Festival of Science in Chennai

On the 20th of July 2017, was the inauguration of 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 ASE Group of Companies, an engineering division of Rosatom, and with the support of Rossotrudnichestvo representative office, Russian Center of Science and Culture, Chennai.

“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 Group of Companies.

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 second stage of the Festival of Science will begin.  The RCSC Chennai, the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Center, Madras University, the oldest College, Loyola, as well as the city's major schools will host guest lectures on nuclear power and other topics. The lecturers will be Ilya Kabanov, scientific journalist, editor of the popular science blog metkere.com, and 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, Andrei Akatov.