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11.08.2015 International Students

Alastair French is MChem student at Worcester College, which is part of the University of Oxford. This summer, he has come to a two-month internship at Tomsk Polytechnic University, to try his hand at a new scientific field and see how Russian scientists work. In Tomsk, the Briton joined the scientists who studied the prospects of using fluorine and halogen fluorides in medicine and recycling old electronics.

Fluoride - a highly reactive element and the most powerful oxidizer in nature. Therefore, fluoride compounds are widely used in various fields - in metallurgy, nuclear industry, household appliances and laser technology, electrical devices and pharmaceuticals. Despite the fact that research in fluorine chemistry and fluoride halogen is a promising scientific direction a few scientists work there. In turn, Tomsk Polytechnic University is known for its fundamental and applied studies on fluorine chemistry and the professional training for the nuclear industry.

Currently the research team of the Department of Rare, Scattered and Radioactive Element Technology is studying prospects of using fluorine, bromine and alkaline earth metal compounds, for example, in pharmacology. In this project, Alastair is studying patterns of different fluorination processes and ways of applying the compounds obtained.

At Oxford University he learned about Tomsk Polytechnic University. The student was offered to go to Siberia this summer and try his hand at a new scientific field.

“I found out about TPU, I realized that this was a good university, and decided to take the opportunity. I had not worked in the field of fluorine chemistry before, while I did general chemistry. This area, I found, is new and interesting. In addition, a trip to Siberia has allowed me to learn another culture and see how research is carried out in another country,”- says Alastair.

According to him, at TPU’s campus he feels himself comfortable.

“I enjoy the time spent in the laboratory. To be honest, I have not noticed any difference in the approach to the work by the Russian and British scientists. The accommodation is fairly similar to my room last year at Oxford. Though the building was much smaller. I like to be here,”

- says Alastair.

The internship in Tomsk is the first Alastair’s trip to Russia. He was impressed by campuses and wooden architecture.

“In Tomsk I’ve been most impressed by the large University buildings as well as the old wooden houses and how widespread they are and still in use. I was taken on an excursion around Tomsk where we visited The World War II memorial, some examples of the wooden architecture, a Russian Orthodox Church and some of the many monuments around Tomsk,” - says the young man.

While Tomsk is the only city with which the young Briton was able to meet. As Alastair says, lab work takes all his time.

“Unfortunately there was a delay with my visa so I arrived later than planned and therefore don’t have too much free time, therefore at the moment I don’t have any plans to go sightseeing around Russia,” - says Alastair.

Tomsk Polytechnic University welcomes international students to participate in internships, academic exchange programmes and Russian language courses. All additional information is available at Centre for International Academic Programmes.

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