'In Our Time': Trofim Lysenko
By BBC RADIO 4
Added: Fri, 06 Jun 2008 23:00:00 UTC
BBC Radio 4: In Our Time, with Trofim Lysenko
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In 1928, as America heads towards the Wall Street Crash, Joseph Stalin reveals his master plan - nature is to be conquered by science, Russia to be made brutally, glitteringly modern and the world transformed by communist endeavour.
Into the heart of this vision stepped Trofim Lysenko, a self-taught geneticist who promised to turn Russian wasteland into a grain-laden Garden of Eden.
Today, Lysenko is a byword for fraud but in Stalin's Russia his ideas became law. They reveal a world of science distorted by ideology, where ideas were literally a matter of life and death. To disagree with Lysenko risked the gulag and yet he damaged, perhaps irreparably, the Soviet Union's capacity to fight and win the Cold War.
Robert Service, Professor of Russian History at the University of Oxford
Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College London
Catherine Merridale, Professor of Contemporary History at Queen Mary, University of London
Link to download: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/iot/iot_20080605-1130.mp3
Link to download off site: http://www.richarddawkins.net/audio/iot_20080605-1130.mp3
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