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Henry M. Robert

Commemorating Yurii Kondratiuk’s 115th birth anniversary

A Google holiday logo and a documentary dedicated to the Ukrainian scientist
26 June, 2012 - 00:00

Last week the main page of google.com was dedicated to Ukrainian scientist Yurii Kondratiuk’s 115th birth anniversary. The authors of the official blog Google Ukraine quote one of the developer of Google Doodle (a part of the interface, where on an occasion of a holiday or anniversary of a famous personality the standard logotype of Google in some regional domains, or in some rare cases in all of them, is changed into a festive one) Mike Dutton: “For the first time I heard about Yurii Kondratiuk from the team of Google Ukraine. I took a great interest in his story and I started to work on the project, gather information about him. I think Yurii’s story is interesting and sad at the same time.” According to the blogger Mykola Kostynian, this is the first Doodle of the main page of google.com, dedicated to a Ukrainian.

In Ukraine, most of the commemorative events took place in the scholar’s hometown, Poltava. Yurii Kondratiuk (his real name is Oleksandr Sharhei), one of the authors of the theory of cosmic flights, was born, studied and started his work namely in the town located on the Vorskla River. Currently he is one of the greatest intellectual brands of Poltava, where the Yurii Kondratiuk Museum of Aviation and Cosmonautics Museum has been operating since 2001. In one of its halls there is the scholar’s commemorative room, which showcases in particular the sheets from a gymnasium notebook with Sashko Sharhei’s calculations.

The Poltava National Technical University and one of Poltava’s streets have been named after the inventor. However, one does not limit to mere formal commemorative events in Poltava. His personality and scientific legacy are popularized in schools and higher educational establishments. So, in April 2012 the Poltava NTU held a roundtable “Yurii Kondratiuk (Oleksandr Sharhei) in earth time and cosmic space,” where the scholar’s scientific biography was presented translated into Ukrainian (authors: Anatolii Datsenko and Volodymyr Pryshchepa). The university launched a book exhibit “Flight to Immortality,” which displays books and photos connected with Kondratiuk’s Poltava period of life.

Local mass media did not leave the anniversary beyond their attention either: these days the Poltava Oblast State TV and Radio Company Ltava has presented the 25-minute-long documentary Yurii Kondratiuk: Territory of Immortality. “His life is a whole kaleidoscope of distresses, commotions, turning points, and dramatic events. He worked secretly, under a pseudonym, hid from the Reds and the Whites, suffered from a disease, but still dreamed of the flights to space. Fatherland prepared for the genius inventor a role of an exile. Nobody knows where he was buried. He has hypotheses instead of an epitaph,” the author of the movie Volodymyr Driapak admitted.

By Serhii SHEBELIST, Poltava

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