Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Март 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

    Washington Post, DC / Tuesday, March 13, 2007
    Russia Seeks More Control At Academy Of Sciences
    • By Peter Finn
    Стремление государства взять под контроль деятельность Российской академии наук вызывает весьма неоднозначную реакцию. О возможных последствиях этого шага рассуждают ученые и политики.

MOSCOW - The historic autonomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which has pioneered fundamental research in Russia since its founding by Peter the Great three centuries ago, is under threat from government proposals to bring the institution under much tighter state control and end its academic freedom, according to academy members.
"This is really a war," Alexander Nekipelov, vice president of the academy, said in an interview at the institution's august administrative headquarters, a czarist palace on Moscow's Leninsky Prospekt. "I am sure we are going to win it, but of course we cannot help being worried by the situation."
Members of the academy, which in 1980 defied Soviet demands that it expel dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov, view the plan as part of a broader trend of increased official control over key parts of Russian society. They contend that the effort is also driven, in part, by bureaucrats who are greedily eyeing the organization's rich portfolio of property, which includes prime real estate in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
"In this scheme, academic work becomes subservient to government," said Sergey Rogov, director of the Institute for the U.S. and Canadian Studies, a wing of the academy. "The entire infrastructure of research will be destroyed." Under the government's plan, his organization and other foreign policy think tanks might come under the control of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Government officials describe their efforts to give the academy a new basic charter as necessary to inject some efficiency into an academic cocoon run by an aging club of researchers too removed from the modern economy. "The new charter should create a competitive environment, and it should cover new mechanisms of state and public control over the academy," Dmitry Livanov, a deputy minister at the Ministry of Education and Science, said in a telephone interview.
Some independent analysts agree that the academy has let itself slide into lethargy in recent years. Older members, they say, tend to cling to posts as sinecures; many younger ones have gone abroad in search of better pay and opportunities. The organization has often been slow to commercialize its scientific discoveries.
"The academy needs reform," said Alexander Shatilov, deputy director of the Center for Current Politics in Russia. "The question is whether it needs the kind of reform the government wants."
The issue will come to a head this month at the academy's annual general assembly, when its 1,250 full and corresponding members vote on a new charter. The document they have drawn up incorporates few of the elements demanded by the government.
The government has not said how it will respond if, as seems likely, academy members reject its demands. Members, however, appear to be relying on the belief that in an election year, political leaders will not want an open conflict with prominent members of the country's intellectual community, who still command a great deal of respect here.
The academy's senior members oversee a $1.2 billion budget, 400 research institutes and 200,000 researchers and staff members across Russia. The institution is self-governing. The funding of research, as well as personnel matters - from who becomes a researcher to who enjoys the prestigious title of full membership, "academician" - is determined by secret ballot.
The dispute grows from legislation that parliament passed last year setting new standards for state academies and requiring them to enact new charters reflecting the changes. The law also applies to academies of medicine, agricultural science, education, arts and architecture, and construction.
Among other changes, the president of the science academy, now elected by its members, would have to be approved by Russia's president. That caused some uneasiness, but Nekipelov, the academy's vice president, said the organization was happy to accept the provision after assurances from the Kremlin that it could never imagine a situation in which the academy's choice would be rejected. The academy would also accept an oversight committee if it has no executive functions, he said.
In January, however, the Ministry of Education and Sciences posted a "model charter" on its Web site and demanded that the academies accept it. According to Nekipelov and other academics, that document goes far beyond what was intended by the legislation and would effectively end the independence that allowed the academy to refuse to expel Sakharov.
During Soviet days, the academy also repeatedly denied membership to leading Communist Party members on grounds that they lacked scientific credentials. It has done the same concerning politicians in post-Soviet days. Last year, the academy refused to accept prominent members of parliament, as well as some businessmen who had petitioned to join. One of the politicians was widely believed to want membership so he could make a bid for the academy's presidency.
Under the government's model charter, many decisions would be handed over to supervisory committees, on which government appointees would hold a 2 to 1 majority. The boards each would have three academics, three representatives from the cabinet, one representative from each house of parliament and one from the presidential administration.
"There is no chance the Russian Academy of Sciences will ever adopt such a document," Nekipelov said. "Even if the leadership of the academy agreed to it, we could do nothing, because such a document could never pass the general assembly. We call it a mere provocation."
The government's model charter would abolish the direct and secret election of academy officers other than the president, including the heads of all institutes. They would instead be nominated by the academy's president and approved by its supervisory board.
Just as worrying, academicians said, the new board would allocate funding for research, which could lead to the suppression of specific projects, particularly in the social sciences, if government officials disapprove. The model charter would also allow some institutes to be placed under the control of individual ministries.
Nekipelov added that funding of basic research in areas such as physics, where breakthroughs are often uncertain and long in coming, would be subject to the whims of appointees who might not understand why some research can last decades.
"They say the president of the Russian Academy of Sciences will determine the main themes of scientific research, but money will be allocated by the supervisory committee. This is nonsense," Nekipelov said. "Determining spheres of research means allocating money to them. Without allocating money, it is just a list and nothing more."
Nekipelov says the government has provided some help to the academy in recent years - increasing salaries for researchers, for instance, which allowed the organization to recruit younger members.
In the meantime, he said, the academy has been exploring how it can boost the commercial exploitation of its work and integrate more with the broader economy.
Livanov, the deputy minister, said the academy could quickly squeeze much more money out of its operations, particularly by exploiting its real estate. "Not long ago, we analyzed the assets of the academy, and our results showed us that these assets, if used efficiently, could generate 35 to 40 percent more revenue," Livanov said. "We're not changing ownership. It is state property and will remain state property."
"Now I hear the bell ring," said Rogov, of the U.S.-Canada institute. "That academy building would make a nice trading center, and that one a nice bank, and that one a nice mall."

© Copyright 1996-2007 The Washington Post Company.

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    AlphaGalileo / 02.03.2007
    Porphyrins against cancer
    Российские ученые разработали метод, с помощью которого можно будет существенно повысить эффективность некоторых видов противоопухолевой терапии. Финансовую помощь авторам оказал Международный научно-технический центр (проект N 2280).

The researchers of the Institute of Chemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) have synthesized compounds that can become efficient remedy for treating oncological diseases. The authors discussed the outcomes at the regular, already 18th symposium entitled "Contemporary Chemical Physics" that took place in autumn 2006 in Tuapse. The research was sponsored by the International Science and Technology Center.
The method is based on the synthesis of new derived porphyrins and investigation of their properties as potential medication for photodynamic therapy and boron neutron capturing therapy. These are relatively new cancer treatment directions, where tumor cells are locally destroyed with the help of a laser beam or neutrons and special compounds which are this way or another delivered into the tumor. These compounds possess a common property - they change to some extent under the influence of a "power blow". Consequences of these changes are for the immediate environment, in this case - the tumor cells - of catastrophe nature: they are either destroyed by the resulting active radicals or annihilated by a powerful although short-term radio-active stream.
A group of researchers under the guidance of Professor Anna Solovyeva, Doctor of Science (Chemistry), managed to combine these two approaches in one compound, or more precisely - in one kind of compound. The researchers succeeded in synthesizing carboranylporphyrins, at that, they did not simply, as chemists put it, "boiled" new substances but they taught these substances to dissolve in water - they solubilized the substances, which by itself used to be an exclusively important problem.
Thus, the new compound is the porphyrinic cycle and carboranes systems. In such systems, each part is relevant. Porphyrins (derived from the Greek word porphyreos meaning purple) are generally surprising compounds. By the way, they are at least slightly familiar to any schoolchild ccc for example, pigments widespread in nature, including chlorophyll, belong to this class of compounds. Haem (which is porphyrin by chemical nature) is an "integral" part of haemoglobin responsible for oxygen transfer in blood. Back at the beginning of the last century, the researchers determined that some porphyrins possessed an interesting property - they were selectively accumulated in the malignant growth cells. It turned out later that due to structure peculiarities, these compounds were also able to capture photons of light of definite wave-lengths and, if oxygen molecules were close by - to produce photochemical reactions which destroyed the tumor. The photodynamic therapy principle is based on that.
On the other hand, carboranes - polyhedral compounds resembling hollow spheres that consist of several boron and carbon atoms - can also be used for tumor annihilation: during thermal neutron irradiation there occurs radioactive emission that kills cancer cells. It may seem that if these substances are combined into a single one, one could get a multiple-purpose weapon for fighting tumors - porphyrin "brings" it to the target, and there, acting together with carborane, it would annihilate the tumor under the influence of directional beams of two kinds of irradiation. The problem is that porphyrins are big flat molecules, which "feel inconvenient" in the water, i.e., it is energetically unfavorable for them to exist separately, and they gather into peculiar piles or packs in aqueous solutions. But they are ineffective in such form. New compounds would not dissolve in water either, therefore, the researchers had to "teach" them. Assistance came from the so-called nonionic surface active agents - small polymers that possess the property of forming micelles like ordinary soap. Mixing up these surface active agents in a special way with porphyrin compounds and carboranes, it is possible to make the latter dissolve in water.
Now the researchers are validating efficiency of obtained compounds as potential antineoplastic medication and are investigating their properties. For the time being, experiments are going in vitro, that is on cells. The outcomes are very promising and experiments on animals are forthcoming. If they are successful as well, physicians will have at their disposal a new powerful and low toxic remedy for oncological diseases.

© AlphaGalileo Foundation 2003.

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    Sciences.gouv.fr / le jeudi 22 février 2007
    L'IFREMER lance la campagne Serpentine
    К работе по изучению гидротермальных полей Ашадзе, Логачева и Краснова (Атлантический хребет) приступила группа российских и французских ученых. Кампания Serpentine, организованная французским Институтом изучения и освоения океана (IFREMER), объединяет геологов, геохимиков, биологов и микробиологов.

Une équipe franco-russe de 40 scientifiques partira le 26 février à bord du "Pourquoi pas?" pour explorer pendant 6 semaines 3 champs hydrothermaux situés sur des affleurements de roches du manteau terrestre sur la dorsale Atlantique. La mission Serpentine rassemblera géologues, géochimistes, biologistes et microbiologistes.
Campagne Serpentine : Découvrir la diversité des processus géologiques et biologiques sur la dorsale Atlantique
À bord du Pourquoi pas ?, une équipe franco-russe de 40 scientifiques partira le 26 février prochain de Las Palmas (Îles Canaries) pour explorer pendant 6 semaines 3 champs hydrothermaux situés sur des affleurements de roches du manteau terrestre sur la dorsale Atlantique.
Temps fort de la campagne, le site hydrothermal le plus profond actuellement connu dans les océans, Achadze, sera échantillonné pour la première fois grâce au robot téléopéré depuis le navire de l'Ifremer, le ROV Victor 6000. Dirigée par Yves Fouquet, Responsable du programme pluridisciplinaire d'étude des milieux extrêmes dans les grands fonds océaniques (programme GEODE) et du laboratoire de Géochimie et Métallogénie d'Ifremer Brest, la campagne Serpentine rassemblera géologues, géochimistes, biologistes et microbiologistes.
Pourquoi baptiser cette campagne Serpentine ?
En géologie, le manteau est la couche située entre le noyau et la croûte terrestre, partie superficielle et solide du matériau constituant la Terre. Le manteau est en général recouvert de la croûte continentale (plusieurs dizaines de kilomètres d'épaisseur) ou de la croûte océanique volcanique (quelques kilomètres). Les dorsales océaniques sont des frontières entre plaques divergentes, où se créent les nouveaux fonds océaniques : la dorsale Atlantique s'ouvre ainsi de moins de 2 cm par an.
Lors de la campagne Serpentine, les scientifiques étudieront des zones de la dorsale Atlantique dépourvues d'activité volcanique. Ces déchirures de la croûte sont parmi les rares zones au monde ou l'on peut observer directement le manteau terrestre. Du fait de l'absence de minéraux hydratés dans la composition du manteau, d'intenses réactions ont lieu lorsque l'eau de mer, ou hydrosphère, pénètre dans le manteau. Ces zones sous-marines représentent ainsi un lieu important de transfert de matière et de chaleur entre l'intérieur de la Terre et l'océan.
La serpentine, ou serpentinite, est une roche qui résulte de la transformation de la péridotite (roche principale ultrabasique du manteau terrestre) sous l'action de l'hydratation et de l'effet de la chaleur. La campagne porte donc le nom de cette roche emblématique des processus qui se produisent au sein des sites hydrothermaux mantelliques.
Les thèmes de recherche : du minéral à la vie…
Les thèmes de recherche de la campagne Serpentine sont multiples et relèvent autant des sciences de la vie que des sciences de la terre. En effet, l'objectif général de la campagne est d'étudier la diversité et les interactions biologiques et géologiques des systèmes hydrothermaux mantelliques situés à de grandes profondeurs. Un des objectifs principaux des scientifiques est de mieux comprendre les phénomènes d'hydratation et d'échanges chimiques entre l'océan et le manteau terrestre. Lors de précédentes campagnes, l'équipe du laboratoire Géochimie et Métallogénie d'Ifremer Brest a été la première à démontrer que l'hydrogène est un sous-produit de l'hydratation du manteau. Il est fortement concentré dans les fluides hydrothermaux puisqu'il représente 40 % des gaz contenus. Or l'hydrogène et le carbone libérés du manteau sont les maillons initiaux de production de composés organiques par des réactions minérales. Celles-ci conduisent à la production d'hydrocarbures et potentiellement de molécules prébiotiques. Ces nouvelles données relancent donc l'intérêt des sources hydrothermales comme lieu potentiel d'apparition de la vie sur terre.
Les molécules organiques ainsi que l'hydrogène peuvent en effet servir de base à une communauté microbienne spécifique à ces environnements.
C'est pourquoi l'étude des interactions fluides/minéraux/bactéries/animaux tiendra une place prépondérante pendant la campagne Serpentine. Par ailleurs, une thématique importante de cette mission concerne la caractérisation des amas sulfurés polymétalliques formés par des sources hydrothermales. En effet, les amas sulfurés mantelliques sont les plus riches en métaux "valorisables" (cuivre, zinc, cobalt, argent, or) actuellement connus dans les océans. Ils constituent un type particulier de gisement, pratiquement inconnu dans les gisements fossiles à terre.
Des spécialistes en biologie des environnements profonds seront également présents à bord du navire afin d'étudier la biodiversité et la spécificité de la faune des systèmes hydrothermaux mantelliques (anémones, vers polychètes, crevettes, clams, moules, crinoïdes…). De même, des microbiologistes s'intéresseront aux bactéries dites piezzophiles (c'est à dire adaptées à de fortes pressions), aux plasmides, virus ou autres micro-organismes vivant sous les pressions hydrostatiques extrêmes de ces zones. Ces organismes ont un intérêt particulier puisqu'ils jouent un rôle essentiel dans les cycles biogéochimiques.
Enfin, des études en bathymétrie et magnétisme seront également menées afin d'obtenir davantage de données sur les zones explorées encore mal connues. Le module de mesures en route de Victor 6000 permettra ainsi de dresser des cartes détaillées des sites hydrothermaux et de préciser leur lien avec les failles générées par l'ouverture de l'Atlantique.
Serpentine : les enjeux stratégiques L'exploration et l'accès aux grands fonds océaniques relèvent de défis scientifiques et technologiques majeurs.
Les enjeux scientifiques, économiques et géopolitiques ont pris de plus en plus d'importance depuis quelques années du fait de l'identification de ressources énergiques et minérales, et du nécessaire inventaire de la biodiversité. La France, les Etats Unis, le Japon et la Russie sont à la pointe dans le domaine de la connaissance et de l'exploration des grands fonds, mais les cartes sont en cours de redistribution du fait de l'arrivée en force de la Chine, de la Corée du Sud et de l'Inde. La coopération franco-Russe et la campagne Serpentine permettront à la France et à la Russie de maintenir leur rôle de leader mondial pour la connaissance scientifique des processus hydrothermaux le long de la dorsale Atlantique.
France-Russie : plus de 35 ans de collaboration scientifique
Le premier programme de coopération océanographique entre la Russie et la France, associé à une campagne à la mer, date de 1969. Il s'agissait d'un programme en géosciences marines qui marqua le début d'échanges fructueux et de programmes communs entre l'URSS, puis la Russie, et la France. Témoignage de cette longue et toujours active coopération entre les deux pays, le navire de recherche russe Professor Logachev fit escale en avril 2004 à Brest.
Depuis 35 ans, l'objectif de cette collaboration est de mieux connaître l'océan profond et ses relations avec l'intérieur du globe, de recenser les ressources minérales potentielles et de comprendre l'écologie des systèmes hydrothermaux. A l'avenir, ces connaissances seront essentielles pour une exploitation raisonnable des ressources minérales grands fonds et pour la préservation de l'environnement.
Les zones d'étude de Serpentine
Aux larges des Antilles, trois zones hydrothermales seront étudiées lors de la campagne Serpentine. Ces sites ont été découverts récemment et deux d'entre eux seront échantillonnés par un robot sous-marin pour la première fois. Ils sont donc quasiment vierges de toute exploration :
Achadze (13°N). Situé à plus de 4100 mètres de profondeur, il s'agit du site hydrothermal le plus profond actuellement connu au monde. Les scientifiques ont déjà détecté sur ce site actif (fumeurs) la présence de roches ultrabasiques serpentinisées et d'animaux.
Logatchev (14°45'N). Situé à 2970 m de profondeur, il ressemble dans sa composition minéralogique au site Rainbow (Açores), déjà exploré lors de précédentes campagnes. Des colonies animales sont également présentes sur ce site actif.
Krasnov (16°38). Il s'agit d'une zone de monts de sulfure située entre 3700 et 3900 m. C'est le plus gros amas de sulfures actuellement connu dans l'océan Atlantique. Il semble inactif et en voie de dissection (découpage en deux parties) par les failles du mur du rift. Si tel est le cas, une coupe géologique naturelle sera visible, permettant d'étudier et d'échantillonner la troisième dimension du dépôt hydrothermal. Ce site permettra de comprendre le devenir des dépôts hydrothermaux et de l'activité biologique lorsque l'activité s'arrête.

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    innovations report - Bad Homburg, Germany / 02.03.2007
    Heaviness of water and rate of reaction
    Возможно, действие природных минеральных вод связано не только с их минеральным составом, но и с концентрацией тяжелых изотопов кислорода и водорода. Открытие сделано специалистами кафедры общей патологии и патофизиологии Российской медицинской академии последипломного образования и НТЦ "Тонкие технологии", и подчеркивает важность исследования воздействия тяжелых молекул в составе природной воды на биохимические процессы в клетках.

Concentration of heavy isotopic homologues of water affects the rate of enzymic oxidation taking place in mitochondria. The discovery made by specialists of the Chair of General Pathology and Pathophysiology of the Russian Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education (Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation) and the Scientific Technical Center "Fine Technologies" emphasizes practical importance of investigating biological effects of heavy water molecules in the natural water composition.
Natural water is heterogeneous in terms of isotopic composition. Approximately 99.732% of its molecules consist of 1H and 16O atoms, and the rest (0.268% or 2.68 gram per liter) are heavy molecules of water, isotopologs, containing at least one stable heavy 2H, 17O or 18О isotope. Heavy isotopologs differ from the basic variant by physicochemical and biological properties. However, their concentration in natural water is relatively moderate, but nobody has investigated their influence in the natural concentrations on rates of biochemical reactions. Meanwhile, this issue is of practical importance as the heavy isotopologs contents in water varies in different regions and climatic zones (from 0.234% in Antarctic water through 0.268 percent - in oceanic water). The Moscow researchers have investigated the influence of natural concentrations of heavy isotopologs on kinetics of hydrogen peroxide formation in mitochondria.
Experiments were carried out in a reactionary mixture, which included mitochondria excreted from rats' liver, siccine acid at various concentrations, and necessary salts. It is easy to observe the reaction by changing of the red phenol indicator color in the presence of horse-radish peroxidase. As a basis for reactionary environment the researchers used either distilled water obtained via rectification of natural water from the Moscow Region and containing 0.265% of heavy isotopologs, or water with heavy isotopologs content less that the natural one, 0.221%. Such water was obtained via vacuum rectification of natural water. In such water, hydrogen peroxide formation reaction was quicker than in the water with natural, higher content of heavy isotopologs. The researchers have observed this result at different concentrations of siccine acid, including physiological ones, and came to the conclusion that heavy isotopologs of water even at relatively low natural concentrations slow down hydrogen peroxide formation reaction in mitochondria. Reduction of heavy isotopologs concentration in heavy water, on the contrary, accelerates the reaction.
The researchers assume that heavy isotopologs of water at natural concentrations can also influence other biochemical processes. Probably, biological effects of natural mineral water can be connected not only with its mineral content, but also with heavy molecules concentration, that is with the factor, which was previously disregarded. Meanwhile, it is known that mineral water of mountain origin is usually distinguished by lower content of heavy isotopologs.

© copyright 2006 by innovations-report.

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    Newindpress, India / Tuesday March 13 2007
    Russian scientists considering animal-to-human transplants
    Специалисты Российского НИИ трансплантологии и искусственных органов (Москва) изучает возможность пересадки органов от животных человеку, клонирования органов и создания гибридных органов. Об этом сообщил директор института Валерий Шумаков на пресс-конференции в Москве, посвященной 20-летию со дня первой пересадки донорского сердца.

MOSCOW: Russian specialists are studying the possibility of animal-to-human transplants, organ cloning and the creation of hybrid organs.
"We are currently working on the possibility of xenotransplantation, which is transplantation of organs from animals to humans. We are also studying the possibility of cloning organs and creating hybrid organs," Director of the Russian Scientific Research Institute of Transplantation and Artificial Organs Valery Shumakov said on Monday at a news conference on the 20th anniversary of the first heart transplant in the country.
"So far, we have achieved some definitive results, but we cannot disclose any details," Ria Novosti news agency quoted Shumakov as saying. He said the main problem with transplantations had been chronic under-funding and a shortage of personnel.
Shumakov's institute performs transplant operations free of charge for Russians, but foreigners have to pay for them.

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    Investir en Russie - Villeurbanne, Rhône, France / jeudi 8 mars 2007
    Des bathyscaphes russes vont explorer les abysses de l'Océan arctique
    В рамках проведения Международного полярного года 2007/2008 в качестве одного из исследовательских проектов планируется осуществить спуск в Северный ледовитый океан на глубину 4000 метров на российских батискафах.

MOSCOU, 8 mars - RIA Novosti. Dans le cadre de l'Année internationale polaire (AIP) 2007/2008 des bathyscaphes russes plongeront à la cote moins 4.000 mètres dans les eaux de l'Océan arctique, a annoncé lundi le vice-président de la Douma, Artour Tchilingarov.
Au cours d'une conférence de presse tenue au siège de RIA Novosti consacrée au début de l'AIP le 1er mars, le président de l'Organisation météorologique mondiale et chef du Service fédéral russe pour l'hydrométéorologie, Alexandre Bedritski, a annoncé qu'une soixantaine de pays prenaient part à l'année.
"Plus de 200 projets d'études de l'Arctique et de l'Antarctique seront réalisés dans le cadre de l'AIP. Des chercheurs russes seront impliqués dans la moitié d'entre eux. Au total, plus de 50.000 scientifiques de nationalités diverses étudieront les deux pôles. Je voudrais relever aussi qu'en Russie une bonne cinquantaine d'établissements mèneront des recherches dans le cadre de l'AIP", a-t-il ajouté. Les participants à la conférence ont relevé que les résultats obtenus au cours de l'AIP permettront aux chercheurs de faire progresser les choses dans le domaine de la prévision du climat sur la Terre.

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Продолжение дайджеста за МАРТ 2007 года (часть 2)

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