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New Mexico State professor receives honorary doctorate from Russian university

Nathan Brooks, a New Mexico State University history professor, has received an honorary doctorate for outstanding achievement in the study of the history of Russian science from St. Petersburg State University in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Nathan Brooks, center, a New Mexico State University history professor, is pictured here with Dmitrii Vasilievich Korolkov, left, dean of the chemistry school at St. Petersburg State University in Russia, and Ludmila Alekseevna Verbitskaia, right, president of the Russian university. Brooks was awarded an honorary doctorate from the university for his research on the history of Russian science. (Courtesy photo)

This was the first honorary doctorate given by the university to a scholar in the history of science. At a ceremony held in a formal hall on the university's campus, Ludmila Alekseevna Verbitskaia, rector (president) of the Russian university, and Dmitrii Vasilievich Korolkov, dean of the chemistry school, presented the degree to Brooks. Both spoke of his accomplishments in the study of Russian science.

Brooks spent two weeks in Russia last summer to attend an international conference about scholarship and political power and the influence they have on each other. He presented a paper at the conference titled "Dmitrii I. Mendeleev and his Economic Advice to the Government." Brooks is researching Mendeleev, who is best known for developing the periodic table of elements.

Mendeleev, 1834-1907, was a professor of chemistry at St. Petersburg State University. Brooks' paper is part of the research he is doing with a grant from the National Science Foundation for a biography on Mendeleev. He has also received funding for his research from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the International Research and Exchanges Board, the Library of Congress and New Mexico State University.

Brooks said his interest in Russia started when he saw Nikita Khruschev during the leader's 1959 visit to a small Iowa farm, not far from Brooks' home.

Brooks has been at New Mexico State for 10 years. He has taught Russian history, the history of science and modern European history. He received his bachelor's degree from Grinnell College and his doctorate from Columbia University.