Prof. Taras Melnyk: “The most similar are our values and common aspirations.“
The bonds that unite us
The train Zurich-Prague, on which I was returning from the mathematical congress (1994), made a 30-minute stop in Stuttgart. During this time, I managed to get to the beginning of Königstraße and understand that I want to visit this city again.
My dream came true. In 1998, I received a scholarship from the Humboldt Foundation at the invitation of Professor Wolfgang Wendland, who from 1986 to 2004 headed an institute of the University of Stuttgart, now it is called the Institute for Applied Analysis and Numerical Simulation (IANS).
My further scientific work was closely connected with this institute. It was here that I obtained my main scientific results. Thanks to the Humboldt Foundation, I had the opportunity every three years, after the basic scholarship, to conduct research at the University of Stuttgart in the summer. Stuttgart became my second hometown after Kyiv (Ukrainian name for Kiev).
Russia's full-scale war
In 2022, I was again going to come to the University of Stuttgart for two summer months at the invitation of Professor Christian Rohde, who is now the director of the IANS. However, Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine destroyed the lives and changed the plans of many people. After the first weeks of the war, when the Russian occupiers were on the outskirts of Kyiv, when cannonades outside the window did not stop, when Russian cruise missiles hit residential buildings in Kyiv, when the first news came from Bucha about the torture and execution of Ukrainians, which showed how cruel are the plans of Putin's regime, my wife and I decided to leave Kyiv. First, we went to Lviv in Western Ukraine by an evacuation train, and then, at the convincing invitation of Professor Rohde, to Stuttgart. The Humboldt Foundation gave us the opportunity to stay in Germany from May 2022 to the end of February 2023.
During this time, together with Professor Rohde, we obtained interesting results about the asymptotic behavior of solutions to convection-dominated transport problems in thin graph-like junctions. Now, we investigate similar nonlinear problems. These studies are related to research being carried out at the University of Stuttgart under the grant SFB 1313. Therefore, I have the opportunity to participate in all events connected to this project, present my results, and get acquainted with the new original results of other scientists involved in this project. At the same time, being a professor at the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics, I have the opportunity to give online lectures and conduct seminars on complex analysis for Ukrainian students.
What we have in common weighs more than what divides us
Many Ukrainian scientists and ordinary Ukrainians received support in Germany during the past several months of the war. Travelling on weekends around towns in Germany, my wife and I saw three flags at each town hall: the European Union, German and Ukrainian. I want to thank the German people and the government for the great support that you provide to refugees from Ukraine and our military who is fighting against the Russian invaders.
It was a pleasant surprise for me when I discovered that there are many similar words in the German and Ukrainian languages: Dach, Zucker, Kreide, Schublade, Krawatte. And there are many verbs with a common root and the same meaning, but different endings: drucken – друкувати (druck-uvaty), färben – фарбувати (farb-uvaty), warten – вартувати (vart-uvaty).
It should be noted that in Russian these are completely different words. The reason for this was the migration of Slavic tribes from the territory between the Dnieper and Vistula rivers (present-day eastern Poland and Ukraine) in the 6th-8th centuries. One of these West Slavic tribes was called ”die Ukranen” Thus, Slavic toponyms, languages and other elements were eventually incorporated into today's Germanic culture.
However, the most similar are our values and common aspirations. Together we strive for Peace and hope for new political, economic, scientific and cultural bonds that will enrich us in every sense, and enrich us even more after the war.
Prof. Taras Melnyk