Saint Petersburg Polytechnical Institute was founded in 1899 as the most advanced engineering school in Russia. The main person promoting the creation of this University was the Finance Minister Count Sergei Witte who saw establishing a first-class engineering school loosely modeled by the French École Polytechnique as an important step towards the industrialization of Russia. The idea was advanced by Agricultural scientist and Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Kovalevsky and the great chemist Dmitri Mendeleev who are often considered to be the founders of the school. The first Director of the Institute became Prince Andrey Gagarin. Unlike École Polytechnique the Polytechnical institute was always considered to be a civilian establishment. In tsarist Russia it was subordinated to the Ministry of Finance and its students and faculty wore the uniform of the Ministry.
The Chair of Theoretical Mechanics (department of Physics and Mechanics) is one of the oldest chairs of the Saint Petersburg State Polytechnical University. It was founded by Professor Ivan Vsevolodovich Meshchersky, one of the greatest Russian scientists of the end of 19th century, who laid the corner stone in mechanics of the motion of bodies with variable mass.
Professor Anton Miroslavovich Krivtsov (b. 1967) is the head of this chair since 2007. Prof. Krivtsov is a member of the Russian National Committee for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, and also the head of the Laboratory "Discrete models of mechanics" of the Institute for Problems of Mechanical Engineering RAS. His scientific work is devoted to mathematical modeling of phenomena and processes from various areas of mechanics and physics: rigid body dynamics, solid mechanics, theory of media with microstructure, nanomechanics, theory of vibrations, astrophysics. His main research interest is mathematical and computer modeling of media with microstructure based on methods of molecular and particle dynamics. Development and enhancement of methods for particle dynamics in the works of Prof. Krivtsov allowed investigating processes, which are difficult to describe by means of continuum mechanics.
The Chair of Theoretical Mechanics supports scientific cooperation with leading institutions and scientific organizations from all over the world, such as
- University of Aberdeen, Great Britain, Department of Engineering
- Brown University, USA, Department of Engineering
- Martin Luther University, Germany, Halle-Vittenberg, Department of Mechanical Engineering
- Sevilla University, Spain, Department of Electronics and Electromagnetism
- University of Florida, USA, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
- University of California, USA
- Sandia National Laboratory, Department of Mechanics of Materials, USA
- Hamburg University of Technology, Institute of Solids Process Engineering and Particle Technology, Germany etc.
This allows us to promote research in various branches of science and to work on cutting edge of scientific and technological progress. Research methods which are developed at our chair are applied both to problems of nanoscale level and to astrophysical problems. Nanomechanics, biotechnology, materials processing, deformation and fracture, the formation of planets – all these and many other areas are represented here.
Staff and students of our chair are actively involved in organizing of international summer school-conference "Advanced Problems in Mechanics". This conference is held annually by the Russian Academy of Sciences since 1971. It covers all fields of mechanics, as well as some interdisciplinary problems. The main objective of the conference is to provide an opportunity of effective interaction between renowned scientists and young professionals from various branches of mechanics.
University graduates with Master’s degrees in "Mechanics" (and mathematical modeling) are first of all focused on research work in scientific centers in Russia and abroad, and in the specialized private firms. Also, they can operate successfully in various industrial corporations, Russian and foreign Hi-Tech and IT business establishments, consulting firms etc.
5. Contemporary scientific events
The Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009 was awarded to a Chinese scientist Charles Kao and Americans Willard Boyle and George Smith for research in the field of information technology. Kao was behind the fiber-optic data transmission technology, and Boyle and Smith have invented a semiconductor device that allows you to receive digital photos directly, bypassing the film. Their work led to the first real revolution in applied science, then in knowledge-intensive technologies, and in the last decade they have become part of our everyday lives, making it much more comfortable.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year went to biologists: their accomplishment is primarily associated with the use of X-ray diffraction method, widely used in biochemistry and brought to the new level with the active participation of the winners. Award “for studying the structure and operation of the ribosomes” is shared by Ada Yonath,VenkatramanRamakrishnan and Thomas Steitz. Ribosomes are the “protein factory” of cells; it is them, whose work provides synthesis of the protein from amino-acids, which forms the basis of life of all living things. The award-winning achievement has played a significant role in the development of science; it has direct practical applications: in particular, antibiotics, which kill bacteria by “turning off” their ribosomes, are developed and improved.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 was given to Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak “for their discovery of how the enzyme telomerase and telomeres protect chromosomes”. The mechanism of protection of chromosomes from shortening when dividing was first predicted in 1971 by A. M. Olovnikov and subsequently his theory was confirmed in practice by experimenters, who were awarded this Nobel Prize. Telomeres play a significant role in age-related changes of cells and whole organism and in the development of malignant diseases. Further investigation of their dynamics and principles of the way the enzyme telomerase lengthens them may help to find new ways to fight aging and cancer.
- Researches, discoveries and innovations in English-speaking countries
An international team of researchers has developed a new magnetic carbon material that not only acts as a semiconductor but is also magnetic and could help scientists develop the next generation of microelectronic devices.
The new carbon material is based on graphene, which resembles graphite, the form of carbon found in pencil lead,but which exists as single sheet-like layers resembling nanoscopic chicken wire fencing. Graphene was first created by scientists in Manchester five years ago and is not only 200 times stronger than steel but because its electrons are highly mobile it has unique electro-optical properties. As such, some researchers think that graphene is the natural successor to silicon and could lead to the advent of spintronic devices that exploit electron spin and charge in computer memory and data processing.
Now, researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University, USA, Peking University in Beijing, China, the Chinese Academy of Science in Shanghai, and Tohoku University in Sedai, Japan have used computer modelling to design a chemical cousin of graphene which they call graphone. Experiments with the new material confirm the electromagnetic properties predicted by the computer models.
One of the important impacts of this research is that semi-hydrogenation provides a very unique way to tailor magnetism. The resulting ferromagnetic graphone sheet will have unprecedented possibilities for the applications of graphene-based materials.
- Researches, discoveries and innovations in Russia
As a result of implementing the project, in 2010-2015 RUSNANO Russian company will establish original commercial production of medications that are without parallel in the entire world. The unique technology for fusing the most dissimilar drug substances in phospholipid nanoparticles was developed in the Russian Federation. It will enable the project company to enter the market with innovative and highly effective forms of medications in only one to two years, with minimal risk, and with a minimal budget.
The capsules of drug nanoparticles (micelles) are composed of phospholipids—natural fat molecules that form in cell membranes. Phospholipid nanoparticles easily penetrate the cells and free the active drug ingredients precisely where they are needed. Phagocytes and other cells of the human defense system that imbibe objects foreign to the organism are unable to distinguish the 15-nm to 25-nm drug nanoparticles. Therefore, the nanoparticles circulate in the blood stream longer and leave it largely in those places where the vessel walls are most penetrable. Those most penetrable places—for example, the locus of inflammation or tumor—often require therapeutic intervention.
Drug production and supplies to the drug delivery system is an innovative area of the pharmaceutical industry worldwide. The first series of drugs are expected to enter production and sale in 2011-2012. These will be nanoforms of indometacin (a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug), prednisolone (a steroid anti-inflammatory drug), and chlorine-E6 (an active ingredient in photosensitizers—medications used to treat a long list of illnesses in oncology, otolaryngology, dermatology, dentistry, and surgery with an innovative method of photodynamic therapy.) In the second series of medication, 2012-2015, the project company plans to issue nanoforms of verospiron (a potassium-sparing diuretic) and the innovative statin nanophospholip (a drug that decreases the level of cholesterol in the blood and helps fight cardiovascular diseases).
- Prospects of work in my professional field
I have decided to connect my future life with science mainly because I am interested in research. I’m an engineer by profession and I have to conduct research in this sphere. Heat and power engineering is an area of power-engineering dealing with energy generation and energy transformation laws. The problem of the rational energy use in technological process is one of the most important now. Its solution defines a standard of living and future prospects. As market relations in Russian economy and industry are developing and companies are entering the world market, the role of power supply and ecology in the industrial effectiveness will increase.
Deep awareness in the thermal physic theory of all processes and energy laws allows solve complicated problems of energy supply for different sectors of economy, to develop and implement high-performance equipment and technological processes in order to solve contemporary issues of energy supply. Every graduate in the specialization “Heat-and-power engineering” has so many prospects in their carrier ladder. The young specialists can realized themselves in design organizations as well as in generating companies. Currently not many young people want to work as engineers and develop our power industry. But for me it’s interesting and I want to work in the field of my specialization. And I hope my job will help to support our hydroelectric power stations in good modern conditions.