I, Vladimir Lev, was born on March 13th, 1940.

My father, Hanan Lev, was called up for military service in 1939. He was immediately sent to the Winter War. Before that, he had graduated from the Tomsk Polytechnic University. He went to the war against Nazi Germany just after the Winter War ended. My mother, Anastasia Lev (Bulycheva), worked at the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, which produced tanks during the World War II.

We spent the whole war at her sister’s.

In 1945, my father (he had already been an officer by that time) came back from the war and took us to his duty station. In 1947, we ended up in a military camp near Tambov. In 1947, I went to a local elementary school (was enrolled in the 2nd grade). I finished it in 1950. My father was sent to a military academy in Leningrad in the meantime.

My father having graduated from the academy, we returned to Tambov, where I entered secondary school No. 51. I graduated from the school with a Silver Medal in 1956 and entered the Chelyabinsk polytechnic institute, graduating as a mechanical engineer in 1961.

Then I was assigned to the city of Miass, where I was engaged in aerodynamic, thermal and strength calculations.

I liked to do arithmetic and solve different mathematical problems in algebra, geometry and trigonometry, while studying in school. Surprisingly, I was not fond of physics either in school or in college. I had to remember something, only while working.

In 1963, I was rocked by the director of the Institute of Nuclear Physics Academician Budker’s article “Thermonuclear Sun over Siberia”, read in the journal “ Knowledge is power”. It was like waking up and finding out how theoretical physics is really interesting! Immediately, it makes me want to study physics. So, I took a correspondence course at the Ural State University, Department of Physics.

But then I realized a correspondence course is not my way. I therefore dropped out of studying, but I didn’t lose my passion of wanting to study physics. I tried to enter Moscow State University as a full-time student. But enterprise management’s petition was required in those days, and my chief did not give me his approval. He was against my getting fired (especially since half of the thesis was already written …).

In 1964, I was assigned to work at a testing range in Kazakhstan. I had already looked into BIMP and decided to be hired to do a job at the Institute, and then to enter the Department of Physics at Novosibirsk State University as a part-time student.

My train ride to Alma-Ata walked through Novosibirsk Akademgorodok. I have liked the academic town since I’ve seen it. The forest, the reservoir and the nature fascinated me (I had already gone hiking all over the Urals).

Coming back in two months, I stayed in Akademgorodok and came to BIMP to find out about opportunity to work there. I had a successful interview and got the job offer 2 months later. On December 9, 1964, I was hired to the post of design engineer (no other vacancies were available).

In 1965, I was enrolled on the second year of the Department of Physics as a part-time student after completing the first-year exams. A new, interesting, fascinating, amazing life has begun.

At that time, Novosibirsk Akademgorodok was considered as the center of liberty and freethinking in the whole Soviet Union. Despite pressure from the city and regional committees, there was a café “Under the integral sign”. Galich, Kliachkin, Vizbor and other bards gave concerts there, while we, youth, had fun, made friends and sang there.

After 1965, we used to go hiking across Crimea, the Altai, the Sayans, the Caucasus. I was at the mountaineering camp “Ak-Tru” in the Altai, “Ala-Archa” near the city of Frunze, where I met my future wife. And, of course, it was the start year of studying at Novosibirsk State University.

There were many elective courses at the University. Since 1967, I have attended lectures and seminars given by the great physicist Yuri Rumer. It was about five dimensions – it was confusing, unreal and interesting. Through him I met Abram Fet and Yuri Kulakov

I asked Yuri Rumer to be my adviser, while writing my graduate thesis. I was with Boris Konopelchenko when we defended our theses (he is a well-known and honored Doctor of Physics and Mathematics now). The thesis had been concentrated on the relationship between conformal and unitary groups.

In 1970, I graduated from NSU and continued to work at BINP as a Senior Engineer, the Chief of the Unit.