 1816 Abraham Lincoln's family moved to south-western Indiana. There his father built a cabin. Abraham helped to clear the fields and take care of the crops. The unhappiest period of his boyhood followed the death of his mother A year later his father married Sarah Bush Johnston. Later Lincoln called her his "angel mother". She encouraged the boy's taste for reading. Yet the original source of Lincoln's desire to learn remains a mystery. Both of his parents were almost completely illiterate, and he himself received little formal education. In March 1830 the Lincoln family moved to Illinois, with Lincoln himself driving the team of oxen. Having just reached the age of 21, he was about to begin life on his own. He was especially noted for the skill and strength with which he could wield an axe. Good-natured though somewhat moody, talented as a storyteller, he readily attracted friends. Later he demonstrated his other abilities.

- What did Abraham Lincoln do when he arrived in Illinois?

- After his arrival in Illinois, having no desire to be a farmer. Lincoln tried his hand at a variety of occupations. He worked as storekeeper, postmaster, and surveyor. He considered blacksmithing as a trade but finally decided in favour of the law. Al ready he had taught himself grammar and mathematics, and now he started to study lawbooks. In 1836, having passed the bar examination, he began to practice law.

- What is known about Lincoln law career?

- The next year Abraham Lincoln moved to Springfield, Illinois, the new state capital, which offered many opportunities for a lawyer. From 1844 he was a partner of William H. Herndon. Lincoln had to work hard. About 20 years after launching upon his legal career, Lincoln had made himself one of the most distinguished and successful lawyers in Illinois. He was noted not only for his shrewdness and practical common sense, which enabled him always to see to the heart of any legal case, but also for his invariable fairness and utter honesty.

- When did Lincoln become the USA President?

- In 1861 Lincoln became President of the USA.

- Who else do you admire?

- I admire American aviator Charles Lindbergh. He is one of the best-known figures in aeronautical history. Charles Lindbergh is remembered for the first non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic.

- What did Charles Lindbergh do early in life?

- He was born on February 4, 1902, in Detroit. His formal education ended during his second year at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, when his growing interest in aviation led to enrolment in a flying school in Lincoln, Nebraska. After a year at the army flying schools in Texas he became an airmail pilot.

- When did Charles Lindbergh make his famous flight?

- On May 20-21, 1927 in the monoplane "Spirit of St. Louis" Charles Lindbergh made his famous night from New York to Paris in 33 1/2 hours. Overnight Lindbergh became a folk hero on both sides of the Atlantic and a well-known figure in most of the world.

- Did Charles Lindbergh take part in World War II?

- When the United States entered World War II Charles Lindbergh became a consultant to the United Aircraft Corporation. He flew 50 combat missions during a tour of duty in the Pacific; and later, after the end of the war in Europe, he accompanied a navy technical mission in Europe.

- What did Charles Lindbergh do after the war?

- Following World War II, Lindbergh lived in Hawaii where he died in 1974.

- Did Charles Lindbergh receive any honours and awards for his deeds?

- Charles Lindbergh was a member of a number of boards and committees. He received many honours and awards, in addition to the Medal of Honour that had been awarded to him by special act of Congress in 1927. For his services to the government he was appointed brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. His book "The Spirit of St. Louis", describing the flight to Paris, was published in 1953 and gained him a Pulitzer Prize.

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