Expert’s Opinion

Inzoli Fabio
  • Every year visiting professors and representatives of international companies come to Polytech to share their knowledge and experience with students. Professor Inzoli Fabio is an expert in Energy Engineering at Politecnico di Milano (Italy). In 2018 professor Inzoli Fabio read a special course for students of International Polytechnic Summer School in Energy. Watch the interview

Inzoli Fabio, Professor about International Polytechnic Summer School
Antonio Andreini
  • More and more new teachers come to SPbPU to share their knowledge and experiences with students of the university, and this means that the international dialogue through education and science is going on at Polytechnic University with no interruptions. Professor of University of Florence (Italy) Antonio ANDREINI came to Polytechnic University for the first time. In his interview to the international department of SPbPU, Professor Andreini shared impressions of his visit and classes he taught at the Institute of Energy and Transport Systems, told about his own research activities concerning internal-combustion engines and gas turbines, and gave a comprehensive answer to the traditional question on what helps students to get the most of their studies. Our interview is about this and not only. Read more …

    - Professor Andreini, is this your first visit to St. Petersburg? Could you, please, share your impressions of our city?

    - It is very impressive. Despite the many things said about the severe Russian climate, I feel quite comfortable in St. Petersburg. The only thing that is hard to get used to is the short light day. This is why I hope to come to your city again, in summer.

    - And what about Polytechnic University?

    - Your university has impressed me no less than St. Petersburg. University of Florence, where I serve, is also quite big, but nothing comparable with your campus. Our schools are located in various parts of the city, while the area of your university is like a small town composed of various buildings, houses, laboratories, and centers. It would be interesting to know more about your international educational programs and events which SPbPU holds for the development of international relations. In my view, each university interested in the success and strengthening of its competitiveness should develop in this sphere.

    Students of the International Polytechnic Summer School Study Molecular Gastronomy

    - How did your lectures go? Was everything according to the initial plan?

    - More or less, yes. As I have never taught courses at SPbPU before, I had to change some parts of my talks to be able to dedicate more time to the matters which needed elaboration. Your students proved to be well organized and engaged listeners. I enjoy working in an international media, and I was glad to see students from most various countries: India, China, Bolivia, Lebanon, etc.

    - Please tell more about your research activities at University of Florence.

    - My research and development activities are mostly focused on the heat-transfer and combustion processes in aviation gas-turbine engines. The gas-turbine engines have high capacities and relatively low masses; however, only heat-resistant steels are used for their production because steels normally used for turbine spades cannot be used here, as we are speaking about really high temperatures. We hold experiments with a research group. In particular, we hold tests on combustion and heat transfer. Besides these researches in high-temperature regimes, we also explore the processes of cooling. Master's degree and post-graduate students participate in these researches on regular basis; we, certainly, cannot engage all of them but only the most talented. We do not let students take part in combustion experiments because those are quite hazardous. However, they do a lot of research work in all other spheres.

    - Have you got your own pedagogical methods during the years of teaching?

    - I would not say that I use some special pedagogical methods. In the process of education I always teach lectures; however, I am trying to provide my students with the syllabus in advance. This helps them to get better involved in the subject, identify bottlenecks, and think about their questions beforehand. In addition, my students always have a clear topical schedule of classes which does not change through the year. In the end of each course, we spare two or three days to repeat the material and clarify the unclear issues, and then, of course, we hold final tests to assess their knowledge.

    - Speaking of the tests, we cannot help but ask, what are the three things that can help students to achieve the utmost results in their studies?

    - I am not going to be original saying that the most important thing is student's ability for self-organization. Attend lectures, try to leave no unanswered questions, always clarify the issues you do not understand. Re-read your compendium of lectures on regular basis, study consequently, lesson after lesson. Secondly, share your knowledge with other students, discuss scientific matters, hold debates. And, lastly, do not be just passive listeners! Get out of the frames of your educational program, always be hungry for new knowledge: the science loves those who is steady in purpose!

    - Professor Andreini, thank you very much for your interesting interview. We wish you success in your research activities.

Antonio Andreini, Professor of University of Florence: "The Science Loves Those Who Is Steady in Purpose"
Birgit Glasmacher
  • Every year visiting professors and representatives of international companies come to Polytech to share their knowledge and experience with students. Professor Birgit Glasmacher is an expert in Biomedicine at Leibniz Universität Hannover (Germany). In 2018 and 2019 professor Birgit Glasmacher read a special course for students of International Polytechnic Summer School in Biomedicine. Watch the interview

Birgit Glasmacher, Professor about International Polytechnic Summer School
Kirill KLYUKVIN
  • For the first time ever, an educational module on “Molecular Gastronomy” was taking place within the frame of the International Polytechnic Summer School on the basis of the Higher School of Biotechnology and Food Technologies (HSBT&FT).  The students learnt about the most unbelievable combinations of ingredients, got acquainted with special features of the present-day Russian cuisine, and mastered in receiving fermented dairy products using microorganisms. In 2018, 12 male and female learners from Spain, the Netherlands, China, India and other countries took part in the program.  Notably, these were not only students but also several beginner restaurateurs who came to Polytechnic University to learn from SPbPU specialists. Read more …

    The module was conditionally divided into several parts. In the first one, the participants attended master classes of the well-known St. Petersburg chef Kirill KLYUKVIN where they learnt to cook dishes of the Russian cuisine in the most extraordinary interpretations. At the lectures and practical training with the senior lecturer of HSBT&FT S.A. ELISEYEVA the students got acquainted with the national peculiarities and history of Russian cuisine, theoretical basics of the use of modern types of food additives and ingredients in the cooking, and the effect of additives on the changes at the molecular level in the texture of food raw materials.  The second part was dedicated to the connections between the molecular gastronomy and biotechnologies. “We are showing the students how we can obtain fermented dairy products from raw materials of animal and vegetable origin using various strains of microorganisms. Our students are making preparations with their own hands, study the structure of microorganisms that are used in fermenting milk or fruit and berry raw materials; they receive finished products and, of course, taste them. This way, they get acquainted with the basics of scientific research,” said assistant professor of HSBT&FT ZHILINSKAYA, who was one of the coordinators of the module and the lecturer of the program.  

    The module was conditionally divided into several parts. In the first one, the participants attended master classes of the well-known St. Petersburg chef Kirill KLYUKVIN where they learnt to cook dishes of the Russian cuisine in the most extraordinary interpretations. At the lectures and practical training with the senior lecturer of HSBT&FT S.A. ELISEYEVA the students got acquainted with the national peculiarities and history of Russian cuisine, theoretical basics of the use of modern types of food additives and ingredients in the cooking, and the effect of additives on the changes at the molecular level in the texture of food raw materials.  The second part was dedicated to the connections between the molecular gastronomy and biotechnologies. “We are showing the students how we can obtain fermented dairy products from raw materials of animal and vegetable origin using various strains of microorganisms. Our students are making preparations with their own hands, study the structure of microorganisms that are used in fermenting milk or fruit and berry raw materials; they receive finished products and, of course, taste them. This way, they get acquainted with the basics of scientific research,” said assistant professor of HSBT&FT ZHILINSKAYA, who was one of the coordinators of the module and the lecturer of the program.  

    Students of the International Polytechnic Summer School Study Molecular Gastronomy

    It is difficult to find this kind of program of the summer school not only in Russia, but also worldwide: many participants of the “Molecular gastronomy” module say this. A student from Spain, Karina TAVDIDISHVILI, told that she had been looking for a course of such sort for a long time, and that she ultimately found a suitable one exactly in Russia.

    The subject of the special pride of the organizers is that graduates of SPbPU were involved in teaching in the “Molecular Gastronomy” module. The well-known chef of a famous Petersburg restaurant Kirill KLYUKVIN is one of those.  In a break between the master classes Kirill gave a short interview to the Polytechnic international services; he spoke about the special features of the course, molecular cuisine and gave an advice and recommendations to students.

    Students of the International Polytechnic Summer School Study Molecular Gastronomy

    - Kirill, please, tell us about the dishes you’ve cooked today. Why did you decide to choose those ones?

    - I was tasked to show the students dishes of Russian cuisine in the present-day format. We have cooked today the traditional Russian vinaigrette but using modern techniques. We presented two types of the salad: as a paste and an ice-cream in a beetroot coat.   

    - Would the students be able to replicate these dishes on their own?

    - Everything we are cooking within the frame of the module is easy to make at home, even with no culinary training. One must have an idea of how the products behave and have some basic skills, to use the knife, for example. (Laughing).

    Students of the International Polytechnic Summer School Study Molecular Gastronomy

    - In your opinion, what are the unique features of your course? Why the students were so eager to take part in exactly this course?

    - In our course, the theoretical and practical classes harmonically complement each other, presenting a complex instrument.  It often happens that students are either studying something with no mastering their practical skills afterwards, or, on the contrary, they start practicing right away, with no base. In our master-classes, the theory and practice are inextricably connected.  

    - Was it easy for you to work with students?

    - Yes, it was great. The students were very attentive, showed themselves as responsible and interested participants of the process. This is very nice to see.

    - For how long have you been working in molecular cuisine?

    - Since 2010, when this phenomenon had just started in Russia. We did not then connect Russian cuisine with the molecular one; we had been mostly speaking about various mousses and foams, etc. However, by now, we have already transferred many things to the research sphere and have very much improved our knowledge and skills.  

    Students of the International Polytechnic Summer School Study Molecular Gastronomy

    - To what extent is molecular cuisine on demand in St. Petersburg?

    - The molecular cuisine is on demand as part of the present-day culinary. It is interesting to present a salad in the form of paste to the clients, and it is on demand.  We have a great space for creativity. We discussed that with the students as well. Using various textures, techniques, and the scientific approach, we can present our guests the same dish in several interpretations.  

    - This is not for the first time that you have mentioned science. We can’t help but ask what the molecular cuisine is more about: chemistry or culinary? 

    - It is more about chemistry. It is important to know chemical processes, all sorts of physical and chemical reactions, and various ways of thermo treatment.  

    - What were the most unusual combinations of tastes and textures in your practice?

    - In my view, the most unusual combinations come up when you just go down to the storage room or come to a store, take two products in your hands, and understand that you can juxtapose them. For example, combinations of strawberries with bacon or octopus with kiwi are quite popular now.  

    Students of the International Polytechnic Summer School Study Molecular Gastronomy

    - What advice would you give to students who decide to progress in this sphere?

    - Don’t give up. Many people, having watched series and movies about culinary, decide that it is an easy thing to become a famous chef. In the reality, you have to work for 14-16 hours per day, not to mention the abundance of routine work in the kitchen: you will have to cut, chop, and slice all the time. Many people get scared off with that. This is to say, that if you have the desire and the idea, I wish you to move on to your dream and never give up.   

    - Kirill, thank you very much for the interesting interview. We wish you all the success in your professional activity!

Kirill KLYUKVIN, St. Petersburg Сhef Told Students about Connections Between the Molecular Gastronomy and Biotechnologies
Marco Enrico Ricotti
  • It is really hard to think of International Polytechnic Summer School without participation of leading international experts. Visiting professors and representatives of international companies come to Polytech to share their knowledge and experience with students. Professor Marco Enrico Ricotti from Politecnico di Milano (Polimi) (Italy) in the intervals between the lectures told us about his impressions of International Polytechnic Summer School, its advantages, highly appreciated Polytech students and shared his opinion about the future of power plant engineering. Read more …

    - Professor Ricotti, is this the first time you visit St. Petersburg?

    - No, this is not the first time I give lectures to Polytech students. I was here for a Summer School and also for a Winter School, so this is a third time for me.

    - Could you describe your field of activity?

    - I am an expert in nuclear engineering, and this is my topic here at Summer school. At Polimi I have worked as a Professor for 20 years. There I have taught Nuclear Power Plant and also have done researches in this field. In the last ten years my specific field was especially related to the small modular reactors, its technology and economic features, and the second topic were passive safety systems.

    - What does it mean?

    - It means safety systems for nuclear reactors, based on simple and natural forces without the need of human intervention, without the need of energy supply. So these are two main topics I deal with: small modular reactors and innovative safety systems.

    - Are there any other spheres of activity you deal with?

    - A year ago I was also appointed as the President of a state Italian company SOGIN. Its duty is to perform the decommissioning of the old nuclear power plants in Italy. We have four nuclear power plants, and also other nuclear facilities. So I have this duty to act as a President of this state company in charge of decommissioning issues.

    - According to your experience, what teaching approaches do you find the most effective?

    -I think the most interesting and effective teaching approach is soliciting students' active participation. The students should not only listen to a lecture. I have a classical way to teach, but during the classical lecture when I explain something to the students I put some examples, some questions, some exercises, a kind of a problem. I like very interactive lectures, and I am not very happy or satisfied when I talk for an hour. Of course, I can talk even for three hours, but anyway I like to be in close interaction with the students. And the students are happy of that.

    - And how do you find our students at Polytech?

    -I think they are very active. Each student has his or her own attitude and character. There are different cultures, different attitude, but in my opinion they are bringing a positive contribution. Diversity means more interaction, and this is definitely an advantage of the Summer School.

    - What other advantages of the Summer School can you find?

    -Both the professors and the students are more relaxed. You don't have to rush to the examination. And if you are attending a summer school it means that you are interested in this topic. Anyway, if you want to spend two or three weeks attending a school it means that you are more relaxed, but you are really interested. They are both positive issues.

    - And what do you think about Polytech?

    -It seems to me very dynamic, it is moving with big steps into the internationalization process. We had something similar at Polimi. 4-5 years ago we invested a lot of time efforts in order to push international attitude and moved all the Master of Science courses fully taught in English. It was a big step, a big effort, so I think that you are progressing at the same way as we did. Today you have a big diversity of international educational programs taught in English. I think it's the most interesting way to proceed. It's a big opportunity for the students, and very fruitful for them and for their future.

     

    - According to your professional point of view what is the future of power plant engineering?

    -I think that the future is very challenging, but is very important for all the countries. Energy is a global problem. Especially if you look at the environmental issues you cannot solve the problem country by country or just with the domestic approach. If the global warming is real, you can solve it only with a global solution. So from the environmental point of view it is a global problem. It's a world problem. From the economic and industrial point of view energy is a very important sector in every country. It is something that is very challenging not only for the environmental issues, but it is also a key aspect for the global economy and for the economy of the country. There is something that you need day by day, for the normal life you cannot imagine your life without energy, without transportation, without air conditioning, without electricity - so it is a very important issue. Nowadays there are a lot of students now who are interested in energy engineering. The number of them has increased a lot. Energy is a very complex item; it is connected with economics, politics, etc. But nevertheless I believe that this would be a trend for the next decades.

    Professor Ricotti believes that each student has his or her own attitude and character

    - What are the trends of the modern educational systems?

    -New education opportunities: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). This could be very useful, especially when you have an international classroom. The students come from all over the globe, and everyone has different background. MOOCs help them to prepare with the online material. Then I would like to note so called ‘flipped courses’. The students get some topic and educational material, and only after their study they come to the professor, who interacts with them. It can be a project, but not a classical lecture. Also I like project-based learning. The class is divided into working groups, and the students learn how to work together.

    - What do you advise to the students to be successful in their studying?

    -Follow you real interest, but at first, of course, find it. When you define it, you have to put every effort in order to learn, to study, to attend courses that are most interesting for you. Interact very strictly with your professors and your colleagues, because learning is a dynamic process. You cannot learn only by attending lectures or reading a textbook. You need to interact with the teachers and those who know more than you, and also with those who are on the same level as you. Only during the interaction you can understand what you have really learnt.

    - Professor Ricotti, thank you very much for the interesting interview! We wish you good luck in your pedagogical and research activity, and, of course, grateful students

Marco Enrico Ricotti, Professor About International Polytechnic Summer School