Introduction: Uncovering Ukraine is a series of short stories about Ukrainians who’ve advanced technology, art, and science to new heights. Check out our other articles in this series.
Mykola Amosov was a world-renowned cardiac surgeon, without exaggeration a brilliant scientist, a founder of biocybernetics in Ukraine, and a talented writer who has gained universal recognition.
As a surgeon, Amosov considered the main business of his life to be operations on the esophagus, lungs, and heart. He took the scalpel when there was a threat to the patient’s life. And often in such conditions, when no other specialist dared to operate.
Amosov was born in a village, now it is the territory of the Vologda region. He started his career as a mechanic at the power station, later graduated from the Medical Institute, and later from the Correspondence Industrial Institute.
During the World War II, Amosov was mobilized as a military doctor. During his service in military hospitals on many fronts, he performed about 4 thousand operations.
Having practically finished his doctoral dissertation, Amosov moved to Kyiv at the end of 1952. Here, at the Kyiv Medical Institute, he defended his thesis on “Pneumonectomy and lung resection in tuberculosis”.
In Kyiv, Amosov created the first specialized cardiac surgery clinic, on the basis of which the Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery was established under his leadership in 1983. About 100,000 heart operations and more than 7,000 lung resections were performed by doctors within the walls of this clinic.
The meaning of life is to save people. Do complex operations. Develop new, better ones. To die less. Teach other doctors about honest work. Science, theory – to understand the essence of the matter and benefit. It’s my business. I serve them people…Mykola Amosov
Mykola Amosov himself was elected an academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, and then the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine. On December 4, 1973, for his outstanding contributions to the development of medicine, he was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labor with the Hammer and Sickle gold medal.* This title in the USSR was equated to the Hero of the Soviet Union. However, although he belonged to the highest stratum of the Soviet intelligentsia, he never joined the Communist Party.
Remembering the sins of the communists and their leaders.Mykola Amosov
Amosov continued to personally operate on patients until 1992 – that is, practically until his 80th birthday.
Under the leadership of Amosov, 120 theses were defended – 35 doctoral and 85 candidates. Amosov himself is the author of more than 400 scientific works, including 20 monographs on diseases of the heart and blood vessels, purulent diseases, pulmonary tuberculosis, on the problems of biological, medical, and psychological cybernetics. A number of his works have been republished in Germany, the USA, Japan, and Bulgaria.
Along with surgery, M. Amosov paid great attention to modern problems of biological, medical, and psychological cybernetics. From 1959 to 1990, he headed the biological cybernetics department of the Institute of Cybernetics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Under the leadership of M. Amosov carried out fundamental studies of self-regulation systems of the heart and the development of machine diagnostics of heart diseases, the development, and construction of a physiological model of the “internal environment of the body”, computer modeling of the main mental functions and some social and psychological mechanisms of human behavior. The unconventionality of the approach and the original views of M. Amosov were widely recognized in Ukraine and abroad. For research in the field of biocybernetics in 1978 and 1997, he was awarded the State Prize of Ukraine.
From the mid-1960s, Amosov also became popular as a writer and the author of memoirs.
Streets in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Vinnytsia, Brovary, the National Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery, two awards of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and the asteroid “2948 Amosov” are named in honor of Mykola Amosov.
 an order of special distinction in the USSR, which was awarded for special merits, along with the most prestigious awards (such as the Order of Lenin – the highest award in the USSR).
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