Nikifor Lazovsky’s life formula
An international Olympiad gold medal holder is dreaming of the Nobel Prize
A student from the Belarusian town of Slutsk Nikifor Lazovsky won a gold medal at the IChO 44 International Chemistry Olympiad that was recently held in Washington D.C. This is a well-deserved victory as Nikifor is a ‘frequenter’ at regional and national academic Olympiads. Last year Nikifor traditionally won a contest at the national children’s health camp Zubrenok and was awarded a special jury prize — a USB flash drive with the IChO 43 Olympiad materials and a message: ‘Next year you should take part in this competition!’ That was a landmark award in Nikifor’s life which he considers a symbol of his high achievements. The young man took part in numerous contests, Olympiads and intellectual competitions where he always performed best. He recollects his first and hardest victory: “It was the regional chemistry Olympiad that I won when a ninth-grade student. It was so cool to outstrip famous Timofey Romanovsky who was the major ‘obstacle’ on the way to the competition pedestal. My hardest victory was in the ‘Brilliant Minds’ competition on the Minsk Wave radio in which we participated in tandem with Pavel Bogushevich whom I didn’t want to let down. It was a challenge psychologically and our rivals were quite strong, so the victory was a difficult one.”
Nikifor was outstandingly keen on learning since infancy. His father Dmitry recollects that at the age of three the boy not only could read, but showed a real passion towards reading.
“We lived in Uzbekistan at the time, and our son went to a private kindergarten. There were English-speaking teachers, so Nikifor learned the language pretty well by the age of five. He went to school quite early and now is two years younger than his fellow classmates. Our family has been moving from place to place providing conditions for him to learn and develop. We lived in the US for several years, but their education system is not oriented towards giving maximum knowledge to every particular child. And Nikifor was quite discouraged from learning. Three years of studying in Belarus with a lot of choices and challeges have given incredible results.”
The father emphasizes that his son has got thirst for knowledge in a wide range of areas. Nikifor confirms: “It is innate. Researchers say that 30 % of a personality is formed by genes, and the rest depends on education and environment. I want to know more, so I study everything that has been already discovered and systemized, and I want to discover something myself.”
Nikifor has diverse hobbies. He finished a music school, he plays the flute, bassoon and saxophone; he writes computer programs. He tells about himself in his original manner: “I’m 15 years old, I was born on the Constitution Day of Uzbekistan and Romania and on the day of the Soviet Union collapse. I am not a straight A student, as my Russian and Belarusian need improving. I have many interests. When I had more time I played in the school basketball team, in the orchestra and the Raduga band. I spend my leisure time, just like everyone else, doing some outside activities. I like reading — mostly fiction.
Nikifor has chosen his professional path — it will be chemistry. And he is still thinking about a specific area to explore.
“Chemistry is the mother of all sciences, whatever mathematicians and physicists might say. Today even programmers count quanta and predict chemical reactions. Chemistry is everywhere and I am good at it. I do not know what I like best — biochemistry, organic, or physical chemistry. My likes depend even on my mood.
Since deriving formulas is just a piece of cake for the guy, I ask him to create one — a Nikifor Lazovsky formula for success. Here it is: “There are three things critical for being successful: knowledge (that is to be prepared), confidence (it appears when you study a lot), and, of course, good luck. Since we are deriving a formula, I think it would be better to multiply these three components. At the Olympiad in Washington D. C. I had a great desire to win gold. The competition consisted of a theoretical examination and practical tasks that encompassed organic, inorganic, physical and analytical chemistry, biochemistry and spectroscopy. There were four of us from Belarus. We took one gold, two silver medals (Yevgeny Aniskevich from Ushachi district and Artem Tsymbal from Minsk) and one bronze award (Aleksei Kravtsov from Kalinkovichi)… I hold a gold medal, but it is only coated with the precious metal while I dream of one made of gold. And this is a Nobel Prize.”