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Borys Bolotov  a jack-of-all-trades

 

Borys Bolotov is a person of an amazing range of interests and trades; Maryna TESLENKO talked to Mr Bolotov and was fascinated with his inventive energy, his enthusiasms which are particularly striking at his august age of 76.

 

The interview was held at Mr Bolotovs dacha in one of the suburbs of Kyiv. The five-story cottage of fifteen hundred square metres of floor space in its many rooms was built by the host himself, literally, with these hands, he said chuckling. Almost all the rooms are filled with all kinds of equipment, the nature and purpose of most of which, in spite of exhaustive explanations, I have to admit I failed to grasp. But I did find all those gadgets, laths, instruments and mounds of books and papers very impressive.

Mr Bolotov is a physicist and chemist by education, but his inventions and innovative ideas deal with many spheres of human knowledge and practical application of this knowledge. One of his inventions is a concoction which he calls Tsarska horilka (Tsars vodka).

Once I learnt that the study of the immune system of crocodiles had produced amazing results. Crocodiles seem to be immune to many deadly diseases  they resisted all these noxious viruses and microbes with which they were artificially contaminated. I studied the contents of their gastric juices and of their blood and found that these juices and blood contained certain acids. I prepared a concoction that contained all these acids in my lab. I add tiny amounts of it to my tea, and in the past thirty years Ive not been sick even once. This interest in curative powers of certain substances must have been woken up in me by my grandmother who taught me how to painlessly remove warts and calluses  a piece of rotten meat is to be applied to the wart or callus you want to get rid of; it must be secured to that place with a bandage which is not removed for several weeks. It smells of course, but its very effective. Seeing the expression on my face, Mr Bolotov burst into a genial laughter.

On a more serious side, Bolotovs Tsarska horilka has saved several dozen people from amputations of limbs after frost bites or burns when the doctors verdict seemed to be final; application of bandages seeped with his Tsarska horilka stopped the gangrene from developing.

He earned his doctors degree in Moscow after the well-known soviet physicist Andrey Sakharov had invited him to come to his research centre to work at his dissertation. But in the 1980s, Bolotov was arrested for his support of the Solidarity movement in Poland, for his protests against the soviet invasion in Afghanistan, and for his statements in favour of Ukraines independence. He spent eight years in concentration camps where his health deteriorated but his spirit was not broken. I had several teeth knocked out, a couple of ribs broken and my scull badly damaged, but I survived and even under the most inhumane conditions I found a way of pursuing my scientific work.

Among his inventions is a heat-resistant material which could be used for building reusable spacecraft.

Mr Bolotovs wife Nelly, a PhD in chemistry, and his son Maksym are both great enthusiasts of science too. Maksym is involved in research dealing with growing and developing ecologically clean products.

In the 1990s I even ran for president. I did not really think Id be able to win the presidential race but I wanted to use the opportunity to make some of my ideas known to the public. After that futile attempt at getting into politics, I devoted myself entirely to science. Now, in spite of my rather advanced age, I feel Im still young enough and full of vigour to make some more contributions to science.

 

Photo by Hryhoriy SALAY

 

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