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Science bringing nations together

News , 22 September 2017

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Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev confirmed the plan of implementation of the strategy for scientific and technological development in Russia. Education and Science Deputy Minister of the Russian Federation Grigory Trubnikov is speaking about the strategy and the future of science in Russia.

Photo by Dmitry Lebedev, Kommersant

Science development strategy is the most significant state document; it inherently should be renovated regularly. Such documents in Russia are adopted every 7 – 10 years, that means that time has come to do it now. That is on the one side.

Scientific and technological development strategy is evaluated by the government equally with the national security strategy

On the other side, the world is to enter a new technological revolution – industrial and intellectual. We should definitely face it somehow. Furthermore, the realm of science and technology underwent certain changes in our country: certain transformations are on the way in the Academy of Sciences and higher education sector, united corporations and institutes for general constructors and technicians have been established, first mega – science projects have been initiated. Finally, some global political and economic processes motivate us. All in all, I believe that the right moment was chosen to adopt the strategy. By the way, it should be mentioned that modern scientific and technological development strategy is evaluated by the government equally with the national security strategy.

— Yes, it was definitely taken into consideration. Such strategies are adopted in all developed countries. However, Russia is not just a developed country. I think that our country is one of the leaders in technological and scientific fields. We should keep up with this status, participate in competitive struggle that is quite aggressive. In the USA, the strategy was passed in 2010 – 2011; China has also recently adopted the scientific and technological development strategy. Countries definitely consider partners’ experience while developing own strategies. We are not pioneers, of course, we also rely on basic strategic documents of some countries. We have some strong institutes: Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, HSE, MSU, SPBU and many other leading universities that analyze scientific strategies of other developed countries along with other issues. The Russian Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NRC “Kurchatov Institute” and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research take an active part in analyzing strategies of developed countries.

It may be worth mentioning that during preparation of the strategy for 2016, 10 working groups for different directions were formed that united several hundreds of people. These people are leading scientists, experts in their fields. The groups were divided according to various directions: “science and society”, “science and economics”, “science and research infrastructure”, “fundamental science”, “science and business”, “science and innovations”, and others. Several dozens of employees worked in each group. I was honored to coordinate work of the “science and research infrastructure” group.

The Russian Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NRC “Kurchatov Institute” and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research take an active part in analyzing strategies of developed countries

In different structures like universities and analytical centres, these groups discussed and collected data, analyzed it and put forward various strategy sections according to their specialization. Then, after drafting a document, it was thoroughly discussed for a long time by the Expert Scientific Council, and finally the scientific and technology development strategy was formulated, agreed by the Presidential Council and then by President in December 2016.

The status and tasks of the document are serious. In China, for example, the same document is used for successive implementation of reforms in the field of science and in the sector of research organizations and their pragmatic realignment for achieving stated results. This is, in my opinion, a right and logical step. I believe that if there is an adopted governmental strategy that defines the process of branch development (a large branch in which millions of people are employed to certain extent) and the society understands for what purpose such things are made, then it is easier for the government to accomplish processes of development and realignment of the branch.

— — At the higher state level, of course.

— I think there is a strategy consolidation of not only scientific community but of business community, sectoral science, and universities as well. The reason is that the strategy was adopted with active participation of a wide community. There are opponents, of course. Not a single document can be ideal; there are always different views on it. Science community’s opinion is especially valuable because thought thrives on conflict.

The adopted strategy is not an instruction but a suggested system of coordinates for future scientific and technological structure created with regard to world trends, global economics development, technological and industrial development

— It is. The main peculiarity of the adopted strategy is that it is not an instruction for scientific community’s work, it is a suggested system of coordinates for future scientific and technological structure. It was created with regard to world trends, global economics development, technological and industrial development, analyses of extensive experience and systems of staff training. By the way, we carefully study experience in the field of scientific staff policy, particularly in countries of G20. It is of great interest to watch the furious fight for brains (scientists) and hands (engineers) in developed countries. Standard instruments of this war are familiar – financial support, for example. Yes, salary is undoubtedly important. However, working conditions, infrastructure state, social support are influential too. Nevertheless, I believe that tasks and objectives are of primary importance in the scientific field. Science is not a sphere in which one can earn as much as in the banking sector. Specifics and motivation differ. In science, researchers can succeed provided they are motivated by the aim, scientific purpose, i.e. by the task of science. It is a fundamental aim of science itself. Thus, if the government claims that science is equal in importance with state safety, ready to create conditions for infrastructure development and supports high-impact research, it will lead young specialists to the scientific sector for overcoming ambitious scientific challenges.

— Serious science is impossible without international cooperation. That is why one of the basic strategy divisions, the plan of actions for the next few years, concerns development of international scientific cooperation.

We should not pursue leadership in all priority areas, we should support sectors in which we are able and want to become leaders

We need to formulate and adopt pragmatic concept of international scientific and technological cooperation for Russia. Firstly, it is necessary to evaluate rivals once in several years and consider our place in world science. Secondly, we need to rethink priorities and do it regularly with regard to the world arena.

Thirdly, we should not pursue leadership in all priority areas. It has no sense and hope. We should support sectors in which we are able and want to become leaders, in which we have some head starts. For some directions, we need just to keep track of situation and particular research themes. Different countries are able to harmonize economically these things to different extents.

By the way, the sector where we have some head starts, in which we are self-sufficient with due regard to economic, geopolitical, military and other aspects, some research may become confidential. There is a clear line that we accept; many countries follow such a scheme.

— There were obstacles, there are obstacles, and there will be obstacles. We have some problems with access to particular technologies and knowledge. It is inevitable. It is one of the components of national security in various countries. The geopolitical situation is developing, there are some improvements as well as declines, and countries can even become friendly nations. This is a normal iterative process every country comes through, especially those pretending to be leaders on the world arena. Nevertheless, I would like to convey one thought: no matter what diplomatic relations between countries are, relations concerning science and culture should be supported to the utmost because these relations are bridges to improvement and normalization of relationships between countries and subsequently to a new stage of cooperation and friendship.

Relations concerning science and culture are bridges to improvement and normalization of relationships between countries and subsequently to a new stage of cooperation and friendship

— This is an important issue. In practice, mega-projects have been organized since the 1940s (atomic and space projects, for example). In my opinion, a mega-project is not just a large-scale scientific facility for acquiring fundamental knowledge. A mega-science project is an element of the scientific field that solves simultaneously a large number of problems.

A mega-project is a challenge to the state that decided to initiate it. If we consider the history of some declared projects, we will see that, for example, China or Japan that proudly announced the launch of a many kilometers long collider project, gradually refused to construct it. It turned out that there were not enough people, knowledge and technologies for it. At the beginning, it seems that any technology can be bought, and it will immediately work as at your neighbors’ facilities. However, it turns out that 10 years are needed to acquire necessary experience to organize high-tech products manufacturing with the same tempo and quality. In the clear unfertilized field, nothing good can be raised without good preparation and efforts. First, it seems that everything is made due to ready-made layouts and copied instructions, but the engine service life is somehow 10 days instead of 10 years. The problem is that there are some details, additives, equipment, adopted methods and experimental insight based not on intuition but on practice. Practice is the most important thing in it.

Mega-science projects are serious challenges for any country: technological, scientific and investment challenges. However, it is also a colossal magnet for scientific staff

Numerous mega-projects (the Large Hadron Collider construction, for example) demanded efforts of not 10 but 20 – 30 countries. Moreover, there is another significant aspect: organization of development, management and employment of such large-scale projects is of critical importance as well as acquaintance with technologies. Firstly, knowledge and experience are needed, then technologies and assembling. When the facility is ready, it is supposed to operate – like a plane or a rocket. One can precisely copy all the elements, assemble them, but the facility will not work. It is necessary to organize a complicated process of participants’ cooperation.

I would like to emphasize that mega-science projects are serious challenges for any country: technological, scientific and investment challenges. However, it is also a colossal magnet for scientific staff. When such a project is announced and initiated; when society believes in its implementation; when a mega-project passes its equator (the horizon for such projects is 7 – 10 years), then this project starts to attract numerous employees-the best promising young scientists. When the mega-project is under way, and national high-technological industry is occupied in it, then everyone lines up for orders because of prestige. Finally, it brings enormous benefit to the state as far as industries are involved. That is why the country becomes a rival at the world market. Mega-science projects boost all state sectors: education, science, industry, and politics, of course.

As for the Gucci Leather bracelet with feline head wzCOGMAXQ
, it is my nearest project in which I have been involved since its beginning. The most difficult task was to attract international community to the project. There are four mega-projects concerning this field – the collider in Brookhaven, the experimental facility at the fixed target in CERN, German unique complex FAIR and our NICA. To convince scientific community and our rivals to participate in our project was not a simple task. However, smart people understand that it is better to join efforts than compete.

Brookhaven and NICA are equal now at the present development stage, expected dates of experiments’ launch coincide. A lucky one will be the first in conducting experiments; there is always a pinch of luck in this field. However, we can develop such complicated projects only jointly. If we worked separately, experiments would be delayed to the 2030s.

An ideal mega-science project is the one whose idea is proposed by the country that will implement it. The NICA project bases on the ideas brought in by Dubna theoreticians, and if the project is successful, it will be fully our achievement, from the idea to results

In my opinion, an ideal mega-science project is the one whose idea is proposed by the country that will implement the project. Just like Higgs boson: Higgs, Brout and Englert separately suggested a theory in the 1960s, and only in the 1990s, the world came to construction of such a collider, then it had been constructed for almost 20 years. By the way, Russia also greatly contributed financially and intellectually into it. Higgs and Englert were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery (particularly for the theory that explained elementary particles mass origin). We as well as other countries took part in the project, and it was also of high importance as far as we acquired technologies, knowledge, we trained our staff. Nevertheless, cream is skimmed by those who offered the idea and saw its implementation.

As for the NICA project, it bases on the ideas suggested by Dubna scientists. They suggested that phase transitions in a strongly interacting matter should be looked for in a particular density and temperature ranges with particular beams of colliding heavy nuclei. If we are lucky, we will have the project born in Russia, the project that will be fully our achievement, from the idea to its implementation.

Photo by Dmitry Lebedev, Kommersant

There are five more projects developed in Russia, among which there is the high current reactor PIK, a unique facility. When it is launched, it will be the best and the most powerful neutron source in the world. Kurchatov Institute constructs it in Gatchina. One more project is a tokamak of new generation at the Troitsk Scientific Centre. This project is the way to a controlled thermonuclear fusion with the help of super powerful magnetic field and only Joule plasma heating. Moreover, the powerful laser facility with super powerful light fields is a unique project on the bases of the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IAP RAS) in Nizhny Novgorod. Laser impulses will create local fields of colossal power that will allow studying space-time structure of vacuum and model processes that happen inside the stars. One more project is a new electron-positron collider in the Budker Institute of Novosibirsk. This facility is also a unique one as far as it will allow checking the Standard Model and studying the matter structure with the accuracy impossible to be achieved anywhere else. Colliders in Russia were proposed in the 1960s by Academician G.I. Budker in the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Then, this technology was spread throughout the world, and colliders were run in numerous places, several results acquired at them were awarded the Nobel Prize but not Russian ones. So, the technology was suggested by Russia, we are experts in this field, but the best collider was not constructed by us. It is illogical. The Soviet Union suggested numerous technologies to the world but their best implementations were not supported in the Motherland.

By the way, we may think about exporting technologies in such a way: there may be a policy due to which science and talents are the products of export along with technologies. For example, India trains and exports medicine specialists. It has one of the best medical education and medical trainings, India trains good doctors for the whole world.

I hope that projects related to neutrino physics will acquire the status of mega-science projects next year. One more project will be definitely launched in the field of astronomy and astrophysics in which our scientific schools are traditionally strong

Our scientific community has several other great proposals concerning mega-projects: I hope that in 2 – 3 years we will jointly pass the way from an idea to its implementation into a project. One of such proposals is construction of the facility to study a mysterious particle of our Universe – neutrino. It is a really promising direction, an object of scientific hunt in the world. In Antarctic, the mega-project in the field of neutrino physics has been currently launched. It is the “Ice Cube” facility, a kilometer large cube neutrino detector embedded deep in the ice. It measures neutrino streams that fly into the Earth from the Northern Hemisphere and pass through our planet. We (INR of RAS, JINR, our German and Italian colleagues) have also started to construct a similar detector in Baikal, in its unique waters, and it will have some advantages in comparison with the Antarctic one. In Antarctic, the detectors array is frozen in ice at the depth of almost one kilometer. However, ice layers there move in the course of time, that is why arrays tear, and then deflection of light streams happens from detected particles. It lowers the experiment’s accuracy. At Baikal, it is easier to conduct the experiment, it is more convenient, cheaper, and expected accuracy of measurements is easier to achieve. I hope that projects related to neutrino physics will acquire the status of mega-science projects next year, and we will work in this direction jointly with the international community. For international scientific community it is significant that we are developing the Ice Cube “partner” that will study the neutrino streams flying from the South Pole. Thus, both detectors will be able to provide deeper understanding of space neutrino streams flying from space to the Earth and holding information about processes and objects of the Universe. One more project will be connected with astronomy and astrophysics in which our scientists are traditional leaders. We are trying also to consolidate scientific organizations and universities to develop a big network-connected infrastructural mega-science project in Russia for work in the field of analysis and storage of big data.

— I agree with you. Of course, my children and I would like to switch on TV at central channels in prime time and watch programmes devoted to Russian and international scientific achievements. Politics is important but science does not weighs less.

Having become Deputy Minister, I thought that I knew a lot about Russian science (in my specialty, of course – nuclear physics). However, having travelled around the country and been acquainted with facilities, I understood how successfully research and innovation fields are developing. In Arkhangelsk, Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Kazan, Rostov, Nizhny Novgorod… We have something to be proud of; we have many brilliant projects – from small laboratories to large centres. We need to talk about them. I believe that short exciting programmes at central TV channels in understandable format (and our scientists can do it) about scientific achievements should become an element of the government’s policy. TV channels are governmental, the government should influence their policy. It is necessary to cover geopolitics, economics, but it is also of great importance to speak about Russian science achievements.

— I believe that it is preserved now. By the way, there was an idea to remake the film “Nine Days in One Year” for the edition 2017. However, now time is different: there are too many TV channels, Internet is everywhere, and it is difficult to reach out to the audience. We need to look for new ways of popularizing science, ways of addressing society, and there are many of them. It is necessary to work with the youth, to organize international science festivals and research, projects, start-ups competitions, to develop the institute of popular-science lectures (something like scientific enlightenment). For example, we hold “Russian reporter school” in Dubna that hosted nearly 700 people this year (a couple of years ago, I held a lecture in frames of this event, and there were only 400 participants). Tents, forest, Volga, projects – participants enjoy all these for a month, their eyes shine… I was talking to them only for 2 hours, and their profound questions and full understanding of things surprised me a lot, it was fascinating to talk to them.

The atmosphere of the scientific community of Dubna is considered to be a gold standard along with legendary scientific culture of Novosibirsk science campus, Kurchatov Institute and St.-Petersburg Physical-Technical Institute

The atmosphere of serving to science has been preserved in Dubna, Novosibirsk, St.-Petersburg, Tomsk, there are such places but they are not numerous and need support. Actually, there should be more such places. I was lucky to come to Dubna 20 years ago where I gained valuable experience, and I do not lose hope to return there again one day to be involved in science. Now, being Deputy Minister, I can pass traditions, mentality, scientific “vibes” of Dubna that is considered a gold standard along with legendary scientific culture of Novosibirsk science campus, Kurchatov Institute and St.-Petersburg Physical-Technical Institute…Furthermore, traditions of international cooperation are also an advantage of Dubna society.

— Yes, I have three children, and all of them are infants that is why now I have only little problems caused by little children. When I lived in Dubna, I used to do sports: volleyball, skiing, mountain climbing for some time, family travels to numerous beautiful places of our country. Now, the rhythm of life has changed, of course: I miss physical exercises and old friends, colleagues with whom we virtually lived at the accelerator. I always try to come to Dubna for weekends to meet the family: my wife and children are the most important people in my life; they are faithful and always wait for me. As for my role in raising children, I can draw an analogy with a scientific school. A good family is, in fact, a good scientific school. It is not about grey-haired elders with numerous awards doing nothing surrounded by students as many people think. Scientific school is, first of all, succession and mutual aid of generations. Parents in their most productive age work to support their family. Thus, they set an example of how to rule the life correctly. These working parents have little time for systematic, so to speak, communication with children. Grandparents, people with richer experience and much time, are engaged in a calm methodical way of bringing up children. They read books to grandchildren, acquaint them with the world, and pass moral principles and good manners. Similarly, classical scientific school is organized.

Of course, Dubna is a special place! I try to visit the NICA collider every time I am in Dubna: to watch this large-scale construction, to be a part of the big team and the big project. Communication with friends, my JINR colleagues and scientific teachers as well as parents, who are anxious about Russian science and too dynamic and busy life, enriches me a lot. In winter, we go skiing, in summer – the Volga, forests. Volleyball – in any season. All in all, I get energy in Dubna and then go to Moscow to work.

The interview was conducted by Andrei Mikheenkov

— It seems like the strategy is open for changes and modernization.

What is more, Hassin provides a surprisingly simple recipe for testing whether a cognitive operation can be performed unconsciously. The operation should be stripped “into its basic-level functions” and submitted to an experimental design which “(a) tests the functions while (b) allowing the processes to occur non-consciously” (p. 200). The YIC principle predicts that based on this recipe any cognitive function of interest will be found to be performed unconsciously. Hassin concludes his paper by acknowledging that default notions are of great importance for the advancement of science, and he expresses his hope that the YIC principle will help establish a new default mode of thinking about the abilities of the unconscious.

In support of the YIC principle, Hassin presents an idealized review of the literature, without a single reference to conflicting evidence, methodological debates or recent discussions of the reproducibility of psychological studies. This selective focus inevitably creates the impression that indeed the majority of cognitive functions have already been proven to function unconsciously. For example, one major line of research reviewed by Hassin suggests that complex decisions might benefit from a period of time in which participants engage in what is referred to as “unconscious thought” ( Dijksterhuis et al., 2006 ). What remains unmentioned is that the theory’s main claims and decision task have been met with severe methodological as well as theoretical criticism ( Gonzalez-Vallejo et al., 2008 ; Angara Yellow Gold Pear Shaped Pink Tourmaline Earrings fi2pTtAJ
), and that further empirical tests of the unconscious thought theory’s predictions yielded no evidence in favor of these predictions ( Huizenga et al., 2012 ); for a recent meta-analysis and large-scale replication attempt of the unconscious thought advantage, see ( Angara Swiss Blue Topaz Tennis Bracelet in White Gold vhenor
).

In his review of the literature, Hassin also cites his own work on priming which suggests that both invisible ( Angara South Sea Cultured Pearl Long Chain Drop Earrings ce6v35ph
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) exposure to national flags significantly changed political attitudes and voting intentions up to 8 months later. Only after publication of the YIC principle, a large-scale, preregistered “many labs” replication project did not replicate the finding that visible yet subtle exposure to the American flag increased conservatism among US participants ( Klein et al., 2014 ). While replication should become a standard tool in psychological science to confirm the accuracy of empirical findings, clarify the conditions under which an effect can be observed, and estimate the true effect size ( Angara Three Stone Diamond Bypass Ribbon Cross Pendant eUxF2VGn
; Simons, 2014 ), failures to replicate often leave relevant questions unanswered, in particular questions about the specificity of the underlying theories ( Klein, 2014 ) 1 . It is important to note that Hassin and colleagues supported the replication attempt and acknowledged the failure to replicate the flag priming effect, but also raised the issue of whether it was a “conceptual” rather than “direct” replication, and they addressed the importance of identifying potential moderators of the original phenomenon and of understanding the theory behind the effects ( Angara Morganite Necklace Vintage Inspired Cushion Morganite Halo Pendant dxtvJo1I3
).

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