Bartini – the genius who was ahead of times
The Round Table «Robert Bartini's Heritage» devoted to the 117 anniversary since the birth of the great scientist was held on May 14, 2014 at the All-Russian scientific-research institute of aviation materials (VIAM).
Representatives of scientific institutes and enterprises related to different life periods of Robert Bartini, his colleagues and researchers of his biography took part in the event.
Academician of RAS Evgeny N. Kablov, Director General of VIAM, opened the Round Table. In his salutatory word he noted that «Robert Bartini was a man of striking fortune being not only an outstanding designer and scientist, but also “a secret inspirer“ of the Soviet space program». «His ideas were much more ahead of the times, and, probably, therefore only a part of them had been realized», – told Evgeny Kablov. According to the head of VIAM, some results of Bartini’s researches are of topical interest up to now.
As Evgeny Kablov reported, «this outstanding scientist had created 60 projects, and all of them impress with profundity of thoughts and accuracy of calculations. His activities and magnitude of ideas allow us to call Bartini as Leonardo da Vinci of the twentieth century – by analogy to his great compatriot and forerunner».
According to him, Robert Bartini understood well the exclusive role of structural materials, technologies of their processing and corrosion protection systems in aviation industry. «Actually he was the first in our country who used the principle of «material – technology – design» unity in the course of aircraft designing. Later, just this approach was implemented by VIAM when working out «Strategic directions of the development of materials and technologies of their processing for the period until 2030», – reported Evgeny Kablov.
In addition, the head of VIAM told about activity of the scientist in the sphere of corrosion protection of structures. «In fact, Bartini was the first in the Soviet Union who pointed out on the necessity to create a system for evaluation of material behavior under different climatic conditions», – he explained. Evgeny Kablov added that «the joint works with G. Akimov, another outstanding Soviet scientist, became the basis for the book «Corrosion of metals», which is today "a Bible" for all corrosion scientists of the world».
In his speech, the Director General of VIAM also told about improvement of engineering education in our country. He noted that besides an increase in the number of chemistry, physics and mathematics classes in educational institutions, it is necessary to carry out continuous work to improve the status of engineering work. «It is possible to inspire the interest of young people and to draw their attention to science and engineering by taking as an example such great scientists and designers, as Robert Bartini», – concluded Evgeny Kablov.
The decision taken following the results of the Round Table specifies that now information on different periods of life and activities of Robert Bartini is separated and not systematized. Besides, the works of the outstanding designer and scientist have insufficient public recognition and assessment. The only extant airplane (14М1P) designed by Bartini is partially destroyed and requires recovery; it is found in the Central Air Force Museum.
Participants of the Round Table emphasized the necessity of creation of the joint working group on collection and analysis of information on Bartini's works. In the general opinion of participants, it is reasonable to study and systematize all available information on his activities and developments, to make a register of his works for acquaintance of the public with activity of the scientist. Besides, in view of the 120th anniversary since his birth in 2017 it was offered to prepare and publish a book with participation of FSUE “VIAM”, Beriev Aircraft Company, Siberian Aeronautical Research Institute named after S.A. Chaplygin and other organizations and individuals. Moreover, the attendees suggested to initiate shooting of a new film about Robert Bartini and to demonstrate it by central Russian channels; more systematized and wide assessment of his contribution to the domestic science will be given in the film. An offer to add a course of lectures about Robert Bartini's contribution to the development of the Russian engineering thought to the curriculum of higher education institutions was made also.
Participants of the Round Table expressed their gratitude to VIAM for the provided opportunity to take part in the event and for the attention rendered by the institute to Robert Bartini's heritage.
Robert L. Bartini (Roberto Oros di Bartini) (5/14/1897, Fiume, Italy — 12/6/1974, Moscow), the Soviet aircraft designer and scientist. In 1921 he became a member of the Italian communist party (ICP) established the same year. The member of CPSU since 1927. He graduated from an officer school (1916), Milan polytechnic institute (1922) and from a flight school (1921). In 1923, after establishment of the fascist regime in Italy, he was illegally sent to the USSR as an aviation engineer according to the decision of the Central Committee of ICP. Since 1923, he held different engineering and command positions in Air Forces of The Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, since 1930 worked as the chief of Design department of Scientific-Research Institute of Civil Aircraft Fleet, later as the Chief Designer. He created such airplanes as long-range arctic surveillance aircraft, "Steel-6,-7", original aerodynamic schemes of flight vehicles, power units, etc. His main works were focused on aviation materials science, aerodynamics, mathematical support of design of flight vehicles and engineering constructions, development of aircraft and ekranoplans of non-traditional design, theory for solution of research aims. He was awarded with The Order of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution and medals.