Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Май 2004 г.
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2004 г.
Российская наука и мир
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январь февраль март апрель май июнь июль август сентябрь октябрь ноябрь декабрь

    Известный российский хирург, академик Борис Петровский скончался в возрасте 96 лет. Он являлся создателем и директором Российского научного центра хирургии. Шестнадцать лет он проработал министром здравоохранения СССР.

MOSCOW, May 5 (Itar-Tass) --Russia's known surgeon, member of the Academy of Medical Sciences Boris Petrovsky died in his 96th year on Tuesday, a spokesman at Moscow's Research Centre of Surgery told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
Petrovsky stayed in one of units of the centre for about a month because of a strong deterioration of his health. He died of sudden heart arrest.
He was director of the Centre of Surgery until the day of his death. Petrovksy was one of founders of reconstructive surgery in Russia. He graduated from the Moscow University. He was chief of the Chair of Surgery in Moscow's Sechenov Medical Academy for tens of years.
Petrovksy was director of the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Surgery in 1963-1988. He was Health Minister in 1965-1980. He also was chief surgeon at the 4th Main Directorate of the Russian Health Ministry for many years.
Petrovsky founded the All-Union Research Centre of Surgery in 1963, of which he was director until 1988.
He was honorary director of the Research Centre of Surgery of the Russian Academy of Medical Science since 1989.
Scientific work of Petrovksy was related to the development and implementation of high-technology heart, vessel and abdominal surgery, organ transplantation, microsurgery and design of surgical equipment.
He was the first in the Soviet Union to successfully use prosthetic heart valves. He also developed and put in practice methodologies of kidney transplantation and plastic bronchial and tracheal surgery.
The Lenin Prize was awarded to Petrovksy and a group of Soviet scientists in 1960 for the development of new operations on the heart and large vessels.
Petrovsky left behind him a major surgical school, whose cohorts include leaders of large medical and clinical centres.
He supervised 153 doctoral and 429 candidate of medical sciences theses. Petrovsky was the author of more than 700 scientific works, including 53 books. Last year, the Russian president awarded to Petrovsky the Order of Andrei the First-Called.

©ITAR-TASS. All rights reserved.

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    Национальная лаборатория «Сандия» в Альбукерке регулярно приглашает российских ученых для обсуждения вопросов, связанных с ядерным оружием и терроризмом. Американское правительство столь же регулярно отказывает ученым в визе.

WASHINGTON -- Russian scientists, invited to speak at Albuquerque's Sandia National Laboratories, have had their visas denied or delayed by the U.S government, Sen. Jeff Bingaman said Monday.
The visa problems have "resulted in the delay or cancellation of threat reduction activities" at Sandia and forced other non-proliferation events to be moved to Western Europe, the Silver City Democrat said in a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge.
In the last 28 months Sandia officials invited 305 scientists from Russia or the former Soviet Union to the United States to talk about how to keep their nuclear weapons, material or technology out of the hands of terrorists.
The U.S. government turned around and kept 86 of them from coming by delaying or denying the visas, Bingaman said.
His letter was released as part of briefing Monday by the American Chemical Society for congressional staff on the problems foreign scientists and students are having entering the United States since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Sandia spokesman John German confirmed Bingaman's numbers.
The scientists' visas are being delayed because they are suspected technology thieves, not terrorists.
In 1998, the United States began "Visas Mantis" checks to prevent the entry of persons who might attempt to export U.S. technology.
A laudable goal, said James Langer, vice president of the National Academy of Sciences. But in 2000 there were just 1,000 "Mantis" checks; last year there were 20,000, he said.
"It's clearly being used as a way to turn down visa applications or at least delay them a long time," said Langer.
Auditors for the General Accounting Office reported earlier this year that "Mantis" checks now take an average of 67 days and they found some which lasted more than 120 days.
Some foreign scientists in the United States are afraid to go home because they know their re-entry will be delayed. Langer said he knows one Ukrainian scientist who decided he could not go home to attend his mother's funeral.
A top official at the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged the visa delays, but said they should be reduced once a Terrorist Screening Center is fully up to speed. The center was established at the Justice Department last year to combine the databases of numerous government agencies.
Previously, names had to be sent for review to several different agencies, some of which could only check files by hand, explained Stewart Verdery, assistant secretary of for border and transportation security, policy and planning at the Department of Homeland Security.
Verdery said he would have to learn more of the facts before responding directly to Bingaman's letter about the Sandia program. But if the United States is inviting those scientists here, they should be a priority for visas, he said.

©The Albuquerque Tribune.

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    MOSNEWS.COM / 10.05.2004
    Russian Scientists to Send Newts, Crawfish and Snails to Space
    Ученые из Института медико-биологических проблем планируют отправить на Международную космическую станцию тритонов, лангустов и улиток, а также аквариум с несколькими видами рыб.

Scientists from the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems are preparing experiments to send animals to the International Space Station.
The head of the research laboratory at the institute, Georgy Samarin, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying that they plan to send newts, crawfish, snails and planaria worms into space. He did not rule out that newts and snails would be sent to the ISS in 2004. Scientists are also planning to send an aquarium with several species of fish.
Samarin, quoted by the agency, said that the research of planarias in space would be the most interesting because of their regeneration capacities. He added that the research into the restoration of a newt's bones had been conducted earlier at the orbital station Mir.
"As astronauts testify themselves, even an experiment with pea growing at the station was an important psychological support for them, and experiments with living creatures will be a more important one,"Samarin was quoted by the agency as saying.

Copyright© 2004 MOSNEWS.COM

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    Chicago Tribune / Published May 9, 2004
    Low pay driving scientists to leave Russia
    In a country where science used to be a matter of national pride, the average salary for a researcher is $1,644 a year. That has triggered a brain drain resulting in a telling statistic: The average a
    • By Alex Rodriguez, Tribune foreign correspondent. Moscow bureau researcher Andrei Osipov contributed to this report
    В России, которая является одним из ведущих научных центров мира и родиной десяти нобелевских лауреатов, средняя зарплата ученого составляет 1644 доллара в год. В результате ученые либо покидают страну, либо меняют профессию. Уменьшается число молодых специалистов, средний возраст ученого в России – 56 лет.

PUSHCHINO, Russia -- Alexei Zuikov, a cell biologist in one of Russia's premier science communities, was explaining practical uses for his research into animal hibernation when a colleague bounded into the room carrying two empty plastic bags.
"Here is your sack. The car is waiting--let's go," the colleague said. Zuikov explained. The campus where he works, the Institute of Cell Biophysics, abuts a potato farm. The machine used to harvest potatoes invariably misses some, so the farm lets the institute's scientists gather what is left.
Scrounging for ways to make ends meet--or even for tomorrow's meal--has become part of the daily routine for many Russian scientists. They tinker with the complexities of microbial DNA by day and drive a cab or delivery truck at night. Their skills are first-rate, but bare-bones budgets hold them back.
The plight of Russian science is a bitter pill for a country that prides itself as one of the world's leading centers of scientific knowledge and home to the winners of 10 Nobel Prizes in science fields, including one last year for physics. Russian scientists make an average of $1,644 yearly; the U.S. Labor Department puts the average annual salary for an American scientist at $59,200.
As a result, the Russian science community's best and brightest have been streaming to the West, lured by a better lifestyle, better equipment and, of course, better pay. The Russian Academy of Sciences has estimated that as many as 60,000 scientists left the country to work abroad in the decade after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
Thousands of other frustrated Russian scientists stay in the country but change careers. A Russian Academy of Sciences sociologist, Valery Stepanov, has estimated that 80,000 to 100,000 scientists leave their careers every year to pursue non-science work.
The brain drain is robbing Russia of its next generation of young scientists. Today the average age of a scientist in Russia is 56.
"With the number of young scientists and specialists decreasing, there is a real danger of losing the continuity of generations in science," Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this year. "The path of young scientists is thorny, and it depends on academic bureaucracy rather than research results."
The predicament of Russian science is vividly evident in Pushchino, a Moscow suburb of 22,000 amid the dense stands of Russian birch that fill the southern bank of the Oka River. Home to Russia's pre-eminent microbiologists, Pushchino has long been synonymous with the heyday of Russian science.
Prolific writers
Thousands of articles by Pushchino scientists have been published in internationally prestigious science journals. The community's cutting-edge research includes work in identifying bacteria that can help absorb oil spills and in genetics, though a Pushchino institute's claim that it cloned a mouse 15 years before Scottish scientists cloned a ewe named Dolly was roundly rejected by major science journals.
A large hotel that during the Soviet era was regularly jammed with scientists attending symposiums has become a boarding house that accommodates down-on-their-luck local residents. Scientists like Zuikov are forced to take two or even three jobs to make ends meet.
When he is not in the laboratory, Zuikov, 26, works as a stock clerk at a gift shop and takes carpentry jobs. His wife, Olga, is taking postgraduate courses at a local university.
"Long ago, we quit the nasty habit of buying a dress or anything else other than food," Olga Zuikova said. "I dread this winter. I don't have a decent winter coat."
The salaries of most scientists in Pushchino are staggeringly low given the complex and often vital projects they take on. Irina Seleznyova, 36, is a stem cell specialist who researches tissue replacement. She makes $69 a month.
"This is what I live on," Seleznyova said. "Most of the money goes to the project. Very little goes to my salary."
Many young scientists who go to Pushchino to study do so only because they know they can find older scientists there with links to institutes in the U.S., Canada or Europe.
"Pushchino is now just a springboard, a way station for young scientists heading to the West," said Valery Sobelev, chief of the Scientists Trade Union for the Russian Academy of Sciences. "It's a tragedy."
Much of the problem lies in the Russian government's lack of commitment to science during post-Soviet years. In communist times, the Kremlin disproportionately allocated money toward science because science was a matter of national pride.
But in the early 1990s, the Kremlin slashed the funding. Sobelev recalled President Boris Yeltsin's prime minister, Yegor Gaidar, once proclaiming that Russia had only 300 scientists whose work was worth funding. The rest, Gaidar said, were wasting government money.
Russia also has a problem in the way it pays for its science, Sobelev and others say. While Western countries rely on grants that encourage competition among scientists, Russia's Soviet-style approach allocates money bureaucratically among institutions, regardless of the quality or utility of the research.
Western collaboration on some Russian projects has begun to force Russian scientists to submit grant proposals--and produce results once they get the funding. Accustomed to Soviet days when paychecks were not linked to productivity, many older scientists bristle at the idea of grants.
"This system of competition is very new for us," said Mikhail Weinstein, deputy director of the Center for Ecological Research and Bio-Resources Development in Pushchino. "We were taught during the Soviet era that competition is the dark side of capitalism."
Some Russian scientists were lucky enough to get out of Russia before the Soviet collapse and establish themselves in the West. One of those scientists, Alexei Abrikosov, defected to the U.S. 15 years ago and joined Argonne National Laboratory near Darien, Ill., where he still works.
Nobel Prize shared
In 2003, Abrikosov shared the Nobel Prize for physics with fellow Russian Vitaly Ginzburg and University of Illinois physicist Anthony Leggett. During a telephone interview, Abrikosov said the best advice he could offer young scientists in Russia is to find a way to leave.
"I'm not a patriot of any country," Abrikosov said. "I'm a patriot of science. So of course I would tell young Russian scientists to look for opportunities abroad. They cannot stay in Russia to work on science. If they do, they will spend most of their time trying to find other ways to make money."

Copyright© 2004, Chicago Tribune

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    Innovations Report / 17.05.2004
    Molecular Middle Ages Of The Russian North
    Современные достижения молекулярной генетики позволяют ученым заглянуть не только в недра геномов, но и в глубь веков. Посредством анализа ископаемой ДНК российские биологи восстановили картину освоения Русского Севера.

Current achievements in molecular genetics allow scientists to look not only in the depths of genomes but also back to ancient times. By analysing fossil DNA, Russian biologists have reconstructed the picture of colonisation of the Russian Northern lands. The research was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the RF Ministry of Industry and Sciences.
Today's molecular biology is capable of analysing DNAs extracted from an ancient material up to 100,000 years old. Even Neanderthal men's DNAs can be examined. However, Russian scientists working at the V.A. Engelgardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, make no moves to look to such ancient history. Analysing an ancient DNA, they reconstruct the picture of Slavic colonization of the areas to the North of the Volga and the Sukhona watershed, lying between Lake Onega and the Pechora river. The development of the area called "the Russian North" began no later than in the 11th century, and was completed in the 16th century. According to archaeologists and anthropologists, first Slavic colonists were coming to the North in small family groups, and were settling down in a detached manner. Now, genetics could also contribute to the overall picture.
The scientists examined 47 samples of mitochondrial (mt) DNA extracted from the bones found in the burial grounds of the settlements Nefedyevo, Minino, and Shuygino located in the Vologda Region, around Lake Beloye. The burial places date back to the 11th -13th centuries. DNAs were extracted from various skeleton parts but mostly from teeth. According to the researches, ancient DNAs are best preserved in teeth. All DNA isolation and research activities were performed with extreme precautions in order not to contaminate the ancient probes with modern nucleic acid. This resulted in 47 compounds of paleo-DNA; the scientists determined their structure and isolated three kinds of mt DNA typical of the people buried in the burial places. The overwhelming majority of the examined ancient persons (43) had the so-called "Cambridge" DNA type which is typical of contemporary European inhabitants. The rest four persons had other, more rarely found types, which are, however, also typical of all populations in Eastern Europe. Therefore, the examined group can positively be said to have the European background. Those having more rare types of mt DNA were buried approximately 200 years later than the others. All of them are male. In the scientists' opinion, they could be born from the couples consisting of local women belonging to the Finno-Ugric group, and the settlement founders' offsprings. Thus, the assimilation did not begin immediately but started during medium colonization stages. Molecular geneticists note a surprising level of local inhabitants' genetic homogeneity. It can be explained by a "founder effect" when each settlement was found by a small kindred group of 8 to 14 persons. This data is confirmed by demographers, anthropologists and archaeologists. Garments details, funeral ceremony peculiarities, and some anthropological markers related to heritable diseases speak for familiar relations within the group. Thus, eight persons out of 65 buried in Nefedyevo, had typical finger-shaped pressed-in areas on frontal and parietal bones of the inner side of the scull, which indicate predisposition to high intracranial pressure. This feature is rather rare; most of its carriers lived in the 11th century. Apparently, people who built this burial place presented a solid community with their own cultural norms. They had been living there for ages avoiding virtually any assimilation with local inhabitants, and preserved their originality. Because of complex migration processes, such genetic uniformity was not typical of most European populations. The uniformity of the kind is characteristic only for American aboriginal population: for example, ancient inhabitants of Kopana, a Maya town, and the mikstek people, the Maya descendants, bear such features.

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