180th anniversary of birth of Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev became the matter for opening a column on web-site - about the museums of Kazan Federal University. We have quite a lot of them, each has a story to tell, to open them in a new way. Along with us will have a look on the exhibitions of university museum, the most interesting museum pieces.
Today, on February 8, it is the 180th anniversary of the birth of Dmitri Mendeleev (1834-1907), the great Russian polymath and public figure.
Dmitry Ivanovich was born on January 27, 1834 in Tobolsk. He was the seventeenth child in the family, and his parents did everything the talented boy could develop his natural gifts.
At the age of 33 Mendeleev added his name to the history of world science. In winter 1867/68 while he was working on the textbook "Fundamentals of Chemistry" and discovered one of the fundamental laws of nature - the periodic law of chemical elements. The most important outcome of this discovery is the ability to predict the existence of yet unknown chemical elements and precisely describe their properties.
However, Dmitriy Mendeleev was widely known in the scientific community, not only as a chemist, but as a physicist, economist, metrology engineer, a geologist, a meteorologist, teacher, airship pilot. He was a Dr. h.c. (Doctor of Honoris Causa) in many universities, including Imperial Kazan University, and honorary member of Academies and scientific societies of world leading countries. Scientist’s authority was immense. He had more than one hundred scientific titles! However, his works and official requests the scientist signed in a simple manner, "D.Mendeleev " or " Professor Mendeleev". In real life he was a very humble man.
Do you know that:
Town in the Republic of Tatarstan, two Russian institutes, a submarine ridge in the Arctic Ocean, an active volcano on the island Kunashir (Kuril Islands), a crater on the moon and Mendeleevite mineral were named in the honor of Mendeleev.
Nuclear physicists under the supervision of Glenn Seaborg artificially got a new, the 101st chemical element in the University of California in 1955. According to unanimous decision of the pioneers, the name "Mendelevium" was given to it. This is tribute of respect to the great Russian chemist, who built a «common house» for the chemical elements called "the Periodic Table of Elements".
Academy of Sciences of the USSR established a medal named after Mendeleev for the best works in chemistry and chemical technology in 1662.
Due to assistance of Mendeleev there was founded a chemical plant in Bondyuge (in August 11, 1967 renamed to Mendeleevsk, Republic of Tatarstan) which is currently working. Technological level of chemicals production at the plant was higher than in many foreign similar factories.
If you are interested in biographies of other famous scientists, the history of chemical science, great discoveries of Kazan professors, you should visit two-storeyed building in the yard of the main building of the University with commemorative plaques in memory of scholars worked here, whose works constitute the golden fund of world chemical science: K.Klaus, N.N. Zinin, A.M. Butlerov, V.V.Markovnikov, A,M. Zaytsev, F.M.Flavitsky, A. E. Arbuzov and B.A. Arbuzov.
Construction of this building was completed in 1837, designed by M.P.Korinfsky and intended for physical (the second floor) and chemical (the first floor) university laboratories. Here, the first real chemical laboratory of Kazan University was situated, and that was the place, where the development of organic chemistry in Russia have started.
The beginning of Kazan School of Chemistry was marked by works of two remarkable scientists - K. Klaus, who discovered ruthenium and N.N. Zinin, who carried out the conversion of nitrobenzene to aniline that gave impetus to the industrial organic synthesis.
Establishment of the Museum of Kazan School of Chemistry refers to 1863, when A.M.Butlerov appointed a pharmaceutical chemist A.I.Lotman to the post of the first director of the museum. He had been working in the museum for more than twenty years. Afterwards, many future famous scientists of Kazan School of Chemistry were the museum directors: A.N.Popov, S.N.Reformatsky, I.I.Kanonnikov, I.V.Sorokin and others.
Museum of Kazan School of Chemistry is unique. It is the only memorial museum of chemistry dedicated to the scientific school, originated not only in Russia, but in the whole world. There is no conventional stalls and stands, it is a memorial laboratory of XIX century, which includes Butlerov lecture room, library, laboratory and the hall where chemical preparations and laboratory equipment of XIX-XX centuries are exhibited, as well as the office of the head of laboratory - Alexander Butlerov.
There are about six thousand items of storage in the museum. For example, over five hundred items of medicines, that were obtained for the first time by founders of Kazan chemistry school and their students is kept in three cabinets.
Let’s look in some of documents. Here is the list of stuff sent to the laboratory:
1. a big, mobile, iron, lined with stone from inner side, roaster with a construction resembling chemical furnace ;
2. three iron, chemical mixing paddles;
3. lamp fire prop with taps;
4. hydrargyrum gear with little iron incorporated table;
5. three wooden cabinets and several samples of glassware and woodenware.
Description of Nicolai Zinin’s master's examinations is a very curious thing:
"On April 17, 1835 during the oral exam he was offered 18 questions.
On April, 18 there was a written exam, he was asked 2 questions, Zinin was writing the answer for 7 days under the supervision of a faculty member (answer was presented on 12.5 pieces of paper).
On April, 26 there was an oral exam in Applied Mathematics (10 questions).
On April, 27 there was written exam that consisted of 2 questions, he was writing an answer for 3 days (6.5 part of paper).
On May, 3 there was oral exam in Astronomy (13 questions), on May, 4 he was given 2 questions, he was answering on them during 3 days (6.5 part of paper ).
On May, 13 there was an oral exam in Chemistry (9 questions), and on May, 17 there was a written exam (2 questions: "On saltpeter solution and its chemical compounds with oxygen", "On carbon solution and its compounds with oxygen "), 5 days were given to answer.
Thus, the exam tests lasted more than a month. The Academic Council has found all Zinin’s answers to be satisfactory".
And here is the picture of how Kazan University chemical laboratory looked like in 1809:
There are many books, articles and pamphlets written about Kazan school of Chemistry and its history. Most of them are in the library of the museum. Pay attention to the brochure by A.A. Albitsky "Department of Chemistry and Chemical Laboratory of the Imperial University of Kazan, their past and present", published in 1899 in Kazan. A.Ye. Arbuzov was an outstanding school chronicler who drew attention to aspects of history of chemistry in his works, another known chronicler of the school was A.S. Klyuchevich – the author of books about K. Klaus and F. Flavitsky, A. Zaitsev and a number of articles about Kazan chemists. N. Grechkin was also a famous chronicler - the author of the book about Arbuzov and articles about Butlerov.
Address: 18, Kremlevskaya Street.
Tel.: 8 (843) 2 33 75 31, 89196809590
Director: Valitova Gulnar Faritovna.
Working hours: 10.00 ‑ 16.00 (daily, except Sundays and holidays).