Vasily met Simon Elyevich Shnol after publishing his book “The Quantum Theory of Gravitation”. Some copies (about twenty) from the publishing house were sent to the Book Chamber, and then to different libraries of Russia. Apparently, a book came to one of the Moscow institutes, where it aroused interest among scientists.
Once Vasily received an email from Valery Kolombet from Pushchino. At that time we lived in Losino-Petrovsky and knew nothing about this scientific city. Valery Alexandrovich wrote that the queue was lined up for Vasily's book at the institute, and he got it only for one day. He read it for the night and was so fascinated that he decided to write about it to the author, that is, Vasily. The correspondence began between them.
Vasily sent Kolumbet an electronic version of the book. Valery Alexandrovich said that he also downloaded it to his senior colleague, with whom he worked at the Institute of Cell Biophysics, in the same laboratory. So we first learned about Shnol.
After a while, Simon Shnol himself wrote to Vasily. He admitted that he liked the theory of quantum gravity. One of the reasons was connected with his scientific activity. Shnol with enviable regularity was finding in random events changes which depended on local time. "Random events", basically, was the decay of a radioactive element. On what these changes depend, no one knows, even Shnol doesn’t know. Moreover, except for Shnol, few people see these changes. But he sees almost half a century! So, as far as I understood, Simon Elyevich got hope, may be Vasily's theory would explain this phenomenon.
Vasily was not very interested in random processes. But with Simon Elyevich he had good relations. He even went to see him at Moscow State University, when we lived in Losino-Petrovsky. Despite his advanced age, Shnol was very active, always walked back and forth when he spoke with Vasily.
A little later he wrote an excellent review of Vasily's book (formerly called "The Quantum Theory of Gravitation"), which was published by Domingo in the second (supplemented) edition, with the new title "Uncertainty. Gravity. Space".
But Shnol did not accept Vasily’s theory of the quantum origin of life, which states that all living beings are connected with each other by nonlocal connections. In general, we noticed that specialists do not recognize innovators in their field.
Later we saw Shnol on TV, in Alexander Gordon's telecast. I do not remember the exact name of this telecast, something like "Clever after midnight". In it, Simon Elyevich told with love about scientific city Pushchino.
It so happened that we also liked Pushchino. I went to this town on an editorial assignment. During the event I got acquainted with the director of the Pushchino Radio Observatory Rustam Davudovich Dagkesamansky, an intellectual with conservative views. He firmly believes in the existence of black holes, dark matter and other non-existent things. But this does not prevent him from being a wonderful, oriental soulful, sympathetic person.
I agreed with Dagkesamansky about an interview on the achievements of the observatory for the journal “Moscow region” ("Podmoskovye"), where I was just starting to work. Vasily went with me on that trip. He also liked Pushchino at first sight. This was in early October. We admired the river Oka from the observation deck, collected fruits of chestnuts and felt the happiest on that shore! This small settlement so reminded us of the Novosibirsk Academgorodok! Two years later we moved to Pushchino.
Once we went out with Vasily to walk along the scientific city. We just closed the door of the entrance and I saw Grandpa of a very familiar appearance. I thought it was Shnol. Before that, I saw him only on TV. I said my guess aloud. Vasily looked closely and agreed that it was Simon Elyevich.
We approached him and greeted him. He looked at us for a while, not understanding anything. Vasily introduced himself and said that we moved here, in this house, in the apartment on the first floor. He pointed to the windows with his hand. Shnol nodded and said that there was no better place in the world than Pushchino. And he left. We went with Vasily in the other direction, walking leisurely along the city.
When we returned, we saw a paper in the doorway. In it, Shnol apologized for not recognizing Vasily at once. And he invited him to seminars at the institute. Vasily came out of the entrance and, seeing departing Simon Elyevich, caught up with him and invited him home.
Vasily periodically attended those seminars. Even I once went there. Simon Elyevich treated everyone with tea and pies from the institute canteen. In a tiny office in front of the board, scientists spoke on various topics, including biophysical ones. Colombet also was there, through which Vasily met with Simon Elyevich. He sometimes visited us, we were happy to talk with him about everything. Valery Alexandrovich even bought a few of my paintings, although I strongly insisted to give them as present to him.
The communication with Shnol almost disappeared, although we lived within walking distance. Probably, he has other interests than Vasily or, maybe, because of a difference in the ages.
In my opinion, Simon Elyevich is an example of a Soviet scientist. Principal, sometimes harsh, charismatic, persistently working in his scientific direction.
The photo to the chapter is from Wikipedia.
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