Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry is well-known throughout the world for prominent scientists, who have been working in the Institute. Among them are Academicians A. E. Favorsky, N. D. Zelinsky, A. A. Balandin, B. A. Kazansky, A. N. Nesmeyanov, I. N. Nazarov, I. L. Knunyants, A. E. Porai-Koshits, V. V. Korshak, L. F. Vereshchagin, M. M. Shemyakin, M. I. Kabachnik and many others.
Scientific Prizes named after Academicians N. D. Zelinsky and A. A. Balandin were founded by the Academy of Sciences to award outstanding investigations in the fields of organic chemistry, petrochemistry and organic catalysis.
Today the Institute accumulates highly qualified scientists well known in the country and abroad. More than 600 researchers are employed in the Institute, of which five are Academicians and six Corresponding Members of the Academy of Sciences; their fruitful activities were awarded by Orders and Scientific Prizes. Among people now employed in the Institute there are 24 prize-winners of Lenin, State, Demidov, and several Nominal Prizes of the Academy of Sciences.
Leading scientists of the ZIOC are Members of foreign Academies and Scientific Societies, Scientific Councils of Russian Academy of Sciences, Ministries and Departments, work actively in Editorial Boards of Russian and International journals, etc. During past years, research fellows of the Institute have published thousands of scientific papers and lectures, 125 monographs and collections of papers, more than 10 textbooks and methodic guides, many of which were published in several editions and translated into foreign languages; they are also authors of hundreds of inventions.
Several fundamental achievements were made at the Institute. A new physical phenomenon, resonance Raman scattering of light, was discovered; substantial contribution to the problem of double bonding at silicon and germanium atoms was made. Methods of study of structure and reactivity of organic compounds under ordinary and extreme conditions were developed and are successfully used. These include reactions at superhigh pressures, low-temperature stabilization and study of unstable species (carbenes, free radicals) in inert matrices, methods of phase-transfer catalysis, electrochemical processes. Universally recognized are advances of the Institute in such fields as chemistry of unsaturated compounds, carbenes, small cycles, nitro compounds, diazo compounds, heterocycles (especially comprising nitrogen and sulfur), organoboranes, and research of homolytic reactions.
Extensive studies of the structure of microbial and virus carbohydrate-containing biopolymers that were accomplished at ZIOC have led for the first time to the synthesis of artificial antigens comprising complex oligo- and polysaccharides, thus opening a fundamentally new approach for the preparation of vaccines and sera. Original research on steroid synthesis resulted in development of the first home-produced hormone preparations with separated biological functions.
Fundamental studies in the field of theory of organic catalysis were performed at the Institute. Also studied were elementary acts of several catalytic reactions, structure and physics of the catalyst surface (quantum chemistry approaches and modern instrumental methods were used in combination). Priority studies in such areas as catalytic transformations of hydrocarbons, syntheses using carbon monoxide and other one-carbon molecules, synthesis of bulk and fine chemicals, as well as asymmetric catalysis, were accomplished. Scientific principles for the preparation of new zeolite catalysts were formulated. Kinetic, physical and mathematical models of industrial processes and devices were designed.
Many developments of the Institute are implemented in industry of basic organic synthesis, oil-refining industry, pharmaceutical industry, and industry of plant protection agents. Collaboration of scientists of the Institute with the Special Design Bureau of the ZIOC that existed for 35 years played a great role in the development of scientific instrumentation in our country, especially in desing and manufacture of chromatographs.
During recent years, mathematical chemistry and computer synthesis have been successfully developed. Modern information technologies are now widely used at the Institute. The Institute is a host for international centers of networks EARN/BITNET, FREEnet, and National United Networks Coordination Center. The Institute also accommodates Moscow Information Center of the RAS — STN International, NMR Research Center of the RAS, Higher Chemical College of the RAS, and Scientific and Education Center of ZIOC and Moscow Chemical Lyceum.
Editorial offices of several leading Russian chemical journals ("Russian Chemical Bulletin", "Russian Chemical Reviews", "Kinetics and Catalysis", and "Mendeleev Communications" published jointly with the Royal Society of Chemistry, Great Britain) reside at the Institute; many researchers of the Institute are involved in their work.
The Institute traditionally organizes conferences on carbene chemistry, syntheses using one-carbon molecules, heterocyclic chemistry, catalysis and mechanisms of catalytic reactions, as well as scientific school on organic synthesis.