Russian Quantum Center, or New microcosm of our science

With advances in quantum physics bind future scientific revolution on the brink of which, many scientists believe, is civilization. Russia is trying to become a member of these great events and opens the quantum center, which will work with scientists all over the world — the best of the best in their fields. Pre-project of the Center was approved four months ago, the other day it was finally approved by the scientific board of Skolkovo. On how the new structure will facilitate the development and internationalization of domestic science — in an interview with a member of the management committee of the Centre, Professor at the University of Calgary in Canada Alexander Lvov.


Alexander Lvov"We hope to create an environment in
which leading scientists will seriously consider the option of
in the Russian center. "

— Alexander, tell us, what will be the Russian Quantum Center and at all why create it?
You see, according to Moore’s Law, the computers are getting faster because the chips, of which they are composed are increasingly complex. Each chip can fit more transistors, the size of which is constantly decreasing and will soon be comparable to the size of atoms. This means that we are approaching the boundary between the macroscopic world in which we live, and the microcosm, which is controlled by completely different laws — the laws of quantum physics. When we approach close to the quantum boundary, all of our knowledge and ability, all of our intuition that we have gained over one hundred years of classical electronics, will be useless.

That is, imagine that you have come to the stadium and found that the ball is flying at the same time through two gates and behaves differently, depending on whether there is a crowd in the stadium or not. To that extent is not intuitive to us is the quantum world. So it makes sense now, although we assume that it will not happen today, but within a decade or two, to prepare for the crossing of the quantum abroad to study, that for him to develop technologies that will come in handy after we step into this microcosm . And, of course, to train personnel to be aware of quantum physics and who will administer this quantum revolution itself, when the society will face her.

— As far as today is the advanced research area in the world, whether centers, like the one to be established in Russia?

In the world it is a very popular destination. Has established several centers devoted exclusively to quantum topics, almost every good physical institute has one or two laboratories that conduct theoretical and experimental research in this vein. For example, the two organizations in the structure of the Max Planck Society in Germany is working on quantum physics — Institute for Quantum Optics and the Institute of the science of light. In Barcelona there is an institute of photonics, the tiny state of Singapore set up a separate structure for the study of quantum technology, which invested $ 100 million. And, of course, the United States runs a lot of institutions that are either wholly or partially engaged in quantum theme.

— In Russia, too many physical institutions, the structure of which could be open quantum center. Why do decide to create a new organization?
Here the whole point is that our institute will be part of the international research system, while today’s academic institutions, unfortunately, on the contrary lose their integration into the international community. As a rule, scientists are not able to interact with their counterparts from foreign research centers. In modern conditions such an approach impossible to work.

The scientific article, like many others, is a market, albeit a very specific product.

In this segment, there is also an international competition, buyers, some metrics of success. Now the situation is such that most of the Russian academic institutions do not participate in this system, there are not any on the market. It turns out, it is easier to create a new organization, you turn the already established a working path of existing institutions.

— At what stage is the project of the Center now? Know who it is headed, who will work there?

Formally, the project of the Russian Quantum Center has been pre-approved four months ago, the other day it was finally approved by the scientific board of Skolkovo. To date, a draft of a new building, there is a budget. As long as there is no space of their own, the laboratory will work in the building of Moscow State University in agreement with the university. We will repair it a little bit, and since the beginning of 2012 will start scientific work.

As for the staff, they are matched only to key positions. Formed an international advisory board composed of leading scientists working in our area, as well as the board of trustees of the representatives of big business and government. The list is on the site of the Center. These people will not engage in actual scientific work at the center, but will provide overall management and control over its operations. Their authority in academic, business and political circles is the guarantor of the quality of the scientific production center. If this quality is low or, say, the funding will be used properly, they are not afraid to speak out about it.

In addition, there is a steering committee (in which I am), which is engaged in the creation of the Center in Moscow. Will head the committee and the Centre Tommaso Kalarko, Ulm University professor, an experienced organizer of science, the coordinator of several European research projects.

Then another, from 13 to 17 July in Moscow will host a conference organized by the Centre, which will come the best minds from around the world. There’s disposition is as follows: approximately twenty people will be leading scientists and about forty young scientists who, we hope, be interested in the possibility of working in the Centre and we right there at the conference will be able to interview in order to understand whether it was appropriate to bring them into permanent positions. That is, this conference will give us an opportunity to recruit the first members, and they will have to look for a post-docs, graduate students. Someone can go straight to the practice abroad to six months, they could already be working in the Center on their projects. Of course, we will also give job advertisements in the leading scientific journal Nature, Physics Today, Science.

— The guidance of the Center many famous scientists, is a Nobel laureate. How difficult was it to collect a representative team?
This was made possible thanks to Misha Lukin — one of the initiators of the project, the head of the international advisory council of the center. He is about forty years old, he went to Russia, and now — a professor at Harvard University … Today, he is perhaps one of the most influential scientists in the field of quantum physics. When he issued the call that in Russia are going to organize such a center, many responded. But, of course, not only because of his authority, but also due to the fact that the world has great respect for the Russian scientific mentality, traditions and history.

Many see the colossal loss that recent Russian science lost its position. And the purpose of the revival of Russian science, which we set ourselves very close to the hearts of many scientists in the world.

— Under what conditions is expected to involve in the Center "the best of the best ‘?
We hope to create an environme
nt in which people will seriously consider the option of working in the Russian center.
First, we offer a decent salary at leading research centers, and perhaps even higher. If my university in Calgary graduate student receives 2000 dollars a month, postdoc — 3000-4000, a young professor — 6000, a leading professor — even more, respectively, there will need to offer a higher salary, because Russia does not yet have an established reputation in the organization of leading research centers, in addition, life in Moscow and more complex and more expensive than the same in Canada. But, of course, is important not only wages, but also funding research, we hope that in this respect greatly surpass competing organizations. It will be a very powerful factor in attracting smart people.

— With this budget, probably, all the other problems in the organization of the Russian science are not so sensitive …
Yeah, Vysotsky’s song is: "I used to pick Moscow uranium found at a higher salary …" In fact, it is certainly not the case. Because even if the money issue, then you can dispose of them in different ways: you can dig into the ground, can be unwise to spend or simply steal. Because there is the next level of the pyramid — is the management science. It should be honest and competent. But that’s not all, because there is no scientific institute in a vacuum, and interacts with the state, in particular, with its legal system, which in Russia is completely adapted to the internationalization of science. For example, there is a huge problem with customs or the problem of the recognition of foreign academic degrees, difficulties in obtaining visas.

Plus, there’s another important factor — the health of society. People who come here, to be sure that they do not rob and kill, if they go to the hospital, they will heal not to death, and their children are tortured in the army. Actually, if the public health, it is easy to construct a fundamental science. There are many examples: the same Singapore, Canada and Spain. You just need to provide funding, to find smart people, and they will arrange everything. Since Russia is much more complicated.

However, there are some advantages to which I have already said — the glorious history of science, the scientific tradition. In Russia, at last, there is a diaspora. In addition, the society and the country’s leadership understands that basic science to develop. The newly created Skolkovo, where the legal framework for a little relaxed and have a good financing. Due to these factors, there is hope that, if we act in an intelligent, will achieve the desired objectives.

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