Three big friends, three members of the USSR Academy of Sciences, who lived and worked in Moscow, The Academicians Lavrentiev, Sobolev and Khristianovich decided to bring big science over the Urals to the vast territories of Siberia, which was full of natural resources but lacked research. The idea was implemented with the establishment of the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1958 not far from a big industrial city of Novosibirsk. The academic town started to grow rapidly and half a year later a new university was founded to supply the newly borne scientific center in Siberia with young researchers.
Thus, in May, 1959 the USSR Higher Education Ministry issued an order to start studies in the Novosibirsk State University on the 1st of September with I. N. Vekua as Rector. The newspaper "Pravda" of July 20, 1959 reported about the opening of a new-type university and announced admittance with entrance examinations for future students from all over the USSR in the period of August 1–20. 139 first-year students were admitted for the full-time education and 119 for the evening department. In addition, the best students from the other higher education establishments were selected as second-year students.The applicants for chemistry and physics accounted for eight and five persons per vacancy respectively, with three persons for mathematics, mechanics and geology.
The official opening of the University took place on September 26, 1959 at the Concert Hall of the Philarmonic society of the Opera and Ballet Theatre in Novosibirsk. The first lecture for mathematics students was given by academician Sergei L. Sobolev, one of the fathers of the Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences, and since then the tradition of getting information from the first hands of leading scientists was set for the students of NSU.
First lectures were held in the building of a secondary school, first dormitories for the students were just tents amidst the forest, but the spirit of novelty, the lust for education and research and the motivation to make ones own discovery in science was a big drive for the students.
At first, the only department of the University, the department of natural sciences, combined mathematics, physics, mechanics, chemistry and geology. In 1960–1967 the faculties started to separate into their own disciplines and structures with their own dynamics were organized. However, their former names were retained (with the exception of the Economics, formerly Economic Cybernetics, department).In December, 1963 the first graduates of the Novosibirsk University, including 26 physicists, 24 mathematicians and 10 researchers in mechanics, got their diplomas.
Who was the first the egg or the hen? The Novosibirsk State University is a coeval and a creation of the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. The "fathers of the Siberian science" believed that it was impossible to organize a scientific center without solving the problem of training young researchers. On the other hand, almost 80% of the Siberian Branch staff consists of NSU graduates. Journalists still argue if the Siberian Branch gave birth to the university or the university built up the Siberian Branch. Thus is a mere philosophic question.
During the past forty years NSU has trained around 28000 researchers, teaching staff for higher education establishments and specialists for business. Our graduates work all over the world: in the USA and Canada, Argentina and Brazil, Mexico and Australia, Japan and Israel, Germany and France, UK and Italy, Turkey and China. Graduates of NSU have become professors of such universities as the Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cornell University, Yell University, Chicago University, Harvard University. NSU graduates have made a big contribution to the research activity of such eminent laboratories as the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermilab, Los Alamos National Laboratory, etc. Big communities of NSU graduates work for companies like Microsoft, SUNmicrosystem, Hewlett Packard, Novosoft, etc.
Other institution names:
- Novosibirsk State University