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Boris Fiodorovich Lomov (1927-1989)

Boris Lomov died July 11, 1989, in Amsterdam while Following the establishment of the institute, Boris
attending the first meeting of European psychologists. The Lomov was named correspondent member of the Acad-
cause of death was a brain thrombosis following a coro- emy of Sciences, USSR, in 1976. From 1968 until 1983
nary attack. It is meaningful that during the last few days he was the president of the Society of Psychologists in the
of his life he was pursuing the internationalization of So- Soviet Union, and in 1980 he founded the scientific pub-
viet psychology--a theme that had recently dominated lication PsychologicalJournal and served as its main ed-
much of his considerable energy. itor until 1987. Two universities have granted him hon-
Lomov was born in 1927 to peasant parents in Lower orary doctorates, and the Czechoslovakian Academy of
Novgorad, which is now the modern city of Gorky, on Sciences awarded him its gold medal for outstanding sci-
the Volga River. His youth was spent far away from the entitle achievement.
savage war that was then raging in Eastern Europe and Although professionally Lomov is best remembered
Western Russia. Too young to be drawn into battle--he for his outstanding organizational talent, he was also an
was only 12 in 1939 when Russia was invaded--but old active writer and scientist. He wrote more than 300 papers
enough to comprehend the ruthlessness of human con- and authored or coauthored 15 books and monographs,
flict, he grew to manhood at a time and in a place in some of which have been translated into English. Among
which "The Great Patriotic War" was the topic of daily the best known of Lomov's books are Man and Machine
concern. How these youthful impressions became im- Systems (1963) and Methodological and Theoretical
portant forces in his adult personality and professional Problems of Psychology(1984). Professor Lomov was also
work is difficult to know precisely, but one sensed that involved in the education of many students who worked
much of his interest in the internationalization of psy- toward their advanced degrees at the institute.
chology was influenced by his concern that perhaps psy- A colleague described Lomov as a "man who liked
chology, properly applied, might make the world a better many sides of life." He cherished free days and holidays
place. at his small dacha near Moscow, where he enjoyed walks
After receiving his first academic degree at Leningrad and communing with nature. He and his wife had a son,
State University (LSU) in 1951, Lomov continued to work who is an engineer, and a daughter, who--after spending
at the university as a postgraduate student from 1951 some time teaching in Africa--is now an educator in
until 1954. In a few years he developed a new set of lec- Moscow.
tures on experimental and engineering psychology. He Boris Lomov was a controversial figure. Some dis-
was invited to organize the laboratory of engineering psy- agreed bitterly with his strong management of psychology
chology in 1957. In 1959 he established the first laboratory in the USSR. Others remember Boris Fiodorovich as an
of engineering psychology in the Soviet Union at LSU, individual who, out of his own sheer strength of character
and in 1963 he was awarded a PhD degree from the same and personal determination and dedication, built Soviet
university. Three years later he helped establish the faculty psychology into its present state. Being an upper level
of psychology at LSU, serving as its first dean, and in administrator in the Communist party and director of a
1967, Lomov was elected correspondent member of Ped- major research institute during the past 20 years in the
agogical Sciences. Soviet Union was one of the world's most difficult jobs.
In 1971 the Institute of Psychology within the Acad- The fact that he made it work at all is a testament to his
emy of Sciences, USSR, was founded in Moscow and outstanding skill, commitment, and persistence. Lomov
Lomov was appointed director--a position he held until ended an interview (with R. Solso), published in Soviet
his death nearly two decades later. The founding of the Psychologyin 1986, by saying "I am optimistic about the
Institute--which is often called the Lomov Institute in future of our science . . . . we must study society's prob-
the Soviet Union--represented a significant departure lems as scientists." The 20th anniversary of the Institute
from the way psychology was viewed in postrevolutionary of Psychology will be celebrated in 1991 with a series of
Russia. The influence of Boris Lomov, in his effort to Lomov lectures.
establish the institute and shape its policies, led both to
the rise of modern psychology in the Soviet Union and
to the international reputation of its founder. Lomov
traveled widely during a period when few Soviets were Robert L. Solso
allowed outside of their borders. During the 1970s, Lomov University of Nevada, Reno
was the only Russian psychologist many Americans had Andrew V. Brushlinsky
ever met. Institute of Psychology--Moscow

March 1 9 9 1 * American Psychologist


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Copyright 1991 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. 0003-066X/91/$2.00
Vol, 46, No. 3, 245