Binghamton University is playing host to two Russian researchers this year in what could be the start of a full-fledged exchange between the SUNY system and Moscow State University in advanced materials research.
The two post-doctoral fellows — Vladislav Bogoyavlenskiy and Natalya Chesnova — are working in Binghamton’s Materials Research Center as part of an exchange initiated more than a year ago by SUNY Chancellor Robert L. King.
King, who has visited Moscow State several times, is working with Russia’s Minister of Education Vladimir Filippov to develop research partnerships and academic exchanges in several areas between Moscow State and SUNY schools. The system is also investigating opportunities to involve industry.
SUNY officials and industry leaders met with a delegation from Moscow State University in February to explore options in advanced materials. The Russian delegation included Rector Victor Sadovnichii (equivalent to chancellor or president); Yuri Tretyakov, dean of the materials science faculty; and Valery Lunin, dean of the chemistry faculty.
As many as 15 post-doctoral researchers eventually could participate in advanced materials exchanges at Binghamton and other SUNY schools.
Details of the Binghamton exchange, which began in October with the arrival of the two post-doctoral fellows, were worked out when Tretyakov visited Binghamton to meet with M. Stanley Whittingham, professor of chemistry and director of the Institute for Materials Research, and tour Binghamton’s facilities. Whittingham and Tretyakov have known each other professionally for about 20 years.
“Tretyakov and I agreed that the most fruitful initial interactions would be at the postdoc and mid-career faculty level,” Whittingham said. “Postdoctoral fellows from Moscow State will come to Binghamton for a year; at the same time a faculty exchange program would be initiated. A faculty member from MSU might visit here for a month or two, whereas a mid-career Binghamton faculty member might visit MSU for several weeks giving seminars and meeting faculty. This way we would build confidence in each other and be more comfortable in exchanging students.”
The international research division of Corning Inc. has agreed to provide financial support for the two students and said it will consider employing the two at its St. Petersburg research facility upon their return to Russia.
“International research fellowships such as this are the foundation for long-term scientific collaborations,” said Frances E. Carr, vice president for research. “The benefits extend beyond the advancement of scientific inquiry to enhanced global understanding.”
The two researchers, both with PhDs in physics, are working under the direction of Eric Cotts, associate professor of physics who directs thermal analysis research at the center.
Bogoyavlenskiy is investigating theoretical issues related to flow-over obstructions in electronic packaging and fluid dynamics. Chesnova, who is following an experimental approach, has been certified in the nanofabrication laboratory at Cornell University and is learning to use the SQUID facility to measure magnetic properties and the physical vapor deposition system.
In addition, the two have given lectures and are expected to regularly interact with other BU researchers.
Bogoyavlenskiy said that though they have noted some differences in academic approach, they have found many commonalities. “The principles are the same,” he said. “The differences are in the details.”
In particular, they noted that American students have more choices in their subjects and courses and are more independent.