JINR employee Petr Shirkov won For Loyalty to Science Award

News, 27 October 2023

Candidate of Physics and Mathematics Petr Shirkov, a leading methodologist of the Department of Scientific and Educational Projects and Programmes of the JINR University Centre, won the For Loyalty to Science All-Russian Award in the Mentor nomination. Olga Vasilyeva, President of the Russian Academy of Education, presented the award to Petr Shirkov at a festive ceremony in the Zaryadye Concert Hall.

Photos © Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia

This award is of particular importance, as 2023 was declared the Year of the Teacher and Mentor in Russia. In addition, this year marks the 80th anniversary of the Russian Academy of Education (RAE). The Mentor nomination organized on the initiative of RAE was introduced in 2023. It has received 178 applications and become the second most popular after the Popular Science Project of the Year nomination (208 applications).

Petr Shirkov has almost 50 years of experience in teaching, organizing, and managing educational programmes. He received the award, among other things, for his contribution to the creation and development of the International Computer School (ICS) founded almost 35 years ago. More than 2000 children from Russia, the USA, Sweden, and other countries of the world have participated in the ICS since its creation. Many participants of the School subsequently become mentors, ensuring the continuity of generations. The ICS implements a special approach to education. Mentors of the School do not simply provide their students with answers, as it usually happens in the classical education system, but build the educational project in the format of research. Children themselves actually discover Archimedes principle, the laws of magnetism and the electric field, obtain basic mathematical relations.

Olga Vasilyeva, President of the Russian Academy of Education, congratulated the winners and the laureate in the Mentor nomination. In her speech, she noted, quoting the words of the great teacher Peter Kapterev, that a teacher is a guide between science and students. “He said this almost 150 years ago, but even now it is absolutely relevant,” the President highlighted. “Mentors not only share experience, mostly professional, but also impart moral and spiritual experience to their students.”

“The most important thing for me is that my lifelong passion for teaching has become decisive in the career choice of at least two generations of students. Understanding that what has been done is appreciated at such a high level, gives me additional strength and confidence in the right choice made 35 years ago,” Petr Shirkov commented on receiving the prestigious award. He also noted that this recognition would have been impossible without the participation in the project in different years of many enthusiastic colleagues, like himself, from various organizations such as Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of Russian Academy of Sciences, Lomonosov Moscow State University, S. Ordzhonikidze Moscow Aviation Institute, Pushchinsky Scientific Center, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, etc. These organizations and a number of scientific and educational foundations have provided significant material, technical, and financial support in the project.

“At each time period of the project, there was always a partner organization that backed the School and provided what was necessary for it, prolonging for a new period. In recent years, JINR has been acting as such a guarantor of the ICS,” the laureate highlighted.

The annual All-Russian Award “For Loyalty to Science” has been presented since 2015 for outstanding achievements in the fields of scientific communication and science popularisation with the aim to support the prestige of scientists and engineers in the Russian Federation. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia is the organizer of the award. Over the past three years, the scale of the All–Russian Award “For Loyalty to Science” has significantly extended: since 2021, the number of applications received by the jury has increased by more than 1.5 times – up to 2 thousand.

It should be reminded that Candidate of Physics and Mathematics, a leading researcher at the Laboratory of High Energy Physics at JINR Sergey Merts won the award in the Science is Fashionable nomination last year. A year earlier, Scientific Leader of the Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions at JINR and RAS Academicain Yuri Oganessian won the award in the nomination “Special contribution made by scientists, journalists, teachers, and public figures.”