Department of Hydro-aeromechanics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics of the Saint-Petersburg State University was founded in 1929. The creation of this department was connected with rapid development of the aircraft construction and shipbuilding in Soviet Union and the need for specialists educated in the field of gas and fluid dynamics. The founding chairman of this department was professor A.A.Satkevich (1869-1938), well known scientist, corresponding member of Soviet Academy of Sciences. He published many papers and several books on hydro-aerodynamics and thermodynamics.

In 1933 the first subsonic wind tunnel in Leningrad University was built and the Laboratory of Aerodynamics was created, where aerodynamic characteristics of different bodies were studied.

The second chairman of the department (1938-1941) was professor K.I.Strahovich (1904-1968), who made major contributions to the theory of gases and fluids and its applications.

In the end of thirties and beginning of forties of the 20-th century, theoretical investigations of the Department of Hydro-aeromechanics were focused on gas dynamics problems, non-stationary gas flows, wing theory, and dynamics of atmosphere.

In 1944 the Laboratory of Gas dynamics was created in Leningrad University. In this laboratory, experimental investigations of supersonic gas flows have started, later parameters of rarefied gases and two-phase flows were studied.

During 1944-1950 the chairman of the department was academician V.I.Smirnov, a famous Russian mathematician. The following 25 years, 1950-1975, the department was chaired by professor S.V.Vallander (1917-1975), corresponding member of Soviet Academy of Sciences, laureate of State prize, an outstanding Russian scientist, one of the originators of rarefied gas dynamics. In the beginning of his scientific life he obtained very strong results in classical gas dynamics. Then he focused his attention on the molecular approach to problems of gas dynamics. Further studies in this area were largely influenced by S.V.Vallander's concept of application of the kinetic theory to problems of aerodynamics and relaxation processes in gases. The results of S.V.Vallander and his scientific school at the Department of Hydro-aerodynamics determined a new stage of development of the kinetic theory for gas flows with physical-chemical processes. Development of this new scientific direction was important for current problems of supersonic aviation and space technique. In the following years the investigations in this field were successfully continued and extended at the department by Vallander`s scientific school: there were studied non-equilibrium reacting gas flows, molecular dynamics, two-phase flows.

In 1976-1986 the chairman of the department was professor N.N.Polyakhov (1906-1987), a well known scientist in the fields of aero-hydromechanics, theoretical mechanics, dynamics of flight and history of mechanics. His results in aeromechanics are highly significant and appeared in many publications in papers and books. He greatly advanced airfoil theory and proposed the correct methods of wing theory.

During the next years 1989-1999 the department was chaired by professor V.G.Dulov (1929-2001), a scientist in the field of gas dynamics, remarkable educator and scientific organizer, corresponding member of the Soviet and Russian Academy of Sciences, laureate of State prize. He published a number of textbooks and monographs which are well known among specialists.

From 1999 the chairman of the department is professor S.K.Matveev, the scientist in the field of dynamics of gas and fluids, two-phase flows, computational gas dynamics.

At present the department conducts scientific investigations and prepares specialists in the following fields: physical-chemical gas dynamics, molecular gas dynamics, dynamics of complex media and two-phase flows, computational hydro-gas-dynamics, supersonic gas dynamics, viscous fluid dynamics, and experimental aerodynamics.

Theoretical and experimental investigations at the Department of Hydro-aeromechanics and Laboratories of Aerodynamics and Gas dynamics are important for many up-to-date applications such as modeling of reentry of space vehicles into atmospheres of planets and ejection from space vehicles close to their surfaces, studies of flows in high-enthalpy facilities, combustion and processes in active media in molecular lasers, cleaning of polluted atmosphere, astrophysics problems, technology processes.

The department and laboratories have international contacts with universities and institutes of France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands.

Many scientific results obtained at the department and in laboratories are well known in scientific world, are published in Russian and international journals and many books, are presented at international symposia in different countries.