“Advances and challenges in physics within JINR and South Africa”

News, 14 November 2018

That was the name of the 5th symposium RSA-JINR that was held on 4 – 9 November 2018 in Somerset West, South Africa. The Symposium was dedicated to formation of a strategic view of prospects for cooperation and was held in parallel with the 17th Session of the Joint Coordination Committee on the RSA-JINR cooperation.

Leaders of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation of the RSA (NRF) took part in the opening ceremony of the Symposium. The Symposium was opened by D. Adams, Chief Director of Basic Sciences and Infrastructure of the Department of Science and Technology. Cooperation Coordinator, Head of the JINR International Cooperation Department D.V. Kamanin in his opening speech noted that the first contacts of the RSA and JINR scientists started a quarter of a century ago, in 1993, and then these contacts reached the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the RSA and the Institute signed at the end of 2005. Since then, each Symposium reflects a new particular stage of the cooperation development. In particular, the past Symposium was the first one at which so many scientists from the JINR Member States were present.

In the plenary part of the Symposium, JINR Vice-Director M.G. Itkis, Director of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions S.N. Dmitriev, Director of the Frank Laboratory of Neutron Physics V.N. Shvetsov, Director of the Laboratory of Information Technologies V.V. Korenkov reported on development of the scientific infrastructure. Review of opportunities for physicists from RSA to participate in the largest world projects jointly with JINR was reported on by Director of the Bogoliubov Laboratory of Theoretical Physics D.I. Kazakov. Opportunities of the staff training at JINR were demonstrated based on the examples of the Czech Republic and Kazakhstan by representatives of these countries at JINR I.Štekl and M. Zdorovets.

Following photos are courtesy of participants of the Symposium

From the RSA party, leaders of the largest scientific infrastructures of the RSA, namely iThemba LABS, SKA, the Centre of High-Performance Computing (CHPC), and the Witwatersrand University, performed at the plenary part of the Symposium.

Section reports organized in parallel sections presented a significant range of not only the existing fields of cooperation within the joint research projects but also the beginning joint work with the long-term prospects. In the stand section of the Symposium, not only young participants of the event but also students who succeeded at the Summer Student Practice held in June 2018, in particular, students from Botswana, performed.

On 8 November 2018, in the framework of the Symposium, a one-day Workshop on Virtual Laboratories was held that was organized by the recently established Development and Research Institute for Virtual Engagement (DRIVE) of the Stellenbosch University. Representatives of the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Education of RSA participated in the workshop. This event was preceded by a working meeting of developers of the virtual laboratory of the Intergraphics company with the colleagues from DRIVE. After the meeting, it is expected that regular work of the customer community of the virtual laboratory will start from May 2019. On the proposal of NRF, a relevant project will be offered for the competition for the next 3-year plan of joint work.

Intense work of the JINR delegation was continued outside the frames of the Symposium in scientific organizations of the RSA on joint projects. Thus, on 9 November, a part of international participants of the Symposium went to Port Elizabeth, where in the Nelson Mandela University, the Centre for High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (CHRTEM) has been working for 10 years headed by J. Neethling. This Centre jointly with the FLNR Centre of Applied Physics fostered a mutually beneficial cooperation that gathered a large collaboration of JINR Member States.

Moreover, on 9 November, JINR was presented at the Natural Science Deans Forums that was held in the University of the Western Cape (UWC). D.V. Kamanin made a presentation on the scientific infrastructure of the Institute and milestones of the past events. Chairman of the Forum M. Davis-Coleman, who had recently visited JINR in the frames of the JEMS training programme, offered in his comments to pay more attention to opportunities of JINR in the fields of the staff training and joint research. He also proposed to organize a collective trip of deans to Dubna to get acquainted with the Institute and to plan work on the spot.