Applied Physics Students Now Able to Work in Lab Created by Nobel Laureate
Students of HSE MIEM who are interested in conducting research in high-temperature superconductivity will now be able to carry out experiments using modern equipment in a new laboratory at the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (LPI RAS).
This year, the Applied Physics master’s programme is getting a new professor – Vladimir Pudalov, who is the head of the Department of High-temperature Superconductivity and Superconductor Nanostructures, as well as the laboratory of strongly correlated electron systems, at LPI RAS.
The idea behind creating a high-temperature superconductivity laboratory similar to those at top Western universities such as Princeton and MIT came from physicist and Nobel laureate Vitaly Ginzburg. ‘It is Vitaly Ginzburg in particular who at one time convinced me to drastically change my area of research and start working on high-temperature superconductivity,’ Professor Pudalov notes. ‘The creation of the centre he thought up is currently in its final stages. The people who come work here will be in an advantageous position, as they’ll be able to become the [lab’s] pioneers in a certain sense.’
You can’t learn physics by watching TV – you need to be in the lab
It takes at least ten years for someone to become an expert in the field of physics, Professor Pudalov believes. But it is really important to get involved in real research and experiments at the right time. ‘An education in physics cannot be remote. You can’t learn physics by watching TV – you need to be in the lab,’ Pudalov adds. The MIEM-LPI partnership will offer students this opportunity.
The experimenter oftentimes encounters problems that have to be solved instantaneously, and to do this you need not only a theoretical knowledge of physics, but also technical skills in a number of other fields. In this sense, MIEM students might have an advantage, Professor Pudalov notes.
‘Of course, we aren’t expecting the students to know everything, but they do need to have a basic understanding of what they want to do. They need to come to our lab deliberately and not just because they were placed here. We have several teams working here, each with two or three people. You can also take a look at our website. There’s a lot there for students – information about our equipment, research, results, etc. Plus, it’s possible to come visit us in person and see for yourself if you think you’d like it or not,’ Pudalov says.
Equipment installation is almost complete at the new centre, which is located in its own building on LPI’s campus. The building was specially designed and constructed for carrying out research. There is an entire floor, for example, specifically devoted to high-tech lithography equipment to produce nanostructures of up to 2 nanometres. ‘The equipment is very expensive and exciting, and it’s hard to find just anywhere, let alone in Russia,’ Professor Pudalov adds.
MIEM students will be able to do more than just use the equipment in the lab. The centre, which is headed by Vladimir Pudalov, regularly sends its staff on internships abroad at some of the most advanced Western laboratories. ‘I think that the Higher School of Economics will be interested in organising these kinds of internships for its students as well,’ he says. ‘This is beneficial because it’s how students expand their horizons, see colleagues who have slightly different approaches, and then use this experience in their own experiments.’