“Terrible beasts” in 1917: a paleontologist M. V. Pavlova’s lecture on the development of the earth and its inhabitants

This is a publication of a paleontologist M. V. Pavlova’s draft lecture “An essay on the development of the Earth and its inhabitants” that was delivered in Moscow in October 1917. It allows understanding the level of scientific knowledge in the field of geology and paleontology in the Russian Empire in the early 20th century, conveys the scientist’s inimitable original style, and provides a good example of clever popularization of scientific knowledge. The accompanying text contains information about Pavlova’s challenging life journey in the pre-revolutionary Russia and her contribution to the development of paleontology as scientific discipline in its own right. In 1916, Pavlova made a “revolution” of a kind in the scientific world, having accomplished a Doctor of Zoology degree and having become the first woman scientist who became the honorary doctor of Moscow University. All of this happened on the eve of the truly revolutionary year 1917 that had radically changed the country’s sociopolitical and economic system. Pavlova’s professionalism, abundant scientific contacts, determination, everburning desire to work for the benefit of science as well as a bit of luck allowed her to continue her scientific work even when a new, Soviet regime came into power. Together with her husband, a renowned geologist A. P. Pavlov, she was an activist of the creation of Moscow University’s Geological Museum, making new contributions to the rich paleontological collections gathered though relentless, painstaking work, till very late in life.


Recommended bibliographic description

, “Terrible beasts” in 1917: a paleontologist M. V. Pavlova’s lecture on the development of the earth and its inhabitants, Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki [Studies in History of Science and Technology], , p.  143-160

    © Studies in the History of Science and Technology: Quarterly scientific journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2015)
    ISSN 0205-9606. Индекс 70143