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The Feast of Science and Education at the 6th Festival of Science
October 12, 2011 12:38


The Black Sea pebble display at the MSU in Sebastopol stand

The sixth Festival of Science at the Moscow State University took place between October 7 and 9, 2011, and it left the most pleasant memories. The exhibition at the Fundamental Library in Vorobyovy Gory offered a generous selection of scientific innovations, natural wonders, lovely people from all corners of our boundless country, and a few unique experiences.

The stand of the Tourism Industry Department of the Far East Federal University (Vladivostok) was managed by hospitable female students who organised the tea ceremony, offering the real Chinese green tea to visitors. The feast for palate then changed to the feast for eyes, as you moved on to the stand of the Moscow State University Zoology Museum. Their stand assistants were colourful and, well, different: a beautiful veiled Yemen Chameleon and a baby Gecko. The (human) representatives of the Museum of Earth Science gave us an amazing impromptu lecture on sea shells.

Even more stands provided gastronomic experiences to visitors. The Financial University advertised the products of the Cherkizovsky Meat Factory with such excitement that I actually felt hungry and wanted to engorge on a few sausages. As expected (or not), the meaty main course was followed by the desert - delicious fresh apples from the Botanical Gardens at the MSU. If only I could put into words the most wonderful scent and taste of Moscow apples! This is a special kind of apples that grow in winter, and so they have this 'frosty' undertone to their fresh crispy taste. Those not bothered about healthy food, enjoyed 'the sweets of Political Science'. These were real sweets given by the Faculty of Political Science, provided you could answer some tricky questions, like: "What was the name of St. Petersburg in Soviet times?"

Yet the most memorable stand belonged to one of the Moscow State University branch campuses, in Sebastopol (Ukraine). The students brought to Moscow real pebbles from the Black Sea shores, and everyone who wanted could inscribe a well-wishing message to the Moscow State University. The pebbles were then arranged on a canvas, and so the Black Sea branch campus 'rebuilt' the MSU in Black Sea pebbles right during the Festival.

Other interactive displays allowed to check one's knowledge in Political Science, History and Geography of Russian regions. The general atmosphere was very cosy and invited for constructive and friendly dialogue. Many visitors met with their colleagues and friends, and obviously acquired the new ones. And the most wonderful thing: the Festival was attended by foreign students, particularly from India and Britain, who learnt about the event from the Internet. Families with children and small babies also came to the Festival venues.

Altogether, the Festival of Science 2011 was a huge success. The lectures by some of Russia's leading scientists were attended by innumerous crowds of students and science fans. Personally, as a member of staff at the Museum of History of the Moscow State University, I was terribly busy with visitors who wanted to learn more about Russia's oldest academic institution. Add to this the fact that 2011 marks 300th birth anniversary of Mikhail Lomonosov, the University founder, and you will understand the interest.

What is really gratifying, is that amidst the problems in fostering academic studies and scientific research in our country and elsewhere people, the society, are incredibly attracted to science and studies. The recent Festival of Science showed that people want to know what is going on in the field of both Natural and Social Sciences, Computation and Humanities alike. And even though it may be hard to obtain research grants or to get by on the state funding, one thing is certain: the work of our scientists is absolutely worthwhile. And so is the Festival of Science.

Elizaveta Arapova, Museum of History of the Moscow State University.

About the author: Elizaveta (on the photo in the middle) is a Ph.D. student at the Faculty of History at the MSU. Together with Prof. Alexander Orlov, the Head of the Museum of History of the MSU, she was recently awarded a special Alexander Nevsky prize for organising an exhibition dedicated to M. Lomonosov on the occasion of his 300th birth anniversary.

Russia-InfoCentre news on the subject. Images provided by the author. Translation: Julie Delvaux.


Author: Julia Shuvalova

Tags: Russian science Russian education Russian research guest authors  

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