The Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (Herzen University) is one of the oldest teacher-training institutions in the country. It was founded on 2(14) May 1797 by Emperor Paul I as St. Petersburg Educational House, and later lay the foundations for other pedagogical institutions in the XIX – early XX centuries.
Among the outstanding scientists and scholars who have worked at Herzen University are such luminaries as academician I. Kurchatov, the father of the Russian nuclear physics school; professor A. Gershun, the founder of the optical industry; the astronomer S. Glasenapp; academician V. Ipatieff, an army general and a chemist; A. Fersman, the pioneer of geochemistry, professor V. Perekalin, the chemist who supervised the development of the pharmaceutical drug Phenibut, used in aerospace medicine and child psychiatry. The plethora of famous Herzen personalities includes pedagogues P. Kapterev, V. Soroka-Rossinsky, and A. Pinkevich; chemists V. Verkhovsky, and A. Favorsky, the botanist V. Komarov, geographers V. Semenov-Tian-Shansky and Yu. Shokalsky, physiologists L. Orbeli and K. Bykov, the mathematician G. Fikhtengolts, historians E. Tarle, V. Struve, A. Presnyakov, S. Oldenburg, B. Grekov, the psychologist L. Vygotsky, philologists S. Ozhegov, L. Scherba, V. Zhirmunsky, N. Marr, writers M. Gorky and E. Zamyatin, and many others.
Today Herzen University employs more than 1700 scholars, 1000 of whom hold Candidate of Science degrees, 300 are Doctors of Science, 6 are academicians and 9 are corresponding members of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Education, and 23 are Honoured Scientists of the Russian Federation. In 2012 Professor A. Grib, Department of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy, was awarded the gold medal by the Telesio-Galilei Academy of Science (TGA 2012) for his fundamental contribution to the development of the theory of quantum fields in curved space.
The University's graduates make a considerable contribution to the country's social and cultural life. Some of the writers, poets, composers, actors, sportsmen, and political figures are well-known outside of Russia, as well, including: N. Zabolotsky, A. Kushner, V. Sangi, A. Chepurov, L. Reznikov, A. Morozov, L. Egorova.
By decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 30 of 15 January 1998 Herzen University was included in the list of the State Corpus of Heritage Sites in Russia.
Today the University comprises 5 institutes, 21 faculties, 3 affiliations in the towns of Volkhov, Vyborg, and Makhachkala, over 130 departments, 3 research centers, 27 educational and cultural centers including the Linguistic Center, the DAAD Resource Center, and the St. Petersburg School of Conference Interpreting and Translation. All departments work in close cooperation with the University's over 25 research centers and laboratories, including: the Physics Research Institute, the Continuing Education Research Institute, and the General Education Research Institute.
Alongside the training of highly qualified teachers for universities and secondary schools, Herzen University offers a broad range of non-teaching specializations, allowing it to fit into the category of traditional universities. The university admits students to 57 educational programs integrated in 10 groups (32 Bachelor's programs, 2 Specialist programs and 23 Master's programs). The university offers programs in Arts & Humanities, Engineering & Technology, Life Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.
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