Was born in 1955 in Leningrad.
In 1977 he graduated with honors from the Leningrad Institute of Railway Transport Engineers (LIRTE). Worked in bridge-testing laboratories. In 1980 he started conducting researches in history of engineering. In 1988–2000 — Researcher in the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences and Technology of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Leningrad (Today — IHST RAS). In 1993 he defended his PhD thesis. In 2000 he received a profound inquiry diploma at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in History of the Great Embassy (1697–1698).
Since 2001 has been employed in the Russian Centre of the School of Higher Social Research in Paris. Studied the problems of preservation and restoration of old hydraulic works. Author of more than 12 books, published in 7 languages in 15 countries. Organizer of a number of international conferences in History of Science.