St Petersburg University has held the international conference ‘Nucleus 2021. Nuclear Physics and Elementary Particle Physics. Nuclear Physics Technologies’. It brought together over 500 scientists from 25 countries worldwide. They engage with the world’s leading centres for nuclear physics.

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Established in 1951, the international conference on nuclear physics is the oldest conference in Russia and among the oldest conferences across the globe. The conference was established by St Petersburg University Professor Boris Dzhelepov who opened and was the first head of the Department of Nuclear Physics at St Petersburg University.

Opening the forum of international scientists, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Physics at St Petersburg University Aleksei Titov said that 70 Union-wide and international conferences on nuclear physics have made a positive contribution in how nuclear physics has been developing in our country. Professor Viktor Matveev is Research Director of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and a Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Welcoming the participants, he said that the conference focused primarily on exchanging advanced experience and knowledge in nuclear physics and ensuring constructive dialogue and collaboration between experienced talented scientists from across the globe.

The conference marks the trends, development processes, and changing priorities in nuclear physics, as Mr Titov put it. In his opinion, the recent years have spur on interest and enthusiasm in: statistical state of atomic nuclei; ultrahigh-energy nuclear physics; applied aspects of nuclear physics; and mega-science projects in the field. This can be evidenced by what the reports delivered at the conference focused on.

'The results of the experiments carried out by almost all international nuclear physics collaborations were presented at the plenary reports and sections. The meetings were attended by representatives of all research centres for nuclear physics in Russia and the CIS,’ said Vladimir Zherebchevsky, chairman of the ‘Nucleus 2021’ programme committee, Head of the Educational Laboratory of Nuclear Processes at St Petersburg University.

The research programme was opened by the report delivered by Luciano Musa, Head of the ALICE collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. The report focused on the experiment on quark-gluon plasma where St Petersburg University scientists were actively engaged.

Among the participants in the plenary session were: Vladimir Voronin, Deputy Director for Science at B.P. Konstantinov Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute at the Kurchatov Institute; Viktor Riabov, Deputy Head of the MPD Collaboration at the NICA accelerator complex designed at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna (Russia); and Paolo Giubellino, Head of the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research. St Petersburg University is also engaged in the experiments carried out by these research centres.

Held annually, 'Nucleus-2021' marks its 71st anniversary this year. The event was organised by St Petersburg University, the National Research Centre 'Kurchatov Institute’, and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research.

The advanced results of experimental research were presented by scientists engaged in the international collaborations at: the European Organisation for Nuclear Research CERN; NICA accelerator complex; Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at the Brookhaven National Laboratory; SuperKEKB accelerator; and the largest neutrino observatories in Russia, China, Germany, Italy, and the South Pole on the continent of Antarctica.

Of particular importance were reports delivered by European and Russian scientists that focused on the achievements in nuclear medicine. Vladimir Zherebchevsky, Candidate of Physics and Mathematics and Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, spoke about new radionuclides for therapy and diagnostics of various diseases and the latest developments of St Petersburg University. Alexander Chernyaev, Professor at Lomonosov Moscow State University, delivered a report on the development of nuclear medicine in the 21st century. Dieter Röhrich, Professor at the University of Bergen, spoke about a unique tomography for proton radiation therapy that is being developed by scientists from nine European countries, including physicists and engineers from St Petersburg University. Lembit Sihver, Professor at Chalmers University of Technology, made a presentation on new nuclear-physical methods to fight cancer cells.  Manjit Dosanjh, CERN Senior Advisor for Medical Applications, spoke about the most up-to-date method of radiation therapy to fight cancer.

Representatives of St Petersburg University also spoke about their experience in international projects. Dmitrii Nesterov, an engineer at the St Petersburg University's Educational Laboratory of Nuclear Processes, and Vera Misheneva, a research engineer at the St Petersburg University's Laboratory of Ultra-High Energy Physics, spoke about cooling systems for detector installations for future colliders: NICA at JINR and new colliders at CERN. They were jointly developed at the Educational Laboratory of Nuclear Processes and the Laboratory of Ultra-High Energy Physics at St Petersburg University. The new generation of cooling systems for detector complexes uses cold nitrogen vapours rather than water cooling. They test the relevant samples. Additionally, the University scientists are developing ultralight supporting structures for pixel detectors of the next generations using the latest carbon composite materials.

What makes the conference different is awarding prizes to the four best poster presentations from NuPECC (Nuclear Physics European Collaboration Committee).

The winners were: Margarita Iliasova (Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) who made a presentation on the study of thermonuclear fusion reactions; Evgenii Sozontov (NRC ‘Kurchatov Institute') who delivered a fascinating report on the study of ancient Roman coins by nuclear physics methods; Anna Petrovskaya (InnoPlasmaTech LLC) who delivered a report that had a practical perspective for the processing of radioactive materials; and Ladislav Grubchin (Institute of Electrical Engineering, Slovak Academy of Sciences) who delivered a report on new silicon detectors.

All materials of the event can be found on the conference website.  The plenary session is available on YouTube.