The university traces its history back to the middle of World War II. It started off as the Moscow Mechanics Institute of Ammunition. The original charter was to train people for the nuclear industry, which had just began to boom. The Head of the Soviet nuclear project, academician Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov (yes, the “father of the atomic bomb”) – was one of the legendary University’s founders.

By the 1960’s, MEPhI became the leading higher education institution in Russia, energizing education and training for peaceful nuclear energy. Over the course of its history, 6 Nobel Prize winners have worked at MEPhI, including: N.G. Basov, a MEPhI graduate, as well as A.D. Sakharov, N.N. Semenov, I.E. Tamm, I.M. Frank, and P.A. Cherenkov.

A new wave of development of the University began in 2009, when MEPhI was one of the two universities first recognized by the government as national ones and was renamed into the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute).

In July 2013, MEPhI was shortlisted in the governmental Competitiveness Enhancement Program, or so called “5 into 100” competition. The objective of the program is to boost 5 of 15 chosen universities, who are already leaders in Russia, to be in the top 100 universities worldwide.

Today the University holds leading positions in training specialists of the highest level, combining principles of synthesis of education and research activities, laid more than 70 years ago.


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