Nikolai Bazhenov: “In mathematics, everything is strict, precise and logical”

Nikolai Bazhenov, Associate Professor at the NSU Department of Mathematics and the NSU Specialized Educational and Scientific Center, teaches discrete mathematics, theory of algorithms, and mathematical logic to NSU Mechanics and Mathematics Research Group students at the Mathematical Center in Akademgorodok. He believes there is nothing more interesting and exciting than proving new theorems, exchanging mathematical knowledge with Russian and foreign colleagues, and preparing scientific publications. As a schoolboy, he made the choice to focus on mathematics, and now he escorts novice fans of this exact science into the world of numbers and calculations. His immediate plans include writing a doctoral dissertation. 

Bazhenov chose mathematics when he was in the seventh grade at a school in Ulan-Ude Buryatia. The choice was hard because he was also attracted to history. The future mathematician enthusiastically read historical books and watched popular and science fiction films. It is possible that the inquisitive teenager would have become a historian, but meeting Larisa Antonova, a teacher at the Buryat State University and Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, changed everything. She started teaching algebra and geometry at Bazhenov’s school and it was thanks to this talented teacher that he realized there is no more exciting, logical, and accurate science than math.  

Using school geometry, Larisa Vasilievna taught students to prove theorems based on basic statements and axioms and to obtain new results through logical reasoning. This process fascinated Bazhenov. He participated in mathematical Olympiads and on the basis of his results in one of them, was recommended to study at NSU’s SESC NSU. This led him to move to Novosibirsk after finishing the 9th grade.  

Bazhenov described what came next,

After graduating from the SESC, I entered the NSU Mechanics and Mathematics Department. Most of all I was interested in the mathematical logic course, and again, that was thanks to the seminar teacher Pavel Alaev, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. 

In the third year of undergraduate studies, I began my specialization with the Head of the Department of Discrete Mathematics and Informatics, Sergey Goncharov. A year later, I had already received some scientific results in the field of the theory of constructive Boolean algebras. This provided the basis of my thesis. Goncharov decided that my results deserved to be represented at a 2010 international conference. It took place in Paris and I went on my first foreign business trip. There I realized that international scientific communication and cooperation in mathematical science opens up great prospects for development. So, I decided to continue my studies with a Master’s Degree under the guidance of Sergey Goncharov. 

After graduating from NSU, many of my classmates went to work, mostly in IT. Akademgorodok provides great opportunities for this to senior students. I confess, I also thought about doing the same thing and even went to interviews. But after that important trip, I chose science and never regretted it. After getting my Master’s, I reaffirmed my choice. 

Bazhenov now introduces talented students to the world of science and believes that the Mathematical Center in Akademgorodok provides great opportunities for young people to get involved in modern scientific activities. Starting at the BA level, future mathematicians are involved in research activities, and this helps them to immerse themselves in mathematical research and scientific communication at a young age. It also introduces them to the work of leading scientists in Russia and other countries.