The year 1999 was marked by a wide celebration of the 275th anniversary of the foundation of the Russian Academy of Sciences. SPbRC Building February 8, the day when Emperor Peter the Great issued the edict "On the Academy of Sciences and Its Maintenance Costs", was declared the Day of Russian Science. Three hundred-year history of St. Petersburg and the history of the Russian science are most closely interrelated. In 1720s the new Russian capital witnessed the appearance of a professional scientific institution closely connected with the state and included into the world science. The Academy of Sciences was situated in our city until 1934. Half a century later Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Scientific Center was formed. It is by right considered to be the historical core of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The first chairman of the Presidium of Leningrad Scientific Center (1983–1989) was Academician I. A. Glebov. Since 1989 the Presidium has been headed by Academician Zh. I. Alferov. The main task of the Center, since the day of its foundation, has been rendering assistance in fundamental research development in the area of natural, engineering, social sciences and the humanities, including research aimed at solving social and economic regional problems. The Center contributes to the development of the scientific and technological potential of the academic institutions in St. Petersburg and organizes their cooperation in carrying out interdisciplinary researches. The Center's activities also include questions of scientific workers' training as well as the development of international scientific contacts. The coordination of the major fundamental and applied researches is accomplished by the Interdisciplinary Coordinating Scientific Council. The Council incorporates seven amalgamated committees on the problems of: physical and mathematical sciences; power engineering; mechanics, strength and science of materials; information science, management and communication; the humanities, historical and cultural heritage; complex problem of "Ecology and Natural Resources"; biology and medicine.
Long and successful experience of the Interdisciplinary Coordinating Scientific Council and its amalgamated committees proved that it is one of the most efficient forms of coordinating scientific research within the region.
St. Petersburg Scientific Center incorporates institutions of different age. Three of them are older than the Academy of Sciences itself. They are Kunstkamera (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography), the Library of the Academy of Sciences and the Botanical Institute (known as the Pharmaceutical Garden in XYIII century), all of them founded in 1714. Before the foundation of the Academy of Sciences these institutions were under the Pharmaceutical Chancellery. The history of the Institute of Linguistic Studies dates back to 1783, the year of the establishment of the Russian Academy, later on included into the Academy of Sciences as its Second Department. Next group of institutes, according to their age, is the "heir" to the "museum epoch" of 1820s. In 1818 young S. S. Uvarov, who had not betrayed the liberal tendencies of Alexander's epoch yet, nor had become infamous as a persecutor of Pushkin and creator of the notorious "theory of official populism", was appointed the President of the Academy and set up the Asian Museum. At the same time the following museums were founded: Botanical — under the direction of Academician K. A. Trinius; Mineralogical — under the direction of Academician V. M. Severgin; and Zoological, with Academician F. F. Brandt at its head. St. Petersburg branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies, the Botanical and Zoological Institutes come from that "museum epoch". The Institute for the History of Material Culture is the successor to the Archeology Commission (1859). This epoch was superseded by the "observatories era" which presented the RAS with the Main (Pulkovo) Astronomical Observatory (1839), for many long years being known as the "world astronomical capital". The 19th century witnessed the emergence of a number of scientific societies. In 1817 there was established the Mineralogical Society; in 1845 — Russian Geographical Society. Today there are 10 scientific societies under RAS in St. Petersburg.