The festival of science and technology has become traditional in our 200-year-old University. It is aimed at not only polytechnics but also a wide education community of Lviv and Lviv region, as well as guests of our city and, first and foremost, children and youth. This year’s Science Festivities will be held on Saturday, April 22. The event begins at 10 am near Lviv Polytechnic main building.
All University units, academic institutes’ councils of young scientists in particular, are engaged in organizing and holding the Festivities. Traditionally, the Institute of Chemistry and Chemical Technologies is widely represented at the Festivities. Oleksandr Ivashchuk, PhD, used to be Head of the council of young scientists of the Institute. We had a conversation with him.
– Oleksandr, how do you understand the aim of the Science Festivities? What is the target audience and what effect is expected?
– I can say that you cannot expect a quick effect – in a couple of weeks or even months. The interest in science, in scientific thinking can be formed throughout years. The Science Festivities are, of course, educational. However, in my opinion, this is an important component of professional orientation work, encouraging best prospective students to study in Lviv Polytechnic.
We would like to see in the audience of the Science Festivities not only high school pupils. The aspiration to become a scientist is formed in the early childhood. Young children need to get an impulse for scientific perception of the world. We have not only to tell them about things, we need to show them things. And it should be done in the form of a show. If a child develops an interest in it, if it becomes part of a child’s soul, he/she will be willing to study in Lviv Polytechnic.
We are trying to make this festival creative and dynamic. The main form is an experiment. Of course, we avoid dangerous experiments. I am always interested in watching children. There is a boy (he is about ten now), who has come to the festival several years in a row. He observes everything and asks questions.
– Obviously, a lot of components of the festival program of your Institute will be the same?
– We cannot avoid this. Traditionally, we hold a 3-D drawing on the pavement competition near Thullie bridge. Some of the prizes include helium filled balloons. They fly into the sky with the logo «I love Polytechnic». We stick to the good reliable things, although we understand that better is the antipode of good.
All those present at the Festivities always enjoy seeing lava flowing out of a plastic volcano. A very spectacular thing is a toothpaste for the elephant. We are also going to have stands with the samples of natural resources, so that children, for example, can touch a piece of coal. It is quite a curio for city children. We are also going to install a microscope, so that everyone can feel him/herself a scientist looking at microorganisms. This year (it depends on the weather), we are going to offer luminescent nail polish. We are also planning to carry out an experiment with dry ice. We know where to get it and how to transport it.
– Last year, there was an interesting interactive quiz show. I participated in it, although I was able to answer only one question. I knew that the most widespread chemical element in the Universe is Hydrogen…
– There will be a quiz show at the Festivities again. The questions will be of different levels. We are trying to show the young generation that science is not only about working hard every day, but it is also about enjoying finding out something new, discovering something. Science can be interesting, fun and cool.
– Can you tell us something about yourself?
– I studied at school № 1 in Kamyanka-Buzka. In 1997, I became a student of the Institute of Chemistry at Lviv Polytechnic…
– I know one academician, who specializes in Chemistry. He said that he had hated Chemistry at school…
– I loved Chemistry. My Mum, Lyudmyla Mykolayivna, is a Chemistry teacher at school. I entered Polytechnic, and not Chemistry faculty of Franko University, probably because my father taught the History of Ukraine, Science and Technology in our University.
– The Department of Chemical Engineering, which you represent, mostly deals with fundamental or applied research?
– It is an organic combination of science and engineering practice. We study everything connected with chemical processes and apparatuses, in which these processes occur. Now our researchers promote and develop a very important new specialization for Master degree students – «Computer chemical engineering». We are teaching this course for the first year, using state-of-the-art software – SolidWorks, Ansys etc. A lot of chemical processes can be and have to be modeled on the computer. It has a significant economic impact. It speeds up and makes the process cheaper. It also increases the quality of the product.