How is student scientific work organised and is it of any practical value?

Grigori Reznichenko ::: Young people in the USSR. Answers to questions

To the second half of the question the answer is a definite "Yes". But that is not the main point.

When in 1950 student scientific societies were set up in 200 Soviet colleges and universities, only a small number of students~and those the most gifted- took part in their work. Today almost one out of three are involved. In many colleges scientific re­search is becoming a part of the required pro­gramme for every student.

To achieve good results in this new programme, the colleges must have the necessary resources.

Take the case of the Petroleum Engineering Col­lege in Ufa, the capital of the Bashkir autonomous republic. Some years ago it established two student scientific centres. Two things made this possible. First, the staff included 30 lecturers holding Doctor of Science degrees and more than 300 with Candi­date of Science degrees. Second, the college is af­filiated with a number of large, well-equipped scien­tific research institutes. In the new building for the oil-mining department of the college, for instance, there is a real drilling rig. Computer facilities are also available to the students.

And so the college is able to carry out research for industry. Research contracts for one year run into as much as five million roubles. This covers about the same amount of work as done by a big scientific-research institute.

The student design office at the Moscow Aviation Institute has developed equipment using direct-cur­rent motors that have none of the usual contacts. They have a v/ide field of application. They are used, for instance, in medicine to set artificial hearts in motion.

If in the past it was college students from such cities as Moscow, Leningrad, Rostov, and Tomsk who were known for their research work, today they are facing some stiff competition from students in other towns. The Tula Polytechnical College, for instance, now has 43 student design and research bodies. In just one year they won four medals and nine diplomas at national contests, and published about 200 scientific papers. That is a fairly typical example.

Most important of all-more important than the inventions and the economic effect-is the fact that students acquire experience in scientific work, in tackling some of the most important problems in science and technology.