The next stream of 340 students of St. Petersburg Mining University began mastering the theoretical course of the basic scientific competence "Philosophy of Science". During the semester the students will get acquainted with the basics of patenting and publication activities, in particular, they will learn how to work with scientometric databases and justify the choice of methodology for their research.
At the end of the program, each of them will make a review of articles by leading scientists of the world in their field of study and defend it before an expert committee. The best students will be awarded a first-category certificate of research students, which entitles them to enter graduate school on "special competitive terms."
How interesting and, most importantly, useful is this form of education for young people who associate their future with teaching or research activities? Forpost decided to address this question to master's students who mastered the basic scientific competence "Philosophy of Science" last year, and now consolidate the theoretical knowledge in practice. They conduct laboratory experiments, interpret the data obtained and write their first ever scientific paper.
Sofia Tesovskaya studies on the profile of training "Economics and management at the enterprises of the mineral complex". This field of study is highly demanded by the business, because the curriculum includes not only general economic disciplines, but also special disciplines related to the activities of specific industries and enterprises. In her opinion, the main advantage of the course is that "the students get an opportunity to identify the most urgent problems in their areas of study and find the best ways to solve them."
"In the process of studying profile publications that are indexed in the Scopus science database, there is a deep dive into a certain area of knowledge. We train our analytical and critical thinking, gain experience in public speaking, because then we defend our reviews in front of experts. But most importantly, we create a scientific reserve for the future, because the knowledge that we gained will be an integral part of the final master's thesis "- said Sofia Tesovskaya.
Nikolai Suranov, who studies at the Department of Land Management and Cadastre, agrees with her. He specializes in automated decoding of satellite images for land supervision and monitoring purposes.
"While studying the Scopus database, I found quite a few articles related to the use of innovative technologies, such as neural networks, for image processing. In Russia, there are far fewer such publications. Despite the fact that we were the first to fly into space and are still one of the leaders in the space industry, our country does not think too much about the implementation of the latest tools in the field of decoding satellite images. So there is a huge scope for scientific creativity," said Nikolay Suranov.
Olga Gorina's scientific interests are related to hydrogen technologies. When choosing this research direction, she was primarily guided by European scientists, who predicted brilliant prospects for the lightest gas in nature. Today it has become obvious that there are too many barriers to the use of hydrogen in the energy sector. Nevertheless, the first number of the Mendeleev Table is quite capable of expanding its rather narrow niche in the market.
"It was very important for me to understand not only how to properly search for scientific articles in databases, but also how to determine the level of the journal in which they are printed. As for hydrogen, of course, Western scientists, in my opinion, somewhat overestimate its potential. Nevertheless, research in this direction (as evidenced by the analysis of a number of publications) remains extremely relevant. For example, it is possible to increase the coefficient of utilization of the installed capacity of nuclear power plants and their efficiency through production of hydrogen and its combustion in hydrogen-oxygen chambers for high-temperature steam superheating," says Olga Gorina.
Today, young scientists are busy with the practical part of their research. For example, Sofia Tesovskaya is writing a scientific article on the sustainable development of the coal industry in an unstable global economy. This is an important topic. On the one hand, it would seem that sanctions restrictions and the green agenda put a fat end to the industry's prospects. On the other hand, last year the global demand for black gold exceeded 8 billion tons, which was a historical record. Both Europe, which gave up on Russian pipeline gas, and the Asian states, for which methane has become too expensive, increased their consumption. So which way will the scales swing?
"Any predictions must be based on accurate economic calculations. But in order to get reliable results in the study and answer all your questions, scientific validity is just as important, based on the systematization of data from similar studies. And here it is very difficult to overestimate the usefulness of the Philosophy of Science program. Moreover, I can hardly imagine how it is possible to prepare a high-quality scientific article without the theoretical and methodological training that we received in the framework of mastering this competence," believes Sofia Tesovskaya.
The purpose of Nikolay Suranov's experiments is to compare traditional methods of image processing from space and innovative methods based on algorithms built by a neural network. This work has just begun, so it is too early to talk about the results, but, as the young scientist believes, his research will improve the accuracy and speed of image processing.
"The feasibility of using satellite imagery for land monitoring has long been proven and does not need additional justification. But the advantages of using a neural network, which is able to process incoming information as efficiently as possible and provide reliable results, have yet to be confirmed. This is an extremely important work, because the more transparent land supervision, the clearer the picture of the real situation. Whether there are facts of unauthorized logging, illegal land use or land degradation - the neural network can give more accurate answers to these and many other questions", - said Nikolay Suranov.
As you know, philosophy of science is a branch of philosophy that studies the concept, limits, and methodology of science. As a separate direction, it was formed in the nineteenth century and at the first stage represented positivism. Its aim was, above all, the rejection of speculative constructions and unverifiable judgments, that is, the requirement to base its conclusions on experimental evidence.
It is precisely experiments that will form the basis of the graduate master's theses of the students of St. Petersburg Mining University who have received the basic scientific competence "Philosophy of Science." During mastering this course, young scientists learned, among other things, how to choose the right research methodology, as well as compiled opinions about the uncertainties and simplifications that are found in publications in the areas of their scientific interests. In other words, they saw niches where they can prove themselves by obtaining new high-quality and reliable scientific results.
Last year, on the initiative of the university administration, the Philosophy of Science program became mandatory for all graduate programs, as well as for those who are planning to enter graduate school. Rector Vladimir Litvinenko, justifying this decision, reminds us that today "Russia is largely living off the groundwork created back in Soviet times." But in order for our country to solve the problem of maintaining technological sovereignty, it is necessary to raise a new generation of young scientists who will participate in real scientific projects from their college years and feel themselves creators of the future. Well, we must dance, as they say, from the stove.
"Science and discovery are, first and foremost, experiments. The article is the language of the scientist. It is very important to learn how to write it correctly. Especially nowadays, there are many papers written using combinations of several other publications. This is the basis of pseudoscience. It is possible to become a part of the world scientific and educational community only if the article is created on the basis of a motivated experiment in the field of engineering research. Moreover, during it, the research methodology was chosen correctly and its scientific validity was proved, which allows improving the quality and reliability of the obtained knowledge," says Vladimir Litvinenko.
The mission of domestic higher education institutions today is not only to help students get a diploma or improve their potential through additional knowledge and skills. It is equally important to educate these young people as patriots, who strive for self-fulfillment exclusively in those spheres, which contribute to social and economic development of our country. The basic scientific competence "Philosophy of Science" is the most important part of the strategy of Russia's oldest technical university aimed at implementing these tasks. This academic year, almost nine hundred students will master the program.