The final part of the article by Galina Myalkovskaya “For the First Time in Kamchatka: Part 3. Afterword” has been published in the weekly newspaper “Dubna: Science, Community, Progress”, issue #41/2019 where she reports 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.
Part 3. Afterword.
The five days passed in a flash. What will the participants take home? Their lecture notes in promotional pads with the School logo, certificates of competency, new mobile phone contacts, photos and… a wealth of information about physics, which still should be thought over, completed, adapted. What conclusions did the Organizers draw? The whole year of preparing the School was crowned with success; the summary was made; the plans were outlined. You can find more details in the following interviews.
The beginning of the article of the JINR weekly newspaper about the Kamchatka School.
The second part of the article of the JINR weekly newspaper about the Kamchatka School.
Dmitry Naumov: “We are ready to help with everything we have…”
— Dmitry, let us keep it for the history – what or who was the incentive for starting the School?
— As a matter of fact, Igor Ivanov was born in Kamchatka. It was he, who proposed to establish the School here. Everyone knows that I am a person who is always in favour of the good and against the bad and I said: Great idea! Igor has been cooperating with our Baikal School for so many years that I considered it my duty to help him organizing the School in Kamchatka.
— What did you do to prepare the School?
— We had been corresponding with local organizations for some time. And last year, we came with lectures, got to know representatives from several institutes, students, members of academic staff and discussed with them our proposals. On the whole, people liked the idea, but firstly some of them treated us with skepticism, looked for our selfish reasons. I think we managed to remove all doubts. We signed the memorandum of understanding. We even drafted our scientific programme here.
— Was it more difficult than at Baikal?
— It turned out that the overall situation in Kamchatka is rather complicated. At the very beginning we thought that, since we have been running our Baikal School for more than 20 years, we already have the fixed pattern to act. The only thing we need, we thought, was to transform it to another scale. But the challenges we faced here were more complex because scientific and educational connections were mostly upset in the region. We did not expect it. That is why we decided to realize a wider programme and not just organize a scientific event. This School is only a tip of the iceberg, so to say, a “promotional part”, to motivate people and involve them into science. The real work will begin the moment we will manage to re-establish the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics and engage those people who are ready to teach and live here. Moreover, we also want to develop science here, these things are interwound. We are ready to do everything we can to meet the requirements of modern society. In general, we need state support in this matter. This region is a real treasure and, if economic management and tourism move forward, the country would surely benefit from it. For instance, if highly skilled physicists, who would come to work here, wish to stay in Kamchatka to live. It is a perplexed task for a long term.
Alina Reznichenko: “Change the system for the better”
— Alina, you are a KamSU student. Do you find the lectures interesting?
— Of course, I do. To start with, I liked the lectures on neutrinos. I think this topic is really interesting. Once, not so long ago, the story of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant caught my attention, since that time I wanted to learn more about nuclear physics. Surely, there is a lot of information on the net, but reported facts are often contradictory, even scientists have opposite viewpoints. And nobody knows why things are as they are. I decided to participate in this School to learn something new, communicate with scientists, gain some experience.
— What drew your attention to Chernobyl? The new film?
— Not really. The film I am going to watch afterwards. The topic impressed me while being discussed at our physics lessons at school.
— Have you got any plans after graduating from the university?
— First of all, to get complementary education as a teacher, a maths teacher. Then, to work at school for two years completing at the same time my master course. I want to work at an administrative department and after that, maybe, in the government, because I really want to change the system of higher education for the better. Even now, being a student, I think that we do not get the knowledge we should… The amount of lessons is being cut, the number of academic staff is being reduced… I spoke to administration representatives and they told me that changes are possible, but what is needed is a project. I have got some ideas, which I am going to take with me there.
— What do the participants think of the School?
— On the whole, they like the School, we are enjoying it indeed. It only seems that some of the lecturers are somehow unprepared to explain the matter plainly, you can see it on their slide reports, hear it in the way they speak. Besides, you are our guests and we have to care about coffee breaks, that is why we are often late for lectures. We try to serve the coffee in turns not to miss them.
“Physics is fascinating, physics is a discovery…”
— Margarita, you are a Deputy Director of Presidential Physics and Mathematics Lyceum in Saint Petersburg. Have you ever taken part in the events organized by JINR? Many of the School attendees participated in schools for teachers at CERN and in Dubna.
— This is my very first school. At the School of this kind – where you can find a lot of scientists, PhD students, graduates, undergraduates and only a few teachers – I am for the first time. I was neither at CERN nor in Dubna. I have never attended lectures on nuclear physics within my professional development courses.
— Why did you decide to take part in this School then?
— When I heard about the School, the most exciting thing for me was the opportunity to gain new knowledge. A teacher is a person who not only teaches, but also learns. Textbooks on physics were published long ago. Nowadays, we can find, however, all the information on the net, but there is always lack of time. To come here for a week and work hard and fruitfully was one of my goals.
— How do you like it by now?
— I like it a lot. I made new acquaintances, shared my experience and got the idea what is going on in other regions. Teachers asked each other a lot of questions about their lives. Our round table discussion lasted till 3 o’clock in the morning. And at 8 am, we had to attend our scientific lectures again. The lectures by the JINR researches are absolutely marvellous. There is no stagnation in science, it is developing and advancing, not only mathematics, but also informatics, and it was a sensational discovery for me. Some people believe you should not start studying physics because it is not interesting and has got no future. Now I do not agree with this statement at all. Physics is fascinating, physics is a discovery, physics is the area of great opportunities for those who wants to reach some heights.
— Tell us now about your lyceum and the principles it is based on.
— Since we are the Physics and Mathematics Lyceum, many physics teachers work there. In our Workgroup of Exact Sciences, there are 10 teachers. You can find among them not only well-known and experienced specialists, but also young ones just graduated from pedagogical universities and faculties of Physics and Mathematics of different institutions. There is a lack of school staff in Saint Petersburg, like everywhere, and particularly, of physics teachers, that is why we invite scientists to teach. We have got 820 students. Five years ago, we initiated a boarding school class and now, the children from all over Russia are eligible to join the tenth grade at our lyceum. Accommodation, food and education are free. We give preferences to teens from remote parts of Russia where children cannot study school subjects in-depth.
— How many physics lessons do you have per week?
— Physics starts from the fifth grade. Firstly, it is a preliminary physics course, one lesson per week, children have only laboratory sessions. As the saying goes, do not study physics at school and your life will be full of miracle and magic. Our students get to know how to take readings, how to do things themselves. From the seventh grade, we have two lessons per week, as in general education schools. And only in the ninth grade we increase the amount of lessons and begin studying physics with mechanics. Enrolment is possible in the fifth, eighth, ninth grade. The competition is great, in particular, for the tenth grade, because teens make their choice consciously.
— Which would be the first thing you do when you are back from Kamchatka?
— I will tell my colleagues that we have both to upgrade our knowledge on nuclear physics at schools and to search for other ways of teaching. Either scientists from universities should be invited or the programme should be re-arranged to let children learn new and exciting things about latest world discoveries. Moreover, we have to explain that there are many research institutes where everyone can do his best involving their intelligence and expertise.
Igor Ivanov: “Our agenda is vast”
— Igor, how did you select the participants?
— This School is, first of all, for undergraduates, graduates, PhD students and young researchers. A year ago, we came to Kamchatka to have a look at physics background here, and realized at once who we would invite. We opened registration for the School, corresponded with the Rector of KamSU, Dean of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, Directors of institutes and asked them to share the information among academic staff. They responded enthusiastically, engaged their students to participate in the School. Furthermore, we thought that it would be great if we invite school teachers. It was a wonderful idea, for the teachers, having come to School, are the considerable part of the audience and a very active one. In my opinion, they were attentive and grateful listeners. There were also some young JINR scientists in our team, so teachers had the possibility to gain additional knowledge enhancing their professional skills.
— Considering all the questions, reactions and emotions of the attendees, can you sum up right now and tell us whether the School was a success?
— Certainly, the School was a success. It was our first-time experience and that is why there were some difficulties in coordination, not everything ran smoothly. Nevertheless, the scientific programme and real communication were at a high level. Even if the reports were complicated, they inflamed vivid discussions being of great interest for lecturers, JINR researchers and local participants. It was unusual for students to see scientists discussing some scientific matters since they have never experienced them communicating at conferences and seminars before.
— What is your vision of a perfect School? What would you like to achieve?
— Actually, we visited Kamchatka a year ago and realized that the situation with physics education was really depressive. As we are outsiders with a wide outlook and experienced in organizing scientific schools, we knew at once that we should act in many directions at the same time. It is impossible to change this status just educating schoolchildren or students or researchers. There are a lot of interwoven aspects and they are interacting and impacting each other. For that reason, our agenda is vast, it cannot be completed in a year or two. And its realization depends not only on us but also on engagement of local researchers, students, local authority, as well as on the government of the Kamchatka region and that of Russian Federation. As a paragon scenario for the next five years, we would like to launch the interplaying chain of scientific education. It means that the university would graduate young researchers and teachers of corresponding specialization. These teachers, mastering their proficiency level through practice, internships and cooperation with JINR, would promote modern science to general audience. They would educate schoolchildren, schoolchildren would get motivated, they would know that it is possible to do science staying here, in Kamchatka, they would go to university. Then, after one generation of students, new staff members would occur at institutes. The institutes would receive grants, perform studies, publish scientific results. With the governmental support this knowledge would spread all over Kamchatka. Children and their parents should know that the science in Kamchatka is being revived. Everyone should know it. And then, everything would work, in a self-supporting way. Our aim is to launch this process. We hope that we would be able to realize it during several years.
At the Closing Ceremony and a little bit later, on parting, many grateful words and thanks were addressed, first of all, to JINR Director Academician V.A. Matveyev and JINR services for comprehensive support of the event. Then, to Rector of KamSU I.N. Khokhlova and a Deputy Rector V.N. Yefimenko who provided the major part of backing at the local level, to Director of ICRRP Yu.V. Marapulets. Also, to the inspirers and moving spirits behind this project I.P. Ivanov and D.V. Naumov. And to the scientific secretaries of the School Alina Vishnyeva and Konstantin Treskov, to the KamSU undergraduates, graduates and PhD students making our stay here comfortable and our work effective. In their turn, the School Organizers from Dubna and participants being guests of the health resort noted that they met here a lot of good-natured, responsive and kind people. Now, we will remember the peninsula not just as a mere object from a geography textbook, we will remember it as inhabited, attractive and hospitable place.
It turned out that Kamchatka tastes salty because of the ocean water and abundance of caviar and fish, a constituent part of every meal. Kamchatka’s colour is iridescent, teeming with flickering spots. It seems as if you are looking at paintings of impressionists, at noon they are bright and cheerful, at sunset the shadows are blue and the scenery becomes gloomy. In the full blaze of the sun Kamchatka is tropic-hot and with sudden gusts of wind it is chilling to the marrow. It is also wide and spacious, snow tops and mirror-like water surface dominate the skyline, wherever you look… So dissimilar to the region we have come from. If you happen to go behind the nearest hill, you will see a new scenery, either Alpine or steppe-like or a Mars-desert-like. Guides say that you can see here summer turning into autumn and last winter at the same time.
It was the boat trip that left behind unforgettable impressions on everybody. Nothing foreshadowed anything extreme. We planned to cross the Avachinsky Bay, cast our anchor, cook fish soup and some crabs. But we had to deal with a storm. We did not manage to land at the Shaman Stone or linger for a while in the Tikhaya Bay having lunch. The sea was stormy, we were tossed and rolled, it seemed that our yachts would ladle water with their boards. Waves flooded the deck, water rained down on us, our hands became numb with the wind and splashes, our clothes soaked through. We were not scared, though. It was adventurous and amusing. A few days ago, sea lions had arrived into the bay and we could see some of them in the waves. The lunch was cooked right at the moorings and a breathtaking sunset marked the end of our expedition.
Galina Myalkovskaya, JINR Weekly Newspaper
Photos by the author