10th Collaboration Celebration Forum goes on in South Africa

News, 01 December 2016

Two fruitful full days of RSA-JINR Collaboration review and assessment culminated in a Celebration Reception during which the Deputy Director General of Department of Science and Technology (DST) Dr. Thomas Auf der Heyde made a final speech on the successful results reached by great mutual input. Shortly after the speech the award ceremony was held where Dr. Auf der Heyde expressed his special gratitude to Dr. Dmitry Kamanin, the Head of JINR International Cooperation Department recognising his outstanding personal contribution to South African science through his vigorous activities at JINR.

On 30 November, the JINR delegation headed by JINR Director, RAS Academician Victor Matveev paid a visit to Chief Executive Officer of the leading SA Nuclear Energy Corporation NECSA Mr. Phumzile Tshelane. The delegation included Dr. D. Kamanin (Head of JINR International Cooperation Department), Dr. V. Shvetsov (Director of the JINR Frank Laboratory of Neutron Physics), Dr. O. Culicov (Deputy Director of the Frank Laboratory of Neutron Physics) and International Communications Officer A. Suschevich. After the introduction of the delegation participants the cooperation results and future plans were discussed. Victor Matveev thanked Phumzile Tshelane for the trust as the cooperation has been developing quite rapidly during these years and Dmitry Kamanin spoke about ongoing activities and expressed his sincere hope for future enhancement of such productive collaboration. Director of the Laboratory of Neutron Physics Dr. Valery Shvetsov and FLNR Deputy Director Dr. Otilia Culicov assessed the applied research results and touched upon the plans for the future as the most intensive cooperation with NECSA is implemented through the JINR Laboratory of Neutron Physics.

Phumzile Tshelane made special mention of the fact that JINR is providing significant positive input into the ecosystem of South Africa by helping provide the best intellectual resources for environmental works.

JINR delegation also visited University of South Africa (UNISA), the largest and the fastest developing open distance learning institution in Africa, which admits 300 000 students from 130 countries around the, where they were greeted by Prof. Leslie Lekala. The delegation comprised R. Lednický (JINR Vice-Director), Dr. M. Hnatic (Deputy Director of the Bogoliubov Laboratory of Theoretical Physics), Prof. A. Karpov (Scientific secretary of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions), S. Pakuliak (Director of the JINR University Centre), Yu. Potrebenikov, Prof. O. Rogachevsky, E. Donets, S. Movchan (Veksler and Baldin Laboratory of High Energy Physics), Dr. O. Samoilov (Dzhelepov Laboratory of Nuclear Problems), Dr. N. Balashov (Laboratory of Information Technologies), Prof. Yu. Shukrinov (Bogoliubov Laboratory of Theoretical Physics), Prof. O. Belov (Laboratory of Radiation Biology) and VBLHEP staff members and specialists in the sphere of innovative technologies Dr. N. Sidorov and Dr. K. Klygina.

During the visit, a detailed discussion regarding the cooperation fruitfulness and the ways to increase it took place, special mention was made of the high efficiency of JINR educational projects. Moreover, from the JINR side all the scientific laboratories, the University Centre and the Virtual Laboratory of Nuclear Fission (where the work carried out under the supervision of Yu. Panebratsev) were presented in the most decent way. Furthermore, the JINR delegation had a tour around the main modern facilities like nanotechnology lab with the state-of-the-art equipment, met the young specialists who delivered short presentations on all the research and education directions of the university.

It is noteworthy that at the end of the meeting the South African colleagues expressed their noticeably increased interest in strengthening the cooperation, as the educational issue is one of the mostly important ones in the region nowadays.

Part of the JINR delegation headed to the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in order to discuss various joint projects in the sphere of science and education.

Comments by M. Frontasyeva (Head of the Sector of Neutron Activation Analysis and Applied Research (SNAAAR) in the Frank Laboratory of Neutron Physics):

The colleague who shared my interest was a former participant of RSA-JINR Schools, now a UNISA Professor, Leslie Lekala. My appeal for the participation of UNICEF students in the UN programme on the effects of air pollution on vegetation in Europe and now Caucasus and Asia as well (and possibly Africa in the future) was headed! After the lecture dedicated to this topic and our work with the Stellenbosch University in this regard, Ntobizikhona Beola Ndlovu (who under my co-supervision defended her PhD thesis on the biomonitoring of air pollution in the Western Cape province this year) and I had a meeting with two enthusiasts ready to get acquainted with this programme and probably take part in it in order to use the results in their master’s theses. With Prof. Lekala we discussed the possibility of organising my own special course “Nuclear-physical analysis methods in biosciences” in the 2nd half of 2017 for those UNISA students who are interested in ecological research.

The fact that ecological research in RSA is supported by JCC (Joint Coordinating Committee) was eloquently voiced at the final session of the Committee on 1 December in Pretoria. I see it as my job to broaden the scope of such projects: from the study of waste generated by thermal power plants (Prof. Leslie Petrik, the University of the Western Cape) and assessing the pollution of water areas in large ports of the RSA South Coast (Jacques Bezuidenhout, the Stellenbosch University) to expanding the programme on the study of air pollution in RSA to cover its whole territory. Such an ambitious task should definitely earn the support of RSA scientific and administrative circles.

In doctrines of ecological safety of most countries studying air pollution is a matter of utmost importance.

On implementation of the NICA project at the RSA-JINR Forum:

A large delegation from VBLHEP JINR headed by Deputy Director Yu. Potrebenikov was sent to the Forum “RSA-JINR: 10 years together”. The delegation included the following specialists involved in the implementation of the JINR flagship project – NICA: heads of VBLHEP sectors E. Donets, S. Movchan, O. Rogachevsky as well as staff members of the department headed by Yu. Panebratsev – N. Sidorov and K. Klygina, who together with the representatives of the JINR International Cooperation Department provided publicity for the delegation of the Institute in general.

At the forum events the delegation gave account of the progress in the NICA project realization and touched upon the status of its separate technological elements and systems. During the discussions the parties confirmed their mutual interest in further cooperation in the field of theoretical justification for possible experiments at the NICA complex, in creating and applying powerful heavy-ion sources. The common grounds for possible cooperation were outlined, such as building superconducting linear accelerators and elements of particle detectors, creating and applying distributed computer systems and complexes for processing and analysis of experimental data. Strong interest was expressed regarding the initiative of the Deputy Director General of Department of Science and Technology in RSA Thomas Auf der Heyde, which concerned sending RSA specialists, supported by RSA grants during the period of their work, to JINR. This will also generate new opportunities for carrying out joint works within the framework of the NICA project. The decision to appoint a candidate for the post of the RSA coordinator of the joint works on the NICA project (made upon an initiative of Faical Azaiez (Director of the RSA National cyclotron laboratory iThemba LABS) and the JINR delegation leaders) must also play an essential part in the organisation of joint works on the NICA project.