Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Июль 2007 г.
Дайджест за другие годы
2007 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)

январь февраль март апрель май июнь июль август сентябрь октябрь ноябрь декабрь

    Ученые из Института органической химии им. Н.Д.Зелинского РАН разработали экономичный метод органического синтеза пероксидов нового типа.

Des savants russes ont développé une méthode bon marché de synthèse organique de péroxydes d'un nouveau type qui peuvent initier la production de matériaux polymériques et auparavant difficiles à obtenir, dans une large gamme de températures.
De par l'utilisation toujours plus large des polymères dans les domaines les plus divers, il devient de plus en plus intéressant économiquement d'améliorer les méthodes de leur production. L'une des clefs d'un tel perfectionnement repose sur les substances appelées initiateurs, dont le coût et les propriétés cinétiques déterminent la production.
L'institut de Chimie organique N.D.Zélinski de l'ASR (Académie des Sciences de Russie) a développé un mode de production bon marché de bishydroperoxyde géminal. Cette substance n'était pas jusque-là utilisé comme initiateur car sa synthèse était soit peu productive, soit complexe. En utilisant des réactifs originaux et en ajustant les paramètres de la réaction, les scientifiques sont parvenus à atteindre des puretés de produit fini de l'ordre de 82~98%, ce qui place leur procédé en bonne position sur le marché.
Les essais basés sur cet initiateur ont donné des résultats qui ne le cèdent en rien aux méthodes traditionnelles. Ainsi la polymérisation du méthylméthacrylate atteint une pureté de 70~90%, similaire aux résultats via des méthodes ordinaires. Outre son bas coût de production, le bishydroperoxyde géminal se distingue aussi par une plus large échelle de températures d'initiation et une grande hydrosolubilité, utile dans le cadre de production chimique.
Une autre propriété du peroxyde a été découverte : son activité antibactérienne est comparable à celle des antibiotiques, et de plus il n'est pratiquement pas toxique. On peut donc tout-à-fait envisager son application à la médecine. En particulier, plusieurs préparations médicales, comme "Clearasil" et "Oxy-10", contiennent des peroxydes, à savoir le benzoylperoxyde. Le nouveau peroxyde pourrait tout à fait le remplacer, pour un coût 5 fois plus faible.
Les scientifiques ont commencé la production semi-industrielle.

Copyright © 2006 LCC.

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      Scotsman - United Kingdom / Wed 11 Jul 2007
      Ice wasteland reveals mammoth carcase preserved for 10,000 years
    В мае на Ямале был найден почти идеально сохранившийся экземпляр шестимесячного мамонтенка. По словам заместителя директора Зоологического института РАН Алексея Тихонова, мамонт не имеет никаких внешних повреждений (если не считать откушенного хвоста) - по степени сохранности это самая ценная находка такого рода в мире. Сейчас в Салехарде собралась группа учёных из нескольких стран, чтобы детальнее изучить находку. Позднее мамонтёнка передадут в токийский университет Джикеи, где будет проведено подробное исследование животного, в том числе - томографическое сканирование внутренних органов.

LYING on her side with her trunk stretched in front of her, she looks as if she might have died yesterday. But Lyuba the baby mammoth probably met her fate more than 10,000 years ago.
The discovery of the best-preserved specimen of its type was made by a Siberian reindeer herder, who stumbled across a piece of ivory while working on the tundra wasteland.
Now the carcase of the six-month-old female calf, who has been named after the herder's wife, is to be sent to Japan for study.
She was discovered in May by Yuri Khudi near the Yuribei River, in Russia's Yamal peninsula.
She is in unusually well-preserved condition, with her trunk and eyes still intact. The body even retains some fur.
Alexei Tikhonov, the vice-director of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: "The mammoth has no defects except that its tail was bitten off. In terms of its state of preservation, this is the world's most valuable discovery."
Mammoths, famous for their furry coats, huge tusks and massive bulk, are believed to have appeared on Earth some 4.8 million years ago. They roamed the northern plains of Europe and Siberia until the retreat of the glaciers at the end of the last ice age.
Herds were known to exist in Russia as recently as 5,000 years ago, and are the ancestors of the elephant species.
The 4ft 3in tall, 100lb specimen dates from the end of the last Ice Age.
Larry Agenbroad, the director of the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs research centre in South Dakota, said: "To find a juvenile mammoth in any condition is extremely rare." Dr Agenbroad added that he knew of only three other examples.
It is thought that Lyuba will now be sent to Jikei University in Tokyo, where a team led by Professor Naoki Suzuki will carry out an extensive study of the carcase, including scans of its organs. Two earlier recovered mammoths, including the "Jarkov mammoth" found frozen in Taimyr, Siberia, in 1997, were also sent there. Prof Suzuki said CT scans of the beast would provide "an unprecedented opportunity to obtain anatomically important data".
Dr Agenbroad warned that scientifically valuable Siberian mammoth specimens were being lost to a lucrative trade in ivory, skin, hair and other body parts.
"You can now go on almost any fossil marketing website and find mammoth hair for $50 an inch. It has grown beyond anyone's imagination," he said.
Dr Agenbroad added: "Russia says that any mammoth remains are the property of the Russian government, but nobody really pays attention to that."

© 2007 Scotsman.com.

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    Chicago Tribune - United States / July 15, 2007
    A Silicon Valley in Siberia?
    A city of science that thrived during the Soviet era looks to regain reputation
    • By Alex Rodriguez, Tribune foreign correspondent
    Мнение о том, что будущее Академгородка – высокие технологии, высказывается все чаще и чаще.

NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia - From the street, Russia's bid for a place among the world's high-tech titans has none of the gleam of Silicon Valley glass and steel.
But walk inside a clutch of weather-beaten, Soviet-era buildings on the southern edge of this Siberian city, and you'll find tinges of San Jose-inspired ambience nurturing what some here call the "Silicon Taiga."
At softwaremaker SWSoft, twenty-something Russian programmers and software engineers stroll down hallways painted in Dreamsicle-orange and festooned with photos of co-workers trap shooting or sipping wine at company outings. No one wears a tie - SWSoft dress code makes ample room for baggy shorts and sandals.
High-tech hub emerges
"We have creative people who work here," says SWSoft engineering and applications director Alexei Kandikov, "and they need the freedom and environment to invent things."
The world used to marvel at the science explored and revealed in a Novosibirsk district called Akademgorodok, or Academy Town, the node of turbocharged research that Russian mathematician Mikhail Lavrentiev founded in the late 1950s.
Today, however, Akademgorodok and the rest of Novosibirsk have morphed into a burgeoning high-tech hub, with more than 100 computer and software companies and at least a dozen universities with information technology programs. Intel has offices here; so do Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.
For the Kremlin, Akademgorodok is the kind of high-tech dynamo that can help mold a template for Russia's transformation from a petro-state to a diversified economy. Moscow knows that its overreliance on oil prices for the country's economic well-being is dangerous, and one way it can diversify is to seed development of high-tech enterprises across the country.
Russian authorities envision high-tech hubs emerging in Moscow and several other Russian cities, including St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod. They are setting aside billions of rubles for the construction of "techno-parks" to give those hubs new office space, hotels and housing. And they have talked about budgeting $7 billion for the development of nanotechnology, the science of creating and manipulating materials at the scale of a nanometer, or billionth of a meter.
Putin buoys effort
One of the country's new techno-parks is slated for Akademgorodok. Russian President Vladimir Putin went there to tout the idea in January 2005, a month after making a trip to Bangalore to visit the heart of India's software development industry.
"If these resources are used effectively, the country can achieve a serious breakthrough in the arena of information technology," Putin said during his appearance in Akademgorodok. "We simply must not miss this chance, especially as a number of nations have achieved success without having such a strong starting position."
For now, Russia's technology prowess pales in comparison to global IT giants like the U.S. and software outsourcing leaders China and India. Russian software firms can't offer the same rock-bottom labor costs buoying India's outsourcing industry. But their executives say their edge lies in tapping programming and engineering talent in a country that put the first satellite and man into space.
"There's a saying here: If you need simple programming work done, give it to India. If you want complicated and serious tasks done, give it to China," says Vyacheslav Ananyev, communications director at Data East, an Akademgorodok firm that produces Internet mapping software. "But if you want to solve an unsolvable task, give it to the Russians."
Akademgorodok's legacy for high-powered research dates to 1958, when Lavrentiev and other academics won Nikita Khrushchev's support for the construction of a city devoted solely to science. Akademgorodok's research institutes and universities were built amid dense stands of birch and pine, creating a verdant, tranquil environment embraced by scientists accepted there and envied by those who weren't.
Perestroika's brain drain
Akademgorodok's heyday came to an end with perestroika under Mikhail Gorbachev and later the collapse of the Soviet Union. During the 1990s, as poorly stewarded reforms and plunging oil prices upended the Russian economy, many of Akademgorodok's brightest scientists fled for Moscow or the West.
And as the world's computer market boomed, Western technology giants like Intel and Schlumberger were drawn to Akademgorodok's knowledge base - and its cheap labor costs. Many scientists who stayed changed careers and became programmers.
Alexander Avdeyev abandoned his career in applied mathematics three years ago to become site operations manager for Intel's Novosibirsk branch. "I'm OK with this," he said. "It was a clever decision to go from science to a global company like Intel."
Akademgorodok's software start-ups quickly found clients in the West, particularly the U.S.
With customers mostly based in the U.S., Data East forecasts a profit of $2 million this year. In six years, its staff has grown from eight to 70.
"This transition for Akademgorodok has been very important," says Boris Berkhin, director of Data East. "It's not a good time for Russian science, but it's a very good time for the Russian IT industry. With the IT industry here, Akademgorodok has a chance to not just be saved but to get back the world fame it had before."

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune.

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      Medical News Today / 22 Jul 2007
      Early Recognition Of Parkinson's Disease
    Специалисты Научно-исследовательского института неврологии РАМН разрабатывают метод ранней доклинической диагностики болезни Паркинсона. Метод основан на том, что некоторые параметры движений человека меняются уже на самых ранних стадиях заболевания.

Specialists of the brain investigation department of the Scientific Research Institute of Neurology, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, are developing methods for early pre-clinical recognition of Parkinson's disease. The method is based on the fact that even at early stages of the disease, the patients' head, eye and hand movement parameters change.
Parkinson's disease is one of the most widespread neurodegenerative diseases. It develops as a result of injuries of 60 to 80 percent of neurons in a single part of the brain. It is important to find the way to "catch" the disease before neuron degeneration reaches the critical level, and the patient starts suffering from tremor and movement disorders.
To find reliable methods of early diagnostics, the Moscow neurologists examined 12 healthy probationers and 16 patients suffering from the first and the second stages of Parkinson's disease. The participants to the experiment were tested with the help of the hardware and software complex, which analyzes the moving activity. The probationers were (by moving the eyes only) to fix the look on the target, which was shifting across at the angle of 40 degrees. They were suggested to make sliding movements by the head to the left and to the right along the horizontal plane, retaining the look on the target, which moved synchronously with the head movements. And, finally, after several open-eye training sessions, the participants transferred the cursor onto the target by memory, their eyes being curtained off. These three tests allow to check how the patients move separate parts of the body (only eyes, head or hand). In the course of the fourth test, the probationers shifted the cursor from one target to another by moving the eyes, head and hand, i.e. by coordinating their movements.
At the early stage of the disease, individual movements' indices were changed with the patient, but these changes differed slightly from the age standard. However, all parameters of coordinated movement with Parkinson's disease patients reliably differed from those of healthy probationers. Apparently, at the early stage of the disease, the brain is still able to impede the disease development and to compensate for movement disorders. That is why, although each individual movement occurs with a mistake, the mistake is minimal, and it is not always possible to reveal it. However, in case of coordinated movement all these minor delays, inaccuracies in movements and multistage of movements "superimpose" upon each other, and movement disorders become evident.
The researchers assume that it is the coordinated movement disorder that can be considered as one of the markers for early stage of Parkinson's disease. Analysis of such disorders drastically increases the probability of early disease recognition. Nevertheless, the authors of the hypothesis emphasize that this is only a hypothesis so far, and further experiments are need to verify it.

© 2007 MediLexicon International Ltd.

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      FirstScience - UK / 20 Jul 2007
      European Patent Office launches patent information service in Russia

    Роспатент принял участие в проекте Европейского патентного ведомства, направленном на популяризацию патентной информации - "Esp@cenet". Интернет-сервис Esp@cenet (создана также русскоязычная версия) обладает широкими возможностями, что делает его оптимальным средством доступа к патентной информации для различных категорий пользователей, независимо от возраста и опыта.

Moscow, Russia - On 17 July 2007, the European Patent Office and Rospatent (Russian Patent Office) marked the first step in a joint campaign to promote the use of patent information to stimulate competition, innovation and economic growth across Russia. Esp@cenet, the EPO's online database which provides free access to millions of patent documents from around the world was also introduced to Rospatent as an important tool for patent innovation. "Russia is a great source of science and technology information" said Nina Formby, Project Leader at the EPO for the CIS and Mongolia.
Rospatent's involvement in esp@cenet will ensure that Russian patents are easily accessible to foreign researchers and vice versa. Companies can use patent information to find commercial opportunities, design their R&D programme, look for new markets and find new partners or licensees. Meanwhile, researchers can quickly find information on the state-of-the-art in their field, identify new research challenges and find other researchers and industrial partners. Furthermore, while analysing patent information may reveal that an idea has already been patented, further digging may reveal gaps that remain unexploited.
Unfortunately, large numbers of researchers still fail to make use of this valuable source of information. "Our researchers don't use patent information tools enough, and very often they are doing work without being aware of what is happening in the world," said Rospatent Director General Boris Simonov. "This lowers competitiveness."
Also at the event, the Russian language version of the esp@cenet portal was launched. The Russian version of the training module is expected to go live later this year. The EPO and Rospatent first started working together more than a decade ago. Over the years the relationship has deepened and earlier this year the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding which set out the scope of possible future common activities. This conference is the first major event to take place since the MoU was signed.

© 1995-2007 All rights reserved.

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      Post Chronicle - USA / Jul 26, 2007
      Religion Clashes With Science In Modern Russia
    • Vladimir Simonov, RIA Novosti political commentator submitted via its New York Bureau
    Десять ведущих российских ученых направили письмо президенту Владимиру Путину, где просят его принять меры, чтобы оградить общество от "возрастающей клерикализации". Повод - недавняя резолюция ХI Всемирного русского национального собора, проходившего под эгидой Русской православной церкви. Документ призывает власти России ввести в средних школах новый обязательный предмет - "Основы православной культуры".

MOSCOW - The Archbishop of Canterbury circulated a questionnaire among the world's top scientists in 1936. Ivan Pavlov was among the respondents.
"Do you believe in God?"
"No," the renowned Russian physiologist replied.
Contemporary scientists of no lesser fame have gone even further. They think Russia has grown too pious for its own good. Ten leading researchers have forwarded a letter to President Vladimir Putin, calling him to take urgent action against "the advance of clericalism." The signatories include Nobel laureates Zhores Alfyorov and Andrei Vorobyev, and fellows of the Russian Academy of Sciences Mikhail Sadovsky and Sergei Inge-Vechtomov, so the president can hardly shrug off their request.
What prompted them to sound the alarm was the recent 11th World Russian National Sobor (Assembly), held under the aegis of the Russian Orthodox Church, whose resolution calls on the government to add the ABCs of religion, under the name of Fundamentals of Orthodox Culture, to the list of compulsory school subjects. The Church thinks all children should be taught one Christian denomination - the one to which the majority of the population belongs.
What brought the Church to the idea was the country's current religious boom. The number of religious Russians has skyrocketed-70% currently versus 16% in 1986, according to government statistics.
Parents have lit the candle of faith after seven decades of a godless regime, and it is children's duty to tend the fire, the Church says. Scientists have their objections. They regard compulsory religion classes as an unacceptable attempt by the clergy to become part of the secular educational system, which the Constitution keeps separate from the Church. Apart from that, they see blatant denominational chauvinism in teaching only Orthodox Christianity. "How can one hold others in such contempt?" the letter asks, meaning Russia's 20 million Muslims, and significant Buddhist and Jewish communities, to say nothing of other Christian denominations, who would also like children to learn about their faith at school from tender age.
The authors of the letter are no militant atheists. They write in the letter: "It is up to every man and woman to believe in God or not. It is a matter of personal conscience and convictions. We are not fighting religion, but we cannot turn a blind eye to attempts to put science into doubt and substitute faith for scientific knowledge."
The latter phrase refers to another demand of the Russian Orthodox Church-to add theology to the list of academic subjects recognized by the State Commission for Academic Degrees and Titles. The protesting scientists view theology not as a science but as religious dogma. It relies on faith alone while ignoring facts and logical proof, which puts it outside the boundaries of science, they argue.
Christian Orthodoxy is burgeoning in Russia after 70 years of cruel repression. Church hierarchs attend every secular event of importance, and politicians have become exemplary parishioners. The Church is positioning itself as a stronghold of domestic values and basic morals-in the final analysis, a force that unites the nation-at a time when ideology has collapsed and moral pillars have tumbled down with the abrupt change of social system and lifestyle.
We would all welcome the mission of the Church if it had not embarked on a course that many find threatening to secular statehood. Everywhere you go in Russia, you see a cassock. Priests bless warships and submarines, and sprinkle holy water over ballistic missiles. The Church has even published a Businessman's Manual of Morals. It fulminates against Western liberal values as erroneous and downright immoral. The pendulum has swung to the side opposite militant atheism, and it is now likely to upset Russia's cultural balance.
To all appearances, therefore, the scientists have every reason to protest. But then, there was another item in the questionnaire distributed by the Archbishop of Canterbury:
"Do you find religion compatible with science?"
"Yes," Pavlov replied.

© Copyright 2004-2007 by Post Chronicle Corp.

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