Saturday, 18 July 2015

A week in Dubna

I have been spending this week at a conference in Dubna, Russia.  The town was build immediately after the Second World War for the Soviet nuclear research programme, and is the home of Russia's main facility for basic nuclear physics research (as opposed to weapons research, which took place in a number of cities which are still closed).

Perhaps it is most famous for the discovery of some of the superheavy elements -- those elements in the periodic table that are too short-lived to be found naturally-occurring on Earth, but which can, and have been, created in the laboratory. 

The picture attached to this post if a statue of Georgy Flerov, and in the plaque you can see the symbol Fl and the atomic number 114, since Flerovium was named in his honour.  Dubnium is element 105.

I must confess, I was kind of expecting Dubna to be an ugly place,  It was built for a specific purpose in Stalin's time and I expected it to be pretty utilitarian, and not pretty.  Actually, it's a rather attractive place (at least the bit where I am staying), with nice buildings, the Volga cutting through the town, and the forest, which was not cleared when building the town, resulting in trees disturbing practically every pavement.