1062-3604/05/3604- © 2005 Pleiades Publishing, Inc.
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, Vol. 36, No. 4, 2005, pp. 264–265. Translated from Ontogenez, Vol. 36, No. 4, 2005, pp. 319–320.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2005 by Golichenkov.
Lev V. Beloussov will turn 70 in July 2005. But we,
embryologists, know how formal direct chronology is
and what deviations from biological age are possible.
As in previous years, Beloussov is walking lightly and
rapidly: he has a ﬂying pace. In his experiments, the
movements of his hands—the hands of a musician and
microsurgeon—are also sure and elegant. In conversa-
tion, he is as attentive as before, ﬁnely ironic, and deep.
On the whole, he is the same Lev Vladimirovich or, for
friends, Leva, Levushka, whose natural many-sided tal-
ent has already been realized in the signiﬁcance of what
has been done and is multiplied by the perspective of
what is to be done.
Beloussov is the author of more than 200 scientiﬁc
publications, including six monographs, such as
(Moscow: Mosk. Gos. Un-t, 1987);
Architecture of Developing Organism
Osnovy obshchei embriologii
tions of General Embryology), which was published
three times and now again in the series “Classical Uni-
versity Textbook” for the 250th anniversary of the Mos-
cow State University. Beloussov is professor emeritus
of Moscow State University, professor of the Depart-
ment of Embryology, head of the Laboratory of Devel-
opmental Biophysics, member of the Russian Academy
of Natural Sciences, vice president of the International
Institute of Biophysics (Germany), member of the edi-
torial boards of the journals
nal of Developmental Biology) and
Rivista di Biolo-
. In 1989, he was awarded the Inter-
national Carlo Bondi Prize by the University of
Perrugia (Italy) for his works on developmental
mechanics. And the start was as follows.
Having been initiated by his grandfather A.G. Gur-
witsch already in his young years in the insistent desire
to ﬁnd “the rules of development” of living organ-
isms—the rules, rather than the factors of develop-
ment—Beloussov was not able to turn from this path.
Development was thought, above all, as morphogene-
sis, i.e., the appearance of spatial structures. His won-
derment and admiration of morphogenetic processes
were strengthened in the course of work on his diploma
thesis on the induction of a limb by an ear vesicle, pro-
posed by the head of the Department of Embryology
V.V. Popov: how can such an unspeciﬁc factor trans-
planted in the trunk area produce a new limb? This
example of heterogeneous induction was later, in the
1970s, explained on the basis of the theory of “self-
organization,” which Beloussov, together with
D.S. Chernavsky and other physicists, applied to
account for morphogenetic phenomena.
After graduation from the university, Popov told
Beloussov that the single possibility for him to remain
at the department would be to study the embryology of
invertebrate animals, since one sentimental ofﬁcial in
the Ministry of Higher Education would like to restore
the great Russian school of invertebrate embryologists,
related above all to the name of A.O. Kowalevsky. (Did
the ofﬁcial’s compunction play any role? It is known
that Kowalevsky died of a heart attack in the reception
room of the Minister of Education 100 years ago trying
to obtain some favors for students.) In such a way,
Beloussov became a member of the Department’s staff,
and his White Sea period began.
The problem remained the same: morphogenesis,
but in hydroid polyps. In 1960, Beloussov described
growth pulsations in hydroids two years earlier than
American biologists. And then he started to “untie the
process” in cooperation with at ﬁrst L.A. Badenko and
then Yu.A. Labas and others, from two sides: from
growth pulsations downstream to their subcellular
On the 70th Birthday of Lev V. Beloussov