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INFO-RUSS: "Post-Soviet Science and Technology" class (fwd)

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>From [email protected] Thu Oct  1 21:43:40 1998
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Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 15:19:28 -0700
To: [email protected]
From: "Andrei G. Chakhovskoi" <[email protected]>
Subject: INFO-RUSS: "Post-Soviet Science and Technology" class

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Dear INFO-RUSS netters:

I am teaching a class on "Post-Soviet Science and Technology" at the
University of California at Davis.

If you can share any information, personal experience, or if you can point
to an information source relevant to the subject - please respond to the
message below.

This year, I begin teaching a class which talks about a recent history and
up-to-date changes in science, technology and ecology in Russia and the
republics of the former USSR.

This class is more like an "experimental" effort to take a look at the
current situation in scientific and technology field in former USSR. Being
involved for many years in high-tech research in Russian Academy of
Sciences as well as in several defense R&D institutions in Moscow and the
vicinity, I am naturally interested to learn what is happening there now.
Although I am working at UC Davis since 1992, I am still involved in a
number of collaborative projects with my former Russian and Ukranian

I was sharing my thoughts about the situation in Soviet science and
technology with my colleagues at UC Davis and Sandia NL, as well as with
scientists at various forums and conferences; and I found that there is
actually a big interest to this issue. Sometimes a spontaneous discussion
has originated from these conversations, leading to an invitation to give a
talk about the subject. People were interested to hear about current
challenges and difficulties faced by Russian scientists as well as about
intellectual and technological potential accumulated in Russia and former
USSR countries. And always the audience was interested to hear more
information and details than could be delivered in one single talk.

After a few talks I decided to expand the effort and I approached the
Teaching Resources Center at UC Davis with a proposal to originate an
interdepartmental seminar on this subject. The idea was welcomed, and the
seminar got approved for the Fall of 1998. Currently, this is one-quarter
(8 weeks) seminar for a small group of students (15 people) from different
specialities. Most of them are freshman who do not have chosen a major
speciality yet. Depending the success of this seminar it may eventually
grow into a bigger course.

The exact title of this seminar is "The Effects of the Changing Economy on
Technology and Ecology in Russia and New Independent Countries". The term
"Changing Economy" here is not just economy but also implies "State and
Political System". Although I will try to concentrate on science and
technology more than on politics and economy, I afraid that it will be
impossible to ignore political and economical issues, especially due to the
recent crisis in Russia.

Because of the nature of this seminar and the subject studied, there is no
solid curriculum or a single book which can be used throughout the quarter.
The students need to collect the most recent information from the Internet
and periodicals and they are encouraged to study and compare different
opinions obtained from various communication sources.

I do have a growing collection of WEB-links and press documents relevant to
the subject, but this collection is far from being complete. I will
appreciate it if you can point to the WEB-links, to newsgroups which
discuss relevant issues, or to documents which can be downloaded and used
for this class.

I will especially appreciate it if you have materials like photos, brief
videos, documents, magazines, newspapers which you can loan or share for
this seminar. If it involves copying expenses I can make copies of the
materials and return the originals, or I can provide a reimbursement for
copying/mailing expenses.

All the materials will be used for educational purpose only, the source or
the author of the material will be identified with a proper reference and

A very important part of this seminar is related to a personal experience
shared by people who are working or used to work in this field. I will
appreciate any documents of a personal matter - memories, stories which can
be shared with the students.

Also, I would like to invite interested parties to join a discussion as
invited speakers. I would like to invite somebody who was involved in joint
research/development projects between USA and Russia, who is working in the
field related to technology transfer and international scientific
collaboration, or who just has an experience working in high-tech field in
Russia to share his/her experience and feelings.

If anybody is living not very far from Davis, CA or traveling in Northern
California in October/November - I would be extremely delighted if you find
it possible to give a talk at this seminar.
We meet each Tuesday between October 6 and November 24.

Unfortunately, due to the size of the seminar the budget for this quarter
is quite limited so I will not be able to offer you a generous honorarium,
or fly you from New York or Boston, but at least I can reimburse you for
the travel from San Francisco Bay area / Silicon Valley (about $ 50).

Please e-mail me at [email protected]

Thanks and best regards,

Dr. Andrei G. Chakhovskoi
Lecturer / Research Scientist
University of California at Davis
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering