“The practice gave me brilliant experience!”

Education, 02 July 2018

On 22 June 2018, the first stage of the International Student Practice held by the JINR University Centre was concluded. This year, 17 shortlisted students from universities of the Republic of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe were the participants of the practice. A three-week programme of the practice included introductory lectures and excursions to the laboratories of the Joint Institute as well as work on the chosen educational and research projects under the direction of supervisors of the laboratories. As usual, a cultural part of the programme was also organized: the guests from the RSA heard a lecture on the history of Russia, visited Dmitrov and Moscow. On the day of defense of the projects, some participants and their supervisors shared the impressions.

The programme of students’ presentation was opened by Lisema Lehlohonlo (the Wits University, RSA) who was taught at the practice by Dmitry Belozerov (the UC Scientific and Engineering group) and his colleagues: It is the second year we work with participants of the International Student Practice in our laboratory course. It is a course on electronics at which students learn to work with various devices like generators, oscilloscopes, testers, and, most importantly, they learn to solder. They assemble various schemes, make necessary measurements and calculations. In the end, it all results in a kind of physical experiment: we have two cosmic rays detectors with which we work. Students assemble a preamplifier to amplify signals. In the experiment, students measure the transit angle of cosmic rays particles, energy. Lisema Lehlohonlo obtained a good experience. He acquired understanding of how currents flow in electrical circuits, what the basic elements are. He learned how to use the laboratory equipment, to study signals in different parts of the circuit.

– Will this knowledge be useful for his specialization?

I think it will. He chose this project for a reason. Mikhail Nozdrin, Acting Head of our group, proposed him to apply for the next year Summer Student Programme. I hope the range of topics of our laboratory research will have been extended until this time. Nowadays, the course is devided into two parts: the basic course on electronics, acquaintance with components, and the advanced course in which particular equipment is considered. Moreover, in the nearest future, we are planning to finish development of study guides. Of course, as we go through the practice, we introduce changes, improve labworks.

Acting Head of the UC Scientific and Engineering Group Mikhail Nozdrin: All universities give the basics of electronics to a greater or lesser extent, but if it is not a subject-oriented education, then it is quite superficial. Students usually have little of practical training and thus do not understand for what they need it. Our practice is aimed at solving a particular task of assembling a preamplifier and a possibility to observe real cosmic particles. Thus, a student understands why various types of schemes are needed and is able to solve basic tasks in electronics. Whatever field of physics student would like to be engaged in, any experimental physicist needs to assemble some electronic components, that is why such a practice is definitely useful for him.

Mashaka Molepo (the University of Venda, RSA): I am keen on material science that is why I have chosen the project on study of crystalline materials by neutron diffraction method. There is an X-ray diffractometer in the RSA, but there is no a neutron one. The practice gave me brilliant experience that will provide me an opportunity to understand what to do in the future. I liked everything in the practice, and material science has become even more interesting for me. Of course, I will continue my work in the RSA. I am a first-year post-graduate student and I want to use all acquired knowledge for my dissertation. It was a pleasure to work with FLNP staff members Vitaly Kuznetsov, Ivan Bobrikov and Sergey Sumnikov, it was interesting to have talks with their colleagues. Probably, I will come here again.

Defended theses in Dubna, will present them in Cape Town. Students from the RSA got certificates confirming passing of the JINR practice, Video by the JINR Scientific Information Department

Vitaly Keznetsov (FLNP): It was my first experience of teaching students, and it occurred to be more difficult than I expected. Students radiographed samples at the X-ray diffractometer. At first, I wanted to give them more samples, but it takes fifteen hours to radiograph each of them, so all the practice would be spent on measurements. That is why they practiced on several samples and then analyzed my data that had not been analyzed yet. The results were quite expected.

Adolf Motetshawane (Botswana International University of Science and TechnologyiThemba LABS): When I came here for the practice, I was interested only in gamma-ray spectroscopy. After I had talks with M.V. Frontasyeva and her colleagues, I got interested in other fields of physics as well, especially in neutron activation analysis. I understood that I would be able to do many things in JINR, and discussed with my supervisors the possibility of returning here for doing the candidate’s thesis in the sector of M.V. Frontasyeva. I almost have my master’s thesis done and I will defend it in two months. I hope to do my candidate’s thesis on neutron activation analysis here.

I really liked Russia and the Russians, they are not like mass media presents them. All of them are very friendly, you can safely walk around the city, go shopping. Everything was great!

Refilwe Setso (Botswana International University of Science and Technology): I learned many interesting things during this practice. For example, I learned about reactors our country does not have. My supervisor in VBLHEP Marcin Bielewicz told me many fascinating things, introduced me with new ideas that I can use in the future in my motherland. In our project, we designed a reactor of a new generation that operates jointly with an accelerator. Thanks to experiments and calculations, we know how it will be designed and how it will operate.

I hope to come here again later for preparing my candidate’s thesis as far as the accelerator of the NICA project still does not operate and we used the data obtained at the Nuclotron. I hope to work with the NICA data in the future.

– Aren’t you afraid of our weather?

– Yes, the weather is a little bit scary, but science is more important than weather.

Yuri Severyukhin (LRB): It is the second year my colleagues and I take part in the practice. This year, three students worked with us. They were engaged in the project on study of open field behaviour and habituation in animals irradiated. This field of research is unusual for both our Institute and them. We study behavior of animals and carry out computer analysis. The students learned to work with animals, carried out particular experiments. We told them a lot about radiation physiology, animal psychology. In spite of the fact that all participants were physicists, they were interested in it; they addressed numerous questions to us. I was particularly pleased that they tried to understand the smallest details, starting with marking of animals and ending with issues of statistics. We discussed not only working affairs, they shared their impressions of excursions; they really liked the Russians and were impressed by the Russian cuisine.

Olga Tarantina, JINR Weekly Newspaper,
Photos by Elena Puzynina, JINR Scientific Information Department