The beginning of the Vernadsky Junior Readings dates back in 1993, when in the Youth Creative Vocational Center , which functions on the basis of the Moscow City Palace for Youth Creative Activity in co-operation with Lyceum #1553 «Lyceum on Donskaya», within the «Poisk» («Search») program, a junior scientific and applied conference entitled «The Ist Junior Vernadsky Readings»was held.
Since then the number of the participants is ceaselessly augmenting. The quality of the works presented is getting visibly higher, the participants and administration are acquiring a better gist of the objectives and goals pursued by the conference. At present the readings constitute the final round of the Vernadsky National Contest of Student Research Projects, which enjoys support of the Russian Academy of Science Commission on developing scientific heritage of Vernadsky , Russian Ministry of Education and Science, Moscow City Department of Education and its South District branch, MSU's Scientific Pre-College Preparatory Center and other organizations.
In 1998 the concept of the readings has been shaped into the program, aimed at developing students' research activity, under the title «Me and the Earth», which contains also other aspects of students' research activity, namely, seminars, and scientific expeditions.
The «Me and the Earth» program and the Vernadsky Readings rest on two principles. The first one is to get a sense of our planet as an integrated system, where all on-going processes are closely interrelated. The second one is to learn how to use the scientific method of acquiring knowledge, which is conducting a research, in order to comprehend the world around us.
The main objective of the conference is to encourage all participants to resume their research activity in the field of science under their concern, explore the beauties of the world around, share their impressions with peers.
The Vernadsky Contest is an educational program. Its main goal is to promote creative development of the young researchers, who have submitted their projects, and their supervisors. That is why the organizational committee does not focus on selecting the best ones. Its purpose is to establish cooperation with everyone who is willing to join the world of science. Given this, a professional review committee is functioning in the framework of the contest. Each author will be given a thorough review of his or her project done by professionals, which also contains suggestions on how to carry on the research.
By no means does the administration of the contest view it as breeding a young generation of scientists. The intention is to help the authors acquire the skill of obtaining knowledge through investigation, which all intelligent and cultured people should possess.
The administration of the contest makes a clear distinction between scientific research (for acquiring truly a new piece of knowledge) and educational research (to educate students by means of teaching them to conduct investigations). Therefore, the point of the educational research is to display the wide and multi-faceted world through one phenomenon.
The genre of the creative activity, dealt with, is clearly defined. This distinction is essential for making further agreements about project format and its presentation, as well as establishment of the evaluation criteria. That is why abstracts, descriptive essays or other forms of creative projects will not be considered. The afore-mentioned genres are not meant to be underestimated or less paid attention to, than a research project. It is simply impossible to cover all aspects of the relevant activity, and these very genres are left up to other organizations and other contests' consideration.
The criteria of presenting material are established are not subject for change-it is important to maintain equal assessment conditions for all the participants; besides, modern scientific system exerts very stringent requirements on presentation and format, so all the participants are to develop these skills.
The Vernadsky Contest is unique, as its format covers both adults and students, involved in the research activity, thus uniting them in a specific interregional community. Its development is based on the consolidated intellectual and human resources of the scientific and educational systems, along with the implementation of all the best what had been so far accomplished in the field of science and pedagogy in Russia . This approach would guarantee preserving single educational space of our country, undoubtedly becoming one of the key factors for healthy functioning of the united Russian state.