Official website of Saint Petersburg State University.
  1. St Petersburg University has launched a video tour of its Botanical Garden. 17 videos have already been posted online, and this collection will be increased.

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    Each video describes one of the plants of the Botanical Garden – its features and history. Some plants were filmed during the blossom season. Filming will continue in spring and summer, and the video collection will be increased with new footage. All videos have been produced by the Media Centre of St Petersburg University.

    The video tour is published on the University’s official YouTube channel.

    The University Botanical Garden was organised in the 1860–1870s thanks to the efforts of an outstanding scientist – botanist Andrey Beketov. To create the garden, he managed to join a large plot of land to the territory of the University. He built the first greenhouses, and also began to assemble and enrich the collection of plants.

    Back in the early 2000s, the garden remained neglected having survived the siege and having been restored by herculean labour. A lot of plants died; the greenhouses were improperly repaired; the territory of the garden hosted a car fleet; and chemical waste was regularly dumped there (‘A fresh start for the Garden once used as a junkyard: the director of the St Petersburg University Botanical Garden about the 1990s and 2000s’; ‘Petrol and motor oil – for watering plants in the University Botanical Garden’). The revival of the garden became possible only a few years ago.

    Now the garden area is 2.6 hectares. About half of it is greenhouses, the rest is open ground.


    botanical species counted in the greenhouses. 

    About 1,300 plant species are growing in open ground. Comprehensive research, surveying and other activities for the revival of the Botanical Garden began in the summer of 2018. So far, in addition to research materials and surveying work, design documentation for a seed greenhouse and a draft design of the garden area have been prepared. They represent the recommended guidelines for the development of future botanical collections and open ground layout.

  2. Coronavirus infection has seriously altered the plans of many scientists from St Petersburg University. Some cannot travel to conduct joint research with foreign colleagues, others have to stay abroad until the situation normalises.

  3. Natalia Vinograd, an Associate Professor from the Department of Hydrogeology of St Petersburg University, and Dr Adam Porowski, a hydrogeologist researcher from the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, have studied the chemical and isotopic composition of mineral spring water in Staraya Russa. The study has yielded new information about the origin of the water in the ancient resort springs.

    The results of the scientists' work have been published in the journal Environmental Earth Sciences.

    Staraya Russa is a town in the Novgorod region that appeared in the 9th century. For hundreds of years there had been a salt mining town. Then in the 18th century, people discovered the special properties of the water in the springs and lakes of Staraya Russa. Scientists began their research and in 1828 the town opened one of the oldest balneological resorts in Russia. For more than 180 years the resort has been famous for its various therapies using mud and mineral waters.

    The health resort’s waters belong to a class that can be described as 'containing no specific components and properties', Staraya Russa-type water, group I-10 (the healing properties are determined by the ionic saline composition). Natalia Vinograd and Adam Porowski studied the compositions of ten springs of Staraya Russa: eight in the spa area and two more in the town. Water in the springs comes from two aquifers: the saline waters of the Middle and Upper Devonian Arukjula–Shventoy aquifer and the saline waters of Upper Devonian Sargayev–Daugava aquifer. The waters of the former are used in the spa for baths, and the latter for drinking.

    The study lasted for several years, during which scientists analysed both existing materials and took new measurements. For example, they studied the isotopic composition of the spring waters of Staraya Russa for the first time, shedding light on their source.

    The studies revealed that the brackish waters of the Sargayev–Daugava aquifer complex are mixtures of snow melt (precipitation water) and saline waters which ascend from the deeper Arukjula–Shventoy aquifer. The suphur (δ34S) and oxygen (δ18O) isotopic composition indicated that their source is connected to marine sulphates. The ionic ratios of the major chemical compounds confirmed the presence of a natural component similar to that of sea water in the hydrogeological system. According to the scientists, this explains the chemical composition of mineral waters in Staraya Russa.

    It was established that the Middle and Upper Devonian Arukjula–Shventoy aquifer contains approximately equal amounts of ancient buried sea water and snow melt water of, presumably, the ice ages.

    Natalia Vinograd, Associate Professor of the Department of Hydrogeology at St Petersburg University

    'The Upper Devonian Sargayev–Daugava aquifer contains about 20-40% of the waters of the Arukjula–Shventoy aquifer (depending on the depth), the rest being snow melt waters. This corresponds to the hydrochemical data and explains the origin of the resort’s curative waters,' said Natalia Vinograd.

  4. Due to unfavourable epidemiological situation, St Petersburg University extends the period of validity of the order ‘On exemption from accommodation payment during the time spent away from the student residence for distance learning’.

    According to the order No 3376/1, accommodation payments are exempt for the students who temporarily leave the halls of residence to live in a different place for distance learning throughout the whole period of their absence from 24 March until 31 May 2020.

    If you moved out of the hall of residence for the time of the lockdown but you still received an accommodation payment check, you need to write a request addressed to the head of the hall of residence and send it to You should specify the date of your departure and the anticipated date of arrival. You must contact the settlement department for recalculation.

  5. 11 May saw the final stage of the Internet Physics Olympiad, organised by St Petersburg University. The day before the final, its participants held training sessions.

    For the first time, the final stage was held online in the system of Olympiad tasks of St Petersburg University using proctoring technology. This is a control technology where monitoring is conducted by invigilators – proctors. Using a webcam, they tracked the actions of Olympiad participants. This technology makes it possible to confirm a person’s identity and exclude the use of reference sources, tips and other possible cheating.

    The format of the final stage this year was changed in order to counteract the spread of the new coronavirus infection.

    More than 1,000 schoolchildren of the 7th to 11th forms from Russia, Belarus, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Cyprus and Uzbekistan took part in the final stage of the Olympiad. 

    The final stage results of the Internet Physics Olympiad for schoolchildren in the 2019/20 academic year

    Every year about 20,000 schoolchildren try their strengths in the qualifying stage of the Internet Physics Olympiad.  The participants are from Russia, Abkhazia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Great Britain, Vietnam, Guinea, India, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Poland, the USA, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Estonia and other countries.

    In the 2019/20 academic year, the Internet Physics Olympiad for schoolchildren was assigned the first level in the List of School Olympiads approved by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation.

    Soft copies of certificates of the Olympiad winners and prize-winners will be available on the website of the Russian Council of School Olympiads.