After getting acquainted with Kazan School of Mathematics the visitors are told about the history of Astronomy. One pays attention to a beautiful noble face of the German scientist I. Littrow, the founder of the Astronomy Department (1810), one of the oldest departments of the university.
All the six years, which spent in Kazan, were notable for troubles connected with acquisition of instruments and equipping small observatory. In 1814 the first astronomic observatory was equipped in a small brick house in a lodge of the Botanic Garden. At that time I.A.Littrow could begin his astronomic observations.
However, three years earlier, on August 30, 1811, Littrow together with his best disciples N.I.Lobachevsky and I.M.Simonov observed a big comet of 1811 from the windows of the Council Office. The "Kazanskiye Izvestiya" newspaper (No 21, 1811) wrote about those first observations in Kazan.
Leaving Kazan in May 1816, I.A.Littrow called I.M.Simonov his worthy successor. It was the time, when the latter was employed on teaching and having practice in the Astronomy Observatory.
In the 1820s the name of a young Kazan scientist became well-known to the world scientific community. In 1819-1821 Simonov as astronomer took part in the world-round expedition on the military sloops "Vostok" and "Mirny" commanded by F.Bellinsgausen and M.Lazarev, who opened Antarctica, the sixth continent, in 1820.
Simonov, the only scientist of the expedition, made not only astronomic observations, but conducted a number of thorough researches and collected materials on meteorology and hydrology, zoology, ethnography and mineralogy.
"We enriched geographical information by more than 30 newly opened islands and made a lot of useful observations; we expanded museum collections by new and curious works of nature", - wrote Ivan Mikhailovich.
Items from his collection are kept in KSU museums, some of them are exhibited in the Museum of KSU History, such as a coconut and a bamboo musical instrument, a comb and a chisel made of green nephrite, a fish-hook, which impresses the visitors by its size.
This part of the display is rich in rarest exhibits: here one can see the sketch "Ice-floes of the South Pole" made by I.M.Simonov during his travel, Farten's barometer and Breget astronomic clock. There are also books which imply the results of the scientist's investigations:
- "The Story of Success of "Vostok" and "Mirny" Sloops Ocean Navigation and Especially in the South Sea…" (It was the speech given by him in the university in 1822);
- "To the Question of Temperature Difference in the South and the North Semispheres", published in 1825.