|Birth Day:||September 29, 1898|
|Death Date:||Nov 20, 1976 (age 78)|
Remembered for directing the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Trofim Lysenko also founded a political and scientific movement known as Lysenkoism that resulted in Soviet government control of agriculture and genetics research.
As per our current Database, Trofim Lysenko died on Nov 20, 1976 (age 78).
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After studying at the Kiev Agricultural Institute, Trofim Lysenko published an important scientific article on vernalization (the ability of plants to bloom after exposure to cold temperatures).
The son of Denis and Oksana Lysenko, Trofim Lysenko was born into a peasant family of Ukrainian ethnicity in Karlivka, Poltava Governorate (present-day Poltava Oblast, Ukraine) on 29 September 1898.
In 1927, at the age of 29, working at an agricultural experiment station in Azerbaijan, Lysenko embarked on the research that would lead to his 1928 paper on vernalization, which drew wide attention because of its potential practical implications for Soviet agriculture. Severe cold and lack of winter snow had destroyed many early winter-wheat seedlings. By treating wheat seeds with moisture as well as cold, Lysenko induced them to bear a crop when planted in spring. Lysenko coined the term "Jarovization" (яровизация) to describe this chilling process, which he used to make the seeds of winter cereals behave like spring cereals. (Because spring cereals are called Jarovoe in Russian – from jarovój, an archaic adjective meaning spring, especially in relation to crops). However, this method had already been known by farmers since the 1800s, and had recently been discussed in detail by Gustav Gassner in 1918. Lysenko himself translated Jarovization as "vernalization" (from the Latin vernum meaning Spring). Lysenko's claims for increased yields were based on plantings over a few hectares, and he believed that the vernalized transformation could be inherited, that the offspring of a vernalized plant would themselves possess the capabilities of the generation that preceded it – that it too would be able to withstand harsh winters or imperfect weather conditions.
Though Lysenko remained at his post in the Institute of Genetics until 1965, his influence on Soviet agricultural practice had declined after the death of Stalin in 1953. Lysenko retained his position, with the support of the new leader Nikita Khrushchev. However, mainstream scientists re-emerged and found new willingness within Soviet government leadership to tolerate criticism of Lysenko, the first opportunity since the late 1920s. In 1962, three of the most prominent Soviet physicists, Yakov Zeldovich, Vitaly Ginzburg, and Pyotr Kapitsa, presented a case against Lysenko, proclaiming his work as pseudoscience. They also denounced Lysenko's application of political power to silence opposition and eliminate his opponents within the scientific community. These denunciations occurred during a period of structural upheaval in Soviet government, during which the major institutions were purged of the strictly ideological and political machinations which had controlled the work of the Soviet Union's scientific community for several decades under Stalin.
Lysenko forced farmers to plant seeds very close together since, according to his "law of the life of species", plants from the same "class" never compete with one another. Lysenko played an active role in the famines that killed millions of Soviet people and his practices prolonged and exacerbated the food shortages. The People's Republic of China under Mao Tse-Tung adopted his methods starting in 1958, with calamitous results, culminating in the Great Chinese Famine of 1959 to 1962, in which some 15 million people died. At least 30 million died of starvation.
In 1964, physicist Andrei Sakharov spoke out against Lysenko in the General Assembly of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR:
The Soviet press was soon filled with anti-Lysenkoite articles and appeals for the restoration of scientific methods to all fields of biology and agricultural science. In 1965, Lysenko was removed from his post as director of the Institute of Genetics at the Academy of Sciences and restricted to an experimental farm in Moscow's Lenin Hills (the Institute itself was soon dissolved). After Khrushchev's dismissal in 1964, the president of the Academy of Sciences declared that Lysenko's immunity to criticism had officially ended. An expert commission was sent to investigate records kept at Lysenko's experimental farm. His secretive methods and ideas were revealed. A few months later, a devastating critique of Lysenko was made public. Consequently, Lysenko was immediately disgraced in the Soviet Union.
After Lysenko's monopoly on biology and agronomy had ended, it took many years for these sciences to recover in Russia. Lysenko died in Moscow in 1976, and was ultimately interred in the Kuntsevo Cemetery, although the Soviet government refused to announce Lysenko's death for two days after the event and gave his passing only a small note in Izvestia.
Currently, Trofim Lysenko is 123 years, 11 months and 30 days old. Trofim Lysenko will celebrate 124th birthday on a Thursday 29th of September 2022.
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