Member since 2017
Member since June 2017
“There aren’t many like him, believe me. A scientist with an adventurer’s heart and soul – with a tendency towards delusional goals and a willfully loose grip on reality. I take my hat off to the dedication that Professor Nikolajew puts into his work. ”
– Johan Malus, president of the Adventure Club of Europe
Prof. Andrej Nikolajew was born in 1953 in Kuibyschew, near Nowosibirsk, UdSSR. Even in his early childhood years, his passion for technical inventions was palpable – and sometimes the bane of his family and his environment.
“Oh, my mother did not have it easy with me at all, no, no”, Prof. Nikolajew recalls in an interview with KIT’s university newspaper. “When I was nine I tried to recreate a hairdryer, one I had seen on a school daytrip to Nowosibirsk. Our street had recently gotten access to electricity and I couldn’t keep my fingers away from it. Then… let’s just say it did not work as I thought it would. My neighbors sat in darkness for weeks and my mother had to wear a wig for half a year.”
At 16, Andrej Nikolajew left school without graduating and began an apprenticeship as a landscape gardener which he also left shortly afterwards.
As a young adult he moved to Nowosibirsk and stayed afloat with occasional work as painter, waiter, and variety dancer. To save money, he constructed his technical machines himself. Because of this, he was the first one of his friends to own a television – a television he made himself from scrap parts from the local electronics store.
“He never let his head hang. Despite the difficult times, he has always been an ineffable optimist. When life gave him lemons, he built a battery from them. ”
– Evgeni Bolshakov, school friend
At the age of 20, his life took a decisive turn: Nikolajew was admitted to the State Technical University of Novosibirsk on a scholarship in 1974, despite the absence of a school certificate. This was a unique event for the time. He chose to sit an engineering degree, which he finished in 1979 with distinction. Afterwards, he remained loyal to the university, doing his doctorate in aero- and fluid dynamics and developing his passion for the history of aviation, which would make him a member of the Adventure Club of Europe decades later.
From the 80s onwards, he worked as a technical assistant and began studying philosophy before finally being appointed Professor of Science History in 1988.
At the end of the 90s, Prof. Nikolajew left his home suddenly one night. He has said very little about the reason for his sudden emigration ever since. The connection between his emigration and the collapse of the west wing of the main building of the University of Novosibirsk, where Prof. Nikolajew was operating his laboratories, has never been proven.
Prof. Andrej Nikolajew then moved to Baden-Württemberg, where he received a professorship for philosophy and history of science at the University of Offenburg.
Nikolajew’s First Flight Theory
“The Wright brothers? More like the Wrong brothers!”
– Prof. Nikolajew in the documentary, “The First Flight Theory”
Nikolajew caught the attention of the Adventure Club of Europe with his fantastical claims about the true origins of manned human aviation. According to his years of research, contrary to popular belief, it was not in fact the Wright brothers who discovered the secret to human aviation, but the Eulenstein brothers – as early as 1825, 75 years before the Wrights!
Former members of the ACE, the Eulensteins had long since been forgotten, which made it all the more important for us to support Prof. Nikolajew’s research.
Despite constant mockery from his colleagues, and with great passion, he worked from then on to prove that it was really the Eulensteins to first take to the skies.
“When he is deep in his research, he forgets everything: his friends, his family, his table manners… He doesn’t mean anything by it, he’s just like that. And I admire him for it. An ingenious scientist, for whom it is easier to give a talk about the Bernoulli Effect off the cuff than it is to put jam on his toast in the morning. Sorry, Professor!”
– Jessica Reilberger, Prof. Nikolajew’s student assistant
A filmmaker documented Professor Nikolajew’s tireless attempts to fly his replicas of the Eulenstein aircrafts. Little did he know then that one promising day in the Spring of 2017 he would enter the history of aviation. After years of work, Prof. Nikolayev succeeded in replicating the Volatus 2, which was designed by the Eulensteins at the beginning of the 1820s. He was able to fly it successfully and, above all, land safely.
That would be the final proof that the brothers Eulenstein were indeed the first ones to have flown.
But this was not enough for the groundbreaking professor: during his research, Nikolajew discovered, among other things, the old blueprints of the once lost Voletarium, the former institute of the Eulensteins. He handed them over to the Adventure Club of Europe, who then extensively renovated the Voletarium.
On the day of the reopening of the Voletarium, June 2, 2017, Prof. Nikolajew finally earned his ACE membership.
In the future, Prof. Nikolajew will devote his new professorship at KIT in Karlsruhe to the pursuit of another long-cherished dream – the reconstruction of a submarine dating back to the 17th century. He aims to prove that mankind also took to deep-sea exploration far earlier than anyone had expected.
It is an honor for us to have Prof. Nikolajew in our ranks.
To his next adventure, where ever it may take him.