Chemistry and Chemical-Engineering Education

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chemistry and Chemical-Engineering Education


a system in educational institutions that makes possible the mastery of knowledge in chemistry and chemical engineering and that provides the means for applying this knowledge toward the solution of industrial engineering and scientific problems. It is divided into general chemistry education, which provides the fundamentals of the chemical science, and specialized chemistry and chemical-engineering education, which trains advanced and intermediate-level specialists for industry, research, and teaching, both in chemistry itself and in allied branches of science and engineering.

General chemistry is taught in secondary general-education schools and in specialized secondary educational institutions, while specialized chemistry and chemical-engineering education is offered in various higher educational institutions and specialized secondary schools, such as universities, institutes, technicums, and technical schools. The goals, volume, and content of the latter depend on what field of study the teaching staff of a particular school specialized in, for example, chemistry, mining, food production, pharmaceutics, metallurgy, agriculture, medicine, or heat and power engineering. The content of programs in chemistry and chemical engineering is always changing with new developments in chemistry and the requirements of industry.

General chemistry education. In prerevolutionary Russia, general chemistry education began developing intensively in the mid-19th century, when chemistry came to be taught as a separate subject at the Realschulen (until 1872, Realgymnasiums). Some chemistry was taught in the general Gymnasium only as it related to natural history and physics. At the end of the 19th century, chemistry was introduced into the curricula of secondary technical schools (mechanics, chemical, mining, and agricultural institutes) and a number of other secondary specialized educational institutions.

After the October Revolution of 1917, chemistry was included in the curricula of all general-education schools and secondary specialized educational institutions, and it became a means of polytechnical education and a means of relating knowledge to socialist production. Over the years, the chemistry curriculum of grades 7–10(11) of the secondary schools has been repeatedly revised to reflect important advances in the science of chemistry, the requirements of socialist production, and the changes brought about by the scientific and technological revolution. It provides the fundamentals of inorganic chemistry, taught in grades 7–9(10), and organic chemistry, taught in grade 10(11). Laboratory experiments and various types of practical work are mandatory, and visits to industrial plants and scientific laboratories are organized.

Among those who have made important contributions to the development and publication of Soviet textbooks and the development of the methodology of instruction in chemistry are V. N. Verkhovskii, P. A. Gloriozov, Ia. L. Gol’dfarb, D. M. Kiriushkin, V. V. Levchenko, A. D. Smirnov, L. M. Smorgonskii, V. V. Fel’dt, Iu. V. Khodakov, L. A. Tsvetkov, S. G. Shapovalenko, and D. A. Epshtein.

Technical specialized secondary schools, including those where chemistry is not the main course of study, and medical institutes provide more intensive instruction in chemistry than the general-education schools, particularly in the individual subject areas of chemistry. Secondary educational institutions in which chemistry is the principal course of study follow special programs developed for each chemistry discipline.

In other socialist countries, general chemistry education is based on the same scientific, methodological, and organizational principles as the system in the USSR. In the capitalist countries it is provided in various secondary educational institutions; within each educational institution it differs in extent of coverage, depending on a student’s major area of study. The comprehensive instruction in chemistry as an independent subject is provided only in the academic and science and mathematics programs in the USA, Great Britain, France, and Japan and in the science and mathematics Gymnasiums in the Federal Republic of Germany, which prepare students for further study at universities or higher technical institutes.

Specialized chemistry and chemical-engineering education. Chemistry began to be taught at the end of the 17th century in the philosophy faculties of Western European universities. In Russia it was first taught at the Academy University at the suggestion of M. V. Lomonosov, who beginning in 1748 gave lectures in physical chemistry, accompanied by experiments. Student laboratory work was conducted in chemistry research laboratories. In 1755, Lomonosov proposed that chemistry be taught at the medical school of Moscow University as a subject of great importance for pharmaceutical work.

Beginning in the early 19th century, chemistry was taught in the departments of physics and mathematical sciences of philosophy faculties and in medical schools. The first chemical engineers in Russia were trained at the St. Petersburg Institute of Practical Technology (founded 1828 and made an institute of higher education in 1862; now the Lensovet Leningrad Institute of Technology), which, until the end of the 19th century, was the only institute of higher learning in Russia to have an independent chemistry faculty. Beginning in 1863, departments in industrial and agricultural chemistry were created within the combined physics and mathematics faculties of universities. The content of specialized chemistry and chemical-engineering education was expanded in the second half of the 19th century, acquiring a distinctly professional orientation for the purpose of training researchers in chemistry and the allied sciences, chemical engineers, and teachers for universities and secondary schools.

The Russian school of chemistry, which emerged in the 19th century, is world renowned. New directions in chemistry and chemical engineering and in chemistry and chemical-engineering education were developed by N. N. Zinin, A. A. Voskresenskii, A. M. Butlerov, D. I. Mendeleev, V. V. Markovnikov, A. M. Zaitsev, D. P. Konovalov, N. S. Kurnakov, N. A. Menshutkin, and N. D. Zelinskii. At the end of the 19th century, chemical-engineering faculties were established at the Kiev, Warsaw, and Riga polytechnical institutes, the Kharkov Institute of Practical Technology, the Tomsk Institute of Technology, and the Moscow Technical School (now the N. E. Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School).

After the October Revolution of 1917, the development of socialist production necessitated the expansion of the practical applications of chemistry, thus increasing the role of specialized chemistry and chemical-engineering education and raising the level of training of researchers, teachers, and chemical engineers. In the beginning of the 1920’s, independent chemistry sections were organized within university combined physics and mathematics departments, and specialization in inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, and agricultural chemistry was introduced. The D. I. Mendeleev Moscow Institute of Chemical Engineering was founded in 1920. Beginning in 1929, separate chemistry departments were established at universities on the basis of the chemistry sections; this was done to facilitate the training of specialists for scientific research institutions and industrial laboratories. New chemical-engineering institutes were also created.

Since the mid-1950’s, highly accurate methods have been developed in chemistry and chemical engineering for the study of various substances, and new chemical fibers, plastics, devitrified glass, semiconductors, physiologically active compounds and drugs, chemical fertilizers, insecticides, and fungicides have been developed. Chemistry has penetrated all branches of science and industry. Chemistry education thus has become an integral part of training specialists in various institutions of higher and specialized secondary education, such as polytechnical, industrial, metallurgical, power-engineering, electrical-engineering, machine-building, instrument-making, geological, mining, petroleum, and agricultural schools, as well as medical and veterinary schools and schools for training specialists for the lumber, food, and light industries.

Chemistry specialists and teachers are trained primarily in the chemistry departments of universities and pedagogical institutes (at 105 of the 188 institutions), as well as in chemistry-biology, biology-chemistry, and natural history departments. In 1977, of the 65 universities in the USSR, 38 had separate chemistry departments, 16 had chemistry-biology and biology-chemistry departments, and four had natural science departments offering a chemistry program. The University of Tartu had a physical chemistry department and the Turkmen University a biology and geography department, both offering full chemistry programs. Chemical engineers for the chemical industry and allied industries, such as the coal, lumber, petrochemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries, are trained at technological and chemical-engineering institutes (17 in 1977) and in chemical-engineering departments and divisions of other higher technical educational institutions.

The study of higher mathematics and physics has been included in specialized chemistry and chemical-engineering education. A mastery of the philosophical and methodological disciplines, taught at all higher educational institutions, creates the basis for a materialist approach in understanding the world.

The training of chemists in Soviet universities usually takes five years (up to six years in evening divisions and correspondence schools). Students attend individual courses in inorganic, organic, analytical, physical, colloid, and crystal chemistry, general chemical engineering, and the chemistry of high-molecular-weight compounds. Laboratory work accounts for more than one-half of the total curriculum time in the specialized disciplines. The students acquire practical experience by working for 28 weeks at plants, scientific research institutes, and laboratories.

Advanced training is continued in graduate school (aspirantura). The most important centers in the USSR for training chemists, in addition to the universities, are institutes. These include the D. I. Mendeleev Moscow Institute of Chemical Engineering, Lensovet Leningrad Institute of Technology, M. V. Lomonosov Moscow Institute of Fine Chemical Technology, S. M. Kirov Byelorussian Technological Institute, Voronezh Technological Institute, F. E. Dzerzhinskii Dnepropetrovsk Institute of Chemical Engineering, Ivanovo Institute of Chemical Engineering, S. M. Kirov Kazan Chemical-Technological Institute, and the Kazakh Institute of Chemical Engineering.

Chemistry specialists are also trained at specialized secondary educational institutions, namely, chemistry and chemical-engineering technicums, which are usually located in major centers of the chemical industry and at large chemical combines. In 1977 more than 120 such educational institutions trained more than 30 different kinds of chemical technicians for petroleum chemical engineering, the gas and coal industries, and industries for the production of glass, glass products, and chemical fibers. Graduates of these schools are employed at chemical plants as technicians, foremen, laboratory assistants, and equipment specialists. Chemical-engineering vocational-technical schools meet the need for qualified workers for different branches of the chemical industry.

Many Soviet scientists have directed their scientific and pedagogical efforts at improving the organization and content of chemistry and chemical-engineering education. They include A. E. Arbuzov, B. A. Arbuzov, A. N. Bakh, S. I. Vol’fkovich, N. D. Zelinskii, I. A. Kablukov, V. A. Kargin, I. L. Knuniants, D. P. Konovalov, S. V. Lebedev, S. S. Nametkin, B. V. Nekrasov, A. N. Nesmeianov, A. I. Porai-Koshits, A. N. Reformatskii, S. N. Reformatskii, N. N. Semenov, Ia. K. Syrkin, V. E. Tishchenko, and A. E. Favorskii.

New advances in chemistry are covered in specialized chemical journals, which help improve the scientific level of the programs in chemistry and chemical engineering at higher educational institutions. The periodical Khimiia v shkole (Chemistry in School) is published for teachers.

In other socialist countries, specialists in chemistry and chemical engineering are trained at universities and specialized higher educational institutions. The leading schools are the University of Sofia and the Sofia Institute of Chemical Technology in Bulgaria; the University of Budapest and the Veszprém University of Chemical Engineering in Hungary; the University of Berlin, the Dresden Technical University, the University of Rostock, and the Magdeburg Technische Hochschule in the German Democratic Republic; Warsaw University, the University of Łódž, the University of Lublin, and the Warsaw Polytechnic Institute in Poland; the University of Bucharest, Cluj University, and the polytechnic institutes in Bucharest and Iaşi in Rumania; Charles University, the Prague College of Chemical Technology, and the Pardubice Higher School of Chemical Technology in Czechoslovakia; and the universities of Zagreb, Sarajevo, and Split in Yugoslavia.

In the capitalist countries, important centers for chemistry and chemical-engineering education are located at Cambridge University, Oxford University, the universities of Bath and Birmingham, and the Manchester Polytechnic in Great Britain and the universities of Bologna and Milan in Italy. The leading centers in the United States are the engineering schools or colleges of chemistry of the University of California, Columbia University, the Michigan Technological University, the University of Toledo, the California Institute of Technology, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In France the major centers are the University of Grenoble I, the University of Aix-Marseille I, the University of Clermont-Ferrand, the Compiègne Technological University, the University of Lyon I, the University of Montpellier II, the University of Paris VI, the University of Paris VII, and the polytechnic institutes of Lorraine and Toulouse. In the Federal Republic of Germany the leading schools are the universities of Dortmund, Hanover, and Stuttgart, the Darmstadt Technische Hochschule, and the Karlsruhe Technische Hochschule, and in Japan, Kyoto University, Okayama University, Osaka University, and Tokyo University.


Figurovskii, N. A., G. V. Bykov, and T. A. Komarova. Khimiia v Moskovskom universitete za200let. Moscow, 1955.
Istoriia khimicheskikh nauk. Moscow, 1958.
Remennikov, B. M., and G. I. Ushakov. Universitetskoe obrazovanie v SSSR. Moscow, 1960.
Zinov’ev, S. I., and B. M. Remennikov. Vysshie uchebnye zavedeniia SSSR. [Moscow] 1962.
Parmenov, K. Ia. Khimiia kak uchebnyipredmet v dorevoliutsionnoi i sovetskoishkole. Moscow, 1963.
Prepodavanie khimii po novoi programme v srednei shkole. [Collection of articles.] Moscow, 1974.
Giua, M. Istoriia khimii. Moscow, 1975. (Translated from Italian.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Full browser ?