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Science Festival

10.10.2012 14:25

On October 12 the traditional science festival opens in Moscow. Workshops and lectures from the leading Russian and international scientists, trainings, business games, discussions and excursions will take place on many platforms.

Viktor Sadovnichi, rector of Moscow State University named after Lomonosov

The Science Festival was born in our country thanks to journalists. 6 years ago a group of European journalists writing on science visited Moscow University. After their visit to MSU our journalists remained there, and we continued to discuss how to maintain the value and the role of science in our society. There were such words as "in Europe there are festivals of science." They sank into my heart. Having thought a little about this meeting, this talk, I proposed holding the First Festival of Science at the University. This first Science Festival was held in 2006. It was a risk. There were many unknown things: what is the "Festival of Science"? Moreover, serious scientists, I can admit this as an academician, perceived the name "Festival of Science" a little warily; in general, scientists speak about "basic science", and here there was a "celebration of science." In this sense, I was a bit isolated from the community of leading scientists, who did not immediately applaud the idea enthusiastically. Nevertheless, I answered like this: "Yes, it may be too early to speak about basic science. But still, we are a university, we have students, we have young people, we are connected with secondary schools, and we want to show the role of science for youth. So we called this event a "Festival." In reality, of course, you know that this is a British tradition. Back in the mid-19th century in Britain, the British Association for the Advancement of Science began holding science festivals. Interestingly, the word "scientist" appeared at the festival, it had not existed before. It emerged at a festival in the UK. Then there were European associations of Science Festivals. Festivals marched across Europe, and now we have started holding one in Russia. I must say that the effect was amazing. Beginning with the first festival, it became clear that we had succeeded, that is, the festival became popular. I even thought that if we suddenly had not wanted to carry it out, for some reason, it would be held all the same. Because this idea was self-replicating, it captured people. The number of participants grew exponentially. This lasted until 2011. It became a noticeable phenomenon in Russia. And in 2011, at an event at the Polytechnical Museum, President Dmitry Medvedev accepted the idea of moving the Festival of Science and announced that now the Science Festival would get the status of nationwide festival. Immediately the idea how to hold this all-Russian festival appeared. I came up with the idea of "Teacher of the Year of Russia." The bottom line is that the winner of this year's competition is the host of "Teacher of the Year" the next year. If last year, for example, a teacher from the Lipetsk region got victory, then "Teacher of the Year of Russia" this year would take place in Lipetsk. We proposed this idea. Thus, regional sites appeared. That is, a regional platform is one that this year has been recognized as the best one. In this way the festival should move. Now it is definitely moving across Russia, through almost all the regions, hundreds of universities, institutions. Many foreign scholars come to us. And, in general, it is arranged so that the center ground is in Moscow, and the regional center is in Rostov-on-Don, because last year Rostov-on-Don was the best city in which a festival was held. I want to mention one more thing, without which, I think, a festival of science would not be so interesting: it is the role of the government of Moscow. Then the government of Moscow from the first year did its best to support the festival. There were such things as advertising, transportation, funding for certain purposes, sites in Moscow provided by the government of Moscow, they helped us, and without the government of Moscow, we could not, in principle, hold these festivals. And this year a huge role is played by the government of Moscow, because this festival is organized jointly by Moscow University and the Moscow government, with the support of the Ministry of Education.

Alexey Komissarov, head of the Department of Science, Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship of Moscow

Moscow has always supported this festival, because the basic scientific potential of the country is concentrated in Moscow. In Moscow, there are about 300 universities and about 1,000 organizations that are engaged in research, a large number of scientists, a large number of students. My personal belief is that the situation of science in our country and in Moscow in particular is not as bad as it is customary to talk about it. First of all, if we want to make it clear for young people who will make this science in the future, we need to show its achievements, that is, we need to find new ways of presenting such information. Therefore, in my opinion, Victor Sadovnichi, having organized such a festival, contributed to this process. Of course, no scientific achievements and discoveries are possible without hard work, but I think they are also not possible without some kind of "fun", drive and desire to change the world, to discover something new, to bring something new into the world. Due to the activities that take place during the festival, young people, schoolchildren, students learn that being a scientist is interesting, finding out how many mysterious, undiscovered things exist in many different areas of our lives in various fields of science; they learn it from well-known scientists. By the way, if you look at the schedule of the lectures, the very names of these lectures are attractive. For example, I myself would like to attend at least half of them, but not only in terms of the meetings with renowned professors and scientists, but also in terms of interactive communication. MSU is the main venue; another large enough area is ExpoCentr. There are about 8000 square meters planned for the exhibition during the "Festival of Science". There are a lot of stands, a lot of opportunities for children to see how the laws of physics and the laws of other sciences work. This is probably the most important thing that can be organized. In addition, within the "Festival of Science" we will hold a festival of science films. For the first time this year, it has an international format. It will be held at the Polytechnical Museum, from 10 to 17 October. Also no doubt that these films to be shown will be able to popularize science and to attract more young people into our future, into education and science.

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