Report about I.M. Gelfand’s Seminar on biology

Report about I.M. Gelfand’s Seminar on biology ISSN 1062-3604, Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, 2008, Vol. 39, No. 6, pp. 365–365. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2008. Original Russian Text © V.I. Samoilov, 2008, published in Ontogenez, 2008, Vol. 39, No. 6, p. 452. HISTORY OF SCIENCE I.M. GELFAND’S SEMINAR ON BIOLOGY DOI: 10.1134/S1062360408060088 Israel Moiseevich Gelfand led a seminar on mathe- fee was collected just in the seminar room. Israel Moi- matics at Moscow State University for many years. In seevich once made a joke that one can evaluate the 1960s, he conducted a study in neurophysiology and mean honesty by comparing the collected sum and the organized the corresponding seminar on physiology. number of participants present.) Starting from 1962, Gelfand’s Seminars on biology Sometimes, short reports were given before the were regularly held, and Israel Moiseevich gradually main speech. (“Soviet aces retell PNASes,” said recruited scientists from Moscow State University and A.A. Neifakh-senior in such cases.) some research and clinical institutes of the Academy of The Seminar was largely arranged by Gelfand on his Sciences and Academy of Medical Sciences to the own; occasionally, he consulted with other participants. Seminar. In particular, he selected potential speakers and com- The Gelfand’s Seminar on biology was commonly municated with them. held on Friday evenings, nominally, at 6:00 p.m. (actu- ally much later) in room 536 on the fifth floor of the There were no projectors or other present-day Laboratory Building A at Moscow State University (the equipment, and only a blackboard and chalk were largest lecture room of the building). The Seminar par- unavailable to speakers. ticipants (about 50 in total) were informed of the pro- Israel Moiseevich preferred strictly logic presenta- spective program by a secretary by phone (or by mail). tion of a study or research history; in the latter case, he The Seminar was freely accessible; however, Gelfand said it is not appropriate to ask any more questions after could come to an unknown visitor (e.g., an invited learning about all complications overcome by the speaker) and ask him why is he present there. author. The female part of the Laboratory (later Depart- The seminar was interrupted only by summer voca- ment) of Mathematical Methods in Biology made tea tions and continued until 1989. and sandwiches or cakes before the Seminar. (A 1 ruble V.I. Samoilov Currently the Department of Mathematical Methods in Biology (one of four constitutive secretaries at the Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Mos- of the Gelfand’s Seminar on Biology). cow State University; the Department was founded and led by I.M. Gelfand for many years. e-mail: Russian Journal of Developmental Biology Springer Journals

Report about I.M. Gelfand’s Seminar on biology

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SP MAIK Nauka/Interperiodica
Copyright © 2008 by MAIK Nauka
Life Sciences; Animal Anatomy / Morphology / Histology; Developmental Biology
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