THE PENDULUM SWAYED BACK

The elections of members of the Scientific Council took place in the Sobolev Institute of Mathematics of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences on September 27, 2012. The new Council was formed which differs from the previous, to within minor exceptions, in the fact that all representatives of the Department of Analysis and Geometry were not elected. The vacancies were filled by the members of the staff of the Department of Algebra and Logic. The competence of the new Council is thus questionable in the matters of analysis and geometry.

Surely, the members of the Russian Academy of Sciences on the staff of the Institute are enlisted in the Council without any vote by the Bylaws of the Academy, and it is impossible to eliminate them from the Council by ballot. The defending rule does not apply to Corresponding Member Pavel Plotnikov who works in the Lavrentyev Institute of Hydrodynamics but was nominated to a vacancy in the applied section of the Council. Therefore, Plotnikov was not elected by joint mischief. Moreover, during nomination the candidacy of Plotnikov was publicly compared with the Pussy Riot by one prankster of the victors.

The pendulum swayed back: the Institute has returned to the atmosphere of the 1970s and 1980s when a few good but unwelcome theses were rejected whereas some faulty but welcome theses were approved. The years when the copyright fell victim to the right of power; the academic equity, to personal loyalty; decency, to xenophobia, and conscience, to mutual cover-up.

It was in the mid-1980s when the pressure within the Institute had ousted from it the last two full members of the Academy on the staff in those years. One was Sergey Sobolev, the founder of the Institute and the genius who invented the differential calculus of the twentieth century. The other was Aleksandr Alexandrov, the first and foremost Russian geometer of the twentieth century. The pendulum has swayed recently to the offensive secret ballots that attack not only four out of the five full members of the Academy working now at the Institute but also their areas of research, subordinates, and coworkers.

Science is not a pendulum, as it never sways back. Neither is conscience, since it never returns if lost once.

S. Kutateladze

September 28, 2012


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© Kutateladze S. S. 2012