Project by Kuzbass schoolchildren under guidance of JINR scientist recognised the best

News, 10 May 2023

An ecological project by schoolchildren from the Kemerovo Region under the guidance of Doctor of Chemical Sciences Inga Zinicovscaia from the Laboratory of Neutron Physics JINR and mentors of the regional centre “Sirius. Kuzbass” became the best at the III Interregional Scientific and Practical Conference “Designing the future”. Together with the JINR scientist, schoolchildren studied 28 points in 6 cities of Kuzbass with various anthropogenic load checking soil and mosses for 5 radionuclides.

Winners of III Interregional Scientific and Practical Conference “Designing the future”

By joining the project “Sirius. Summer: start you project” of the Sirius Educational Centre, seven 9-11 grade school students from Berezovsky, Kemerovo, Mezhdurechensk, Novokuznetsk, Polysaevo, and Yurga collected samples of soils in their cities. The students were tasked to measure the content of natural radionuclides and anthropogenic caesium-137 in soil samples. Sample collection sites were selected based on the principle of proximity to pollution sources. According to the results of measurements, no excess of natural and anthropogenic radioactivity was detected in soil samples from Kemerovo and Novokuznetsk. Scientists of the Laboratory continue to study the samples selected by the participants at other cities.

In addition, the schoolchildren placed moss bags in their cities. The moss was collected in ecologically clean areas of the Tver Region and specially prepared by FLNP employees. After a month in the Kemerovo Region, the moss bags were sent to JINR. The employees of the FLNP Sector of Neutron Activation Analysis and Applied Research are currently measuring the content of heavy metals using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy.

“For our group participation in this project of the Sirius Centre was the first experience of working with schoolchildren, and it was immediately a success. Together with them we conducted an ecological survey in yet another region, where no such studies had been ever carried out,” Head of the FLNP Sector Inga Zinicovscaia said. “For school students it would be an excellent career guidance activity. They haven’t just listened to the lectures on neutron and ecological studies but also took part in a big experimental work.” The scientist also expressed hope that such a project would be an example and an incentive for school students from other regions, and more children would be willing to join real scientific works.

Inga Zinicovscaia

As a result, the joint project of the schoolchildren from the Kemerovo Region and JINR “Study of radiation background in soil and the content of heavy metals in the air of Kuzbass cities” became the best in the section “Sirius. Summer: start your project” at the III Interregional Scientific and Practical Conference “Designing the future” that was held at the regional centre “Sirius. Kuzbass”. The conference was held in two sections corresponding to the federal projects “Sirius. Summer: start your project” and “Lessons of the present”. The programme “Sirius. Summer: start your project” aims to engage schoolchildren in solving project tasks related to the topical issues of science, technologies, and business. Project works are carried out under the guidance of a mentor who helps to understand the task and accompanies the student throughout the project.

All participating in the project school students will become co–authors of two scientific articles based on the results of the study. The articles are expected to be published this autumn.