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Guido Maione: "Kazan has excellent scientific traditions"


Professor of the Polytechnic University of Bari tells about science, culture, residents of Kazan and the Erasmus+ program.

Dr. Guido Maione is a professor at the Polytechnic University of Bari (Italy). The Polytechnic University of Bari (Politecnico di Bari, POLIBA) which was founded in 1990 is a public higher education institution in Italy. Politecnico di Bari is one of the 30 best universities in Italy, despite being one of the youngest universities in the country. It consists of three departments: Department for Architecture and Construction, Department for Engineering in the city of Bari and Department for Engineering in the city of Taranto.

- Dr. Maione, when did you first hear about KAI?

- Let’s say about 10 years ago when I met professor Nigmatullin in an international conference. Our scientific cooperation and friendship has started since then.

- What subject are you teaching in our university?

- “Control systems in automatic control” inside the Electrical Engineering program. Control systems are hidden technologies that make every automatic system work.

- Who or what influenced your decision to do science? 

- It’s a family tradition, but it is also due to some professors whom I had met during my education, many good professors gave me a lot of interesting science and engineering courses. So, I decided to become a PhD student and a researcher and then also a professor. They inspired me. For me they were friends before becoming my professors.

- You have been working with students from Kazan for over a week. What can you say about them? Do they have anything in common with Italian students?

- I found them very interested and well-motivated to follow my course even if it was a particular topic for them. They were interested, understanding, they were learning. They also asked some questions. They have exceeded my expectations because the topic of the course was very particular and students had different backgrounds. The course, I think, was very successful because it is always difficult to motivate students, even from your own country.

- We know that you have visited a lot of places in Kazan and around Kazan. Have you seen anything interesting, maybe something that impressed you?

- Yes, I have visited a lot of places, it is difficult to pick only one. For such a short period of time I have a lot of images in my mind: Sviyazhsk, The Raifa Monastery and, of course, the beautiful city of Kazan with different museums with various specializations. Maybe after a week or a month I will have more time to think about this experience and fix the best images. There are a lot of nice and interesting places from a scientific point of view, too, because of the tradition in science and engineering, i.e. professors that help you grow professionally. It is very useful, especially, for the research and for the cooperation among universities.

- And can you name one thing that impressed you the most? In the city, in people or culture?

- Sure – people. The people of Kazan. They have a mentality which is relatively close to the Italian mentality. They are open-minded and open to foreign visitors. Usually people in Italy think that the Russian Federation is a very closed country. But as far as I’ve seen it is very open. 

- It is very nice to hear! We know that you are here via the Erasmus program. What new experiences do teachers receive when they participate in the Erasmus+ program?

- It is an old program that started a lot of time ago, it had a lot of success in Europe to convince and motivate students to have an experience of studying abroad. This program grew a lot over the years. Now it is considered very important, especially, in these times where everybody thinks about his/her own country or his/her own business or his/her own opportunity only. Instead, the Erasmus+ program suggests an idea to educate young students and researchers in common ideals. It is one of the good things about the European Union.  It will also give the opportunity to students to have a good CV and in the future, maybe, managers of European industries will be people who have had an Erasmus experience.

- Do you think there will be a community of people with the Erasmus experience?

- Yes, actually it already exists, but I think it will be more and more important in the future. It is under the hospices of the European Union to enlarge this community to countries like the Russian Federation or Eastern Europian countries or even to the countries from other parts of the world. Young people and students are pretty much the same all over the world – they share the same ideas, have the same feelings, listen to the same music and etc. And this program helps to connect them.

- And we have a philosophical question for you. If you had an opportunity to ask any scientist in the world one question, who would this scientist be and what question would you ask?

- Taking an example of the Russian Federation I would like to meet Liapunov (Alexander M. Liapunov – a prominent Russian mathematician and engineer, the founder of the theory of stability) because I’m from the automatic control field. I have a great respect for the Russian tradition in Control systems and Automatic Control. I could ask a lot of questions, mainly concerning the research. Of course, he was living in a different period, now the problems are different. But I would ask what the best situation for thinking about new ideas is, in which conditions he can develop the best ideas? I would also ask something about the topic of his individual research.

- What would you wish the students of KNRTU-KAI?       

- To have an experience abroad, maybe to come to Italy, to my University, to meet people all over the world, so they can understand what is the rest of the world, how to work with different people of different cultures with different opinions.

- Thank you for a very interesting interview! 

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