The success achieved in the 40-ies and 50-ies by the scientific school of Academician N.N. Semenov, Nobel Prize winner, has put forward chemical kinetics as the division of chemical physics to the frontier of chemical science. To understand the mechanisms of chemical reactions, to know the laws of reaction evolution with time means to govern a chemical process. This idea, originating from the classic works on chain reactions by Semenov’s school, has become the foundation for the development of chemical physics and retains its importance till now. That is why, as an answer to M.A. Lavrentiev’s initiative to create the Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences in 1957, N.N. Semenov encouraged Professors V.V. Voevodsky and A.A. Kovalsky to organise the Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion in Novosibirsk (the abbreviated title is ICKC).
Scientific interests of A.A. Kovalsky were related to the combustion of solid fuels, and also to the physics and chemistry of aerosols. The investigation of combustion processes in gases has also become important scientific direction of the Institute. Having immense experience in kinetics, combustion, atomic power engineering, A.A. Kovalsky, corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences, became the Head of the Institute and worked as its Director since 1957 till 1972. Vice Director was Academician Voevodsky V.V. till his sudden death in 1967. He initiated the investigations of the mechanisms and rates of chemical reactions as the major research areas in the ICKC.
Research areas in ICKC had been completely settled in the 70ies-80ies when Director was Academician Molin Yu.N. (1972-1993). Progress in the field of kinetics was connected mostly with chemical radiospectroscopy, i.e. the application of magnetic resonance to structural chemistry and to kinetics with simultaneous development of theory and experiment for these purposes.
Another modern research area is spin chemistry that was created mainly by investigations conducted in the Institute. Spin chemistry reveals the effects of magnetic field and spin state on the interaction between active intermediate particles in elementary chemical steps. Last but not least, the idea to selectively govern chemical reactions has been the basis for laser (infrared) photochemistry. The priority works in this field have also been performed in the Institute. Research areas dealing with combustion and the physical chemistry of aerosols are also developing successfully in the Institute. The major directions in this field are the studies of combustion mechanisms in gas phase and in condensed phases, the processes of aerosol formation and transport.
The total number of employees being 293 persons (by January 1, 2011), 110 researchers work at the Institute. Among them there are 34 Doctors of Science (including 2 Academicians and 15 Professors) and 61 Candidates of Science. The major source from which fresh researchers come to the Institute is today the Novosibirsk State University, its Department of Physics and Department of Natural Sciences.
The Institute has traditionally wide international links in all the major research areas, holds international workshops, seminars, conferences. Within the last 5 years the joint works have been published with the researchers from 40 foreign universities, centres, institutes; several tens grants from international foundations have been won. Systematic investigations are carried out in the frames of international collaboration programmes: Conversion of the Energy of Light into Chemical Energy during Photosynthesis (The Netherlands, Japan), Aerosols of Siberia (Germany, Belgium), Spin Chemistry (USA, England, Japan, Germany, Switzerland), Combustion of Solid Fuels (Italy, The Netherlands, USA), the Development of Chemical Radiospectroscopy Technique (USA, The Netherlands, Germany). Development and improvement of the experimental equipment, wide international collaboration, stress on interdisciplinary interaction within the complex of research Institutes of the Novosibirsk Scientific Centre comprise the development strategy of the research areas in the Institute.
Academician Yu.D. Tsvetkov.