From October 23 to 27, Samara National Research University named after Academician Sergey P. Korolev receives participants of the international collaboration SPD (Spin Physics Detector) NICA. These are theoretical physicists and experimenters, engineers, electronics engineers and software developers. All of them are busy preparing an experiment at the new ion collider, which will be launched in 2023 on the basis of the upgraded NICA nuclotron of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna. It makes it possible to recreate in laboratory conditions a special state of matter in which our universe was in the first moments after the Big Bang — quark-gluon plasma.

158 scientists have registered for the “VI International SPD Collaboration Meeting and seminar on information technologies in natural sciences”. Out of the total number of people, 41 came to Samara to participate in the discussions in person, and 10 of them are employees of Samara University named after Sergey P. Korolev. The rest participate in the discussion remotely, via videoconference. The programme includes 55 reports on the subject of the planned experiment at the NICA collider and 12 reports on the topic of the seminar “Information technologies in natural sciences”.

“Theoretical physics is at the forefront of understanding the properties of matter. Today, physicists are talking about studying the spin structure of the deuteron and proton. The fundamental properties of the strong interaction are now the subject of many scientific studies, and this is an indicator that modern physics is developing very quickly,” — Andrey Prokofiev, First provost – provost for Research at Samara University named after Sergey P. Korolev, addressed the participants of the collaboration, opening the working meeting.

For the first time, such an event is of a visiting nature and takes place not in Dubna, within the walls of JINR, but on the site of Samara University named after Sergey P. Korolev, one of the participants of the SPD collaboration, which currently includes 33 research centres from 14 countries, and in total more than 300 scientists. It is symbolic that The Regional Centre for the Development of Public Diplomacy and International Relations named after Yevgeniy M. Primakov became the venue for the current discussion.

The scientific group of Samara University specialists involved in the preparation of the experiment at NICA is headed by Professor Vladimir Saleev, Head of the Department of General and Theoretical Physics of the Faculty of Physics of the Natural Science Institute. The group presented two thematic reports at the meeting on the topics “Joint birth of J/Ψ mesons and photons on SPD NICA” (Lev Alimov), “On the birth of a ηc-particle on SPD NICA” (Anton Anufriev). The head of the group, Vladimir Saleev, presented a report on the work of the Samara group for 2023.

Alexey Guskov, Head of the Scientific and Experimental Department of Counter Beams of the Laboratory of Nuclear Problems named after Dzhelepov of JINR noted the good organisation of the meeting on the part of Samara University named after Sergey P. Korolev.

“We see that outside the collective of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, your university has a group of scientists who enjoy the support of their university and are able to take responsibility for organising such a significant event. It is very important for us both the scientific contribution of Samara University named after Sergey P. Korolev to the preparation of the experiment and its participation in the processing of large amounts of data that we will receive after its start. Here we are interested in your developments in the field of neural networks, and the computing power of a supercomputer, “Sergey Korolev, — Alexey Guskov shared. — We also attach great importance to informal communication between scientists and engineers, which is already taking place “on the sidelines” of our working meeting. The equipment is unique, and the success of the experiment largely depends on the engineering decisions made,” — said the co–head of the SPD collaboration.

The experiment being prepared by nuclear physicists will help resolve the so-called “spin crisis” of the quark model of elementary particles. The SPD (Spin Physics Detector) NICA collaboration was created in 2019 specifically to study the spin structure of the proton and deuteron – the nucleus of the deuterium atom, one of the isotopes of hydrogen.

Scientists will try to establish how the spin (angular momentum) of these particles is distributed in space. To do this, it is planned to collide oncoming polarized beams of protons and deuterons with a collision energy of up to 27 GeV and observe the spin phenomena occurring.

The ability to work with polarized deuteron beams at such energies is a unique feature of the NICA accelerator complex (Nuclotron based Ion Collider fAcility) being created on the basis of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna), designed to study the properties of dense baryonic matter. The planned experiment bridges the kinematic gap between research at low-energy accelerators and at the European Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Now the preparatory work is at the stage of international expertise of the technical design of the experimental installation. Its launch is scheduled for 2028. By this time, all the components of the installation should be designed, manufactured and mounted on an existing ion collider based on the NICA nuclotron. It is also necessary to develop and debug software for processing the received data and combine the computing power of the collaboration participants.

“Participation in the study of the spin structure of the proton and deuteron, as well as other spin phenomena in colliding beams at the NICA ion collider is very important for the development of the natural science direction at the university. Working in the SPD collaboration, computer simulation of spin processes brings Samara University to the forefront of particle physics. Participation in this project is included in the “Development Strategy of Samara University until 2030,” — said Professor Vladimir Saleev. – It is equally important for the university to use its developments in the field of artificial intelligence and computing power in the process of processing big data obtained during the experiment at NICA. The volumes of such data are so large that their processing takes years. We have a unique opportunity to accelerate the receipt of world-class scientific results.”

A one-day seminar on IT technologies in natural sciences is devoted to the topic of data processing obtained in nuclear experiments in the program of the meeting. It will be opened by a lecture by Sergey Shmatov, Director of the JINR Information Technology Laboratory, on the topic “Information technologies to support multidisciplinary research”. Reports from Samara University named after Sergey P. Korolev will be presented by Nikolay Kazansky, Professor of the Department of Technical Cybernetics, Artem Nikonorov, Director of the Institute of Artificial Intelligence, Sergey Vostokin, Head of the Department of Software Systems and Andrey Sukhov, Professor of the Department of Software Systems.

“On the sidelines” of the five-day working meeting, Alexey Guskov delivered a popular science lecture to students of Samara University and high school students about the features of modern experiment in elementary particle physics.

Alexey Guskov drew attention to the fact that the effect of fundamental science is manifested in three directions: this is our worldview, these are expensive technologies that are “run-in” on research equipment and go into industry, medicine, and these are qualified personnel. Not everyone is able to rise to the heights of fundamental science, but the environment that is formed around it feeds both applied science and high-tech industries with highly qualified specialists.

“Professor Guskov’s public lecture will help arouse students’ and schoolchildren’s interest in physics. And maybe later some of them will become outstanding scientists,” — Andrey Prokofiev believes.

Photo: Olesya Orina

Source: Samara University.