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Series on BIOMECHANICS   ISSN 1313-2458
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In memory of Academician Georgi Brankov - the 100th anniversary of his birth
V.G. Petrov
Abstract: On January 24, 2013 it is marked the 100th anniversary of the founder of biomechanics in Bulgaria academician Georgi Yordanov Brankov. This memorable anniversary is a good reason for this series on biomechanics to give recognition of his immense contribution to the foundation and development of this science in the context of the mechanics at all in Bulgaria.
Georgi Jordanov Brankov was born on January 24, 1913 in Mezdra, Vratsa. In 1933 he graduated in the School of Construction "Hristo Botev" in Sofia. At the same time he became a member of the Communist Party [1]. From 1934 to 1938 George Brankov teaches at the Free University of Political and Economic Sciences in Sofia, where he graduated Diplomatic-Consular Section. Then, he studied Civil Engineering in Bratislava and graduated in Dresden in 1944. After returning to Bulgaria, Brankov spent some time working in Troyan and in 1946 he was an assistant at the State Polytechnic. He participated in the design of building National Stadium "Vasil Levski"in 1953. During the years 1950-1953, he prepares and defends a dissertation for Candidate of Technical Sciences at the Moscow Engineering Institute. After his return from Moscow, Brankov receives academic rank of associate professor (1954) and professor (1959) in Civil Engineering Institute, as well as head of the department "Reinforced Concrete Structures". Since 1955, he is a senior fellow at the Research Institute of Building and in 1958-1959 year becomes its director. During the 1959-1963 year, George Brankov is Scientific Secretary of the Academy of Sciences. In 1963 he was a director of the Institute of Mechanics for a short period of time and then became Chairman of the State Committee for Construction and Architecture taking the rank of minister in the first government of Todor Zhivkov, remaining in that post until 1966. In 1964, he defended his thesis for Doctor of Technical Sciences of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union. In 1966, Brankov became a member of the 5th National Assembly, where he was a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Construction, Architecture and Public Works, and by 1968 he is the head of "Science and Education" in the BCP. During the 1966-1971 year he is a candidate member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. In 1967, Georgi Brankov is a corresponding member, and in 1974 - Academician of the Academy of Sciences. During the 1968-1973 year, he is a Chief Scientific Secretary of the Academy, and in 1973-1982, deputy chairman of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences.
As the most important figures in the Bulgarian science, akad. Brankov has had comprehensive scientific interests, beyond the field of biomechanics. Suffice is to mention such specialized branches as technical and seismic mechanics, in the field of which he worked. This fact gives us an idea of the extensive nature of his work on mechanics in the country. Impression of his comprehensive interest in mechanics is confirmed by its scientific monographs on "Concrete shell structures over rectangular base" (1954), "Waveshell structures" (1961), "On the problem of testing of corrugated shell structures" (1964) "Mechanics of polymers" (1967), "Reinforced Concrete Structures" (1973), "Introduction to mechanics of discrete environment" (1981), "Key issues of biomechanics" (1978) and "Quantum biomechanics" (1987).
The role of academic Brankov, however, for the mechanics in the country, is not limited to his scientific work. In addition to distinguished scientist, he is a renowned organizer of mechanics both in domestic and international plan. G. Brankov is the founder and chairman of the National Committee on earthquake engineering (1966), founder and chairman of the National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (1968), director of the Institute of Mechanics (1972), Director of the Central Laboratory of Biomechanics, BAS (1972). He founded the Institute of Mechanics and Biomechanics (1977-1986) and was a head of the Central Laboratory for Seismic Mechanics and Earthquake Engineering (1982). He was Chairman of the European Committee for earthquake resistant buildings in London (1970), director of the International Association of Anti-seismic Engineering in Rome (1973), Member of the European Academy of Science, Art and Culture in Paris (1973-1982).
For the scientific community of biomechanics, the last listed above two books are of special interest. The first of them - "Key points of biomechanics" marks the completion of the initial founding stage in the development of this science in Bulgaria, where in 1972 it was created (for the first time in the world) a biomechanics laboratory under the direction of G. Brankov. During this period, there were appointed the first assistants in biomechanics. These were prof. Hristo Hristov, Alexander Rachev (becoming later - D.Sci. and professor in the field of biomechanics), Yuli Toshev (becoming also later a professor and D.Sci. in biomechanics) Veneta Todorova (PhD, research associate), Donka Daskalova (technical assistant), Mariya Tetevenska (philologist), Julia Popova (MD, Fellow), Pavel Koulev (PhD, research associate), Nikola Petrov (Sen.Res. PhD), Stoyan Stoychev (Sen.Res. PhD) Valko Petrov (Sen. Res., PhD), and after that period, many other younger researchers began to work biomechanics in the beginning of 80th of the 20th century. The total number of those involved in biomechanics in BAS reached the number of 35. This is a particularly fruitful period of ideological and organizational development of biomechanics in Bulgaria, when the foundations of this science have been formed in our country. Cited monograph is a kind of scientific review describing this period and made from G. Brankov for all employees in the lab. From a scientific standpoint, this time is establishing of biomechanics as a basic branch in the mechanics family. Although controversial, this point of view has proven extremely fruitful and successful to make first steps for this interdisciplinary science in the country. This is evident from the contents of that monograph of G. Brankov, where it can be seen that only for a few years, a small number of staff was able to publish dozens of publications in the series "Biomechanics", the issue of which starts from 1972. Then the staff operates mainly in three areas: Biomechanics of the cardiovascular system, Biomechanics of the vestibular system and Biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system. In each of these areas, it was created a problem group to that Central Laboratory of Biomechanics, where they developed various issues of biomechanics as: measuring the rheological properties of blood vessels and blood distribution of pulse wave in arteries, experimental study of ocular nystagmus, development of tensile platform for the study of gait, construction of anthropomorphic manipulator and other issues of interest to the medical science and the industry at that time.
Second treatise on biomechanics of G. Brankov "Quantum biomechanics" is an attempt to look at the future development of this science in a more general term. It was written at a time when the community of biomechanics in Bulgaria has reached its maturity and there are certain symptoms of stagnation in many biological sciences at that time. Some branches has found themselves left behind by the rapid rise of molecular and submolecular approaches in microbiology at that time continuing to this day, and outlining as a leading trend. True to his exceptional talent to see the new science, G. Brankov draws the attention of the scientific community on a number of issues of quantum biomechanics, which shows that he sees the future of this science studies at the micro level. That view of Brankov is in full agreement with the development of quantum chemistry and molecular cell biology, from which later arose a number of new trends such as genomics and nanotechnology, and in 2000 it was deciphered the
Keywords: biomechanics in Bulgaria; Georgi Brankov
Date published: 2013-03-09
(Price of one pdf file: 39.00 BGN/20.00 EUR)