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Article

Visit of a group of professors of RSA universities to JINR- 11.10.2013

A four-day visit to JINR of a group of professors of RSA universities was finished on 11 October 2013. Eight professors from RSA universities – the University of South Africa, the University of Fort Hare, the University of Pretoria, the University of Zululand, the University of the Western Cape and the cyclotron laboratory iThemba LABS, visited the Frank Laboratory of Neutron Physics, the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions, the Laboratory of Radiation Biology and the Bogoliubov Laboratory of Theoretical Physics. Plans on extending of existing cooperation or initialization of new cooperation were discussed during meetings with JINR colleagues. On the day before their departure the guests from the RSA, Head of JINR–RSA cooperation D.V. Kamanin held a round table on which RSA professors shared their impressions, and discussed plans on enhancement of cooperation.
As D.V. Kamanin noted, this is the first experience of such meetings, since students and graduates come to JINR during these seven years, while their teachers don't. Information about possibilities of the Joint Institute is widely distributed in the RSA, and a significant number of young South African scientists have already been involved in joint projects. "You will tell your colleagues about JINR when you come back home. We are interested in young people to come here for long terms – for three months, a year or longer. This issue is of topmost importance in development of cooperation."
 
Professor of the University of Fort Hare K. Phumezo thanked the JINR Directorate for the opportunity to visit JINR: "Our University is small, but we are planning to expand, and collaboration with JINR offers us great opportunities." K. Pumezo noted that these perspectives are also interesting in light of plans of organization of schools in the RSA for teachers on modern fields of research. Professor K. Phumezo was acquainted with the activities of the JINR University Centre. Discussion of possible cooperation in the field of education will be continued at the forthcoming conference in the RSA in December.
 
Professor Ja. Slabbert visited DLNP, VBLHEP and LRB, where he discussed possibilities of cooperation in the fields of nuclear medicine and radiobiological research. He also noted good perspectives in JINR for students and added that it would be hardly possible to understand how cooperation develops without seeing the Institute with one's eyes. Professor H. Azemtsa-Donfack is interested in development of collaboration and training of students in the field of theoretical research: “We have been successfully cooperating for a long time and I was happy to come here and see what a huge institute JINR is.”
 
The cyclotron laboratory iThemba LABS employee N. Kheswa visited Dubna for the first time, though she heard a lot about JINR. She was acquainted with neutron research methods of materials in FLNP, the UC educational programme, radiation therapy of oncologic patients at medical beams of DLNP. For the JINR weekly newspaper "Dubna: science, community, progress" she said: "I am engaged in the issues of synthesis and study of properties of organometallic materials. I was interested in neutron activation and other methods of studying condensed matter, especially thin films. Research methods of thin films are well developed at iThemba LABS, and it would be interesting to share the results and work together in this direction." Professor of the University of South Africa S. Moloi was also interested in research in the field of condensed matter physics. He would be glad to come here for two or three months.
 
"Please come and send students – we are ready to cooperate", – responded A.N.  Nechayev (FLNR) who participated in the meeting, and he revealed plans of the laboratory to launch a nanotechnology center. Alexander Nechayev has worked in South Africa for eight years, seven of them – at the University of the Western Cape, he became extraordinary professor of the University, has trained four post graduate students and a large number of graduate students. Here is what he told the correspondent of the JINR weekly newspaper "Dubna: science, community, progress": "I was particularly pleased to respond to the proposal to continue collaboration with the RSA in Dubna. I work with five RSA students in FLNR. We conduct research on development of new and unique membrane materials for water purification, gas separation, catalytic active membranes; we work with groups in the RSA which are involved in environmental issues associated with mining operations and associated chemical processes, analysis of production wastes of mining and energy. In our laboratory, students from the RSA work very actively with graduate students from the University "Dubna", conduct joint research, prepare publications – there is a mutual education process."
 
Dmitri Kamanin answered questions of the guests. Concluding the meeting, he expressed hope that this first visit of professors from the RSA will not be the last one, and the guests leave with positive impressions; he totaled milestones of the visit for the JINR weekly newspaper "Dubna: science, community, progress": "This visit was intended in the frames of the UC practice for students from the RSA which was finished on 26 September 2013. The South African National Agency for Research, unfortunately, has greatly reduced the time of the professors' visit, and and the visit was held after the students practice, but we acquainted them with all research areas of interest and introduced them to leading experts of JINR laboratories. However, some of colleagues have been previously acquainted with each other. It should be noted that some events have become traditional: the practice for students from RSA universities has been held for the seventh time. The Conference Models and Methods in Few-and many-Body Systems" has been held in JINR and the RSA – the third was held at the end of November 2012 in Stellenbosch. However, it is necessary to further develop contacts and the visit of the professors certainly has a positive practical significance.
 
We have extensive plans on further development of cooperation with the RSA. So, the 1st International African Symposium on Exotic Nuclei (IASEN-2013) will be held in early December in Cape Town. It is organized by the same community as the traditional conference EXON. The main aim of the event is to support the idea to organize a research based on exotic nuclei beams at iThemba LABS. On our side, among other JINR laboratories the main partner in this question is FLNR which is in the forefront of JINR cooperation with the RSA. Today, more than half of South African students participate in joint research projects at this laboratory. Nanotechnology is one of the main research priorities for the RSA today, so the appropriate applied research is in the focus of students as well as professors. It should be noted, that our work on enhancement of cooperation has not gone unnoticed: contribution of the RSA to the JINR budget for this year is 900 thousand dollars."
 



Olga Tarantina
 JINR weekly newspaper "Dubna: science, community, progress"