Participation in educational and popularizing scientific events is one of the crucial activities of the Veksler and Baldin Laboratory of High Energy Physics. The goals of such activities are to attract highly qualified and young employees to the NICA project, optimize the interaction of departments and research groups within the Laboratory and JINR, develop new research ideas in related fields and attract new partners to the NICA project, increase the prestige of scientific research and, in particular, research carried out at VBLHEP among a wide range of the population. After all, taxpayers have the right to know how their money is spent.
The work is being carried out with different key audiences, including:
- VBLHEP and JINR staff;
- specialized scientific community, including representatives of scientific institutes in the field of high energy physics and related fields;
- decision makers – diplomats, Plenipotentiaries of the Governments of the JINR Member States, employees of ministries and agencies;
- students, schoolchildren, teachers;
- general public of the partner states and other countries, locals.
For each such key audience, specific methods are developed and successfully applied by VBLHEP employees and other Laboratories and departments. As a rule of thumb, conducting excursions is a universal method of interacting with different target audiences. The heads of those departments where “invited guests” come resonate with this work, showing their understanding and support. Very often these heads themselves take an active part in such events, and we really appreciate that. It should be noted that in addition to the regular offline excursions, we also use the opportunity to conduct online excursions for remote participants and demonstrate photo/video of virtual excursions for viewing on a computer.
In 2023, VBLHEP staff conducted 107 excursions to various Laboratory facilities, which amounted to 58% of the number of all excursions conducted at JINR during the same period. In total, more than 1,600 people visited VBLHEP. The most visited facilities in the Laboratory and at the Institute were accelerators HILAc + Booster + Nuclotron of the NICA complex (102 visits), the MPD detector in building 17 of the collider complex (68 visits) and the Magnet factory (41 visits).
About three quarters of the excursions (80 visits) were conducted in Russian. Among the target audience, we would like to highlight groups of students from Russian universities, for whom 30 excursions were organized for almost 500 people. A significant amount of excursions, as seen in previous years, was conducted for students of different years studying at Dubna University and, especially, for two departments whose scientific internship takes place at VBLHEP (Department of Electronics Design for Megascience Facilities and Department of Physical and Technical Systems). Most of the students of the two departments remain successfully working at the Laboratory. 7 excursions (about 160 schoolchildren) were organized for Dubna schoolchildren, 10 excursions (about 220 schoolchildren) were made for Russian schoolchildren from other towns and cities. 37 teachers and more than 250 conference participants, employees of high-tech enterprises and VIPs also paid a visit to VBLHEP.
About a quarter of the excursions (27 visits, more than 300 people) were conducted in English. The scale of the Laboratory’s research was assessed by more than 100 students of foreign universities, some of whom had a scientific internship organized by JINR University Center. A group of students from the School University of the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (17 people) also visited our Laboratory. 3 excursions were conducted for 40 participants of the International training programme for decision-makers in science and international scientific cooperation JEMS – “JINR Expertise for Member States and Partner Countries”. 18 excursions for 150 people were held for participants of international conferences, special visits paid by representatives of international organizations and scientific partners.
A total of 45 VBLHEP employees at different times expressed their desire to participate in conducting excursions. But such a popularization load is different for each of them, since it depends on the employee’s free time, their desire to make excursions for certain target audiences and other reasons. The following VBLHEP employees took the most active part in the excursion activities in 2023: Mikhail Shandov, Sergey Merts, Alyona Kotova, Arkadiy Terekhin, Dmitry Dryablov, Alexander Filippov, Evgeny Iskornev, Alexander Tikhomirov, Tatyana Kudinova. If any of the Laboratory staff wants to try themselves as a guide or take part in other scientific outreach activities, please contact VBLHEP Scientific Secretary A. Cheplakov.
All information about the number of excursions is taken from the website https://jinrex.jinr.ru, which is the official JINR platform for scheduling, coordinating and monitoring excursions.