Kazan: Universitatis Officina Typographica, 1816. , 62, 6, 2, 8 pp. 28x21,6 cm. Wrappers. Soiling, tears of the wrappers, losses of the pieces of the spine, rubbed, worn out. Otherwise in good condition.
Extremely scarce. First edition.
This valuable piece of early Russian printing contains the first mention in print of the noted Russian geometer and mathematician Nikolai Lobachevsky (1792-1856).
The main text of the report can be divided into two sections. The first section features an article Commentationis de numorum Bulgharicorum forte antiquissimo critico-philologico-historicae. Liber secundus (in Latin) by the prominent German and Russian historian and orientalist Christian Martin Frähn (1782-1851). The article, written by the former head of the Oriental Languages department of Kazan University, represents its first appearance in print. Later the same year, the text came out as a separate edition. By 1817, Frähn had already left his position at the University and moved to St. Petersburg, where he became director of the Asiatic museum and councillor of state. The author of more than 150 works on the study of oriental languages and numismatics, Frähn was one of the most prominent scholars in the Russian Empire in the aforementioned fields.
The second section of the report is organized in accordance with 4 faculties of the educational establishment: Ethics and Politics Department, Physics and Mathematics Department, Medicine Department, and Philology Department. Each subcategory lists names of the professors and indicates their academic degree, rank, discipline, course title, lecture times, and the title and author of the course textbook. This section represents the first appearance in print of Nikolai Lobachevsky’s name, who at the time served as a newly-elected professor of plane and spherical geometry and already in 10 years became the rector of the University.
Lobachevsky’s life was densely intertwined with Kazan University. In 1807, shortly after graduating from Kazan Gymnasium, Nikolay Lobachevsky received a scholarship to Kazan University, which was founded three years earlier in 1804. 7 years later, Lobachevsky was awarded a master’s degree in physics and mathematics; shortly after, he started his pedagogical career by teaching the number theory course according to Gauss and Legendre (1814/1815; 1815/1816). In 1816, Nikolai was appointed an extraordinary professor of mathematics and was entrusted with handling more difficult courses: in the 1816/1817 academic year, he read a course in arithmetic, algebra, and trigonometry, in 1817/1818 - a course in plane and spherical geometry, and in 1818/1819 - a course in differential and integral calculus according to Monge and Lagrange. In 1827, Lobachevsky became the rector of Kazan University, a position he held until 1846 when he was dismissed due to his deteriorating health. Nearly blind, Nikolai died in complete poverty in 1856. During his tenure a number of important buildings were added to the university campus: a library, astronomical and magnetic observatories, an anatomical theatre, a physics room and a chemistry lab. Lobachevsky also founded a scientific journal series Uchenye Zapiski Kazanskogo Universiteta in 1834, now the main peer-reviewed journal at Kazan University.
Aside from serving as the first print edition to mention the legendary mathematician and one of the main contributors to the development of the Institute, this unique catalogue offers a valuable insight into the structural peculiarities of the second oldest Russian University.
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