D.I. Mendeleev A.M.Butlerov

Welcome from the dean

Dear colleagues, friends:

Chemistry has been taught at Moscow University since its foundation. Mikhail Lomonosov, the Founder of Moscow University - a great scholar, distinguished poet and artist, - was one of the best chemists of his time. He established the chair of chemistry within the Faculty of Medicine in 1755. In 1929 the Chemistry Department, which grew out of the Faculty of Physics and Math, became an independent unit in the structure of the University. Many generations of prominent Russian chemists were studied and taught at the Chemistry Department. Among the most famous are Nobel Prize winner N.N. Semenov, the creator of chain reaction theory; and A.N. Nesmeyanov who was one of the founding fathers of modern organometallic chemistry. Many outstanding chemists including I.P. Alimarin, A.A. Balandin, L.F. Vereschagin, S.F. Volfkovitch, Y.I. Gerasimov, N.D. Zelinsky, B.A. Kazansky, V.A. Kargin, A.V. Kiselev, A.N. Kost, V.A. Legasov, R.Ya. Levina, I.F. Lutsenko, A.N. Novoselova, A.V. Rakovskiy, P.A. Rebinder, Y.I. Spitsin, A.P. Terentiev, K.V. Topchieva, A.V. Frost, A.N. Frumkin, N.M. Emanuel, Yu.K. Yur'ev and others devoted the best years of their lives to the Chemistry Department. Their research and educational achievements that made a fundamental contribution to Chemistry allowed to establish the Chemistry Department as one of the oldest and the most advanced school of chemistry in Russia.

Chemistry Department as a scientific school is highly recognized in the world. In the first round of competition of long term research projects of International Science Foundation scientists of Chemistry Department won 66 out of 431 grants allocated for chemists in Russia - more than all other educational institutions in Russia taken together.

International links of the Chemistry Department are steadily broadening. Bilateral agreements on cooperation in chemistry education and science were signed with many universities throughout the world. We are active participants of various international projects. In 1994 International Association of European Community on Cooperation with scientists from independent states of former USSR awarded 33 grants for chemistry to carry out joint research by scientists of Europe and Russia. Scientists of our department are involved in 13 of them. Graduates of Chemistry Department are working today in 25 countries, dozens of our students each year are going to the best Universities of Europe and America to study under exchange programs. In their turn, students and post-graduate students from 20 countries are being trained at the Chemistry Department.

Chemistry Department is a leading center of chemical education in Russia. Curricula of the Department are regularly renewed and reviewed. We are also careful learners of the experience of the best universities in the world. Traditional training of chemists is as follows. Independently of their future specialization, all students are studying fundamental sciences for the first 3,5 years: calculus and higher math, physics, a foreign language, humanities and the major chemistry subjects. About 40% of time in the curriculum is covered by chemistry subjects uniformly divided between the theory and laboratory practice. About 12% of time is devoted to teaching applied math, general and theoretical physics which is twice as much as in other universities in Russia. After the third year the students are allowed to choose the subjects they are going to major in.

In the framework of general specialization in chemistry beginning with the first year four groups of students study within special syllabi including computational methods in chemistry, physical chemistry, polymers, nuclear chemistry and radiochemistry. Much more room in their curriculum is devoted to molecular quantum mechanics, physical methods in chemistry, kinetics and catalysis, adsorption phenomena and gas chromatography, computers, mathematical methods in polymer chemistry, methods of investigation and analysis of polymers, fundamentals of polymer manufacturing and processing, properties, structures and functions of biopolymers.

To integrate into the world education system the efforts to adjust the education at the Department to the standards of US and Europe are being undertaken, in the first place in order to make the Diploma of the Department widely recognized throughout the world. This is now the goal of top priority for us.

The enrollment and education at the Chemistry Department is free, and this is the question of principle for us as well as our attitude to whom we would like to welcome as our students - gifted young people captivated by ideas about chemistry. A network of special schools, lyceums, gymnasiums has been established for this purpose. Teaching in these schools is based on University special syllabus. Jointly with some other chemistry institutions, the Association on Education in chemistry, Mendeleev Russian Chemical Society and our Department have organized annual Chemistry Olympiads for school students. Such contests for young people allows us to seek and attract gifted young people from all independent states of former Soviet Union. The doors of Chemistry Department are kept open to them. The education for such young people is also free, the students are receiving stipends and are provided with living accommodations on the University campus.

Training of highly qualified specialists and carrying out scientific research are two main tasks of equal importance for our University. However, on the eve of the third millennium a university must become a center of modern culture and knowledge, which is open to all members of the society. Under the pressing environmental requirements and the shift of modern civilization towards Ósustainable development, a considerable amount of chemical knowledge becomes an indispensable element of culture for any member of civilized society. The Chemistry Department of Moscow University has recently developed several large-scale projects for youth, school students and teachers of secondary schools to popularize chemical knowledge. Our country is now living through hard times and at the same time it is the period of great changes. Nevertheless the best traditions of Chemistry Department are the same. Kind humor, cheerfulness, enthusiasm of young chemists are inherited from the first chemist of the University, Mikhail Lomonosov. Every year we celebrate a special chemist's feast - the Chemist's Day. It is usually devoted to one of the elements from the Periodic Table and is held on the second Saturday of May, a week before the exams start. In 1995 it was Zinc Day, this year the thirty-first Chemist Day will be devoted to Gallium. The program is traditionally the following: in the morning the performance on the steps in front of the faculty, afterwards students and former students participate in various attractions, tournaments, competitions. And the Day is finished by dancing. Everyone - a famous scientist, a professor and a student are having their fun.

Very often we have to solve rather difficult problems. My colleagues help me to do it. We love our Department and we are proud of its traditions. In spite of temporary problems we prefer to believe in better future. We shall be happy to welcome you at our Department where people work hard and rest well.

The Dean of Chemistry Department
Full Member of Russian Academy of Science
Professor Valeriy Lunin


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