Igor Koshelev, scientist

Igor Koshelev is just 16-years old. But he has already made his “First Step Toward the Nobel Prize.” This is the name of the international competition to be held in Poland next year where the Zlatoust resident will represent Russia. He secured this position after his work was singled out as tops in the category of Ecology at the recent All-Russian Conference of Young Scientists.

A member of the Student Scientific Society, Koshelev focused his energies on solving ecological problems in his native Urals region. Under the guidance of his teacher, Alexei Akhlyustin, Koshelev developed a new way to purify wastewater produced by brass etching enterprises. Scientific and industry experts were amazed by the simplicity and efficiency of Koshelev’s solution, to say nothing of its cost-effectiveness. In fact, Koshelev’s technology has already been put in place at the “Formula” enterprise and at the Zlatoust Watch factory. Since Zlatoust is a well-known metallurgical center in Russia, Koshelev’s invention (and future inventions) will surely find their niche.

Tall, blond and taciturn, Koshelev has been interested in all things technical and chemical since early childhood. He set up a complete laboratory in the basement of the house where his mother and he live.

“The neighbors have no problems with this,” his mother Tatyana said, “they know Igor is a very responsible boy. And when he was helping install computers at my work, adult engineers treated him as an equal.”

When his mother was studying at the Chelyabinsk Juridical Academy, she often took young Igor along. He made himself useful by taking care of her—making sandwiches and boiling tea—while she was defending her treatises and then her master’s degree. Tatyana’s institute mates even dubbed him her “little father.” At home, the young chemist loves to mix up cakes and bliny, although Tatyana said she tries not to encourage him: “I don’t want to put on weight—the stuff he bakes is so hard to resist.”

In addition to the conference in Poland, Koshelev was also recommended as a participant in the Eurasian Youth Festival and the Moscow Engineers Exhibition, both to be held in 2002.

Aside from his serious studies and family duties, Koshelev is an ordinary adolescent who likes rock music (especially songs by Viktor Tsoy), studies English and plays volleyball. His dream is to finish his high school studies early and enroll in an institute, particularly a faculty relevant to ecology and protection of the environment. The future, Koshelev said, belongs to ecology.

On the Russian scale of things, Zlatoust is not a huge city—just 200,000 residents. But the city pins its future on providing good education for its children. The city is picking up the tab for 300 local students to study in Russia’s most prestigious institutes. Students from Zlatoust regularly win the country’s most prestigious competitions and scientific contests. A team of secondary school students recently won 1st place at the All Russian Intellectual Contest “Youth, Science, Culture” in Obninsk. “Igor is not the only person like this that we have,” said Raisa Asvobudinova, head of Zlatoust’s Student Scientific Society. “We have 25 different sections encompassing dozens of youngsters, and all of them are very talented. Another student from Zlatoust recently invented an original city trolley-bus, and was immediately offered a patent for his invention.”

Which means Zlatoust will “supply” even more young Russians to watch in the coming century.

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