On 3 June 2019, the first stage of the International Student Practice for students from the RSA organized by the JINR University Centre started. 22 students from universities of the Republic of South Africa and, interestingly, not only citizens of this country but of Cameron and Nigeria as well, came to Dubna for three weeks.

During the first days of the Practice, students had excursions to the laboratories of nuclear reactions, nuclear problems, neutron physics, and high energy physics. They learned about the history of establishment and modern research of JINR, had a short insight into the history of Russia. Students chose themes proposed by FLNR, FLNP, DLNP, BLTP, and the UC for their educational research projects. On 21 June, participants of the Practice presented their implemented projects, and some students and supervisors shared their impressions (http://www.jinr.ru/posts/we-hope-to-return-here/)

M. V. Gustova (FLNR): “Our project acquaints students with the basics of the X-ray fluorescent analysis, the analytical method for chemical elemental analysis of materials. It can be demonstrated at some real objects, samples, and, as a rule, we involve students in our current tasks. This year, Lydia Semakaleng Bewana (Johannesburg University), a beautiful and clever girl, applied to our project. She took part in the calibration of our spectrometer that we will use for analysis of physical targets. They will be used in experiments on the synthesis of superheavy elements. We need to know the precise quantitative composition and uniformity of targets. Lydia participated in the calibration of the spectrometer, and her results were used for tracing the final calibration curve. We introduced to her the basics of the method, and we teach, first of all, to understand what is happening, even how to process statistical data, how to present final results.

It is a pleasure when you observe a thoughtful attitude of a student who tries to learn something new. During the Practice, we studied each other: she learned the Russian language, and it is also a pleasure when a person tries to find some contacts. And when I explained something in English not precisely, she helped me. So, the atmosphere was very friendly. I hope that the experience Lydia has acquired here will be useful for writing her graduation thesis.”

Lydia Semakaleng Bewana enthusiastically shared her impressions of the cultural part of the Practice: “We had an excursion to Dmitrov, saw very beautiful cathedrals. This part of the history of Russia moved me; the trip opened the Russian culture to me. A trip to Moscow was also fascinating, the city is so large! Of course, the Red Square impressed me a lot. We often see it on TV or in photos in magazines, but it was a pleasure to visit it on my own.

In Dubna, we also had an interesting meeting. A woman teaching the English language in one of the schools came up to us in a shop. She invited us for tea in a summer language camp for children. Children from 3 to 13 years old have rest and study there. We drank tea, played various games, and practiced English. At first, children were shy, but then we gradually started to play and talk. Of course, children do not know a lot yet, but they made efforts to speak English. They taught us to play some Russian games, and we taught them to play some African ones; everyone had fun. We sang our national hymn, and children liked it. Moreover, on 12 June, we were offered to attend a concert of the “PER4MEN” band in the JINR Cultural Centre “Mir”. Performers went down into the concert hall, danced with the audience. They offered a rose to my friend and dance with her. Hits were performed at the concert, and impressions were overwhelming.”

Gudani Tshivhase (North-West University): “At my university, I am engaged in radioactive labels and I am going to develop computer models for this task. I came here to learn how to implement it with the help of the GEANT4 programme. Participation in the Practice turned out to be very useful for me as far as it is impossible to get such experience without contacts with specialists, without access to equipment. I hope to return here. We at least discussed an opportunity to come here during the Master degree course and post-graduation study. It is a magnificent opportunity, and it will be great if we succeed in it!”

A. S. Zhemchugov (DLNP): “It was interesting to work with Gudani because she rapidly understood the issues I talked about to her. It should be mentioned that the theme was new for her; she had to study a programming language she did not know. She had never modelled using the GEANT4 software. A three-week period is short. Just to compare: we dedicated a whole semester for the same course at the physical and engineering department. She managed to install, with our help, of course, all the necessary software at her laptop, to carry out a simple modelling, and achieve an experimental result, though not perfect, but it was a completed task. At least she now knows the full process of work with this software. It is normal for the start, and then everything will depend on her.”

Nigerian citizen Emeka Harrison Onah (University of the Free-State, RSA): “The project I participated in is a computer simulation of tunnelling characteristics of superconducting nanostructures (supervised by Yu. M. Shukrinov, BLTP). It is different from the course we studied at the MA course. That is why it was complicated at first but then I started to understand what physics is the basis of what we were doing. In our university, we paid much attention to the experimental part, while the project mostly included theoretical basics. So, I shifted from experiments to theory, and it is always difficult. Our supervisor said that if we want to continue cooperation in the future, there is such an opportunity. It was amazing.”

V. Yu. Vedeneev (FLNR): “Students from the RSA come to us for the third or the fourth year and show themselves very well. They analyze the data acquired in the reaction of a full merging of argon and samarium in which mercury nuclei are produced. We are interested in mercury as far as it is a homologue of one of the heaviest elements, element 112, copernicium. It has a high adhesive and chemical activity, and that is why it is an object of our interest allowing evaluation of the calibration and the production of superheavy elements in reactions. Roughly speaking, we can assess the effectiveness of the copernicium separation using the effectiveness of the mercury separation at the facility.

Students in the project were engaged in the data analysis of the alpha spectrum obtained at the position-sensitive detector after the mass separation as well as in the calibration of this detector. The level of their preparedness seemed to be good. It is obvious that they were selected for participation in this Practice.”

V. A. Turchenko (FLNP): “The major supervisor in our project “Transport phenomena and magnetic/crystalline structure of manganites” was Mikhail Craus. He presented to students theoretical issues; I helped only for one week. Two students took part in the project. I introduced to them special software for data analysis and special mathematical software package Origin. They have heard something about these programmes but have not worked with them. Students turned out to be very quick-witted; they succeeded in their work. I showed to them how to handle the data, and they did everything they were supposed to, developed all necessary dependencies, processed resistivity data, measured the magnetic resistance effect.”

At the closing ceremony of the Practice, all participants got certificates.

Olga Tarantina, JINR Weekly Newspaper

Photos by Igor Lapenko