|Российская наука и мир|
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
Independent - London, England, UK / Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Russians boldly go to the bottom of the world's deepest lake
- By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Экспедиция российских глубоководных аппаратов "Мир" впервые в истории достигла дна озера Байкал, спустившись на глубину 1580 метров.
Russian scientists travelling in twin mini-submarines yesterday reached the bottom of Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia. The daring underwater mission lasted five hours and attempted to set a new world record for a manned dive in freshwater.
Two teams of three scientists piloted a pair of mini-submarines to the bed of Baikal 1,580m (5,183ft) below the surface of the lake - but fell well short of the 1,680m maximum depth that the crew had hoped to reach to break the record.
Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and holds the largest body of unfrozen freshwater, so it was disappointing that the scientists had failed to reach its deepest point.
The expedition was led by Artur Chilingarov, a pro-Kremlin member of parliament and Arctic explorer who led the submarine team that controversially planted a Russian flag on the sea bed below the North Pole last August.
Mr Chilingarov said just before the mission that the aim of the record-breaking attempt to reach the bottom of Lake Baikal was to preserve the unusual habitat of the lake, which was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1996 because of its unique and rare wildlife.
The 18-tonne mini-submarines, Mir-1 and Mir-2, which already hold the world record for a manned dive in seawater, had to shed weight to make them less buoyant in freshwater. The mission went well even though Mr Chilingarov had anticipated difficulties. "There are technological problems, fickle weather conditions. Freshwater dictates special conditions," he had said before the expedition.
Afterwards, Mr Chilingarov, who oversaw the operation from a mission control point on the Metropolia Platform on the lake, admitted: "There was no record. But we'll continue exploration."
Natalia Komarova, who was the first woman to take part in a Mir mini-sub dive, explained that the results of the mission, which will involve about 160 dives over the next two years, will have an important impact on enviromental legislation to protect this part of east Siberia as it undergoes intensive economic development. "We need to understand how to protect Baikal and use it without harming its unique ecosystem," Ms Komarova told reporters who witnessed yesterday's dive.
At more than 25 million years old, Lake Baikal is the oldest lake in the world. It was formed in a rift valley by the inflow of more than 350 rivers, but it is drained by just one river - the Angara.
Lake Baikal holds more water than the Great Lakes of North America combined - a volume estimated at 23,600 cubic kilometres. An unmanned submersible named Pisces reached a depth of 1,410m in 1977, during a mission when Soviet scientists examined the lake's bed with searchlights. However, the latest manned mission represents another prestige boost for a resurgent Russia after the post-communist collapse of its economy.
Lake Baikal, known as the blue eye of Siberia, is considered one of the natural wonders of the world, holding about 20 per cent of the world's unfrozen freshwater, which is kept crystal clear by tiny, filter-feeding shrimps known as epishura. In winter, when the lake's surface is frozen, it is possible to see 40 feet down into the lake.
Baikal supports more than 2,500 species of animals and plants, and 80 per cent of its animal life is endemic - including the mysterious Baikal freshwater seal which has lived on the land-locked lake for many thousands of years despite being hundreds of miles from the nearest coast.
There have been several threats to the lake over the years, starting with a paper and pulp mill built on its banks in 1996 which belched out noxious gases that killed nearby trees and released toxic chemicals into the water.
More recently, there was a plan to build an oil pipeline close to the lake but this was switched to a more distant route after a high-profile intervention by President Putin, who had promised to preserve the lake's pristine habitat.
* * *
Economist - UK / Jul 31st 2008
Russia is trying to build a high-tech economy, but red tape is strangling it
Основные проблемы развития высоких технологий в России на примере Дубны.
Like pagan gods, two giant statues of Stalin and Lenin once faced each other across the canal linking the Volga and Moskva rivers. Built in the 1930s partly with gulag labour, the canal is described in a Soviet encyclopedia as "a wonderful architectural ensemble of a new socialist type, reflecting the creative might of the Soviet people inspired by the great ideas of building communism". Soon after Stalin's death his statue was blown up. But Lenin still towers over Dubna, a model scientific town that once exemplified the Soviet Union's achievements in nuclear physics.
Now Dubna wants to stand for Russia's high-tech diversification. It has recently been designated a free economic zone, in which Russian high-tech companies are exempted from customs duties and pay lower taxes. A new town, designed by British architects, is being built on the Volga's left bank. Russia hopes that Dubna will turn into a Silicon Valley-or at least a Bangalore. Anatoly Karachinsky, head of Russia's biggest IT company, IBS, plans to move in hundreds of his programmers.
Dubna was built after the war as a closed town. Following Stalin's death it became the home of an international institute for nuclear physics, in which other Warsaw Pact countries were also members. This was the Soviet answer to the European nuclear-research organisation, CERN, that had just opened in Geneva. On the one hand it was closely guarded by the KGB (Dubna also had a military-equipment plant and a rocket construction office). On the other it offered scientists and engineers liberties and privileges that most Soviet citizens could only dream of.
The end of the Soviet Union reduced funding for science to a twentieth of its former budget. Yet Dubna's research institute survived. "The science survived plagues and wars, why should it not have survived the collapse of the Soviet Union?" asks Yuri Oganesyan, head of the nuclear-reactions laboratory. Even when the cash dried up, experiments went on. Indeed, the 1990s were productive, bringing the discovery of new super-heavy nuclei, the opening of a university and the rebuilding of an accelerator. "It may not be beautiful, but it is the most powerful one in the world," says Mr Oganesyan, pointing optimistically to a vast installation of magnets and tubes.
Unlike most Russian research institutes, Dubna lost relatively few scientists to the West. Even more unusual was the survival of its construction offices and military plants. The criminal gangs that rampaged through Russian industrial towns in the 1990s stayed away from Dubna, which was protected by the security services. And the economic shock of transition, says Valery Prokh, Dubna's dynamic mayor, was offset by the growth of small businesses. "We have removed all the barriers, and in two years registered 2,000 new companies, of which 700 are still working today." One such business built the first commercial accelerator in Russia, using it to make filters that separate blood plasma from red cells.
Last year the then President Vladimir Putin declared that "speedy development of fundamental science is becoming a necessary and basic condition for the modernisation of the Russian economy and winning a leading position in the world." After years of high oil prices, money is again no object: in 2007 Russia put 130 billion roubles ($5.5 billion) into a state corporation for nanotechnologies that is being likened to the Manhattan Project. Even China, which quit Dubna after Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin in 1956, has been lured back to the nuclear institute.
But the big problem for high technology in Russia is neither money nor ideas. It is the country's all-pervasive bureaucracy, weak legal system and culture of corruption. This may explain why the nanotechnology corporation has so far found only one project to invest in (and that is registered in the Netherlands). The share of high-tech products in Russia's exports is only 0.6%, "a shameful rate" according to Vladimir Fortov, a member of the Russian Academy of Science. Over the past 15 years, he says, Russia has not brought to the market a single significant drug. The average age of Russia's scientists is well over 50. One of the main commercial activities of Russian research institutes is leasing or selling their property and land.
Scientific inventions tend to be developed abroad. The chain that turns a scientific innovation into a marketable product simply does not exist, says Mr Fortov. And the key to creating it, he argues, is not setting up state corporations, but unshackling the system from bureaucracy and letting private companies operate freely. "We have tried everything else and we know it does not work," he concludes.
Copyright © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2008. All rights reserved.
* * *
The Times / August 6, 2008
Arctic map sets blueprint in march for oil
- Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter
Таяние льдов в Арктике делают все более реалистичной перспективу добычи нефти и газа в полярных водах. Как минимум шесть стран напрямую претендуют на эти ресурсы. Стартовые позиции в борьбе за арктическую нефть определены - создана первая карта, на которой показано, как страны разделят указанный регион. На карте указаны также два отдельных района, названных "зонами" - они лежат вне акваторий, на которые претендуют отдельные государства, и станут использоваться в интересах всех стран Международным управлением по морскому дну.
The starting positions for the dash for oil in the Arctic have been laid out in the first map identifying how fuel-hungry nations will carve up the region.
Melting ice cover in the Arctic and advances in technology have made drilling for oil and gas in Arctic waters an increasingly realistic prospect. A fifth of the world's remaining untapped oil is estimated to be hidden under the seabed in the region and at least six nations have a direct stake in laying claim to it.
The new map, drawn up by researchers at Durham University, identifies the areas where the six countries' claims are virtually uncontestable and where they are likely to be hotly disputed.
It also reveals two separate zones referred to as "the area" that lie outside the writ of any individual country and will be controlled for the benefit of all nations by the International Seabed Authority.
Martin Pratt, director of research at Durham's International Boundaries Research Unit (IBRU), was prompted to try to define the Arctic rights boundaries for the first time after Russia's controvertial seabed flag-planting stunt last year.
Russia was the first country to make an official play for the Arctic seabed when it lodged its claim to a huge tract that included the Lomonosov Ridge in 2001. The Russians were told by the United Nations that they needed more convincing data on the geology of the sea floor before the claim could be accepted.
In 2007 the Russian Government ordered one of its submarines - thought to have been carrying out detailed mapping of the seafloor - to plant a flag on the seabed to stake its claim to the area, in what was regarded by many observers as a provocative action.
Russia is likely to find some of its claims contested by the United States, Canada and, through its control of Greenland, Denmark. It is already in dispute with Norway over parts of the Barents Sea. Iceland is the sixth country within the Arctic circle.
Mr Pratt said that the carving up of the Arctic's natural resources was likely to be less of a free-for-all than many people expected because sufficient international rules were already in place to help to determine who had a right to which area.
"It's not going to be so much a dash as a fairly well-defined march," he said. "There are clearly set out regulations by the United Nations as to what they are entitled to. It's not quite the free-for-all that has been suggested."
Nevertheless, there will be disputes and most of these will depend on where the continental shelf is positioned and whether ridges, notably the Lomonosov Ridge, count as part of them.
Researchers involved in drawing the new map - believed to be the first to identify where the disputed territories will to be found - examined seabed data and international treaties and agreements to determine how the Arctic is likely to be divided. Nations wanting to claim rights to the fossil fuel reserves and minerals trapped under the seabed are able to claim territory up to 200 miles from their shores. They can extend their claim further depending on where the continental shelf lies.
Mr Pratt said: "The results have huge implications for policy-making as the rush to carve up the polar region continues. It's a cartographic means of showing, and an attempt to collate information and predict the way in which the Arctic region may eventually be divided up. The freezing land and seas of the Arctic are likely to be getting hotter in terms of geopolitics; the Durham map aims to assist national and international policy-makers across the world."
Copyright © 2008 Times Newspapers Ltd.
* * *
AlphaGalileo / 26 August 2008
Vladimir V. Dmitriev awarded prestigious prize in low temperature physics
Лауреатами премии имени Фрица Лондона за 2008 год стали российские физики Владимир Дмитриев, Юрий Бунков и Игорь Фомин из Института физических проблем им. П.Л.Капицы РАН. Премия вручается раз в три года за достижения в сфере физики низких температур.
Fritz London Memorial Prize goes to Springer advisory board member.
Springer advisory board member Vladimir V. Dmitriev, along with fellow scientists Yuriy M. Bunkov and Igor A. Fomin, have been named winners of the 2008 Fritz London Memorial Prize for their discovery and understanding of the "Phase Coherent Spin Precession and Spin Superfluidity of 3He-B." The prize was presented at the 25th International Conference on Low Temperature in Leiden, The Netherlands, at the beginning of August 2008.
Vladimir V. Dmitriev started his career at the Kapitza Institute in Moscow in the experimental group of Yu. Bunkov. He participated in the construction of the nuclear cooling cryostat and was part of the experimental work which led to the original discovery of the Homogeneously Precessing Domain state. He is now the head of the Ultra Low Temperature group in the Kapitza Institute and a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Dmitriev is a member of the advisory board of Springer's Journal of Low Temperature Physics. This renowned scientific journal serves as an international medium for the publication of original papers, letters and articles on fundamental theoretical and experimental research developments in all areas of cryogenics and low temperature physics.
The Fritz London Memorial Prize is an international prize awarded once every three years and was created to recognize scientists who have made outstanding experimental and theoretical contributions to the field of low temperature physics. The prize is named after the renowned theoretical physicist Fritz London (1900-1954).
© AlphaGalileo Foundation 2003.
* * *
Nanowerk LLC - Honolulu, HI, USA / August 20, 2008
Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies launches RUSNANO brand
Российская корпорация нанотехнологий объявляет о запуске своего бренда РОСНАНО. Бренд "призван демонстрировать основные принципы деятельности госкорпорации - инновационность, открытость, коммерческую направленность в сочетании с надежностью и компетентностью государственного института развития".
(Nanowerk News) "Today we are about to make an important step on the way of our development: we are launching our brand", said Leonid Melamed, Director General of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. "The team has already been created, the strategy has been outlined, and the procedures for considering and financing the projects have been arranged. Now the Corporation has acquired its own corporate style". RUSNANO brand conveys our main principles: the Corporation is oriented towards innovations, transparency and commercial goals possessing the reliability and expertise of a state development institution. The decision to select an agency for the brand development was made through an open tender. There were 15 inventive proposals of major Russian and foreign creative agencies.
The best one was the concept of Differ, an agency based in Sweden. Their concept The Globe of Opportunities is based on the idea of symbiosis of science, business and society. The symbol of the RUSNANO logotype is a globe, a symbol worthy, a future world leader. Using the three primary colors that can be endlessly combined - representing science, business and society - it communicates the infinite possibilities of nanotechnology, and of RUSNANO, in Russia and the world.
Сreative mixture of interacting elements, representation of excitement and energy are in balance with strong typography of RUSNANO; this type is officially allowed for use together with the corporate name approved by law (Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies, RCNT).
Short and simple name RUSNANO lends stability and validity to the logo; it indicates the Russian origin of the Corporation and its main activity, being expressive and convenient for use in international practice. "We are pleased to note that Differ took part in the development of the Russian nanotechnology initiative. Defining the concept of the RUSNANO brand, we wanted to create a modern and innovative logo, a visual identity that reflects the unique position of the Corporation in the world of nanotechnologies. We share the desire of the Corporation to link RUSNANO brand with the leadership of Russia in the world nanoindustry", says Benoit Fallenius, Director General of Differ. "The Corporation represents Russia at the international innovations market; therefore, we have set high requirements to the logo. We must meet international standards in all aspects of our activity, including our outer image. The creation of the corporate image is over, and now our task is to implement the brand. We have a challenging task - the promises of RUSNANO must become a reality. I can say that the atmosphere in the corporation, our approach to work, our ability to conduct a dialogue with partners fully comply with the selected concept", says Denis Kusenkov, head of the Department of Corporate Communications.
About Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies
The Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies, RUSNANO, was established by the Russian Government to encourage the development of nanotechnology in the world and to strengthen Russia's position in this field. RUSNANO's task is to propeller innovation and commercialization of research, to create an infrastructure dedicated to the promotion of potential nanotechnology and nanoindustry projects. Acting as a financial enabler and co-investor it assists businesses by sharing the development risk of nanotechnology projects with high commercial and societal return. RUSNANO finances education, infrastructure, scientific research and development projects that are required for its investment projects to succeed, and also supports the popularization of nanoscience and nanotechnology. RUSNANO always pays required attention to health, safety and environmental aspects of nanotechnology. The RUSNANO universe consists of actors from all over the world: businesses, universities, institutions, industry organizations and other national/regional initiatives. RUSNANO sees as an important task also to initiate and take part of international collaborations, aiming to inspire and promote the nanotechnology discussion on a global scale.
Copyright © 2008, Nanowerk LLC. All Rights Reserved.
* * *
EETimes.com - USA / 08/21/2008
Russia to pour $25 billion into technology
На реализацию федеральных целевых программ, предусматривающих внедрение высоких технологий в России, в период с 2008 по 2010 год будет выделено порядка 600 миллиардов рублей. Кроме того, была утверждена пятилетняя программа фундаментальных научных исследований стоимостью 250 миллиардов рублей, которая должна привести к существенному росту потенциала отечественной науки и ее конкурентоспособности.
BERLIN - Russia plans to put 600 billion rubles (about $25 billion) into technology-based research programs over a two-year period, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, speaking at a science and education conference reported by the local media.
"We have never provided this sort of money for such purposes before," Putin was quoted as saying by Interfax.
The announcement, played on Russia's NTV and reported by the local press, appears to be a confirmation of an earlier promise Putin made during a speech to the Russian Academy of Sciences in May.
The money will go toward "various federal target programs in the field of high technology" from 2008-2010.
In addition, Putin announced the creation of two national research universities and said that a five-year program for fundamental research worth 250 billion rubles (about $10 billion) had been approved.
Putin is directing enormous sums of federal money into scientific research in order to enhance national security and spark commercial activity, RIA Novosti reports.
He criticized public sector science in Russia as inefficient and holding weak commercial potential. Research is also poorly integrated with the education system, which is aggravating a shortage of scientists, he said.
Researchers are living off federal projects and have little incentive to take on more challenging commercial product development.
"The successes of basic science do not provide the necessary dynamism and quality of applied research, and they in turn do not fully take into account the real needs of the economy," Putin said on NTV.
Copyright © 2008 TechInsights, a Division of United Business Media LLC. All rights reserved.
* * *