The A. E. Favorsky Irkutsk Institute of Chemistry, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IrICh) called the Irkutsk Institute of Organic Chemistry until recently, is one of the first academic institutes in the Eastern Siberia. It was founded in 1957. Professor M. F. Shostakovsky of the Moscow Institute of Organic Chemistry, Ac. Sci. USSR, Corresponding Member, Ac. Sci. USSR, was appointed first director-organizer. A close associate of Academician A. E. Favorsky (St. Petersburg, Moscow), a classic of organic chemistry, Shostakovsky laid the basis for dynamic development of the largest Russian classic chemical school — the school of Favorsky on the Siberian earth. Soon the Institute held a world lead in the chemistry of acetylene and silicon (especially, of silico-acetylenic compounds).
In 2000 the Institute was given name after A. E. Favorsky.
The body of the Institute was formed in close cooperation with specialists from scientific institutions of Moscow, Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Baku, Alma-Ata, Tashkent, known for the strong branches of the Favorsky school, grown up by Favorsky's famous disciples, and with engineers of the Karagandinski plant of synthetic rubber (Temirtau City, the former Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic).
From the very beginning the Institute has established close contacts with the Irkutsk State University whose future graduates destined to make research on the chemistry of acetylene and silicon in the young Institute were brought up by Professors V. A. Larina, A. V. Kalabina, P. F. Bochkarev.
The Institute has taken the second breath since 1970, when M. G. Voronkov, Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, a distinguished specialist in the field of chemistry of organic compounds of silicon and sulfur, was appointed director of IrIOCh. A large group of talented and recognized scientists have started under his guidance pioneering studies in the field of chemistry of hypervalent silicon, carbofunctional and biologically active organosilicon compounds, organometallic compounds, high temperature synthesis of organic derivatives of sulfur. The Institute began to be visited by many famous foreign scientists and established international contacts. IrIOCH became regarded among the leading academic institutes of the country (see also Irkutsk Science Center).
At present, the Institute collaborates with scientists from the USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, France, Japan, Israel, Poland, China, Mongolia and the others.
Since long the Institute has been training competent scientific brainpower: for all the years the number of Candidates of Sciences (Ph.D.) and D.Sc. has reached 250 and over 50, respectively. The novelty, originality and practical meaning of research are expressively supported by a convincing number of inventor's certificates and patents — over 1560 by the present time.
In the hard period of reformations the Institute could retain its competent personnel: during the last two years the number of Ph.D.s has just slightly decreased whereas the number of D.Sc. has even increased.
The Institute continues basic and applied research in the field of targeted synthesis of useful products from coal, oil and gas, mainly through acetylene and its derivatives containing oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, selenium, tellurium, phosphorus, silicon, germanium, tin, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, lithium, sodium, palladium, platinum and other elements. Acetylene is an essential chemical raw material from which it is possible to synthesize nearly all produced in chemical and chemical-pharmaceutical industries.
Acetylene can be manufactured not only from oil and gas, but also from an alternative carbon-containing raw material such as coal, bitumen, bituminous slates, and from other carbon-containing products and wastes. At the same time, acetylene is far more active than ethylene and propylene and, therefore, more convenient as a universal "building block" for organic synthesis. That is why acetylene can be regarded as a chemical raw material of the future and that is why the chemistry of acetylene remains one of the principal research directions of the Institute.
The organic compounds of silicon of unusual valence which made the Institute world-known still attract much attention. The wide scope of present research in the field of organic, elementoorganic, coordination, macromolecular, bioorganic, applied chemistry and chemistry of natural compounds better fits both the character of tasks to be solved and the present name of the Institute - the Irkutsk Institute of Chemistry, Siberian Brunch RAS, thus corresponding to the extended influence of the Institute in a variety of chemistry disciplines.
The main research target of IrICh is investigations of the structure and chemical behavior of complex molecules for the design of substances with predetermined properties. For this purpose new chemical reactions are being found, their mechanisms are being studied and new types of chemical bonding are being realized. As a result new methods of synthesis and new types of chemical compounds are being created (Voronkov and Trofimov Reactions). On their basis new commercially valuable products are being produced. These are drugs, ecologically benign pesticides, plant growth regulators, polymers, fragrance and flavor compounds, adsorbents, ion-exchangers, complexing agents, metal and pollutant extragents, corrosion inhibitors, additives to fuels and oils, materials for microelectronics and lithium accumulators of new generation, etc. All this has led to innovative technologies having no analogs: direct vinylation and ethynylation with acetylene in the presence of superbase catalysts, epoxidation with anchor-type epoxides, catalytic CO-carbonylation of acetylene with retention of the triple bond, new routes to the formation of siloxane structures, metal complex-catalyzed hydrosilylation, organotin synthesis of carbo- and heterocyclic systems, new versions of sulfurization, etc.
Today, an ever-increasing attention is given to the regional components of IrICh research: wood chemistry, natural compounds of Siberian endemic plants, ecology of Lake Baikal and the Irkutsk Region, concepts of coal-gas-petrochemical and wood-chemical complexes of Eastern Siberia. All this are of primary importance taking into account that Eastern Siberia is to play a leading role in inevitable geopolitical re-orientation of Russia to the South-East and Pacific Region countries.
Other institution names:
- Irkutsk Institute of Chemistry, Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences