February 8, 2008


Igra Uma, a Channel 5 nationwide science-oriented TV show, and POISK Centre confirm their expectations for long term partnership. A new enhanced sequence of physics questions and demonstrations has recently been filmed. Ivan Yamschikov, a POISK Centre representative, hosts the entire Igra Uma since 2006.



Structure and organization of Igra Uma

‘Igra Uma’, which stands for ‘play of a mind’ in Russian language, is a weekly science-oriented intellectual TV show for secondary school students. Channel 5, after its rebranding in 2006, is a «national regional channel that gives every Russian region an opportunity or presenting itself, which is virtually impossibe at central channels in Russia», according to its official web-site.

Igra Uma is on air in Russia since 2004. Currently, the recent episodes are are openly accessible as streaming web videos .

Ivan Yamschikov, a fourth-year student at the Department of Physics (Saint Petersburg State University) and a POISK Centre representative, hosts the entire show since Autumn 2006.

Unlike many contemporary intellectual competitions, Igra Uma relies on discussion of challenging topics, rather than on simply giving answers to questions. «In our club, we value diversities and paradoxes», Ivan Yamschikov often announces at the game. «It is a space where one can think and reason, where one faces the qustions that do not have precise answers. Igra Uma is a show where one can speak on equal terms with seniors and about senior topics with peers». Discussion of potentially controversial topics that excite the contemporary society are common at the show: «what are the dangers of nanoscale technologies», «if a succesful person has to be a workaholic», «what are the distinctive features of consumerism». The institution of «opponents», familiar to YPT participants and «real scientists», is also among cornerstones of the show.

Igra Uma tends to interdisciplinarity and searches for a balance between topics in humanities and natural sciences. Therefore, scientific and technological developments in their social, political and cultural contexts often attract the attention of jurors and participants.

«The show is a successor to the legendary Leningrad television show ’Turnir SK’ [Tournament for Secondary School Students] that was on air in 1960s-1970s», Igra Uma’s official web-site recalls.

With its open minded and creative atmosphere, combined with a keen attention to physics and natural sciences, Igra Uma greatly contributes to the promotion of physics in Russian society, not only among physics enthusiasts.

Image courtesy of Petersburg-Channel 5, 2007


Goals of the cooperation between POISK Centre and Igra Uma

The cooperation between Igra Uma and POISK Centre began in 2005 when the first questions and experiments were commonly recognized as enthralling and enthusing participants.

«Igra Uma encourages participants to develop excellent interdisciplinary background knowledge, scientific scepticism and skills in reasoning and holding discussion. This is something very familiar to us and very important to our students enthusiastic about physics», said a POISK Centre statement.

«The assistance of the POISK Centre is extremely helpful for us and is diversifying the program, making it far more interesting for the Russian teenagers», Igra Uma’s editor-in-chiefEkaterina Alexandrova noted in her 2007 open letter.

Kirill Russkikh, 15, a fan of the show, says that he adores experiments that involve readily available, everyday objects. «When I see very simple pieces of equipment that move, fall, bounce, explode, change colors, click and buzz, I am eager to repeat these experiments in my kitchen and explore how they happen. I enjoy physics demonstrations in Igra Uma», he noted.

«We greatly value the ongoing cooperation between POISK Centre and Igra Uma. Our video questions and demonstrations are, above all, a method of promoting physics in Russia and showing that science really is fun», said Ilya Martchenko, POISK Centre secretary-general.

Dmitry Zhuldybin, a student at the Lyceum 393 (Saint Petersburg), notes that the show is extremely popular in his school. «When I hear a question in physics, I am often puzzled. At certain stages, the participants of Igra Uma may even do brief search in internet to verify their answers. I enjoy solving puzzles and I hope to contribute to the achievements of my school’s team».



Demonstrations and questions filmed on February 8, 2008

An enhanced series of questions and demonstrations in physics was provided by Ilya Martchenko and Andey Uskov and filmed at the Department of Physics, Saint Petersburg State University on February 8, 2008.

A certain number of these demonstrations reproduced the phenomena proposed at the Young Physicists’ Tournaments of 2008. «We aim to show the participants of Igra Uma the look-and-feelof such problems. Since Igra Uma is on air nationwide, we have an opportunity of involving into research activities many new participants», POISK Centre noted.

Much more questions and demonstrations were focused on other everyday phenomena, such as the sound of wires when a train approaches or a method to ignite paper with a piece of transparent film and some water.

Download video 1 (in Russian): Igra Uma’s editor Evgeny Matveev and Ilya Martchenko discuss a demonstration of vertical stripe seen if a laser beam passes through a meniscus in a glass filled with water.

Download video 2 (in Russian): Ilya Martchenko presents a question about a glass toy filled with a strange liquid. When held with a hand, the toy behaves like a geyser as the liquid erupts through an internal tube from the lower chamber to the upper one .