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World News Network / Fri, 2 Dec 2005
Russian scientists part of team awarded Descartes prize
Группа ученых из Санкт-Петербургского Центра по окружающей среде и дистанционному зондированию им. Нансена ("Нансен-центр"), Норвежского полярного института и Немецкого института имени Макса Планка получила премию Рене Декарта за проведенные исследования климата Арктики. Премия Декарта учреждена Европейским союзом в 2000 году и с тех пор ежегодно присуждается европейским международным научным коллективам за выдающиеся результаты, полученные при выполнении совместных научных проектов.
LONDON, December 2 (RIA Novosti, Alexander Smotrov) - A team of scientists from Russia, Norway, and Germany were awarded one of five Descartes research prizes for their work in the Arctic in a ceremony was held at the Royal Society in London Friday.
The team of scientists researching the climate and environmental change in the Arctic (CECA) at the Nansen International Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, based in Norway and Russia, and their colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology researched climate change for several years in the Arctic.
The Grand Jury, chaired by Vice President of the Academy of Sciences of Estonia and President of the Estonian Parliament Ene Ergma, chose five laureates for the Descartes Research Prize from 85 entries.
The 1 million euro research prize was divided equally between the five winning teams of scientists.
The other four prizes went to the EXCEL team for developing a new class of artificial meta-materials; the PULSE team for showing the impact of European pulsar science on modern physics; the ESS project for innovations in cross-national surveys; and the EURO-PID project for research on rare genetic diseases.
The Descartes Prize for Research was created by the European Commission in 2000 and has been awarded along with the Descartes Prize for Science Communication since 2004.
The prize pool of 1.4 million euros is awarded to the laureates and finalists of both prizes.
© 2005 WN Network
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CEE-foodindustry.com - Montpellier, France / 05/12/2005
Russian scientists stretch meat shelf-life
Russian scientists claim they have devised a method of keeping meat fresh for up to three months using additives found naturally in living cells, says report
Исследователи из Института биофизики клетки РАН нашли способ сохранять мясные продукты свежими в течении долгого времени. Суть в том, что вместо нитратов и нитритов в продукты вводятся вещества, которые есть в любой живой клетке, - никотинамид динуклеотид и аденозинтрифосфорная кислота, а также некоторые вполне безвредные дикарбоновые кислоты. Добавление небольшого количества вещества в намного больший объем мяса позволяет увеличить срок хранения произведенной колбасы до 2-3 месяцев.
Researchers from the Cell Biophysics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences say that replacing the nitrates and nitrites added to sausage meat can keep the meat fresh for two-three months, instead of the normal two-three days.
A report in Russian science news journal Informnauka said the scientists added nicotinamide-dinucleotide and adenosinetriphosphoric acid, dicarbon acids and myoglobin to the sausage meat. These substances can be found naturally in any living cell.
The discovery could aid the Russian government's plan to boost the domestic meat sector and build up production against foreign imports.
Longer lasting meat would also offer significant advantages in a vast country like Russia, where long journeys between cities make it hard and costly for firms to develop national distribution networks for fresh products.
Russian firm Kampomos, a subsidiary of pan-European meat processor Campofrio, recently launched a new line of vacuum-packed, meat medallions with a 30-day shelf-life.
The move allowed the company to make its first move on Russia's growing fresh meat sector.
"Our research has shown that consumers prefer fresh products because the frozen ones lose their taste and sustenance. Our customers also don't want to defrost products as this loses them valuable time," said product manager Anastasia Bogush.
Analysts now predict Russian meat innovation will rise by five or six per cent annually.
This will likely be driven by richer urban consumers demanding new product varieties, but markets in poorer communities should also benefit from a government social and economic development plan to increase average meat consumption from 50kg per person to 78-80Kg.
Raw materials prices are still a big problem, however. Russian meat prices doubled in 2004 after having risen 30 per cent the year before, and another domestic firm, Mikoyan, told www.cee-foodindustry.com that this had hampered development in the sector.
© 2003/2005 - Decision News Media SAS - All Rights Reserved.
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Russian Scientist Suggests Burning Sulfur in Stratosphere to Fight Global Warming
Директор Института глобального климата и экологии РАН, академик Юрий Израэль предложил способ борьбы с глобальным потеплением климата. Если большинство методов направлено на сокращение количества углекислого газа в атмосфере, то академик предлагает уменьшить солнечное излучение с помощью аэрозолей. Чтобы снизить температуры атмосферы Земли на 1-2 градуса, надо накачать в стратосферу около 600 тысяч тонн аэрозольных частиц. Для этого потребуется сжечь 100-200 тысяч тонн серы, причем не обязательно сжигать ее именно там. Можно просто использовать в самолетах топливо с высоким содержанием серы. Для здоровья людей метод безопасен.
Renowned Russian scientist Yuri Israel, the head of the Global Climate and Ecology Institute, has written in a letter to President Putin that global warming requires immediate action and suggests burning thousands of tons of sulfur in the stratosphere as a remedy.
The Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily published an interview with Israel on Wednesday in which he described his plan to counter global warming and called upon Russian authorities to consider it. The scientist says his plan is based on the idea of putting aerosols into the atmosphere at an altitude of 12-20 kilometers to create a reflective layer that would lower the heating effect of solar radiation. Israel claims that the plan could start having an effect within three years.
"In order to lower the temperature of the Earth by 1-2 degrees we need to pump about 600,000 tons of aerosol particles. To do that, we need to burn from 100-200,000 tons of sulfur. And we do not have to burn the sulfur there, we can simply use sulfur-rich aircraft fuel." The Russian scientist said.
Israel said that his method was ecologically safe because it would result in relatively little pollution — only 0.2 milligrams of sulfur per square meter per year would return to the Earth's surface and the amount of sulfur registered in natural precipitation is currently about 1000 times higher.
"If humanity understands that catastrophic global warming is starting, we can implement our project in just two or three years. The most important thing is that we really will be able to control the climate," the scientist said.
Copyright © 2004 MOSNEWS.COM
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/ 05 December 2005
Diamonds Are Sought By Smell Like Truffles
Российские исследователи предлагают искать алмазы как трюфели - по запаху. Местонахождение скрытых в осадочных скальных породах кимберлитовых трубок можно вычислить по газу, который скапливается в вышележащих пластах, точнее, по его составу - в таком газе резко повышен уровень тяжелых углеводов.
Russian researchers suggest that diamond deposits should be explored by smell of soil. Kimberlite pipes deeply hidden under the sedimentary rock cover are given away by the composition of adsorbed gases in superstrata. Specialists of the All-Russian Research Institute of Geological, Geophysical and Geochemical Systems, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Open Joint Stock Company "Arkhangelskgeoldobycha" (Stock company "ALROSA") have compared the composition of gases adsorbed in the rock of already known diamondiferous kimberlite pipes and the rock from the Russian plain, where diamonds have never been found. It has turned out that the kimberlite mass presence is given away by constrast in carbohydrates content in the soil and sediments. Kimberlite (blue earth) is specific rock filling earth cuts that were formed when gases burst through the earth's crust strata - the so-called blow holes (diatremes). They consist of cemented rubble of mafic minerals. Altogether, about 1.5 thousand blow holes are known, and diamonds are found approximately in every tenth blow hole.
Geologists have investigated several hundreds of specimen from the kimberlite pipes from the Arkhangelsk and Yakut diamondiferous provinces, and 3,000 specimen from the Russian platform, which were considered the standard no-diamond-containing rock. The adsorbed gases' composition was determined with the help the gas chromatograph by heating crushed rock up to 200 degrees C so that superfine carbohydrates films evaporated from the rock.
Then the researchers compared the correlation in the quantity of carbohydrates of various compositions adsorbed in the kimberlite and in the Russian platform rock. Their total contents is approximately equal in both cases - slightly less than cubic centimeter per kilogram, but in the specimen from diamondiferous rock mass, the share of heavy carbohydrates (containing 4 to 5 carbon atoms) is usually significantly higher. Sometimes, up to 15 cubic centimeters of gases per kilogram are contained in kimberlite rock, which practically does not happen even in oil and gas deposits, so kimberlite pipes are active "breathing" zones of the Earth, this fact giving away their presence even if volcanic pipes are located extremely deeply.
This method is applied for investigation of "gas fields" in search of oil and gas. Within several recent years, geologists have tried the method not only on kimberlite pipes, but also for ore and precious metals exploration.
© AlphaGalileo Foundation 2003
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Fuite des cerveaux: 25.000 chercheurs ont quitté la Russie en 15 ans
С 1989 по 2004 год 25 тысяч ученых выехали за рубеж на постоянное место жительства, 30 тысяч выезжают туда каждый год по временным контрактам. Эти цифры привел заместитель министра образования и науки Дмитрий Ливанов на недавней пресс-конференции.
MOSCOU, 6 décembre - RIA Novosti. Près de 25.000 chercheurs russes se sont installés à l'étranger entre 1989 et 2004, et 30.000 autres signent tous les ans des contrats temporaires à l'extérieur de la Russie, a déclaré le vice-ministre russe de l'Enseignement et de la Recherche, Dmitri Livanov, lors d'une conférence de presse mardi à Moscou.
Il s'agit essentiellement des chercheurs les plus "féconds", qui représentent 5-6% du potentiel scientifique national, a-t-il constaté.
Évoquant les raisons de la fuite des cerveaux, le responsable russe a cité les bas salaires, le sous-équipement et le faible prestige social des chercheurs qui préfèrent désormais être recrutés par les entreprises privées.
Les effectifs des centres de recherche ont diminué de 60% par rapport aux années 1990, et l'âge moyen des chercheurs, qui ne cesse de progresser, a atteint 46 ans.
"Nous devons mettre en place un dispositif de motivation efficace. À part l'augmentation des salaires et le rééquipement, des mesures ciblées s'imposent pour attirer les jeunes", notamment l'octroi de bourses, a relevé Dmitri Livanov.
Près de 4.000 jeunes chercheurs, candidats au doctorat et étudiants touchent des bourses, auxquels doivent s'ajouter 5.000 nouveaux boursiers en 2006-2007 dans le cadre du projet national Éducation, a-t-il précisé.
Le ministère de l'Enseignement et de la Recherche se pose pour objectif d'établir le montant du salaire moyen des chercheurs employés dans le secteur public à au moins 15.000 roubles par mois, soit moins de 500 euros.
© 2005 "RIA Novosti"
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/ 05 December 2005
В шахте, как и в медицине, важна профилактика. Иначе говоря, легче предотвратить взрыв, чем потом устранять его последствия. Взрывы в шахтах происходят, как правило, из-за скопления в воздухе природного газа и/или угольной пыли, когда концентрация этих веществ достигает критической отметки. Ученые из Института проблем управления им. В.А. Трапезникова разработали приборы для определения количества угольной пыли в шахте.
In the mine, like in medicine, prevention is the best way of treatment. It means that it is easier to prevent an explosion than to fight with its consequences, which unfortunately turn sometimes into disasters. Explosion in coal mines happen, as a rule, because of accumulation of combustion agent - natural gas and/or slack - in the air underground. The natural gas and/or slack may explode spontaneously - simply because its concentration in the air has reached the critical value. To learn how much slack is accumulated in the coal mine will help the sensor developed by specialists of the Trapeznikov Institute of Management Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences, this institute is intended to invent various useful devices and management systems.
It should be noted that there are different ways to determine the quantity of accumulated dust, including that of slack. The easiest way is to pass a finger over a smooth surface, in the best case - over the varnished one. The method is demonstrative and tried by centuries, but it is not a quantitative one, and it would not work remotely. Instrument methods can be applied - for example, infrared sensors or piezoresonance sensors, which allow to solve the task accurately within micrograms, but they are unfortunately complicated, sometimes capricious and very expansive.
The sensor designed by the Muscovites ranks somewhere in the middle of the line. It meant that it promises to be sufficiently effective, i.e. automatic, quantitative and reliable, and at the same time simple and affordable, i.e. low-cost. It is called the radio-frequency sensor for quantity of accumulated slack.
The oscillatory circuit is the sensor's detector element. On the flat substrate made of dielectric, for example, fluoroplastic, two wires - conductors and at the same time electrodes - are laid zigzaging in a specially turned rather shallow groove. This is the very oscillatory circuit, i.e. electromagnetic resonator, the parameters of which - resonance frequency and good quality - depend on characteristics of the environment. And thus they depend on the quantity of slack settled on the plate's flatness and accordingly on the resonator groove. Sensitivity is determined by geometrics of the line - the distance between the conductors and their length.
Naturally, the sensor's structure is such that it allows to take into account humidity and temperature fluctuations, although these fluctuations are not too large in coal mines - but precision is above all. Naturally, the authors also designed all necessary units and respective software for the sensor - electronic module converting resonator parameters into electric signal, interface block, computer controlling the system operation.
Probably the only drawback of the system is that it is not wireless. Cables and electric wiring are required to connect the sensor to the controlling computer. The maximum distance between the sensor and the computer is only 100 meters, although this is not little. However, miners would be glad to have such a sensor - during testing in the real mine circumstances the device worked precisely and reliably, the level of slack was measured accurate within almost 100 percent. It means that if mines had been equipped with such devices, at least part of explosions could have been prevented. When it comes to human lives, the opportunity to avoid the death of even one person is invaluable.
© AlphaGalileo Foundation 2003
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/ Dec 6, 2005
Physicists at Kiel University Discover an Unusual State of Matter
Совместная группа российских и немецких исследователей с помощью компьютерного моделирования доказала существование необычной формы материи - кристалла, полностью состоящего из дырок (без электронов), и даже определила условия его формирования. До сих пор существование подобной материи лишь предполагалось.
The existence of an unusual state of matter, a crystal that consists entirely of holes, has been proven at Kiel University. As reported in the latest issue of Physical Review Letters (December 2nd , 2005), an international team led by Professor Michael Bonitz has, for the first time, demonstrated with the help of extensive computer simulations that this exotic phenomenon, the existence of which was hitherto only a subject of speculation, should certainly occur. The physicists have also been able to predict the conditions for its formation.
"We now know that this effect occurs in semiconductors with a certain type of band structure", says Bonitz. "In normal solids, the electrons and holes (which are formed when electrons are excited) are both far extended inside the solid - a consequence of quantum mechanics. Electrons and holes penetrate the material like a liquid". However, when the mass of a hole exceeds a certain critical value - 80 times the mass of an electron - the hole liquid undergoes a spontaneous change to become a crystal. Furthermore, there are strong indications that in semiconductor systems of this kind, a reduction of pressure can result in the formation of Bose condensates of bound electron-hole pairs (so-called excitons). Anticipating the next stage of the research, the physicist explains that "the next exciting problem is to set up an experiment that will confirm our prediction of the crystal of holes". Suitable materials systems for this have already been suggested.
The scientist at the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics explains that the crystal of holes is also of great interest for another reason: "We have been able to show that it has many features in common with very different kinds of crystals, such as plasma crystals or ionic crystals". It is especially intriguing that the crystal of holes shows many similarities with some of the most mysterious objects in the universe - white dwarfs and neutron stars. It has been suggested that a crystal of nuclei exists in these exotic, very distant objects. Bonitz hopes that "it may soon be possible to study important properties of these systems in the laboratory by experiments on a crystal of holes".
This extraordinary kind of crystal may also be of interest for materials research, says Bonitz, "because it may possess properties of importance for superconductivity". Whereas superconductivity (a flow of electrical current with no resistance) can only be achieved at present at very low temperatures, some scientists, in particular the 2003 Physics Nobel Prize winner Alexei Abrikosov, expect that systems containing a crystal of holes should become superconducting at significantly higher temperatures. This presents the Kiel scientists and their partners with a challenge, and Bonitz comments that "an important aim of our continuing investigations will be to test these predictions".
In his research, Professor Michael Bonitz is collaborating with a German-Russian team of scientists, which includes Professor Holger Fehske (Greifswald University) and Dr. Vladimir S. Filinov (Institute for High Energy Density, Moscow). The project forms a part of the Transregional Collaborative Research Centre TR 24, on "Fundamentals of Complex Plasmas", which was recently approved by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), and is based at the universities of Greifswald and Kiel.
The research results haven been selected by the American Physics Society for coverage in its online journal Physical Review Focus, see
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