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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1998 Dec 10;118(30):4693-6.

[Alexander Borodin--physician, chemist, scientist, teacher and composer].

[Article in Norwegian]

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Kvinne-barn instituttet, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet, Trondheim.


Concert programmes and CD covers suggest that the Russian composer Alexander Borodin (1833-87) was also a great scientist. In this article we examine this proposition. Borodin was born in St. Petersburg as the illegitimate son of a Russian nobleman. As a boy his talents ranged from music to chemistry and languages. Borodin studied medicine at the Medico-Surgical Academy in St. Petersburg from 1850 to 1855 and defended his doctoral thesis on the similarity between arsenic and phosphoric acid in 1858. He did not, however, feel comfortable in his role as a doctor, and soon started to work as a chemist. In 1864 he was appointed professor of chemistry at the Medico-Surgical Academy. In 1861, Borodin attended the first international congress of chemistry in Karlsruhe, and he was among the founders of the Russian Chemical Society in 1868. He published 42 articles and was a friend of Dmitri Mendeleev, the scientist who described the periodic system. In 1872, Borodin started the first medical courses for women in Russia. It seems warranted to conclude that Alexander Borodin was indeed a great scientist and university teacher, though his immortality was earned by his leisure time activities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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