Gazprom Neft has held an award ceremony for winners of its “Mathematical Progression” programme, supporting young mathematicians and managed by the company in conjunction with St Petersburg State University (SPbSU), awarding scholarships and prizes to ninety-nine students and four academics.
Gazprom Neft’s “Home Towns” corporate social responsibility (CSR) project has partnered SPbSU’s Chebyshev Laboratory since 2013, implementing the Russia-wide “Mathematical Progression” project to support talented young people in conjunction with the laboratory since 2015.
Thanks to Gazprom Neft, a system to motivate talented young mathematicians has been put in place, with the result that gifted high school students have the opportunity to enrol at SPbSU, with the best students offered personal scholarships, young academics grants and secondments, and research teams research funding. One 2020 prize winner, Alexei Lvov, a first-year student at SPbSU, was a Gold Medal winner at the International Mathematics Olympiad. One of the first “graduates” of the Mathematical Progression project is Alexander Logunov who won the Clay Prize (the world’s second most important prize in mathematics), on graduating from SPbSU.
The Home Towns programme was involved in establishing the SPbSU Faculty for Mathematics and Computer Sciences within the laboratory in 2019, as well as being involved in launching the “Modern Mathematics” masters programme. A PhD programme is expected to open in the near future, as is the L.V. Kantorovich Industrial Mathematics Laboratory, established in conjunction with the Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre. The faculty is actively involved in preparations for the International Congress of Mathematicians, the main event in the global mathematics calendar.
As might be expected, developing the “Mathematical Progression” project has led to solutions for various practical problems: for example, the Chebyshev Laboratory, together with the Gazprom Neft Science and Technology Centre, has been involved in developing mathematical field models, as well as being involved in the company’s “Cognitive Geologist” project.
“We have been developing a major programme on supporting Russian mathematics for eight years now — having initiated a joint project with a good friend of ours, Fields Medal winner Stanislav Smirnov and his Chebyshev Laboratory. Together with that organisation we subsequently launched a programme to support young mathematicians, which resulted in the establishment of the new faculty at the university. And we are now, together, already developing digital field models and working on projects in artificial intelligence (AI). As a result of which, new analytical capabilities are helping us find oil deposits that would previously have been inaccessible using traditional methods.”Alexander Dybal Member of the Management Board, Gazprom Neft
“Most of our academic team completed their PhDs abroad, or worked there — but have now returned. This is a very important indicator — both for the laboratory, and for Russian science, in general. We, in turn, have become well known abroad, with famous academics, from various countries, keen to visit us. Some parts of our masters programmes are taught in English, and we have many international students. Thanks to Gazprom Neft’s support opportunities for international cooperation, and for promoting our achievements abroad, are increasing every year.”Stanislav Smirnov Fields Medal winner, Academic Supervisor, Chebyshev Laboratory/Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, St Petersburg State University
The “Mathematical Progression” programme is a joint initiative between the Gazprom Neft Home Towns" corporate social responsibility (CSR) project and St Petersburg State University. Its key objective is to support gifted children from Russia’s regions, as well as young academics and their research in theoretical and applied mathematics. Prize winners are determined every year by a competition committee comprising staff from the Chebyshev Laboratory and Corresponding Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. So far more than 460 students, and 31 PhD and post-doctorate researchers, have received enhanced scholarships from Gazprom Neft, with 82 young academics having undertaken internships or been seconded to leading mathematics schools in Russia and abroad. More than 200 scientific conferences and lectures have been held, and 20 Chebyshev Laboratory students have been recipients of awards for mathematics.
The Chebyshev Laboratory at St Petersburg State University was established in 2010 as part of a Russian Government programme directed at developing key areas in mathematical research, as well as supporting young academics. More than 200 academic courses and 2,350 seminars have been held through the centre over the past 10 years, as well as more than 80 scientific schools and conferences, and more than 270 visits from leading international scientists and academics. The centre has also published more than 467 scientific works, and two monographs.
Gazprom Neft’s “Home Towns” CSR project is one of Russian business’s most successful and best-known local development initiatives. Small-scale voluntary activities, city celebrations and major international festivals — whatever the size or scale, all projects under the Home Towns programme are directed at addressing unique problems specific to those regions in which Gazprom Neft operates.
The Fields Medal is the most prestigious international award in mathematics, awarded every four years at the International Congress of Mathematicians to academics under 40.