Festival of Science in Chennai

From 20th July to 27th July 2017 Chennai hosted the first Festival of Science – a series of scientific and educational activities in the sphere of science and technology, organized by State Corporation Rosatom jointly with JSC Atomstroyexport (ASE), and with the full support of Rossotrudnichestvo representative office in India - Russian Center of Science and Culture, Chennai.

In South India, one of the important projects of Indo-Russian cooperation - Kudankulam NPP is being implemented. It is very important to note that, together with the construction of the nuclear power plant, Rosatom develops a humanitarian dimension of interstate relations. In partnership with Rossotrudnichestvo, students are sent to Russia to study on educational programs supervised by Rosatom, and Russian scientists conduct informative and educational work in Indian universities and schools, and they work with mass media as well. The festival of science was all set to become another bright event aimed at the development of friendship and cooperation between Russia and India. The humanitarian work of Rosatom is an example for all Russian business structures working in foreign countries.

“The Science Festival will not only be a platform to popularize scientific knowledge and be an instrument for ideas in further development, but will also promote the strengthening of international ties. Kudankulam NPP is a symbol of Russian-Indian relations in the field of nuclear energy. We hope that the Russian-Indian cooperation will continue to develop successfully in the future, and the festival will help answer questions from participants related to nuclear issues," said Andrey Lebedev, Vice President for Projects in South Asia, ASE.

In the first stage of the Festival in Chennai, the pilot-cosmonaut and Russian hero, Mikhail Kornienko delivered lectures. More than 1500 people had the opportunity to communicate with the legendary cosmonaut, who spent almost a year aboard the International Space Station (ISS. The main event was held at the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Center (Science City), and meetings with the cosmonaut by the teachers and students of leading educational institutions of Chennai - Anna University and Hindustan University were also held. In addition, a briefing was conducted for the journalists of the leading media in South India.

All participants in the meetings with the cosmonaut were extremely encouraged by the opportunity to learn interesting details about the modern manned space flight and Mikhail Kornienko with great effort took time to answer their questions. Apart from students and schoolchildren, the teachers eagerly awaited their turn at the microphones as well, to ask questions that were of interest to them.

The astronaut talked about the aspects of flight preparation, exhausting testing, everyday life on the ISS, significance of the scientific experiments conducted at the station, his interaction with colleagues from other countries, extraordinary situations, and how the specially recorded sounds of a thunderstorm helped him and his colleague from USA to cope with being away from home. He also spoke about the future of space exploration and the joint work of Rosatom and Roscosmos (Russian State Corporation for Space Activities) on the development of a nuclear energy for spacecraft.

At each of the meetings, Mikhail Kornienko emphasized that space flight makes one realize how “small” our planet is and how pointless the contradictions between countries are. He noted that the ISS remains an example of peaceful cooperation between people of different nationalities and only when we reach such level of cooperation and all countries unite their efforts, will mankind be able to accomplish a grandiose breakthrough in the exploration of outer space.

 Many participants in the meetings with the Russian cosmonaut expressed their gratitude to the Russian Federation for their assistance in the development of the Indian space program, the construction of the Kudankulam NPP, and stressed the importance of constructive and friendly relations between our peoples. The start of the Festival of Science received a broad and positive assessment by local media.

On July 25, the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Center inaugurated the second stage of the Festival of Science. More than 200 schoolchildren took part in a contest of mock-ups of nuclear power plants and drawings on the topic of clean energy.  Educational lectures on nuclear power and other topics were held at Chennai’s oldest College - Loyola, at the Department of Nuclear Physics of Madras University, as well as in major schools in the city. The lecturers were scientific journalist and editor of the popular science blog metkere.com, Ilya Kabanov, the co-author of more than 20 popular science books, brochures and websites on nuclear technologies and radiation safety - senior lecturer of the St. Petersburg State Technological Institute, Andrey Akatov, and former Director for Public Awareness of the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India, Professor K. Malhotra. Within the framework of a very interesting dialogue with students and school children, the reporters analyzed in detail all aspects of the construction and operation of nuclear power plants, safety, ecology, waste management, and discussed promising scientific developments and features of the innovative economics.

Within the scope of the festival, the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Center hosted screenings of Russian animated films organized with the support of the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), the "Parovoz” studio and BCBG studios. The editor-in-chief of the TV channel "Carousel" and the producer of the television channel "Mult" - Tatyana Tsyvareva, the marketing director of the TV channels "Carousel" and "Mult" - Alla Kurganova, the general director of BCBG studios - Sergey Shitov and children's animator & the presenter of the children's TV show on the "Carousel" channel, Kirill Nikitin, organized a truly bright and exciting program for children who, on the festival days, gathered at the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Center from various cities in the State of Tamil Nadu.

Also within the framework of the festival several specialized events for the media took place, including a press conference with the head of the ASE in India, Sergei Petrovich Orlov.

In total, more than 6000 people were guests and participants of the Festival of Science.

Many participants expressed their gratitude to the Russian Federation for their assistance in the development of the Indian space program, the military industry and, of course, the construction of the Kudankulam NPP, emphasizing the importance of constructive and friendly relations between our peoples. The festival of science received a broad and positive assessment in local media.