kamchatka 1The article “For the First Time in Kamchatka: Part 1. Introduction” by Galina Myalkovskaya has been published in the weekly newspaper “Dubna: Science, Community, Progress”, issue #39/2019. She provides a valuable report on the Kamchatka School on Elementary Particle Physics and Related Topics 2019. By kind permission of the author, we place this article on our website.

From 23 to 27 September, in Paratunka village, Yelizovsky region, the Kamchatka School on Elementary Particle Physics and Related Topics took place for the first time in Kamchatka. The School was initiated by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), the Vitus Bering Kamchatka State University (KamSU) and the Institute of Cosmophysical Research and Radio Wave Propagation FEB RAS. The participants are more than 30 undergraduates, graduates, PhD students, young scientists from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Moscow, Nalchik, Dubna, St Petersburg; physics teachers from Tomsk, Ufa, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, Astana (Kazakhstan), Mirny. JINR researchers delivered the lectures and a laboratory session.

Part 1. Introduction.

Opening the Kamchatka School on Elementary Particle Physics and Related Topics, KamSU Deputy Rector of Science, Innovation and International Cooperation Veronika Nikolayevna Yefimenko congratulated the audience on the birth of a new tradition, wished everyone good luck and introduced the guests of the ceremony.

kamchatka_ss2.jpgAfter that Minister of Education and Youth Politics of the Kamchatka Federal Subject Aleksandra Yuryevna Korotkova remarked in her welcoming speech: “For a long time our region was a restricted area; only those officially allowed could get here. We are happy that today Kamchatka is open for tourists, for scientists, for everyone. You can see how severe the nature is, but at the same time it is really amazing. I hope that you will not only discuss some important topics, share your knowledge, fascinate the School listeners by physics, infect them with affection for it, but also care of your health…”

Rector of KamSU Irina Ivanovna Khokhlova noted: “This event became possible thanks to the two enthusiasts - Igor Ivanov and Dmitry Naumov, who came to our university a year ago, held a wonderful series of lectures for our academic staff, students, schoolchildren of Kamchatka. Afterwards, they told us that they organize scientific schools all over Russia, and got the idea why not to initiate one of them here, in Kamchatka. No sooner said than done. The dream has come true!... Russia starts with Kamchatka, and I would like that science would start with Kamchatka as well”.


b_700_0_16777215_00_images_kamchatka_kamchatka_3.jpegI.N. Khokhlova and V.N. Yefimenko

Now it is time to get more acquainted with new partners of JINR, who sustained enthusiastically the initiative of our Institute and supported it in a comprehensive way. But first of all, let me explain where the scientific “air force” of JINR “landed” this time.

Kamchatka is a peninsula, the eastern boundary of Russia, surrounded by the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific. The extension from the north to the south is 1200 km, the maximal width is 440 km. The region is located in a seismic zone with more than 300 volcanoes, 29 of them are active. The inhabitants say that frequent earthquakes measuring 3-4 on the Richter scale are good for the Earth: it breathes, emits steam. The Kamchatka population is more than 300 thousand people, the majority live in the capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. There are 88 settlements in the Kamchatka region: 3 cities, 56 small towns and 29 villages. Higher education is being provided by KamSu, the State Technical University and several affiliated institutes of other RF regions.

Vitus Bering Kamchatka State University
Rector of KamSU Irina Nikolayevna Khokhlova gives details…

Currently, there are 5 faculties at the Kamchatka State University. The Faculty of Social Economics graduates history teachers, managers, economists, lawyers, public policy experts and offers both face-to-face and distance education. The Faculty of Physics and Mathematics is responsible for specialists in computer science and IT-teachers. Unfortunately, this year we had not enough young people who considered becoming teachers of physics or mathematics. It happened owing to outflow of population. The Faculty of Philology and Intercultural Communication educates teachers of Russian language, Literature and Foreign Languages, linguists and translators. The Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogy provides knowledge to future experts in psychology, logopedics, defectology, in primary education with the focus on Russian language and mathematics, and to social tutors as well.

At our Faculty of Supplementary Education everyone can be retrained and get new professional skills. We cooperate not only with our students, but also with different municipal and federal services. If necessary, they contact us, and we train or retrain their specialists. There is also an Exam Preparation Centre where senior students can get a tutorial guidance studying either for Basic State Examination or for Unified State Exam. Moreover, we help little children to get ready for school. Our teachers work also with secondary school students.

Established as a pedagogical institute, our organization grew into a classical university. That is why the most part of our specialities are in the area of teaching. And the fields of university education are represented by linguistics, computer science, applied informatics, psychology and so on.

259 state supported learner’s positions have been given this year. At the moment, the enrollment in MA and PhD courses, in distance education programme is still going on. At present, there are just a thousand and a half students in our university. After either the 9th or 11th grade one can get vocational education. As we prepare experts in pedagogy and science, all our teachers carry out studies in their field of knowledge. It can be an investigation in mathematical modelling, linguistics, philology or psychology. And the scientific component is just as important for us as an educational one.

There is lack of school teachers in Kamchatka. For this reason, we allow the students of the second, third or fourth year of non-pedagogical courses to complete additionally the teaching programme. When graduating from the university, our fresh specialists have two diplomas. We do it also to support our graduates in the future. Life is unpredictable – while today someone is not going to work at school, tomorrow he might have to. Unfortunately, many graduates leave Kamchatka: they go either to Moscow or abroad.


Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, KamSU
Dean of this Faculty Roman Ivanovich Parovik narrates…

The Faculty of Physics and Mathematics has been functioning since the university foundation, since 1958. It never changed its name. The Faculty can be considered as a basic constituent of the university. Experts in applied mathematics and information science graduate from our Faculty. Regrettably, but for the last 15 years we have not educated any physicists. Earlier we had some pedagogical programmes for future teachers of informatics, mathematics and physics; there was even a sub-faculty of physics. But our fresh graduates could not find a job in those days.

There is an acute staff problem in schools now – lack of teachers of mathematics and physics. In my opinion, this School will engage and motivate young people to study physics. I expect that the focus will be on the career aspects of a physicist. If this School will be a traditional one, we will surely solve the problem of missing teachers. Up to now, the double diploma’s system has saved the situation.

The peculiarity of our region impacts the direction of scientific development: seismology, earthquake prediction. As a rule, we cooperate with several academic institutions. These are the Institute of Cosmophysical Research and Radio Wave Propagation – one of the School organizers; as well as the Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Centre RAS and the Institute of Volcanology. Our students do their internship there. Afterwards, some of them get a job at the same institution, as a rule, in geophysics or mathematical modelling of geophysical processes.

Last year, in September, Igor Ivanov and Dmitry Naumov had come here, had given some lectures, had inspired our young people. In December we made a return visit to Dubna. There were seven of us. Thanks to introductory lectures and on-site visits we learned a lot; we had a look at the reactor, supercomputer and plenty of other interesting things. We signed the JINR cooperation agreement, where the foundation and running of the School were noted, as well as mutual aid and assistance in staff training and teaching matters.

b_700_0_16777215_00_images_kamchatka_kamchatka_5s.jpegI.P. Ivanov, D.V. Naumov, Yu.V. Marapulets, R.I. Parovik

Head of the Institute of Cosmophysical Research and Radio Wave Propagation FEB RAS
Yuri Valentinovich Marapulets explains…

Our Institute has been established on the base of magnetospheric observatories situated across the Far East. Initially, the Institute consisted of the observatories at Cape Schmidt in Chukotka, in Stekolny village, not far from Magadan, and in Kamchatka. At the beginning of the 1960s, within the International Geophysical Year, the establishing of magnetospheric and ionospheric laboratories and observatories all over the world was considered. In particular, all observatories of the Far East were consolidated under supervision of our Institute; later two more observatories joined in – one of them is located near Khabarovsk and another one - on Sakhalin Island.

Main research lines of the Institute are cosmic weather studies, interplay of the Earth and the Sun, atmospheric investigations. Our Institute is functioning within the group of institutes of the National Helio-Geophysical System RAS, cooperating with scientists from Germany, Japan, the US. Collective studies are performed; collaborative papers are published. Three of our observatories – in Magadan, Khabarovsk and Paratunka – belong to INTERMAGNET, the international system of the Earth’s magnetic field monitoring. While speaking about Kamchatka, we should mention one more direction of investigation – the high seismicity of the peninsula. We examine the Sun’s impact on the Kamchatka seismicity, interaction of atmosphere and lithosphere in an active seismic region.

Our lidar station for middle and upper atmosphere monitoring is a unique laser facility made in France. At all the Institute’s observatories we use up-to-date magnetometric equipment from Canada and some devices from Japan as well. In cooperation with the Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia, we investigate the atmosphere using ionospheric stations. In Paratunka, there is a Russian station “Parus” (“Sail”) with a radar, which monitors the state of reflecting atmospheric layers within radiofrequency band. There are also laboratories both of mathematical analysis of physical processes and of system analysis. The line of parallel computing based on graphics cards is being advanced intensively. Some budget calculation systems have been developed by our staff members. High-performance computing is being made for modelling of atmospheric processes, interaction of lithosphere and atmosphere.

Moreover, 20 km away from Paratunka, there is a laser interferometer-deformograph at the station “Karymshina” that detects high-frequency seismic noise. This is a complex of acoustic systems studying the acoustic field behavior in the near-surface ground layer and the bottom atmospheric layer. So far, nobody knows for sure the nature of foreshocks. One of the possible mechanisms is when the acoustic field emerges due to increasing rock deformation and penetrates after that into the atmosphere.

Amid recent achievements, I should mention the switching of the station “Karymshina” to solar energy: the new automatic solar power station has been built. These are technical solutions, but they support scientific research because of the remote location: diesel generator does not always function in an appropriate way.

If we consider the age of our scientists, we might be the youngest institute across the Far East. About 70% are the young researchers up to 40 years old. Approximately 80% of them are already postdocs in Physics and Mathematics or in Technical Sciences. These are mainly locals, graduates from the Vitus Bering Kamchatka University or the Technical University. We teach there, try to find out the most talented youth, draw them into the science from the very beginning of their study at the University.

A short time ago, the situation in higher education was much better. Unfortunately, the change-over to state funding per capita affects both the considerable reduction of scientific and pedagogical staff and the troubled state of local universities. In my opinion, it can cause the collapse of local education. For instance, only 7 or 8 years ago KamSU was listed in Top 100 of the best universities in our country; and, therefore, it was the best one in the Far East. Experts with deep knowledge were graduated from here. A representative example for it is Dean of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of the Vitus Bering Kamchatka University R.I. Parovik, the graduate of this University, he was early awarded his PhD degree. And this case was not unique.


At first sight, the absence both of regional scientific centres of nuclear physics and of scientific schools on physics with a great tradition contradicts the subject matter of the School. However, the reason for launching this educational project is obvious:

“This School is a unique event for Kamchatka, - noted Co-Chair of the School Organizing Committee Igor Ivanov (CFTP IST, DLNP) at the opening ceremony. – On the one hand, elementary particle physics is one of the most relevant topics in modern physics, exactly this area is being currently advanced at JINR. On the other hand, it was not studied in Kamchatka per se up to now. Though it does not mean, that there is no interest in elementary particle physics. There is some, and it is concerned not only with pure scientific curiosity, but also with realistic prospects of cooperation of the Kamchatka region with JINR and other scientific centres. The point here is that elementary particle physics, apart from other things, can be considered as a way of world investigation. By means of elementary particles and related technologies, we can examine volcanoes, seismic phenomena and other processes occurring here. We hope that this School will stimulate our long-term cooperation. And JINR will act here in no way as a “vacuum cleaner” that picks up talented youth all over the country. We would like to initiate scientific research here, in Kamchatka, in close mutual partnership. JINR is not only a scientific organization, but also an educational one. Moreover, one of the missions of the Institute is a rebirth of physics across Russia. We hope that the rebirth of physics education in Kamchatka will start with our School”.

No doubt, the narration about a new place, institutions and colleagues would not be complete without mentioning the health resort “Zhemchuzhina Kamchatki” (“Pearl of Kamchatka”), where the School took place. It is located in Paratunka village with its famous thermal springs, which enable all-the-year-round swimming. There is a large park, overgrown with crooked birches, tall grasses so typical of Kamchatka. Fresh air, peace and quiet, humid breathing of autumn. From the balcony next to the lecture hall, everyone can enjoy the view of the hills near Vilyuchinsk and the Paratunka-river. Open air pools with hot water, white houses amid yellowed trees, friendly resort staff. On the whole, there is everything to combine learning with either treatment, or rejuvenation, or new impressions – you can choose any combination you please.

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Galina Myalkovskaya, JINR weekly newspaper
Images by the author
To be continued…