Symposium 5

International Contacts of Soviet Science

Sergey Shalimov | St. Petersburg Branch of the Vavilov Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Hirofumi Saito| Tokyo Institute of Technology


Chairs: Sergey Shalimov & Hirofumi Saito

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Morning Session | 09:00-11:00
Venue: Marasleio Room 4

Helmuth Malonek | Arshak Tonyan (1888-1942) and the rise of Mathematics in the 1919 founded University of Yerevan

Hiroshi Ichikawa | The “Unsurmountable Wall”: The Radiation Effect Study in the Soviet Union in the late 1950s and the Early 1960s.

Hirofumi Saito | International Genetics Symposia in Kyoto and Tokyo 1956: Reconsidering Japanese Mendelian Geneticists’ Contacts with Soviet-Lysenkoite Delegation

Noon Session | 11:30-13:30
Venue: Marasleio Room 4

Koji Kanayama | A Japanese Physicist Meets with Soviet Natural Philosophy: SAKATA Shoichi (1911-1970) and Dialectical Materialism

Sergey Shalimov | International Contacts of Soviet Geneticists from the 1960s through the 1980s

Alexander Sorokin | “Per Aspera ad Astra”: International Academic Contacts of Tomsk Physicists during the Soviet era.

About the Symposium

Nowadays, the problems of international relationships in science, intellectual exchange, and transnational research networks are of great interest for the historians of science. In this context, the international mobility and exchange of Russian researchers, specifically, in the Soviet period deserves special attention. As it is known, the process of “Sovietization” of Russian science led to the “Iron Curtain”, which interrupted the relationships of Russian researchers with the international research community. The symposium is devoted to the development of international contacts of Soviet scientists in the field of three significant disciplines – genetics, physics, and radiation study as an interdisciplinary field between physics and medicine. Specifically, we will try to shed new light on the indigenous development of the radiation effect study in the Soviet Union and the consequences of the Soviet scientists’ encounter with the Western way of research in this field behind the change of their attitude toward the radiation effect assessments in the early 1960s. Besides, we are going to discuss the exchange of thoughts between Soviet philosophers and a prominent Japanese physicist SAKATA Sho-ichi, who supported Marxist world view throughout his life and wrote an article on the relationship between modern physics theories and dialectical materialism for collected papers published in the Soviet Union. And then we will outline the development of international relationships of Soviet physics by taking as an example Tomsk physicists. Then we will analyze international contacts of Soviet geneticists. Similar to the common problems of Soviet science, the situation in this field of biology was aggravated after the notorious VASKhNIL session in 1948. We are going to talk about the exchange of Japanese geneticists with Soviet counterparts at the International Genetics Symposia in Kyoto and Tokyo in 1956 and pay special attention to Japanese Mendelian geneticists’ contacts to the followers of Trofim Lysenko, such as Ivan Glushchenko and Alexander Oparin. Finally, we will discuss the problems of the integration of Soviet geneticists in the international research community after Lysenko’s downfall (since the second half of the 1960s).