Every year, on 8 February, the Russian scientific community celebrates its professional holiday- Day of Russian Science, established by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation in 1999.
On 8 February (28 January) 1724, the Academy of Sciences was founded in Russia by the Decree of the Senate on the order of Peter I. In 1925, it was renamed the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and in 1991 – Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).
On 7 June 1999, Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 717 established the Day of Russian Science with the date of celebration on 8 February. The Decree says that the holiday was established: ‘taking into account the outstanding role of Russian science in the development of the state and society, following historical traditions and in commemoration of the 275th anniversary of the founding of the Russian Academy of Sciences.’
Mikhail Lomonosov, Ivan Pavlov, Dmitry Mendeleev, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Pyotr Kapitsa, Lev Landau, Igor Kurchatov, Pavel Alexandrov, Sergey Korolev – these are just several names of Russian scientists who have made a contribution to world science.
Russia became the first country to develop the doctrine of the biosphere, launch an artificial Earth satellite into space for the first time in the world and put into operation the world’s first nuclear power plant.
Many Russian and Soviet scientists were awarded the Nobel Prizes. The last Russian laureate was the physicist Konstantin Novoselov, who in 2010 received the Nobel Prize for innovative experiments on the study of two-dimensional graphene material.
Currently, the structure of the Russian Academy of Sciences includes thirteen departments in the fields and areas of science, three regional departments, fifteen regional research centers, as well as numerous institutes.
Research infrastructures are being formed in order to allow us to solve large-scale scientific problems. Within the framework of the megagrant programme, more than 200 world-class laboratories have been created, which are headed by scientists who determine the trends of global scientific development.
In total, the Academy has more than a thousand scientific institutions, more than 48 thousand researchers, including about 900 academicians and more than 1,000 corresponding members.
The main purpose of the RAS is to conduct and develop fundamental research aimed at obtaining new knowledge about the laws of nature, society, and human development and contributing to the technological, economic, social and spiritual development of Russia.
It is important to note that in Soviet times, Science Day was celebrated on the third Sunday of April. When choosing the date, the fact that in 1918, between 18 and 25 April, Vladimir Lenin drew up a ‘Draft plan of scientific and technical works,’ was a determining one. To this day, some research teams celebrate the Day of Science «in the old way», that is, on the third Sunday of April.
Translated by Elizaveta O. Ovchinnikova