The Department of Mechanics and Mathematics was founded in 1961. Before separating out in the frameworks of a proper department, the training in mathematics and mechanics was offered first at the Natural Sciences Department (1959), then at the Physical Mathematical Department (1960). Since 1976, the Department of Mechanics and Mathematics has conducted training in applied mathematics as well.
The establishing of the department was dictated by the necessity to prepare highly skilled specialists able to carry out successful research for the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS) (of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR before), for the research institutes of Siberia, Far East, Kazakhstan, and republics of Middle Asia (while in the USSR). This vast eastern region of our country was short of teachers in the field of higher education and professionals for high-tech industries especially with the introduction of computer engineering techniques.
The approach chosen to achieve this aim was nontypical for its time. The University is located nearby the research institutes of the Novosibirsk Scientific Center. This has enabled the Department to involve the leading researchers of the SBRAS in teaching at the university and to carry out fundamental training of students during 3 years as well as further specializing at the university chairs in close contact with our basic research institutes where students could get practical experience and research supervision from outstanding scientists.
The founders of the Department of Mechanics and Mathematics were such distinguished scientists as Academicians M. A. Lavrent'ev, I. N. Vekua, A. I. Mal'tsev, and S. L. Sobolev.
During its history, the position of the Dean of the Department was occupied by Professor P. P. Belinski, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR M. I. Kargapolov, Academician L. N. Ovsyannikov, Corresponding Member of the RAS V. N. Monakhov, Academician Yu. L. Ershov, Professor B. A. Rogozin, Academician M. A. Lavrent'ev, Professor A. V. Kazhikhov, Professor A. I. Sakhanenko, and Corresponding Member of the RAS S. S. Goncharov. On the staff of the Department there are or have been full and corresponding members of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and RAS M. A. Lavrent'ev, I. N. Vekua, A. P. Ershov, L. V. Kantorovich, A. I. Mal'tsev, Yu. N. Rabotnov, S. L. Sobolev, N. N. Yanenko, A. D. Aleksandrov, A. S. Alekseev, A. A. Borovkov, Yu. L. Ershov, Yu. I. Zhuravlev, P. Ya. Kochina, M. M. Lavrent'ev, V. L. Makarov, G. I. Marchuk, Yu. G. Reshetnyak, L. V. Ovsyannikov, S. A. Khristianivich, E. I. Shemyakin, A. A. Lyapunov, M. I. Kargapolov, A. I. Shirshov, A. V. Bitsadze, V. P. Dymnikov, O. F. Vasil'ev, S. G. Godunov, E. I. Grigolyuk, V. E. Kotov, G. A. Mikhailov, A. N. Konovalov, V. N. Monakhov, P. I. Plotnikov, V. G. Romanov, Yu. I. Shokin, and S. S. Goncharov.
More than 6,000 students have graduated from the Department. About 1,000 of them have maintained their candidate dissertations and about 200, doctor dissertations.
The graduates of the Department work fruitfully in the research centers and universities both in the CIS (the former USSR) and abroad. Dozens of graduates and students go abroad to give lectures, conduct research or study every year.
The Department of Mechanics and Mathematics, the largest at Novosibirsk State University (NSU), offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs for more than 1,000 students and several dozens of postgraduate students working towards their Ph.D. 17 chairs (subdepartments) of the Department include 14 academicians and corresponding members of the RAS, 100 professors and doctors of science, more than 160 associate professors and candidates of science. The chairs represent all major areas of mathematics and mechanics. Most of the teaching staff work actively for the RAS. This is the main department feature determining peculiarities of training. High quality teaching and intensive training enable students to obtain a sound mathematical education in 4-year time and turn to getting research skills at the remaining span oft time.
In the spring of 1991, the Academic Council of the Department came to the decision to accept a 2-level system of training (undergraduate and postgraduate). Having completed the 4-year (undergraduate) program of the Department, students normally submit a thesis or take a final (state) examination in mathematics (about 5 or 10% of graduates) and get a Bachelor's degree in mathematics, applied mathematics and informatics (computer science) or mechanics. About half of the graduates have the opportunity to continue their education at 2-year postgraduate courses leading to a Master's degree.
The department was one of the pioneers in Russia which start offering Master programs in mathematics, computer science, mechanics, mathematics and applied mathematics, mechanics and applied mathematics. The first Masters graduated from the department in 1993.
Those having the degree of a candidate of sciences and promising research results can register for a doctor program at NSU leading to the degree of a Doctor of Sciences where they should complete and submit their doctor dissertation.
The Department has 3 principal areas of research: (i) mathematics and applied mathematics, (ii) applied mathematics and informatics (computer science), and (iii) mechanics and applied mathematics.
The Department has close research contacts with the Sobolev Institute of Mathematics, the Institute of Computational Mathematics and Mathematical Geophysics (the former Computing Center), the Lavrentiev Institute of Hydrodynamics, the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (all belonging to the SBRAS) which are basic for the Department.