“Russia has something to be proud of”: an astrophysicist on achievements in studying the Universe and returning to the school of astronomy
In Russia in recent years there has been an increased interest in the study of space. This opinion is shared by the Russian astrophysicist, doctor of physical and mathematical sciences, deputy director of the Space Research Institute of the RAS Alexander Lutovinov. He took part in the XIV All-Russian Festival NAUKA 0+ taking place in Moscow these days, where he gave an open lecture on the stars. In a conversation with RT, the scientist also spoke about the successes of our country in the study of outer space, praised the return to the school program of astronomy and commented on the presentation of the Nobel Prize in physics.
- Recently, the Nobel week ended, which brought another prize to the piggy bank of the world achievements of astrophysicists. Can you somehow comment on the work of your colleagues, winners of the 2019 Physics Award?
- The Nobel Prize this year is given for two achievements. One is related to the discovery of exoplanets, which was made by Michel Mayor and Didier Kelo. Swiss astronomers really made a revolutionary discovery. In 1994-1995 they carried out a rather long series of observations, picked up about 150 planets that were similar in their class to the Sun.
Astronomers have discovered that an object is rotating near one of the stars, the mass of which is comparable to Jupiter. For a long time they were confused by the fact that he was very close to his sun. Despite this, they published an article in Nature, and subsequently the discovery of the first exoplanet was confirmed.
It was a giant breakthrough in the exploration of the Universe, because people rushed to build new tools, the Kepler Observatory (an American telescope satellite that was launched in 2009. - RT ) appeared. Thanks to this discovery, today more than 4.5 thousand exoplanets and 3 thousand star systems are already known.
The second prize for cosmology is given to James Peebles, who laid the mathematical foundation in cosmological research. It is important to note that similar studies were actively carried out in the Soviet Union, primarily in the group of Yakov Borisovich Zel'dovich. This year, with a very similar formulation of the prestigious Dirac Prize and Medal, three Russian scientists were awarded: Vyacheslav Mukhanov, Alexey Starobinsky and Rashid Sunyaev.
- Tell us about the most promising space projects on a global scale and about the participation of Russian researchers in them. What discoveries and achievements await us in the near future?
- Russia has something to be proud of. On July 13, 2019, the Spectrum – X-ray – Gamma Observatory was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, on which Russian and German telescopes were installed. Our telescope was created by the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics in Sarov.
The German eRosita, worth € 90 million, is the most advanced telescope that scientific German industry could produce. For four years, this joint observatory with the Germans will scan the sky, which will create the deepest map of the universe. It will be 20-30 more sensitive than its predecessor, the German satellite ROSAT, launched in 1990.
We will penetrate into the depths of the Universe, conduct a census of space objects, look billions of years ago and see clusters of galaxies and black holes in the centers of other galaxies. We will learn more about how the Universe has lived for the past several billion years and, possibly, we will get additional information about what dark energy is.
- “Russia has something to be proud of”: an astrophysicist spoke about achievements in the study of the Universe
- Astronomy has returned to the school curriculum. The Ministry of Education and Science recognized that this subject not only gives an idea of ??the structure of the world, but also motivates students to study physics and mathematics, instills immunity to pseudoscience and pseudoscientific sensations ...
- After much effort and struggle, astronomy really returned to school, and the great merit of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the current Minister of Education Olga Vasilyeva is in this. It is very important. By studying astronomy, you understand mathematics, you can advance in physical problems as far as you can not advance on Earth, because in space there are special conditions and objects that are unattainable on our planet. This is great and interesting, including for young people.
- How willing is modern youth to explore space?
- We have recently experienced a boom, young people come to our institute to study astronomy and astrophysics. Last week, we summed up some intermediate result and found out that we have about 25-30 graduate students in only one department of high-energy astrophysics. So the youth is coming, it’s another matter that we need to stimulate it more. We try to support the guys financially, to help with grants. I hope that our funds will also carry out such work.