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"We research and design microeconomic strategy programs targeting poverty and childcare reform. To date these have been 'soft power' initiatives in Eastern Europe aimed at demonstrating the spirit of friendship and compassion to promote peace between nations. In this regard we consider that Peace Is Our Business."
Oleg Aleksandrovich Lavrentyev , the man who wrote to Khuschev in 1950 announcing that he knew how to make an H-bomb. spent his working life in Kharkiv. He died in February 2011.
The main aims for creating a new Center for Fundamental Science Research in Physical Sciences, to be located at Kharkiv National University, are 1) gathering in one place the most prominent fundamental scientists of Kharkiv and the East region of Ukraine, to organize high level scientific production at high internationally recognized standards; and, 2) to provide fruitful exchange of ideas and visits with scientists from US and other western countries.
The general goals of the Center for Fundamental Science Research are:
1. Maintain leadership across the frontiers of scientific fundamental knowledge in Ukraine.
2. Enhance connections between fundamental research and national goals of Ukraine development.
3. Stimulate mutually beneficial partnerships with western countries, especially with the US, that promote investments in fundamental science and effective use of physical and human resources of eastern Ukraine.
4. Produce the finest scientists for twenty-first century Ukraine.
5. Raise the scientific and technological literacy of all Ukrainians.
6. Make valuable contributions into international fundamental science.
One of the most important aspects of general prosperity of any country, including Ukraine, is development of science. Western countries invest in science not because they are wealthy, but the opposite: they are wealthy because they invest in science. In Ukraine the scientific field now mostly retains old (pre-independence) level of functionality, organization and efficacy, which does not respond to the needs of social development and modern progress. Scientists now must reexamine and reshape the science policy both to sustain continuity and succession in science and to facilitate the role of science in the broader national interest.
Each core element of the national interest requires strong commitment to scientific research and education. Through scientific discovery, scientists enlist the forces of the natural world to solve many of the uniquely human problems: feeding and providing energy to a growing population, improving human health and security, taking responsibility for protecting the environment and the global ecosystem. Scientific discoveries inspire and enrich any country, teaching about the mysteries of life and the nature of the world. Ukraine's future demands investment in people, institutions and ideas. Science is an essential part of that investment, an endless and sustainable resource with extraordinary dividends. Science is also an endless resource: in advancing the frontier: knowledge of the physical and living world constantly expands. The unfolding secrets of nature provide new knowledge to address crucial challenges, often in unpredictable ways. Moreover, science fuels technology the engine of economic growth that creates jobs, builds new industries, and improves the standard of living.
Ukrainian science should become an integrated, yet distinct, part of world science, preserving national priorities, resources and ways of their realization. Thus the most important direction of science in Ukraine as the most developed former Soviet republic is fundamental science. It is essential to the future of Ukraine to invest in fundamental research. The return on investments in fundamental science can be enormous, both through the knowledge generated and through the education of a world-class scientific and technical workforce. Discoveries in mathematics, physics, and biology and other fundamental sciences in Ukraine can seed and drive important advances in engineering, medicine, and technology, especially in view of recent political changes. In general, the level of fundamental science can be considered as one gauge of characteristics of democracy and internal social reforms, and first steps of Ukraine in this direction are promising. A primary task now is restoration of prestige to Ukrainian fundamental science as a whole, which can among other reforms in general promote Ukraine advancement into the family of developed countries.
Noteworthy aspects of fundamental science development in Ukraine include:
$ Ukrainian scientific history. Kharkiv scientists count very significant discoveries: nuclear fission of lithium, obtaining liquid hydrogen and helium, vacuum metallurgy, radiolocation devices.
$ The Eastern region is - industrially and scientifically - the most developed part of Ukraine with old research traditions, with many universities and students.
$ Kharkiv science education was very high level in the past, and should be very promising for investment and support.
$ Recent difficulties in continuing high-level, world-class science are mostly due to financial problems throughout Ukraine. These problems can themselves be overcome by deploying huge human scientific potential. Kharkiv had as many as 30 high level educational institutes and Universities, where many students had opportunity to study and search for application of their knowledge. It will be very beneficial to re-engage students in scientific research on the modern level.
$ In the past most fundamental research was in FSU laboratories which were part of closed and secret institutions providing defense elaborations. This was in general an obstacle in the way of its development.
Fruitful and productive exchange of ideas and scientists with western institutions and universities began to emerge only recently after first democratic changes in Ukraine. It is critical to expand and prolong this cooperation into the future.
In general, the return on investment in Ukrainian fundamental science can be enormous, both through the knowledge generated and through the education of the scientific and technical workforce.
The Center will start with 4 laboratories each headed by a tenured scientist.
1. Laboratory of Theoretical Particle Physics and Supersymmetry
2. Laboratory of Modern Gravity and Relativistic Cosmology
3. Laboratory of Quantum Computations and Quantum Groups
4. Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Simulation of Biological Processes
The placement of the Center is the North Building of Kharkiv National University. Disposition inside the University - the openness (not a part of a secret institution) and accessibility to students with common seminars on a regular basis and lectures for them and by them - will allow involvement of students in the research process from their first years of study, and so engender creative thinking for the future development of the Center and Ukraine.
U.S. institutes and universities with which the Center will collaborate include:
$ Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
$ John Hopkins University, Baltimore
$ University of Illinois, Chicago
$ Institute of Theoretical Physics, Stony Brook
$ University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
$ City University of New York, New York
$ University of California, Santa Barbara
$ University of Maryland, College Park
$ Texas A&M University, College Station
$ Yale University, New Haven
$ Arizona Stet University, Tempe
$ Florida State University, Tallahassee
$ Northwestern University, Evanston
$ University of Rochester, Rochester
$ NCBI, Bathesda
$ Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle
The creation of the Center for Fundamental Research in the Natural Sciences at Kharkiv National University can be supported and is recommended by the following US experts in related fields: Jonathan Bagger (John Hopkins University, Baltimore), Gerald Goldin (DIMACS, Rutgers), Louis Kauffman (University of Illinois, Chicago), Warren Siegel (Institute of Theoretical Physics, Stony Brook), Jim Stasheff (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill); Steven Adler (Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton University.)
Budget for the Center for Basic Research is an estimated $300,000 per year. A one-time foundation grant of $3 million is requested to sustain this budget. This amount will be deposited in a Ukrainian currency (hyrvnia) account yielding an annual interest payment of about 14%. Balance beyond the estimated annual budget will remain in the account to accrue interest and provide a buffer against inflation. The grant will remain under control of a joint Ukrainian-US board of directors, to be determined according to a foundation charter to be drawn up following approval in principle of the project.