ISSN 1062-3604, Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, 2008, Vol. 39, No. 6, pp. 366–366. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2008.
Original Russian Text © G.I. Abelev, 2008, published in Ontogenez, 2008, Vol. 39, No. 6, p. 453.
There comes the time of the Gelfand’s Seminar, 6
p.m., the audience is ready in room 546 of the Molecu-
lar Biology Building at Moscow State University. It is
noisy; participants discuss places they visited, work
subjects, or interesting reading. 30 minutes passes, then
40, and 50; ﬁnally, Israel Moiseevich Gelfand enters the
door. Sandwiches are available on a table. (Israel Moi-
seevich personally keeps an eye on raising money, 1
ruble per participant.) He continues a conversation with
a non-seminar person.
Gelfand, “What we have today?”
One of participants, “A presentation of tissue trans-
plantation by Brondz.”
Gelfand, “It is very interesting. But isn’t it time for
Victor Ivanov to tell us about the onion root? Victor,
come on, tell us!”
Ivanov, “The onion root is a unique model to study
mitotic phases, which are strictly regularly arranged
along the root…”
Nearly all Gelfand’s seminars started like this, but
no one could predict how it would end. Around 11 p.m.,
Israel Moiseevich commonly resumed that we will dis-
cuss “this” at the next seminar…
What would be the Seminar today? What we would
like it to be? Nowadays, when personalities are wanted
most. When free search is in deﬁciency. Nowadays,
when active development of many scientiﬁc ﬁelds is
over, and the deﬁciency in Gestalt, interaction between
developed scientiﬁc ﬁelds, becomes topical. The
research at the interfaces between scientiﬁc ﬁelds
becomes increasingly important and fruitful; it was
always like that but has become critical nowadays.
The present-day Gelfand’s Seminar would rely on
the same strict tests for signiﬁcance as 20 or 30 years
before. Such analysis applied to the whole ﬁelds of
biology—immunology, oncology, stem cells, differen-
tiation, and their mutual relationships. Israel Moi-
seevich always combated obscuring these the most
important relationships by artistic style.
“Who can tell about how immunology turned out or
current understanding of cancer?” That is how I hear
present-day question by Israel Moiseevich. This ques-
tion is equally important for researchers who has come
a long way in science and for those who just start.
The Gelfand’s Seminar is severely missing nowa-
days; ﬁrst of all, because of the knowledge, prospects,
and, primarily, criteria it brought to us.
G.I. Abelev, Academician
of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
HISTORY OF SCIENCE
I.M. GELFAND’S SEMINAR ON BIOLOGY
At Gelfand’s Seminar