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Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences              University of Belgrade

History

 

The Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences was established in 1948 as a research centre for the study of the most topical issues in natural sciences: physics, chemistry and biology. Actually, they were prioritized in that very order. The task of founding the Institute was entrusted to Professor Pavle Savić, a physical chemist who was invited to return to Yugoslavia from the Institute for Physical Problems in Moscow, where he had worked at the laboratories of Academician Piotr Leonidovich Kapitza, later Nobel Prize laureate, since the closing year of World War II.

Pavle Savić committed himself with all his energy, will and dedication to building the “institute for the study of matter”, as he called it, i.e. the Institute of Physics, as it would be officially named later. Although he was joined by several enthusiastic collaborators, the most important tasks were largely carried out by Professor Savić. It is a known fact that the projects for the initially built laboratories (for physics, chemistry and biology) were devised by him and that he also supervised their construction. Because of that he settled near the construction site, at a nearby farm, where he slept in a barn, on straw. Professor Savić later coordinated the procurement of research equipment, which largely came from abroad as war reparations.

Pavle Savić gathered at the Institute Yugoslavia’s young scientific elite of the time – mostly enthusiastic researchers who had just completed their studies. They undertook projects that made a distinctive contribution to the early stage of the so-called “Nuclear Age”.

At the beginning, research in physics and chemistry prevailed, but very soon Dušan Kanazir joined the Institute. He made significant efforts to develop research in biological disciplines with particular stress on problems related to the effects of radiation. Both Savić and Kanazir would later become presidents of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Soon after the founding, the Institute was put in charge of carrying out the national nuclear research programme, which ended in 1968. Since that year, it began to pursue more diversified (not only nuclear-related) lines of research. Today, the Vinča is a multidisciplinary research institute covering numerous scientific and technological disciplines.

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