Early career of V. A. Ambartsumian during the 1920s and 1930s; childhood in Tbilisi; early education, and the development of his interest in mathematics and astronomy; move to Leningrad at age fifteen; education at the Herzen Pedagogical Institute and Leningrad State University; graduate work at Pulkovo Observatory under A. A. Belopolskii; his term as scientific secretary at Pulkovo. Discussion of first scientific works, conducted jointly with N. A. Kozyrev and D. D. Ivanenko; how he came to study the “inverse problem;” work in the Mirovedenie Society in Leningrad; work with G. A. Sham on planetary nebulae; the organization of Soviet astronomy in the 1930s. Students V. A. Dombrovskii, M. A. Vashakidze, B. E. Markaryan, and V. V. Sobolev; the problems facing Soviet astronomy today resulting from disruptive years of World War II. Discussion of the Commission for the Study of the Sun and the founding of the Byurakan Observatory. Other astronomers and scientists mentioned include: Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, D. I. Eropkin, A. A. Ivanov, S. A. Khristyanovich, V. N. Kondratev, N. A. Morozov, N. G. Ponomarev, F. F. Rents, S. L. Sobolev, D. O. Svyatskii, V. T. Ter-Oganezov, and G. A. Tikhov.