Who is Peter Pallas and what did he do for Russia? Part 1

The unusual name of Pallasovka was named after the famous scientist Peter Simon Pallas, who, actually, was German, but did much for the study of natural resources of Russia.

Peter Pallas was born in 1741, in the family of a Professor of anatomy. His father taught at the Berlin Academy of medicine, and the family of Pallas was known as educated. At first, little Peter was at home (at that time it was very popular), and his teachers were his father, and the coming teacher. It was not until 1754.

Peter then attended lectures at the medico-surgical College, it’s something like the current College or College. Lectures there were different, and the training program was different. It is known that since Pallas fell in love with Zoology for all Sciences.

For example, at the age of 15 years young Pallas has developed its own classification of birds based on beak. In this work, of course, there were inconsistencies, but the man was only 15 years old!

In addition to Zoology, medicine, anatomy, physiology, Peter also learned Latin, English and French. His mother, incidentally, was French. Петер Симон ПалласPeter Simon Pallas
Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

And 1758 Pallas held in the city of Halle. There he slightly moved away from the medical field and began to study natural Sciences, Mineralogy, mathematics. After that, Peter moved to Holland.

In those years believed that the Netherlands is a very strong scientific Zoological school. This was partly because the Dutch had extensive colonies and would carry out many different observations in nature. And also to bring a lot of representatives of local flora and fauna.

After the Netherlands in life scientist two important things happen.

  • First, he argues with the famous naturalist Carl Linnaeus on the classification of worms. Pallas proves the fallacy of the Linnaean classification, and it gives him great weight in the scientific circles of the time.
  • Secondly, the young Pallas defends in London doctoral dissertation (there was no Ph. D. theses) on the topic “About the parasites living in the body of animals.”

Protection was good, and Pallas finally settled on Zoology and biology, with future science, a significant part of his time. Рисунок лесной мышовки (Sicista betulina) из книги Палласа «Novae species quadrupedum» (лат.) (1778—1779), выполненный Ничманном (Nitschmann) и Нуссбигелем (I. Nussbiegel)The picture forest of Mysovka (Sicista betulina) from the book of Pallas “Novae species quadrupedum” (lat.) (1778-1779) made Eichmanna (Nitschmann) and Nussbaum (I. Nussbiegel)
Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

In 1762 already a qualified scientist (and this was at 21 years!) returns to Berlin. Pallas is a senior, and despite having a reputation in his medical community, I could not find the heir to the vacant position. For this reason his son re-moved to Holland.

Peter Pallas lives there rather modestly dedicates his time to various surveys and publishes “the Study of zoophytes” — work, strengthened his fame as a scientist. This has opened for him in London and Roman academies of Sciences.

However, the financial situation of the young scientist is getting worse. Despite this, he has been successfully in mutual love to marry. Happened this momentous event in 1767. The Pallas was 26 years old.

Well, what does all this have to do with Russia? Why in the beginning of the article mentioned some Pallasovka in Volgograd region?

To get it right. Peter Pallas was a really long time and worked in Russia, and in his honor named a really small town. However, everything should be in order.

In the years in question, in Russia reigned Catherine II. It is known that it is a lot of contact with foreigners and issued several decrees, according to which all foreigners wishing to move to Russia, was granted special privileges. Here under the action of one of such decrees and unwittingly got a young but already well-known in the scientific circles Peter Pallas. Портрет Екатерины II в русском наряде кисти неизвестного художникаPortrait of Catherine II in Russian dress of the brush of an unknown artist
Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

As already mentioned, he had at that time financial difficulties. But Catherine II was looking for a man who can complete (or substantially extend) a comprehensive description of the vast Russian Empireto have the most complete understanding of all natural resources of the state.

The Empress was in correspondence with scientists from Leipzig — Professor Ludwig. Last personally knew Pallas and recommended him to Catherine. She listened to the advice of the German scholar and invited Pallas in Russia. And so he did not hesitate, by the highest command (with the approval of the Russian Academy of Sciences) Mr Pallas came to 800 rubles a year salary. And promised full support in his scientific pursuits.

Peter Pallas, like every scientist who dreamed of new achievements, gladly accepted the offer from Russia. It is interesting that his wife chose to travel with her husband, forward to new, sometimes dangerous discoveries…

To be continued…

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