Meeting of Lyceum students with Academician Oganessian, “If you chose your way, pursue the goal”

Education, 26 January 2023

On 25 January, in the assembly hall of the Kadyshevsky Lyceum, Scientific Leader of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions Academician Yuri Oganessian answered questions of students within the framework of the school project “One hundred questions to leaders”.

The world-famous scientist told children what favourite books and school subjects he had as a child, what motivates him to make scientific discoveries, what field of physics will be promising in the near future (astrophysics). He recalled the history of the discovery of the atomic nucleus and suggested what our world would look like without nuclear physics.

During the conversation, it turned out that in his youth Yuri Oganessian was the goalkeeper of the Dubna city football team. His favourite artist is Francisco Goya, and the film director is Jean-Luc Godard.

“I have a principle: I have no right to refuse if young people ask me about something”, Yuri Tsolakovich began to speak. Traditionally for the Lyceum, the first answer given by the discoverer of the chemical elements of the Periodic Table was the reflection on what it means to be a leader.

“A leader is someone who is looked up to and learned from, trusted, followed,” Yuri Oganessian said, giving an example of Academician Georgy Flerov, “Flerov didn’t teach me. I learned myself by looking up to him”.

Is it hard to be a famous scientist? – was one of the following questions that worried students. “I’ll omit the word “famous” and answer what it’s like to be a scientist. It’s very difficult, because it’s a relentless search. If you have seven successful attempts out of a hundred, then you are a genius. Not everyone would agree to live this way: constantly having negative emotions because of negative results,” Yuri Oganessian pointed out.

Meeting of V. G. Kadyshevsky Lyceum students with Academician Oganessian

The scientist outlined his vision of what qualities help to become successful. “You need to be free and courageous. Your freedom is your place in the society in which you live and work, and knowledge gives you courage,” he said.

Speaking about what is missing in a modern school, Academician Oganessian noted that one of the main problems of any school is to keep up with the natural development of a young person. “It’s a lot of work. In 10-11 years, a character, a personality is formed. Separating the wheat from the chaff, good from evil, helping to find and understand universal human values in a huge flow of information going through young heads without losing your way and your heart – these are the most difficult tasks of the school,” the scientist noted.

He commented on such a modern way of passing exams as the Unified State Exam (USE). Noting that the USE can be evaluated differently, the scientist told children that he himself tested his knowledge in various fields with the help of the exam. “It turned out that the results accurately reflect my knowledge and are in line with my awareness,” he said.

To the question “What would you advise students who want to become physicists?” the famous scientist replied, “Don’t stop wanting.” Yuri Oganessian developed the same idea in his answer to the question “Do you regret that you did not become an architect in your youth?”. “If you chose your way, pursue the goal!” he advised young people.

At the end of the meeting, Academician Oganessian signed several books for the chemistry classroom, received a landscape of a student as a gift from the Lyceum, and took a picture with the students who asked questions.