Old mat-mekh

In 1966 I became an (undergraduate) student at the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics, Leningrad State University. Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics was called shortly mat-mekh. Although it was a part of a large university, most of students' life was localized in mat-mekh. Then mat-mekh occuplied an old noble building on the 10th Line of Vassilievskij Island. Its address was Leningrad, V.O., 10th Linia 33.

Originally it was built in the XIXth century for Bestuzhev Courses, the largest and most prominent women's higher education institution in Russian Empire. After the 1917 revolution, the courses were reorganized into the Third University of Petrograd, which was merged subsequently with the Petrograd University in September 1919.

For many years, until 1979, when mat-mekh moved to Peterhoff, this building was the main center of mathematical activities in Leningrad. In mornings and early afternoons it was full of students, its three large lecture halls were occupied by regular lectures to undergraduate students. Two large lecture halls were located on the third floor, their large windows are seen on the pictures (the leftmost two and rightmost two on the top floor). Smaller halls accommodated numerous recitation sessions.

At 5pm the time of research seminars and advanced courses started. Some lectures finished at 10pm. Rokhlin's lectures of his large two year Topology course were in one of the large halls on Mondays 8pm-10pm. Rokhlin's topological seminar gathered on Mondays at 5pm-7pm.

This building was also a place for Leningrad mathematical olympiads. Lots of mathematical circles for high school students (Yu M Sh - the young mathematicians' school) occupied small rooms in the evening hours.

This center was killed, when mat-mekh moved to a new campus in Peterhoff. A train travel of about 40 minutes long and empty cold environment did not encourage to relocate evening classes and seminars to the new building. It is dead empty after hours.

The mathematical life moved to the building of LOMI (Leningrad branch of the Mathematics Institute of the Academy - Steklov Institute) in the center of city, but could never recover, because there was not enough space for seminars and lectures.

The old mat-mekh building on 10th linia of Vassilievskij Ostrov belongs now to the Faculty of Geography and Geoecology of the St.Petersburg University. When I came to there, the building felt sleepy.