by Sergei FOKIN, Dr. Sc.(Biol.), leading researcher of St. Petersburg State University
The small German town of Heidelberg with the ruins of a medieval castle is a scenic place lying at the foot of woody hills along the Neckar river. It is a proper background for the oldest university in Germany. During the winter and summer semesters the town streets livened up with many-colored caps, the mark of distinction for numerous student fellowships, and at night one could hear the gay dissonant singing of young people returning from festive merry-making. This is how Heidelberg, "the symbol of German romanticism", was remembered by zoologist Mikhail Novikov, who as a student saw this town first in the autumn of 1901. Founded in 1386, Heidelberg University attracted more and more Russian students and scientists as of the middle of the 19th century, and, according to Kliment Timiryazev, the renowned Russian plant physiologist and corresponding member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences, it became a mecca for many of our compatriots.
From the time of the foundation of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1724) our scientists had been maintaining close ties with the German scientific community. Toward the beginning of the 19th century a major part of scientists in the zoological sciences were both ethnic Germans and Russians, successful as naturalists. Like embryologist and anatomist Kaspar Wolff (1734-1794), botanist and traveler Peter Pallas (1741-1811), embryologist and zoologist Karl Baer (1792-1876) and paleontologist Christian Pander (1794-1865), all full members of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. That was a time of experts with broad encyclopedic knowledge working as lone wolves at the Academy or at Moscow University, the only one in this country at that time.
From the early 19th century new universities were founded in such cities as Kazan (1804), Kharkov (1805), St. Petersburg (1819), Kiev (1834) and Novorossiisk (1865), which affected in m ... Читать далее