Paradoxical as it may sound, Iosif Shklovsky has never become an academician. One of the discoverers of radio wave emission of celestial bodies, on the basis of which modern radio telescopes operate, was rejected the title due to the “fifth line” in the passport. In the Soviet Union, Jews were allowed to be smart, but without an official recognition. At least during one’s lifetime.
He was nominated for the title of academician 10 times, but it always led to nothing. Justifying themselves, his colleagues said: “If we accept you, then it will be not an academy, but a minyan.”
Shklovsky’s adherence to principles, who experienced the state anti-Semitism of the USSR on himself, and spoke in defense of other Jews, did not work in his favor either. Mostly criticized by him were the quotas in force in the Soviet Union for the admission of Jews to higher educational institutions.
The maximum punishment from the authorities imposed on Shklovsky for his “big mouth” was the status of a person restricted for traveling abroad. But this prohibition had to be canceled from time to time – so high was the authority of the scientist who gave the world faith in the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations.
However, the author of the book Universe, Life, Intelligence, which laid the foundation for the mass fascination with the topic of aliens, believed himself in them only theoretically. Remaining a scientist, he did not have evidence of their existence, although he admitted that the earthmen may not yet possess sufficient skills to establish contact with creatures using other means of communication.
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