Akademgorodok (pop. 100,000 est.), 30 km south of Novosibirsk, Russia is the educational and scientific centre of Siberia. It is located in the center of a majestic birch and pine forest and on the shore of the Ob Sea, a man-made reservoir on the great Siberian river Ob. Located within Akademgorodok is Novsibirsk State University (NSU), 35 research institutes, an agricultural academy, medical academy, apartment houses and cottages, and a variety of community amenities including stores, hotels, hospitals, restaurants and cafes, cinemas, clubs and libraries. The House of Scientists (Dom Uchonykh), a social center of Akademgorodok, hosts a library containing 100,000 volumes - Russian classics, modern literature and also many American, British, French, German, Polish books and magazines. The House of Scientists also includes a picture gallery, lecture halls and a fine concert hall. The performances given by musical celebrities and theatrical stars in this hall are second to none.
The town, whose name would translate to English as Academic Town, was founded in the 1950s by the USSR Academy of Sciences and Arts. Academician Mikhail Alexeyevich Lavrentyev (1900-1980), a prominent physicist and mathematician, the first Chairman of the Siberian Division of the USSR Academy of Science, played a prominent role at establishing Akademgorodok. At its peak, Akademgorodok was home of 65,000 scientists and their families, and was a privileged area to live in, with well-stocked stores and dachas for the academic elite.