Members Perspectives

150th Anniversary of the D.I. Mendeleev Russian Chemical Society

“It is the function of science to discover the existence of a general reign of order in nature and to find the causes governing this order. And this refers in equal measure to the relation of man – social and political – and the entire universe as a whole.”

D.I. Mendeleev

In 2018, the Mendeleev Russian Chemical Society (MRCS) celebrates its 150th Anniversary. The idea of creating a union of Russian chemists was developed following the Karlsruhe Congress which was the first international meeting of chemists in September 1860. Seven Russian chemists, including D.I. Mendeleev and A.P. Borodin were present.

The founders

During the first Russian congress of natural scientists and doctors in 1867, the statement: «The chemical section declared a unanimous desire to join the Chemical Society to communicate the already established forces of Russian chemists» was made. In February 1868, Mendeleev outlined the main rules of the future organisation. Almost unchanged, it was officially approved by the Ministry of Education in 1868. The first delegate assembly was held on the 6th November 1868. Nikolay N. Zinin, a well-known organic chemist who invented the reaction of reduction of aromatic nitrocompounds which was the base of the paint industry in the world, was named the first president of the Society, a position he held for a further ten years.

The idea of creating societies was common around European chemists at the time (the Chemical Society of London, the Chemical Society of France, the German Chemical Society for example had been established). Moreover, the number of applied chemistry research and development projects were also increasing because of overall market demand.

Nikolay N. Zinin, the first President Elect

At first, the Society consisted of 50 members – Russian chemists from Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, Warsaw, Kiev and Odessa. Soon after, the Journal of the Russian Chemical Society was established. In the second issue of this journal, the article by Mendeleev about the Periodic table was published. In January 1876, Mendeleev proposed to unite the Russian Chemical and Physical society. The first elected president of the united society was Alexander M. Butlerov (1878-1882) (inventor of the theory of chemical structure). And the second president was D.I. Mendeleev (1883-1887). The Russian physical-chemical society was reorganised in 1932 as the Society of Soviet Chemists, with Alexander Bach (a biochemist) as the first chair.

As of 1907, the Society began to organise its own congresses, with the first on general and applied Chemistry being named after Mendeleev. Today it continues to be organised every 4 years. The next XXI Congress will be held in St Petersburg University on September 9-13, 2019.

Following the end of the USSR period, it was decided in 1991 to establish the Mendeleev Russian Chemical Society (MRSC). During the first Congress of the MRCS, Academician Yuri A. Zolotov was elected the first president of the reorganised society. The 2nd congress of the Society was held in June 1995. Despite economic and organisational crises during this time, both in industry and in science, the MRCS not only survived, but also conducted active work to preserve the potential of domestic Chemistry. The next president, the chairman of the St. Petersburg branch of MRCS Academician A.I. Rusanov was elected on May 27 1998. Within the framework of the XVI Mendeleev Congress on General and Applied Chemistry, the 3rd Congress of the Russian Academy of Chemical Industry was held. The following President of the Society, rector of the Mendeleev Russian Chemical-Technological University, and at that time Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Pavel D. Sarkisov was elected during the Mendeleev Congress. Since 17 December 2012, the president of MRCS is Academician Aslan Yu. Tsivadze.

Rules of the MRCS

After 150 years of its history, the MRCS has created the youth section for a future generation of chemist development. And now, the MRCS acts as a platform to unite academia and industry for developing the sustainable future with the novel “green” chemistry technologies by providing the conditions for the formation of the creative and intellectual potential of its members, the protection of rights and social guarantees, and the promotion of research in the field of basic chemical science and industrial chemistry. MRCS aims to be forward‐thinking and with a strong collaborative drive and is getting involved on a regular basis with correspondents at the top chemistry meetings.

Yulia Gorbunova
Corresponding member of RAS
Ilya V. Vorotyntsev