ISSN 1062-3604, Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, 2008, Vol. 39, No. 6, pp. 364–364. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2008.
Original Russian Text © S.G. Vassetzky, 2008, published in Ontogenez, 2008, Vol. 39, No. 6, p. 451.
In the early 1960s, the Gelfand’s Seminar on Biol-
ogy was widely acknowledged in the scientiﬁc commu-
nity. I was not a participant of the Seminar. Most likely,
it never occurred to me to try, especially considering
rumors about how difﬁcult it is to enter the Seminar and
about rigorous acceptance of newcomers. I learned
about this Seminar from its participants, my teacher
T.A. Dettlaff and A.A. Neifakh (senior). Now it has
become a part of history, history of formation or rather
revival of Russian biology in the post-Lysenko period.
A history of the past seeping into the present. The contri-
bution some Seminar participants such as G.I. Abelev,
V.I. Agol, J.M. Vasiliev, A.I. Vorob’ev, A.V. Gudkov,
V.P. Skulachev, A.S. Skulachev, A.S. Spirin, etc. to cur-
rent biology is great. I always wanted to learn more
about the Seminar and to disseminate this knowledge
among the scientiﬁc community. Essentially, it was not
only the scientiﬁc signiﬁcance of the Seminar but also
the solidarity and mutual support of the participants.
This is conﬁrmed by them directly, for instance, by
G.I. Abelev in his book (2006). Unfortunately, little
was published about the Gelfand’s Seminar in the sci-
entiﬁc and popular scientiﬁc literature. One can men-
tion short notes of G.I. Abelev (1995) and an article by
L.S. Salyamon (1995) in
Khimiya i Zhizn’
and Life) as well as impartial notes on the seminar by
L.N. Fontalin (2007) in his review of the Abelev’s book.
I proposed to publish a collection of reminiscences
about the Seminar by the proper participants in the
sian Journal of Developmental Biology
and it was
enthusiastically supported by the editorial board, the
more so as it includes the Seminar participants,
L.V. Beloussov, V.B. Ivanov, and Yu.S. Chentsov. This
project was further reinforced after the 80th anniver-
sary of the birth of G.I. Abelev in 2008, when the speak-
ers including V.I. Agol, A.I. Vorob’ev, A.S. Spirin and
the hero of the day G.I. Abelev repeatedly mentioned
the Gelfand’s Seminar and its role in their scientiﬁc life.
I asked these and some other Seminar participants to
write about it and nearly all of them agreed. In addition,
V.I. Samoilov, a long-term 'monitor' of the Seminar,
wrote a report about the Seminar activity. Not all remi-
niscences completely agree and it is hardly possible,
opinions differ. The editorial board elected to publish
these materials with minor purely technical corrections.
This autumn, academician Israel Moiseevich Gel-
fand, an outstanding scientist of our time, turns 95. He
has not only made a major contribution to his primary
scientiﬁc discipline, mathematics, but also played a
great role in the development of Russian biology. The
editorial board of the
Russian Journal of Developmen-
and all authors of the materials about the
Seminar congratulate Israel Moiseevich Gelfand and
wish him health and all kinds of success.
editor-in-chief of the
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology.
Abelev, G.I., It Was a Hard and Often Offensive Time,
Khimiya i Zhizn’
, 1995, no. 3, pp. 30–32.
Ocherki nauchnoi zhizni
(Outlines of Scientiﬁc
Life), Moscow: Nauchnyi Mir, 2006.
Fontalin, L.N., Scientist and Time. Notes about G.I. Abelev’s
Book “Outlines of Scientiﬁc Life”,
no. 4, pp. 46–51.
Salyamon, L.S., Ruthlessness was Striking,
, 1995, no. 3, pp. 32–35.
HISTORY OF SCIENCE
I.M. GELFAND’S SEMINAR ON BIOLOGY