The next part of the article by Galina Myalkovskaya “For the First Time in Kamchatka: Part 2. Leap into Science”, where she reports on the Kamchatka School on Elementary Particle Physics and Related Topics 2019, has been published in the weekly newspaper “Dubna: Science, Community, Progress”, issue #40/2019. By kind permission of the author, we place this article on our website.
Part 2. Leap into Science.
Spring in Kamchatka comes rapidly, say the guides. For the weather conditions are unpredictable, vegetation hurries to burst out as soon as it gets warmer. A couple of days – and everything is green. The School on Elementary Particle Physics and Related Topics passed with the same rapidity – five days of intense knowledge input: lectures and discussions, a laboratory session, sightseeing trips, experience sharing.
The beginning of the article about the Kamchatka School in the JINR weekly newspaper you can find here.
According to the organizers, this School is neither a pure scientific event nor a pure communicational one. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. The content of the lectures was intended for a wide range of listeners: undergraduates, graduates, postgraduates, young researchers not only in physics, but also in allied sciences: for applied mathematicians, programmers, engineers, and physics teachers as well. The lectures were developed and given by the JINR researches, who took part in many large-scale experiments at leading scientific centres all over the world, drew up scientific programmes, held some series of lectures at institutions of higher education in our country and abroad. Each lecture contained some information on a historical background, presented plenty of application examples of scientific knowledge and illustrations of experimental facilities and technologies.
The educational part of the School got underway with the introductory lecture by I. Ivanov “World of Elementary Particles”. The History of microworld investigation was first in focus: radiation discovery, long-lasting attempts of nucleus definition. The overview of facilities for nuclear research: from a microscope to the largest accelerator complexes. The essentials of the Standard Model were explained, as well as the processes which can be described by it precisely enough, and the cases where new physics is required.
Dmitry Naumov (DLNP) gave lectures on neutrino physics. He talked about predictions and hypotheses that had preceded neutrino discovery and the definition of its properties and types. The means of particle detection, unusual experimental facilities throughout the world were presented. The “Baikal-GVD” project being performed in the collaboration with JINR was also introduced.
Stepan Shimansky (VBLHEP) held the lecture “Introduction into Nuclear Physics” and explained the ways physicists study the matter, discover particles and determine their interactions. He talked about the earliest reactors, the Nuclear project, the discovery of antisigma-minus hyperon at JINR. The second part was dedicated to relativistic nuclear physics, cumulative processes, types of accelerators, as well to the NICA mega-science project, quark-gluon plasma and some physical phenomena planned for research in Dubna.
Due to the lecture “Experiment in Particle Physics” by Igor Boiko (DLNP), the School listeners learned a lot about the current classification of elementary particles, about the methods and devices for their detection: from the Wilson cloud chamber to hadronic calorimeter, from a gas counter to large-scale muon systems, as well as about cutting-edge experiments at LHC, about great colliders in the past and in the present, about scientific projects on construction of some new important facilities.
Valery Shvetsov (FLNP) gave lectures “Neutron Physics: Fundamental Research and Applications”. He described neutrons, their behaviour in different energy ranges, their properties and behaviour in the gravitational field, as well as the basic facility - the IBR-2 pulsed reactor, capabilities of the reactor equipment for investigation of structure and physical properties of objects, including modern materials.
The lecture by Andrey Sheshukov (DLNP) “Elementary Particle Applications” was devoted to the muon radiography: origins of the method and its application for investigation of Asama volcano in Japan, ancient catacombs of Naples, glaciers in the Alps, for muon archeology in the fortress Naryn-Kala (Derbent).
Two lectures were dedicated to Dubna and JINR. Deputy Director of DLNP Dmitry Naumov described the locality and explained the circumstances of the JINR foundation. He reported on scientific projects and international cooperation. Afterwards, technical director of the “InterGrafica” company Nikita Sidorov introduced the multimedia review of the basic facilities, supercomputer, leading projects of the Institute.
A lot of questions were asked by the School participants, which indicated great interest and engagement. It was extremely hard for the lecturers to keep to the timetable. Several of the teachers said, that some presentations were ready-to-use lessons on nuclear physics – just download and integrate into the lessons. Moreover, they got here firsthand information about up-to-date topics of contemporary science, and know, which of them can be explained with certainty right now and which still need to be proved or verified.
Nadezhda Tukova, a teacher, Physics and Mathematics Lyceum #38, Nizhny Novgorod: “It is obvious that due to the schools of this kind we bring into the classroom a fresh piece of science. And this is of great importance for all of us. Undoubtedly, the high level of teaching here makes the perceiving of subject matter rather hard. Nevertheless, it is a great thing by itself: there is some food for thought and impulses for personal development. It forces everyone to move forward… We learn the issues missed in textbooks. I am happy to be here, and I am splitting between my wish to have a closer look at Kamchatka, for it is a really amazing region, and to listen to the things being discussed at the School, as well as the ways they are discussed. Even to witness a dispute of scientists is of value for us.”
Pavel Aleksandrov, a teacher of Lyceum #239, St Petersburg: “It is obvious that we have improved our professional skills and broadened our horizons. We met people working at the cutting edge of science. It is a great experience to communicate with them. However, it does not mean automatically that I will be able to teach the subject to my students on the same high level. Nonetheless, it makes me feel more confident as a teacher of this science… There are a lot of reasons to be surprised. For example, it was new to me that there is a muon technique for scanning of different objects - in particular, volcanoes and glaciers. Amazingly, it is the nature, that sends us these muons. You have only to put detectors into the right place, receive a signal and decipher it. Actually, I have graduated from a technical university, the Faculty of Nuclear Physics. That is why the most topics were congenial to me. Especially, neutron physics and the lecture of Valery Shvetsov on cold neutrons.”
For the researchers who used to work in the atmosphere of scientific events and projects, the School lectures provided knowledge of advanced studies and technologies in nuclear physics. Ivan Stasiy, chief engineer of the Institute of Cosmophysical Research and Radio Wave Propagation FEB RAS (ICRRP): “The lectures were easy to understand and extremely interesting, except the first one: it was the short compilation of the course of physics I had had at the university, and I learned nothing new from it…” The question about the necessity of lectures in the Internet era Ivan answered like this: ”Of course, nowadays everyone can find any information on the Net, but you should first be interested in something. And to know what you are interested in, you should have a global overview of different matters. Only then you will go the right way and develop yourself.”
The Organizers’ attention was understandably focused on how the KamSu graduates and postgraduates, the specialists in applied mathematics and informatics, perceive the lecture content – after all, physics seems to have no relation to their future job.
Glafira Skovpen, a third-year student: “Not quite right. Every physical model needs calculations – the very thing we do. Unfortunately, we do not have physics on the curriculum, and it is a fascinating science. The number of lessons was curtailed, the subjects left are mainly within our speciality – mathematics and computer programming. To study physics, I am ready to participate in the schools like this one – to turn away for a while from my studies, leave the city… There was some material in the lectures I already know, I have read about it. However, the information about the experiments being conducted at JINR was absolutely new to me. The lecture on muon applications was very interesting.”
Yevgeny Kazakov, a second-year PhD student: “I am a mathematician, and it is difficult for me to follow the material. I quite do not understand some things… I like the School format, it is rather interesting, but the selection of topics should be changed. Though I have already noticed some topics for my further reading to catch what is being talked about.
Alina Soldatova, a second-year student: “ I finished my classes in physics and mathematics three years ago. I see that a wealth of new facts about neutrino emerged since then. Just three years – and the science is far ahead. I listened to the lectures and wanted to know where I was and why I missed all this. The School impressed me a lot. The more lectures I attended, the more interested I got.”
The School participants introduced in turn their short presentations. Some of them were invited to JINR to discuss further their research fields or continue their investigations. The reports of the ICRRP staff members were on studies of high-frequency geoacoustic emission in Kamchatka (Aleksandra Solodchuk) and on deep learning applications for geophysical structure identification (Vladimir Mochalov). Dmitry Tvyerdy from the Kabardino-Balkarian Scientific Centre of RAS, Nalchik, made a mathematical report on the Cauchy problem for Riccati equation. Anastasiya Kalitkina, a young JINR scientist, talked about the application of the GNA software package for modelling of neutrino experiments. The report by Nadezhda Tukova was devoted to the importance of the school research project to the children’s individual development. Guliya Sharipova, a teacher of the Educational Urban Planning Complex “Stolitsa” emphasized in her speech that up-to-date scientific knowledge should be widely used in physics lessons at schools.
Nikolay Anfimov and Aleksandr Selyunin (DLNP) held a laboratory session on dosimetry and gamma spectrometry to introduce to the participants the equipment being used in nuclear physics. There were demonstrations of radiation detection methods with a photomultiplier and a scintillation counter. Spectrum measurements from radioactive materials available in the shops (potash fertilizer containing radioactive Potassium-40 and tungsten welding rods WT-20 containing natural thorium alloy) were performed by means of two test stands designed and produced at JINR. They were based on scintillation counters with a Nal crystal, a photomultiplier and an A/D converter with time sampling. Within the laboratory session the radiation dose that everyone gets from the natural background was examined. These results correlated perfectly with the readings taken from a household dosimeter RadiaScan 701A.
The scientific programme was completed with the report by Boris Shevtsov (ICRRP) “Wave Turbulence Scaling as a basis for Contemporary Views of the Dynamics of the Universe” overviewing the studies being carried out at ICRRP, their relevance and prospects.
The entertaining programme was continued with a sightseeing trip to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The city lies on the hills and flows down with its streets and buildings towards Avachinsky Bay, the second largest in the world, to the Pacific. The capital of Kamchatka is as extraordinary and astonishing as the region itself. There is a freshwater lake exactly in the middle of the city. The districts are named according to the distance from the centre – the 7th kilometer, the 10th… The roads are arranged in a curious way: they go round the hills and twist themselves somehow. Interestingly, they were built just to have enough place for two dog sleds to pass by. The nearest volcanoes: Kozelsky, Avachinsky and Koryaksky are called here “home” volcanoes. Wherever you look, you can see either some far away craters or lenticular, UFO-shaped clouds. A very special pleasure was the possibility to “touch” the Pacific. Nobody knew that just some days later we would find ourselves almost plunged into its salt water…
(To be continued…)
Galina Myalkovskaya, JINR Weekly Newspaper
Photos by the author