Igor’ Borisovich Chelpanov, an outstanding researcher and a genial person, passed away on May 29, 2020 at the age of 88.
Igor’ Chelpanov graduated from the Physics and Mathematics Department of the Polytechnic Institute (now Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University); after receiving the diploma of mechanical engineer – the profession he loved for his whole life – he further actively worked in the sphere of control theory and data processing. At the age of 35 he already became the Doctor of Sciences, and at 37, Professor of the Mechanics and Control Processes Department, an honoured master of science and technology of Russia. He is the author of over 200 scientific publications including 15 monographs published in Russia and abroad. These are the brilliant results of research activities ongoing till his last days.
A student of Anatoliy Lur’e, Igor’ Chelpanov was an instructor to a distinguished team of candidates and doctors of sciences (more than 100 persons). Many famous Elektropribor researchers are among his students such as L.P. Nesenyuk, M.I. Evstifeev, V.Z. Gusinkiy and many others. We asked him how he could serve a mentor to so many students and wondered what was his know how. Simply inventing dozens of topics of theses is quite difficult, not to mention carrying out the research. The secret turned out to be simple: there are no simple questions, but different levels of understanding. Otherwise, how could you imagine a candidate’s thesis on press machines or a doctor’s thesis on theater robots. Igor’ Chelpanov fatherly encouraged his students and easily shared his scientific results with them.
For a long time, his life was closely tied with CSRI Elektropribor. As early as in 1961 Professor A.I. Lur’e, his teacher and head of the department at the Polytechnic Institute, recommended him as a young and promising candidate of sciences to the company. Later on, Igor’ Chelpanov was a member of our Academic board. His contribution to Elektropribor developments cannot be overestimated. He participated in many perspective projects of our company, often staying in the background and serving as a scientific adviser for project leaders or a research adviser for doctoral students involved in the development.
He was a man of great knowledge and creativity. His expertise in science and technology surely was not surprising, but his vast knowledge in architecture (he wrote a monography on the architecture of Polytechnic University) and religion was impressive. Here we should also mention his work on formal analysis of national patterns of Altai people.
Igor’ Chelpanov would often surprise the audience by his nontrivial approach to any scientific and technical problem, preferring simple and clear solutions from the engineer’s viewpoint. His teaching habits were also nonstandard. For example how to teach advanced mathematics to future designers – humanitarians, during the decline of Russian higher education. Igor’ Chelpanov would deliver lectures where there was no need to solve differential equations or take derivatives and integrals, but he introduced and discussed all the main mathematical notions. Despite his great scientific potential, he was always loyal and gentle to his students and never demonstrated his superiority.
Now that we part with Igor’ Chelpanov we are sure that memory of this clever, ironical, actually gentle and kind-hearted man will be preserved in the hearts of his grateful students and colleagues.