Konstantin Eduardovich

1857- 1935
Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) is a self-educated scientist, who became the founder of today’s cosmonautics. His craving for the stars was not spoilt not only by his poverty, and deafness, but also by his isolation from native scientific society.

He was born in Izhevskoye selo of Ryazan Governorate. He was a fidget: he climbed the roofs of the houses, the trees; he jumped from high height. The parents called him “a bird” and “a blithe”, because one of his main character traits was daydreaming.

In the winter of 1868, the boy caught scarlet fever and the complications resulted in a kind of anacusia. He found himself to be separated from the world, became unsociable and started crafting.

At that time, his family moved to Vyatka, where Konstantin tried to study at a normal school, but the teachers did not make allowance for “the cloth-eared”. In three years, he was withdrawn failing. He did not study at any other education institution and became self-educated.

When Konstantin was 14, his father peeped into his workshop. There he found automobile carriages, windmills, self-made astrolabe and other miraculous mechanisms. Then the father gave his son money and sent to Moscow – to enter the vocational college (today Bauman Moscow State Technical University). Konstantin arrived at Moscow but did not enter the college. He signed up for the only one free city library (Chertkovskaya) and lost himself in independent sciences studying.

In Moscow Tsiolkovsky lived in distress. He did not work, got 10-15 rubbles in a month from his parents and could only feed on brown bread. The money left he spent on books, pipes, sulphuric acid and other materials for experiments. He wore rags.

After returning to Vyatka, in 1876, Konstantin started giving private lessons. A deaf young man came out to be a wonderful teacher. While explaining geometry to his pupils, he made polygons out of paper. The rumour mill started flying about the odd young teacher.

In 1878, the family returned to Ryazan. Konstantin rented a room and hit the books once again. He studied physic and mathematical sciences through the middle and higher school programmes. In a year, he passed the examinations for the degree of a district (uyezd) teacher at the First Gymnasium without attending lectures and went to teach arithmetic and geometry to Borovsk in Kaluga Governorate.

Tsiolkovsky went to great length in science and spent all his salary of 27 rubbles on scientific experiences.

He sent his first works “Teoriya gasov” (“The theory of gases”), “Mekhanika zhivotnogo organizma” (“The mechanics of an animal body”) and “Prodolzhitelnost lucheispuskaniya Solntsa” (“The duration of the radiation of the Sun”) to the capital city. The academic board of the day (e.g. I. Sechenov, A. Stoletov) was rather favourably disposed towards the self-taught scientist. He even was offered to become a part of the Russian Chemicophysical Society. However, Tsiolkovsky rejected the offer: he could not pay membership dues.

The main project of Konstantin Eduardovich was a zeppelin. The scientist asked the academic figures to donate him 300 rubbles for constructing the large metal model of a zeppelin but he never got the financial aid.

He was interested in flights over the earth and the stars. In 1887, he wrote a story “Na Lune” (“On the Moon”) about a man who got to the Earth satellite.

In 1903, Tsiolkovsky ultimately switched over to the works connected to the space exploration; in particular, he defined the speed needed for the machine to get out into the Solar system. Later his formulated construct of the liquid rocket engine and other practical variations of the rocket command formed the foundation of the Soviet rocket science.

In 1932, the appointed to look after the scientist doctor enduced the terminal illness. However, Tsiolkovsky continued working. He said that to finish what he had started he needed 15 more years. He did not have them. “The citizen of the world” passed away September 19, 1935 at the age of 78.
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