PAC CMP: all projects received support

News, 15 July 2020

On 2 July, the 52nd meeting of the Programme Advisory Committee for Condensed Matter Physics of JINR was held as a video conference. Unlike the previous meetings of two other JINR Programme Advisory Committees, the PAC CMP was held in a fully remote format. Despite this, the programme of the meeting was the most extensive.

Progress reports on the development of the new neutron source in FLNP (V. N. Shvetsov) and on the construction of the SOLCRYS laboratory in the SOLARIS National Synchrotron Radiation Centre (N. Kučerka) opened the event. Seven BLTP employees, two employees from DLNP, two LRB staff members and one LIT specialist reported on the concluding themes and made proposals for opening new themes or projects. We asked PAC CMP Chairman Professor D. L. Nagy to comment on the event.

The programme of the meeting without scientific reports turned out to be very extensive. Many reports on and proposals for new projects were made. Of course, the first presented reports were on the creation of the new neutron source and spectrometers of IBR. How do you find them?

It is only partially true as far as the progress report on the construction of the SOLCRYS laboratory in the SOLARIS National Synchrotron Radiation Centre in Poland, Krakow, prepared by Norbert Kučerka was also a significant contribution to this part of the meeting. All these presentations were prepared very professionally and made a strong positive impression on all the PAC CMP members, including me. In particular, Professor Valery Shvetsov made a very clear and important presentation about the progress in the development of the new JINR neutron source, namely the IBR-3 pulse reactor, which will be created in 2026 – 2036 in FLNP. The same presentation with much more technical and organizational details was made a day later at the meeting of the WSG-5 working subgroup of the Group for the Long-Term JINR Strategic Development Plan. The project is progressing superbly, and we can be sure that the new source will be competitive or, in some respects, even more effective than the ESS in Lund, Sweden.

There were more proposals for new projects from other (except FLNP) laboratories than usual: two projects from FLNP and two projects from LRB. Did PAC members support all the suggested projects?

Yes, they did. And I would like to add at least one more significant project to this category. Namely the project that was presented by G. M. Arzumanyan “Modern Trends and Developments in Raman Microspectroscopy and Photoluminescence for Condensed Matter Studies”, although the speaker is an FLNP specialist. All of them were presented at a high level (and were fully supported by all the supervisors) and subsequently were supported by all the PAC CMP members.

Just like at previous meetings, there was a discussion about the priority of projects among experts. Did PAC members come to the final opinion on this issue?

They finally did. So, we have removed the “first priority” rating as far as all the new projects have sufficient financing for the next period. Admittedly, there were some concerns about whether it would be a good practice or not and how to initiate real competition among young scientists for the development of new projects. PAC CMP recommended that the JINR Directorate should consider the possibility of opening additional projects to develop their own ideas in the fields of science and instrumentation.

Distant format of the event deprived young scientists of the opportunity to present their research at the poster session. What are other advantages and disadvantages of such a work format in your view?

Unfortunately, it is true, but I do not rule out the possibility to hold poster sessions, including discussions with young scientists, using electronic means in the future. Indeed, I can hardly think that the threat of the COVID-19 (and maybe other similar viruses) is over and I suppose (as many people all around the world) that there may be even a stronger wave of the disease incidence in autumn or next spring. That is why I think that for a very long time we (the entire humanity) will have to live using tools for remote communication, the application of which we have just tested at the meetings. These tools turned out to be very effective at both the PAC meeting and the meeting of the WSG-5 working subgroup of the Group for the Long-Term JINR Strategic Development Plan. In a sense, humanity should master brand new forms of social contacts, and although we may worry about this fact, we will just have to live with it.

The experience of a new-format work is obtained, and it is excellent: reliable connection ensured easy communication not only to JINR staff members at their workplaces in the Directorate, FLNP, LIT, LRB, and DLNP but also to PAC members and invited experts from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Mongolia, Russia, Slovakia, and Sweden.

Olga Tarantina, JINR Weekly Newspaper
Photo by Elena Puzynina