How Genius Grows: Novosibirsk Specialized Physics and Mathematics School (FMSh), Non-Artificial Intelligence, and the Limits of Transformative Projects

2 Nov 2023
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type

Ksenia Tatarchenko
Assistant Professor of Science, Technology and Society, Singapore Management University

Since its formal opening in 1963, the Novosibirsk FMSh has been celebrated for its pedagogical innovation: gathering selected children to live on campus to be taught the university level curriculum by scientists. In this talk, I will focus on the tensions and conflicts between the elements of this pedagogical project. Associating the notions of giftedness, the institution of family, and the processes of mathematization in post-war sciences, and drawing on media and fictional representations, I aim to situate the school’s experiences within broader debates on intelligence, scientific intelligentsia, and late Soviet modernity. I ask: How did the realization of transformative aspirations depend on the dynamic of inclusion and exclusion? Who were the children liberated from and with what consequences? Finally, how does the history of this pedagogical project illuminate the late Soviet ideas about creativity and intelligence as these categories translate across 1991 and are adopted into the brain-drain routines of the post-Soviet context and today’s AI expert communities?

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