Event from the category of unbelievable has happened the other day in the Kola scientific center of RAS. The next leader here… was elected deacon of the St. Petersburg Church of the GreatMartyr Panteleimon Sergey Krivovichev, he is head of the Department of crystallography, Institute of Earth Sciences Saint Petersburg state University.
Someone immediately skeptical grin: “the Priest — head of the research center?! So that’s what sunk our science, together with FANO!” But wait to gloat… As I told the people from the Academy of Sciences, knowledgeable Sergei Vladimirovich, “the priest — what the priest should”. “MK” has decided to get to know him better.
Sergey Krivovichev x-ray diffractometer. Photos Of Madina Astakhova.
This is perhaps a rare case amazing the unification of religion with science. Behind 44-year-old Orthodox scientist, geological faculty of St. Petersburg state University, U. S. a and Germany, Austria and Switzerland, France, doctoral thesis, creating more than 400 types of synthetic materials. In 2010 my partner was visiting Professor at Lille University (France). He currently has five patents on technological developments, 670 scientific publications is also associated with his name, in the end, the h-index (publications and citations) has a higher — 34! This can not boast of every academician. By the way, Sergey last fall he was nominated by the Institute in corresponding members of Russian Academy of Sciences, his candidacy was supported by several academics from the Department of Earth Sciences Russian Academy of Sciences: Nikolai Sobolev, Sergey Votyakov, Askhab Askhabov.
Only as God helps him all the time: serving in the Church on holidays, Krivovichev manages to head the Department in the University, and to work as a senior fellow at the Center nanomaterialien Kola science centre of RAS. Besides, he is a member of the National Committee of crystallographers of Russia, member of the Council on grants of the President of the Russian Federation, Vice-President of the Russian mineralogical society, and only last year resigned as President of the International mineralogical Association, which he headed for two years in a row. “Yes all of this life is not enough! — many would say. — He must have personal space?” It is mistaken, because the elected leader of the Kola science center, RAS building a full Cup and the seven healthy and talented offspring.
My phone call caught him on his arrival to the country, just to communicate with his beloved family, but Sergey all-taki has agreed to answer all my questions.
— Since 1917 — you are the first priest elected to membership of the RAS?
— Perhaps it is. Before the revolution there were a lot of academics, mostly in the Humanities. For example, the bishops who were involved in the history of the Church, dogma, theology. But as a representative of the Orthodox Church, specializing in the natural Sciences, I think that I did the first.
— What was first in your life — science or religion? How did you combined in your life, these seemingly incompatible spheres of activity?
— I do not think they are incompatible. Science was created by religious people. Isaac Newton, Leonhard Euler, Michael Faraday, Max Planck, a Belgian Catholic priest, astronomer and mathematician Georges Lemaitre, a programming guru Donald Knuth, supervisor of the human genome, Francis Collins and many others — all of them believers.
Well, if you say that it was for me initially, is science. I grew up in a family of scientists: his father — mineralogist, mother — the crystallographer (and I am a mineralogist and crystallographer). Parents were not believers and in every way tried to dissuade me from going to Church and even from religion, to which I turned around, being in the last year of schooling. I was in the 45th boarding school (now academic gymnasium of St. Petersburg University), and we had a very good language arts teacher Elena G. Poluboyarinov. She led me and my friends to faith through literature, through Dostoevsky, poets of the Silver age.
— What helped you to understand faith in God? It seems to me that there must be some kind of revelation?
— For me that was some other dimension, I realized that this is exactly what I was missing. Internally I just went to this. I began to understand the meaning of life and meaning of death. Perhaps every child asks these questions: well, I’ll die and then what? Will I lose my mind or anything from me will not remain?
— Parents were not against your temple trips?
— Alas, Yes. Had to overcome resistance from their side, were long debates and even tears. They said, “you don’t need Church!”, — thought I should learn to defend the dissertation. What I also did at first defended her, then a doctorate. I wanted them to be happy.
I hope they were satisfied in the end?
— I think they are quite happy. We have two sons, both scientists plus seven grandchildren. I would be very happy with the situation. We do not divide ourselves into “us” and “them” — we are one family.
— Some believe that scientists, especially natural scientists, asking from the point of view of the Church too many unnecessary questions, the answers to which would have to just accept on faith, such as the creation of the Universe.
— Science has many questions that she cannot answer its competence is not enough to answer them.
For example, the nature of the Big Bang, after which formed our universe?
Yes. Do not understand the cause of the explosion that preceded the emergence of matter, time and space? Modern inflationary theories give different answers to the question “how”, but not answer the main question — “why does everything exist?” This is a question that goes beyond science.
— And that, in fact, with the explosion all began, do you accept?
— Yes, I accept all the scientific data that is already there and proven, and I see no reason not to trust them.
Why should I him deny? Evolution is not in principle contrary to Scripture.
— But it speaks of the creation of man and there is no word about the monkey…
Says that God created Adam from the dust of the earth. This can be interpreted in different ways. The enlightenment of the Holy fathers touched the spiritual realm and did not concern details of how the world works. They we won’t find information on either the neutron nor the proton or the planetary model of the atom. The concept of the universe is given to us in the form of beautiful images. Biologically man is part of nature, but he is not an animal, it is much higher, because he has an immortal spirit that we had in some time. There is even the theory of three Large explosions: the first explosion — the appearance of matter, time and space, second life, the third — consciousness.
The collection of the Mineralogical Museum of St. Petersburg state University – one of the oldest mineral collections of Russia, which contains samples of D. I. Mendeleev, V. I. Vernadsky, S. M. Kurbatov, V. I. Dokuchaev and other known Russian scientists. Photos Of Madina Astakhova.
— Surely you are not just talking to archaeologists and anthropologists on these topics. Between the two of you have disagreements?
— In what may be a disagreement? Science does not refute the fact that in some point in human history there was a jump when we started to get cave paintings and other manifestations of creative and conscious activities…
— What attracted you to mining?
— I had very good teachers at St. Petersburg University, who instilled in me the interest in Mineralogy and crystallography. Is Stanislav Konstantinovich Filatov, I found also Victor Albertovich Frank-Kamenetsky, Illarion Illarionovich Haranoskogo. These Sciences have always attracted me with its beauty — on the one hand, mathematical precision, on the other — a close relationship with nature, with substance. Besides fundamental research we are engaged in the synthesis of new materials, in particular recently developed new sorbents for radioactive waste. Our materials are tried and tested on real radioactive waste in the Russian Arctic, in particular it is this issue that I linked my interest in the Kola scientific center, and I hope it to me. In the early 2000s, America was launched a large program for the disposal of radioactive waste, and it was there, being on probation, I immersed myself in this subject.
— In 1999 you received the medal of RAS for young scientists?
— It was my first PhD work on the creation of a new section of crystal chemistry of compounds aminotetralin tetrahedra. These studies grew out of a study of minerals from the Tolbachik eruption in Kamchatka. There was a very interesting copper minerals with an unusual structure: in the center was oxygen, and the tops of the copper atoms. We did the opposite to traditional chemistry — early, as a rule, in the center put a metal, and the peaks of oxygen atoms.
— What is received for all the awards you value most?
— Probably, the President’s Award and, of course, election as a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2016. It is very honorable for a Russian scientist there is no better reward.
— Students are not asking you provocative questions?
— Never such was not. Students come to us educated, always done a very good contingent.
You can create a new substance — it is not incompatible with religion? After all, God the Creator.
— Well, there may be a contradiction, because He created us in His image and likeness, and we work to realize the potential that was instilled in us by the Creator. There is a contradiction with atheism: I’ll let him tell us how human creativity?
— What is the meaning of science?
— The knowledge of nature and of man’s place in this world. The second aspect is service to the people, alleviate their life.
— Excessive relief life sometimes spoils people: we relax, become lazy, which leads in turn to the loss of moral bearings. Obtained scientific and technological progress and a comfortable life lead us to a dead end?
— There is such a thing as self-restraint — to be happy, something to refuse.
— Depends on what you understand under the word “happiness”…
For me and my family is spiritual perfection, finding the meaning of life. We know many cases where people had everything they wanted from the material, but was still dissatisfied with life and ended with suicide because he had nowhere else to strive for.
And spiritual perfection is endless?
We all know that happiness does not happen much here on Earth, it is fleeting, leaves and does not return. But spiritual joy is inexhaustible — as an inexhaustible and knowledge of nature. The way of the world.
By the way, belief in God is a major beacon in order to guide scientific and technological progress in the right direction, use it to benefit not the detriment of the person. Tell me, what force besides the afterlife retribution, can stop the greedy entrepreneurs who carry out mindless large-scale deforestation, or test deadly weapons on the people?
Now the question that is asked by many, including me: what on Earth is sometimes innocent children suffer?
— Is the question of evil in the world, a question that has no simple answer. Remember Dostoevsky: “the world is not worth a tear of a small child”. There are some things that defy rational knowledge, but in the end, people still understand. Solzhenitsyn said, “Thank you, prison”. Something similar happened in Dostoevsky (my two favourite writer). Prison is evil, but at the end of life they realized that it was she who made them what they became.
Family. Right to left: Sergey, Nikolay, Ivan, Zoya, Asya, Katya, Alex, Plato, Sasha. Photo By Alexey Makarov.
— If you’ve seen in their research evidence of the divine? Maybe you prayed that you opened up some mystery of nature, and it happened?
— You know, for the believer, the very beauty of natural structures is already a miracle. One and the same event: the believer sees it as a miracle, and the unbeliever does not see. It elevates the believer to the Creator, his inner delight is based on the fact that he opened God’s Providence. A sense of enlightenment, this is a revelation. And here is how the unbeliever explains the deep sense of inner satisfaction, even delight, from the knowledge of the truth, I don’t know.
— It is believed that nature has arranged randomly.
— Suddenly, of course, was beautiful and absolutely one of the molecules in the genomes of small flies and humans? (Laughs.) It is impossible even from the point of view of probability theory. Christianity says: the world is the reflection of the celestial world (heaven. — Approx. ed.). Even though he was damaged by original sin, but bears the reflection of the divine world. Vladimir Solovyov, a Russian poet of the XIX century, there is a poem:
Dear friend, or you don’t see
That all appears to us —
Only the reflection, only shadows
From invisible eyes.
Dear friend, or you can’t hear
What everyday noise crackling
Only the echo of garbled
— Since we are talking about genetics… the Church, as far as I know, stands against all kinds of experiments with the human genome. For example, the scientific-ethical Committee, which met last year in one of the capital medical University, issued a verdict against the birth of children from three parents. But genetics in this sense can also, like you, to say that they are like God the Father we are trying to create a new person. What do you say to that?
— There are sacred limits beyond which man can not enter. Even in personal communication between people has cherished topics, which are not customary to touch in a normal conversation. This includes everything associated with the mystery of personality the mystery of the human soul. Here the person can not dispose at home, as it is beyond his comprehension. We don’t really know even ourselves — how can we do similar?
In your Science center probably is genetics, what are you going to tell them when you get your approval in a new position?
— Undo the experiences I could not, because it is the scope of Russian legislation. I think that genetic engineering, and more specifically, therapy, has a right to exist, if we are talking about humans. But the creation of chimeras is hardly justified, and besides, still and dangerous.
In honor of the international Association of mineralogists named the new mineral “krivovichevit”. Who found him and what is he?
This is the most beautiful mineral, a sulfate of aluminum and lead, which is found Kola my colleagues. They have persuaded me to nominate his candidacy for the chairmanship of the centre.
— Tell us about the children. What are their interests, do you have enough time to communicate with them?
The eldest son lives separately, is engaged in computer technology, the second son graduated from the Pedagogical Institute. Herzen, faculty of management, my daughter is studying in St. Petersburg state University, restorer, another daughter this year, brilliantly passed the exam, will be supplied to the chemical Department there are two student and girl preschool.
— What are your Church responsibilities?
— The deacon is a priest. I have to be in Church on Sundays and on holidays. Now you will agree and will go into service in the temple to serve Vespers on the eve of the Day of the Holy apostles Peter and Paul.
— And what if the service in the Church intersect with important scientific event?
— You have to make a choice — where I’m needed. As a rule, it turns out that at scientific events.
— You want to move up the religious path?
— Yes, I do. I am a candidate for the degree of candidate of theology St. Petersburg theological Academy. However, how to deal with its subject, not enough time.
— What is the topic of the master’s?
— Religious beliefs of the faithful scientists of the XX–XXI centuries, i.e. our contemporaries. On this subject I have written the popular book, “the Science of believers and belief of scientists: the twentieth century”. For finishing work, you need to write several scientific articles on this subject. So there is something to do for a long polar night in Apatity. Although I’m afraid that this year will not be up to it.