Shamil Aliyev: "World is run by processes beyond our knowledge"
The professor of applied mathematics, the honorary academician of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, the Doctor of Engineering, the honoured worker of science and technology, the science and military-industrial adviser to the chairman of the government of Dagestan Shamil Aliyev has served as chief engineer for research and chief CAD designer at the Caspian Dagdizel plant since the 1980s. He also runs the Center for Applied Technologies at the Ministry of Economics of Dagestan, chairs the Board of the Institute for Applied Programs and Models at the International Center for Scientific Culture Association. Shamil Aliyev spoke with Vestnik Kavkaza about children, history, poetry and philosophy.
- Does 'Dagdizel' cooperate with other enterprises?
- 'Dagdizel' has been a head enterprise since Soviet times. It cooperates with the Tactical Missiles Corporation, the Gidropribor plant and other enterprises which involved in the manufacture of certain parts.Many people visit us. My laboratory was visited by Nikolai Patrushev, by almost all the commanders-in-chief of the Navy.
Final assembly took place in our country even in Soviet times, after which trials were conducted in Feodosia and other places. Today, the plant continues to form a mathematized form of relations between the customer and the performer. Pilot-line production and creating draft versions of torpedoes should not take much time. In addition, there is a scientific direction today, related to the development of the encyclopedia dedicated to torpedoes. So far, no one in the world has systematized knowledge of torpedo weapons into a single whole. Now the tenth and eleventh volumes are being prepared.
- You pay much attention to working with young people of different ages. How do you get along with them?
- I have a huge notebook - 40 thousand sheets of my mistakes - 5 megabytes. Different people, including Americans, wanted to buy it. I replied that sometimes even I do not know what is written there. I just had a tendency to fall in love with my mistakes until they disappeared. At the same time I was bothering everyone when I was a student and a graduate, I always had some ideas, and I did not want to do thinks like everyone else do.
Children need to be oriented. I firmly believe that school is not a place for gaining knowledge. It is the place for developing abilities. I kept pestering myself and others with questions of "why" and "where." Now I do seminars in the Kurchatov Center, in the Alferov center, in the Shipbuilding Center, where I try out ideas that are not described in books. I travel to St. Petersburg, London, Shanghai, Moscow looking at children's faces and dying from the feeling of pleasure because I managed to develop the children's passion for knowledge to such an extent that they felt a higher intelligence. I believe that life is given for joy.
When an idea becomes part of the flesh, it forms a spirit. This spirit should be given to the children. They like to study such things as the golden ratio, proportions. And I'm ready to make those with a heart and conscience love it. And who does not want chemistry, physics or mathematics, can find the proportions in painting, in personal communication.
My dad had no education, but when I talked with him, I saw a new architecture of words. Every word has radioactivity, and now I started to share it with children generously.
There is no falsity in numbers, numbers create an ensemble, and this ensemble allows you to count faster than a computer. I demonstrate it to children - they use computers to count, and I use my mind. I give children all my soul in an absolutely open way. When I leave, they applaud, and these children's applause inspire me for a long time. I am convinced that there are no ungifted children, there are ungifted adults, especially in higher educational institutions. After 50 years of dealing with children I got so many emotions!
I believe that the inner world of a person is formed with the help of numbers or music, which, by the way, was one of the sections of mathematics. Then it turned out to be higher than mathematics. Logic is important for mathematics, and music is higher than logic.
I sometimes provide scholarships from my own salary to children who ask tricky questions. It is difficult to get money from officials - you need to go through endless commissions, answer questions, make reports. But I can get a smaller salary, giving some money in honor of a good question.
- There is a poster in your office with Albert Einstein's quote "Something deeply hidden had to be behind things." How this phrase motivates you, what do you think should be behind things?
- Einstein said it when he was young and saw how a compass's magnetic needle moves. He was completely distraught with joy - the needle moves, but no one pushes it. I have a formula of uncertainty hanging in there as well. The task in both life and in science is how to measure uncertainty and make it definite.
Symbols play a big role in my life. The world is ruled by symbols. The world is not governed by numbers or ideas, it is controlled by processes that are beyond our knowledge. At the time of Einstein there were people equal to him, but Einstein himself was like an ocean. He even wrote his own obituary, believing that death is not the basis for fear, because you fear what you don't understand. There is even a saying: "Death is an old debt that sooner or later should be paid."
Einstein, in my opinion, was not a person, but an idea. When Academician Igor Tamm died, his students came up with a unit of measurement of decency and called it "one Tamm". I think that something like this will happen with Einstein and other people who do not leave humanity alone. I even had a card-catalogue of the most unfortunate people in the world. Form those who I knew David Guramishvili was the most unfortunate [the Georgian poet who took part in several military campaigns, survived hijacking, captivity, severe wound - VK]. Guramishvili made his misfortunes the property of culture, science. Everyone is happy in the embrace of ideas. Loneliness is the inevitable state of a person who considers thought to be the most important.
I was not in love with Marxism-Leninism. I saw absolute emptiness in this. External justification, which has no inner essence. But I want to experience a grand holiday with today's children, students, young researchers, which is called thought.
- One of the aphorisms, considered as your view of science in the media, is: "The crisis of science begins when there are many scientists but no customers." Could it be said that there is a shortage of customers and overproduction of scientists in the modern world?
- I was very young when I tried to present the problem of "customers/performers" at a mathematical level. There is always some kind of cheating in the relations between a customer and a performer. Let's say we have a customer who wants to get a very-high-speed noiseless torpedo. He wants it and he has enough money. The performer thinks if it is even possible. I started to develop a model - is there any possibility of creating such an thing. But the real part is that the customer quietly lowers some requirements. It's great joy to be a customer and performer in one person. A huge number of inconveniences and even problems existing in the world are due to the fact that the customer and the performer is a duet.
- Tell us about your idea of a children's spiritual planetarium.
- From time to time I build a large fire near my house and invite people to think and read poetry, and I tell them, for example, who first had the idea to weigh fire. There I thought that there should be a museum in the form of a conditional fire.
I am doing the project together with the St. Petersburg Planetarium. I have a small house next to my work, and I have started negotiations with the authorities about setting up this museum there. But while I'm negotiating with some officials, then they are replaced by others, and I have to start again.
Therefore, the museum is theoretical now, but I hope that the project will be implemented in the future. All children are gifted, you just need to find a certain "bell" in them, which will tingle.
- What is your attitude to history as a science and as a "book of life"?
- I believe that you need to know the history of your thoughts perfectly. The history of thought should be a subject of study in schools. I have several collections that begin the story of thought from Galileo, who invented thought experiments that first led mankind to an understanding of indivisibles. You cannot read about in any books.
I'm good at history of thought, history of poetry, history of culture, music - this is what exalts a person. The historian is a very dangerous person, it's like he predicts backwards. An informed historian makes us live in his world. But we should live in a world of ideas - scientific, musical and architectural ones. I always enjoy the idea itself - where I got it, how it blossoms, how it develops, its funeral and its revival.