APM'2003 is the thirty first in a series of annual summer schools held by Russian Academy of Sciences. The Summer school Advanced Problems in Mechanics 2003 is organized by the Institute for Problems in Mechanical Engineering of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IPME RAS) under the patronage of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and with information support of Gesellschaft fuer Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik (GAMM). The main purpose of the meeting is to gather specialists from different branches of mechanics to provide a platform for cross-fertilisation of ideas.
We acknowledge with gratitude partial financial support from ONRIFO and from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research.
The first Summer School was organized by Ya.G. Panovko and his colleagues in 1971. In the early years the main focus of the School was on nonlinear oscillations of mechanical systems with a finite number of degrees of freedom. The School specialized in this way because at that time in Russia (USSR) there were held regular National Meetings on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, and also there were many conferences on mechanics with a more particular specialization. After 1985 many conferences and schools on mechanics in Russia were terminated due to financial problems. In 1994 the Institute for Problems in Mechanical Engineering of the Russian Academy of Sciences restarted the Summer School. The traditional name of "Summer School" has been kept, but the topics covered by the School have been much widened, and the School has been transformed into an international conference. The topics of the conference cover now all fields of mechanics and associated into interdisciplinary problems.