Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Июль 2011 г.
Дайджест за другие годы
2011 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)

январь февраль март апрель май июнь июль август сентябрь октябрь ноябрь декабрь
    Юбилей сотрудничества британского научного издательства и российского научного сообщества - 10 лет назад в Физическом институте им. П.Н.Лебедева (ФИАН) был открыт редакционный офис британского издательского дома IOP Publishing.

The outstanding contribution of Russian researchers to the worldwide scientific community was celebrated last night at a reception to mark the 10th anniversary of IOP Publishing's (IOP) editorial office in the P.N.Lebedev Institute, Moscow.
The event brought together a number of leading Russian scientists and an award was presented for an outstanding paper published in 2010 in an IOP journal.
The award was won by Nataliya Chistyakova and her co-authors from Moscow State University, for their paper "Mössbauer study of isomorphous substitutions in Cu2Fe 1-xCuxSnS4 and Cu2Fe 1-xZnxSnS4 series", published in Journal of Physics: Conference Series.
On winning the prize, Nataliya Chistyakova commented on the speed and efficiency through which her paper was published.
On the night, a host of leading members of the Russian scientific community, including V.Rubakov and A.Slavnov, were joined by IOP staff to celebrate this latest landmark in the special relationship IOP holds with the Russian scientific community, that spans over twenty years.
IOP's first Russian editorial office was opened in 1990 in Saint-Petersburg, and the editorial teams in both cities have worked closely with hundreds of researchers to help them showcase their work to the worldwide scientific community and raise their international profile.
"We are very excited to see the number of published papers from Russian authors increase every year as the research of Russian scientists increasingly gets the attention of the international audience it deserves. We are very pleased that by publishing with IOP and through the support of the editorial teams here in Russia we can help researchers get worldwide recognition", said Dr. Nina Couzin, Editorial Business Manager of IOP Publishing.
Dr. Margarita Man'ko, Coordinator of the Moscow office, said, "The editorial office at the Lebedev provides authors with guidance on how to write and submit a paper to get it accepted in an international journal. IOP publishes over 60 prestigious journals that span the whole of physics and are an excellent publishing choice for researchers who want to increase visibility and impact of their work."
Going forward, IOP publishing will continue to work closely with Russian scientists as part of the company's ongoing commitment to providing an outstanding publishing service to scientists worldwide.

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    The Moscow Times / 05 July 2011
    Free Land for Scientists Is Not Coming Cheap
    • By Lena Smirnova
    Пилотный проект РАН и Фонда РЖС по созданию жилищно-строительных кооперативов молодых ученых в Новосибирске критикуют за слишком высокую стоимость жилья.

The Russian Academy of Sciences is determined to help young scientists find affordable housing in Soviet-style scientific towns, starting with a pilot settlement in Novosibirsk - but some scientists criticize the project for its high hidden costs.
The Russian Housing Development Foundation will transfer 153 hectares of federal land in Novosibirsk to a cooperative of young scientists. The land, which is near the well-known scientific town Akademgorodok, is expected to be the site for 1 million square meters of housing.
Social services such as kindergartens and transportation are also included in the academy's plan.
"This closed cooperative will allow us to recreate the conditions that existed when these academic cities were built - will allow us to concentrate scientific colleagues on a small plot of land where they will interact among themselves," said Andrei Matveyev, chair of the Siberian branch of the young scientists' council.
The pilot project could be replicated on other academy lands if it is successful, said Vera Mysina, chair of the council. Yekaterinburg, Vladivostok and the central region are under consideration for future projects.
The Duma is currently deliberating changes to a law that will allow the foundation to transfer federal lands to scientist cooperatives without competition or compensation. The amendments went through a first reading last week.
Housing and low salaries are the two key problems for young scientists, Matveyev said. The Novosibirsk settlement will offer them housing at a cost of no more than 30,000 rubles ($1,010) per square meter.
The 960 scientists who qualified for this offer were selected based on their age and ability to cover some of the costs of the project. "This project is not for those that have nothing," Matveyev explained. "It is for specialists who have some savings and a stable salary in the range of 35,000 rubles."
Three hundred scientists did not meet the criteria.
Alexei Fursin, the foundation's deputy general director, said that anti-speculation measures will be incorporated into the law to make sure that scientists don't sell the land to outsiders. Scientists will get discount mortgage rates to pay for the project, said Tatyana Fainblat, director at the state-owned Mortgage Lending Agency. Credit rates will be under the market average of 11 percent, although the agency won't name specific amounts until September.
But even with special financing, scientists could struggle to pay for the project.
The foundation will cover the cost of town-planning documentation and external utility links needed for the settlement while scientist cooperatives will pay for project documentation, utility connections within the town and housing construction.
The project documentation alone is expected to cost the scientists 500 to 700 rubles per square meter, said Alexei Shepel, chair of S.Holding Corporation. Shepel estimated that the cooperative would need 500 million to 700 million rubles just to prepare the paperwork. Scientists are also concerned about other hidden costs of the project. Yakov Greenberg, professor at the Novosibirsk State Technical University, said new housing in the city often requires additional finishing work, which could cost young scientists thousands of rubles.
"In the newly built apartments there are no furnishings, bathrooms, nothing. It is just a box," Greenberg said. "Before moving into this apartment, you must spend a lot on repairs, and mortgage loans, of course, don't cover these additional expenses."
The number of scientists in scientific towns in Russia has declined over the past 20 years, and Matveyev estimated that no more than 30 percent of current residents are actually scientists. He said he hopes that the pilot project will reconnect the scientific community. "If we can do it, I think it will be fantastic," Matveyev said.

© Copyright 1992-2011. The Moscow Times. All rights reserved.
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    Materials Views / 2011-07-04
    Russian Diamonds: Nanodiamonds with Valuable Flaws
    • By Carol Stanier
    Российские ученые создали наноалмазы с высокой концентрацией NV-центров или азото-замещенных вакансий. NV-центры, представляющие собой дефекты строения кристаллической решётки алмаза, когда один из атомов углерода замещается атомом азота, рассматриваются как элементы информационных систем нового поколения, в частности - как базовые элементы пока еще гипотетического квантового компьютера.

Diamonds that contain nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers are sought after for their fluorescent and electronic properties. Russian scientists have made nanodiamonds with a higher concentration of NV centers, with a better efficiency than was previously possible.
An NV center occurs where a single carbon atom in the diamond lattice is substituted by a nitrogen atom with a lattice vacancy next to it; such centers are very well known and extensively studied. The NV centers can occur as the neutral NV state or as NV-. In particular this NV- state is of interest for applications in magnometers, biosensors, single photon sources, and quantum computers. NV- containing diamonds are the only solid-state material in which manipulation of the spin states of a single localized electron has been possible to date.
Most NV- containing diamonds so far have been created by irradiating bulk, micro-or nanodiamonds with ions, neutrons, or electrons. All methods involve expensive equipment and create a high concentration of defects that impairs the quality of the resulting diamonds. Although nanodiamonds as small as 7 nm diameter containing NV- centers have been created recently, the efficiency of this procedure is not generally high, and it would not be suitable for commercial production.
Now Pavel Baranov and colleagues at Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute and Kazan State University, both in Russia, have found a way to create high concentrations of NV- centers in nanodiamond for the first time. They used detonation nanodiamond (DND), which is a powder made by the detonation of trinitrotoluene (TNT) and another explosive, RDX. They sintered the DND under high-temperature (800°C) and high-pressure (6GPa) conditions for only a short time (11 seconds) and controlled the growth of the resulting particles.
The scientists were thus able to produce particles of 4-5 nm in size that contained up to 1% NV centers, and with a high proportion of NV- centers (one per millimeter cubed); this concentration is nearly three times higher than any previously reported and the particles are smaller too. Although they point out that current theoretical models cannot explain this high concentration of NV centers, Baranov and his co-workers suggest that the particular temperature chosen for their synthesis is key to the effect.
Because this new, efficient preparation method does not involve expensive equipment or starting materials, it may pave the way to new and more widespread use of diamonds with NV centers in current and new technologies.

Copyright © John Wiley & Sons.
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    Voix de la Russie / 6.07.2011
    NICA, un collisionneur russe sans égal dans le monde
    Строительство уникального коллайдера тяжелых ионов NICA в Дубне планируется завершить в 2017 году.

Les chercheurs russes de Doubna (ville scientifique à proximité de Moscou) conçoivent un nouvel accélérateur de particules, un "collègue" de celui construit au CERN. Ce projet international a été baptisé NICA.
Le collisionneur russe accomplira les tâches que Grand collisionneur de hadrons, près de Genève, ne peut pas accomplir. Il s'agit notamment de la matière nucléaire ultra-dense qui sera obtenue grâce à la collision de noyaux lourds des atomes qui seront accélérés à des vitesses vertigineuses dans le nuclotron, un accélérateur cryogène de noyaux. Cette installation, créée au Laboratoire de physique des hautes énergies de l'Institut unifié de recherches nucléaires de Doubna, est sans égal dans le monde. Cet institut a créé, dans les années 1950, le fameux synchrophasotron, qui était à son époque le plus grand accélérateur de particules jamais conçu.
En se basant sur les résultats d'expériences menées à l'aide du collisionneur russe, les chercheurs sauront étudier les processus qui se déroulent dans les étoiles mais aussi comprendre ce qui s'est passé après le big-bang et comment notre Univers s'est formé. Par ailleurs, ces recherches ont une valeur pratique. Par exemple, les accélérateurs de particules peuvent être utilisés dans la médecine (notamment pour le traitement du cancer), dans le nucléaire civil, l'aérospatial, l'électronique.
La création du collisionneur est l'un des six mégaprojets soumis à une commission d'experts qui devra approuver leur mise en œuvre en Russie. Le projet NICA a suscité un grand intérêt des chercheurs étrangers de plus de 30 pays.
Le projet NICA doit être achevé en 2017. La Russie devra y investir entre 300 millions et 1 milliard de dollars.

© 2005-2011 Voix de la Russie.
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    The Wall Street Journal / JULY 7, 2011
    Shuttle's Last Flight Leaves Russia With Space Monopoly
    • By Robert Lee Hotz
    После того, как американский шаттл "Атлантис" совершил свой последний полет на МКС, Россия со своими "старомодными", но недорогими и надежными ракетами-носителями "Союз" получила монополию на пилотируемые полеты как минимум до 2016 года. Американские эксперты полагают, что российское правительство вряд ли станет использовать эту монополию как средство дипломатического давления, но коммерческую выгоду явно не упустит - к 2016 году одно место на "Союзе" будет стоить NASA 63 млн долларов, на 175% дороже, чем в 2005.

Circling the Earth every 90 minutes, the International Space Station is the most expensive project ever assembled in space. Within days, it will hang by a single, costly thread. And Russia, the U.S.'s historic rival in space, is holding it.
The last U.S. space shuttle is scheduled to blast off Friday. After that, the U.S. and other nations will rely on vintage Russian spacecraft to ferry their astronauts to the $100 billion station. Russia will hold a monopoly over manned spaceflight, and tensions already are rising. The Russians are in the process of nearly tripling the cost of using their Soyuz crew capsules for transport to the orbiting base, and other countries have little choice but to pay up.
"We are not in a very comfortable situation, and when I say uncomfortable, that is a euphemism," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, director general of the European Space Agency, one of five international agencies that jointly manage the orbiting laboratory. "We made a collective mistake."
The Soyuz represents the triumph of a low-cost approach to human space exploration. The Russian capsules are launched on massive expendable rockets, carrying astronauts in a kind of guided cannonball to and from orbit. By contrast, the U.S. built its space program around the most complex flying machine ever, the reusable space shuttle. While the U.S. has spent $209.1 billion on the space shuttle since its inception, the entire Russian space program currently costs just $2 billion a year.
"Today, reusable ships are a very expensive pleasure, and economically they're not really justified," Vladimir Popovkin, the newly appointed head of Roskosmos, the Russian space agency, told a Russian newspaper last month. Officials at Roskosmos didn't provide comment for this article.
The Russian monopoly on manned spaceflight won't last forever. If all goes as NASA plans, the Russian monopoly will end in 2016 when the agency hopes to take its pick of several new commercial crew transports currently on the drawing board. NASA is now seeking a commercial space-taxi service-designed, built and operated by the private sector-to cut costs while speeding the pace of development.
"We are working aggressively to get our own crew capability," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for space operations, the chairman of the international board that oversees the space station.
Since President George W. Bush announced the end of the space-shuttle program in 2004, the Russian space agency has increased the price of taking U.S. astronauts to the space station eight times. By terms of the latest contract, each seat on a Soyuz crew capsule will cost NASA $63 million by 2016 - a 175% price increase since 2005, according to a new agency audit.
The largest single price increase takes effect later this summer, coinciding with the conclusion of the last space-shuttle mission. It will cost U.S. astronauts $43.4 million apiece to fly aboard the Soyuz later this year, a 57% increase from the first-half cost.
The Russian government is unlikely to use its current monopoly over access to the space station as a diplomatic pressure point, but it would certainly take commercial advantage, several U.S. space experts said.
The Russians haven't crowed over the demise of the space shuttle. Alexei Krasnov, head of manned programs at Roskosmos, told a Russian newspaper last month, "Even though the U.S. will be paying us to use our Soyuzes, giving up the shuttles isn't good for Russia." His country is a big backer of the International Space Station, and he noted that it would have been impossible to build the station without space shuttles. "It would be better for us if the shuttles continued to fly, even just once a year," he said.
The space station was originally conceived as a platform for sending spacecraft to other planets. But its mission has changed into an orbiting laboratory to conduct experiments on how humans and other organisms fare in a low-gravity environment. The hope is to understand more about basic life function and to discover new medical treatments and vaccines. And humans are needed to conduct, or be participants in, many of these experiments.
So far, NASA has purchased 46 seats for Soyuz flights through 2016, and it wants to buy more. NASA officials attribute the price hikes to inflation and the increased cost of making more Soyuz spacecraft, which the Russians have been manufacturing for almost 40 years. The Russians have continued to tweak the Soyuz, and have a new version coming out this year.
In April, NASA awarded a total of $269.3 million to five U.S. aerospace companies to develop systems for transporting humans to the space station.
One of them - Space Exploration Technologies Corp., based in a Hawthorne, Calif. - appears to be furthest along, experts said. It pledged to build a reusable system that could ferry seven astronauts into orbit for as little as $20 million each-a fraction of most forecasts of future crew-transport costs.
"It has to be done for an amount of money that taxpayers are willing to pay," said Space Exploration Chief Executive Elon Musk, who co-founded PayPal and Tesla Motors. "That should allow NASA to transport a much greater number of astronauts and to get much more use out of the space station."
A NASA-sponsored analysis by Aerospace Corp., one of the agency's most influential outside advisers, is less sanguine. It forecast future transportation costs at $90 million to more than $150 million per seat.
Space Exploration already has a $1.6 billion NASA contract to ferry supplies to the space station using its experimental Dragon spacecraft and its Falcon rocket, beginning next year. In April, NASA awarded the company an additional $75 million to build a launch-escape system for the Dragon spacecraft - a key component in converting it into a crew transport.
Despite pioneering accomplishments-including launching and successfully recovering the first private spacecraft from orbit - Mr. Musk and his company have wrestled with technical problems and launch failures that have dragged out schedules and lowered expectations.
To keep pace, Mr. Musk said he planned to skip a test flight of the unmanned Dragon spacecraft originally scheduled for this summer and test the craft's ability to safely dock in orbit with the space station by the end of the year.
Officials at Roscosmos, however, warned in April they wouldn't let the unmanned Dragon spacecraft fly near the space station or dock with it any time soon-not until they deem it safe. In 1997, Russia's Mir space station was badly damaged when a cargo module slammed into it. International Space Station Manager Michael Suffredini at NASA discounted the Russian safety concerns. "Sometimes the Russians say things without having all the data at their fingertips," he said.
Nonetheless, NASA hasn't yet worked out all the procedures for certifying the safety of the various new crew craft, the agency's inspector general reported last week. With each delay, the likely gap between the final shuttle trip this week and deployment of a U.S. replacement threatens to grow.
The companies "will take a little longer to get online than they tell us," Mr. Suffredini said. "I would not expect to see anybody until late 2016."
Indeed, NASA's inspector general last week warned that private companies may take so long to develop safe commercial crew transportation that it could threaten U.S. access to the space station.
"It is still a very risky bet that one or more of these companies can come up with an affordable and sustainable way for crew transport," said George Washington University space-policy analyst John Logsdon. "For the time being, American astronauts will be taking Russian taxis."
In fact, NASA is already moving to buy more seats for U.S. astronauts aboard Russian crew capsules in case commercial development continues to fall behind schedule. Currently, NASA has purchased seats on the Russian Soyuz only through 2016, and doing so required a congressional waiver of legal limits on technological trade with Russia. To purchase more Soyuz seats, the agency will need additional congressional approval, which it is seeking.
Despite its rising ticket price, the Soyuz capsule is a relative bargain compared to the cost of the NASA space shuttle, largely because the vehicles represent radically different engineering approaches to human spaceflight. In many ways, the Soyuz resembles the Apollo moon capsules and Saturn rockets used by the U.S. in the 1960s.
By contrast, the space shuttle is a reusable winged spacecraft piloted by astronauts who can land it from orbit like a glider. Each shuttle contains more than 2.5 million parts and 230 miles of wiring, operating at extremes of speed, heat, cold, gravity and vacuum.
Working in the 1970s, NASA's shuttle designers promised to make civilian manned spaceflight cheap, safe and routine - a jumping-off point for human voyages to other planets. Shuttle missions would be launched up to 50 times a year.
In 30 years of flights, the crafts deployed more than 50 satellites into orbit. They carried more than three million pounds of cargo and 355 people from 16 countries into space. They launched interplanetary probes and major orbital observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope.
In practice, however, the space-shuttle program was never routine, reliable or cheap. A shuttle launch cost $1.5 billion - 100 times the $10.5 million each that NASA officials promised at the start of the program in 1972. And the agency never came close to achieving the launch rates its designers had predicted.
Without the shuttle to rely on, NASA managers have scrambled to revamp the way they operate the space station. They revised the way they plan to repair it and conduct research there in the decade to come, using their last space-shuttle flights to build up orbiting caches of large spare parts that can't fit aboard unmanned Russian, European or Japanese supply craft that currently supply the station.
In the end, the U.S. is left to ponder an irony: It won the technological race to develop a space shuttle but lost the war. "You can argue that the Russians were on the right trajectory all along, by flying big, dumb boosters," said Duke University space historian Alex Roland.

Copyright © 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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    The Voice of Russia / Jul 10, 2011
    Innovations for GLONASS
    • Alexei Chernichenko
    В омской исследовательской лаборатории разработано уникальное оборудование для систем глобального позиционирования ГЛОНАСС и GPS, позволяющее определять координаты с точностью до миллиметра.

Russian scientists have developed unique equipment for the global satellite-based navigation systems GLONASS and GPS. Created in an innovation research laboratory in the Siberian city of Omsk, the new equipment can increase the accuracy of navigation up to a millimeter. By contrast, the most sophisticated modern navigation devices have maximum accuracy of several dozen meters.
The new system is capable of transmitting location and movement data via the Internet or via a mobile phone. It can be used to monitor the state of bridges, dams, electric power lines and even tectonic plates. For transport vehicles equipped with this system, drivers may no longer be unnecessary.
Installing this device on road construction machinery will help build ideally smooth roads.
Alexei Shelkovsky, Vice Rector of the National University of Information Technologies in St. Petersburg, shares his view:
"This is going to be a much sought-after system, particularly in small-scale business, as it means that more science-intensive and highly remunerable jobs will appear. Such innovative products are very important because they actually create a market. In our country, the global navigation system was initially designed as a big government project for big goals, whereas innovative products offer an opportunity to commercialize it and make it accessible to a large mass of consumers."
The system developed by Omsk researchers has already been installed at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydro-power plant for post-repair monitoring.

© 2005-2011 Voice of Russia.
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    The Guardian / Thursday 14 July 2011
    Yuri Gagarin statue unveiled in London
    Figure of the Russian astronaut - the first man to journey into outer space - uncovered by his daughter Elena Gagarina
    • Maev Kennedy
    В Лондоне появился памятник первому космонавту. Статуя Юрия Гагарина установлена рядом со штаб-квартирой Британского Совета, напротив памятника другому великому исследователю, капитану Джеймсу Куку.

The man who fell to earth has come to rest on the Mall in London. Half a century after the Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first human to see our small blue globe from outer space, his daughter Elena Gagarina unveiled his statue on the spot where cheering crowds gathered to greet the hero on 14 July 1961.
The statue shows Gagarin standing on the globe in his spacesuit, and was cast from the original mould by the artist Anatoly Novikov, for a statue commissioned in the small Russian town of Lyubertsy where Gagarin trained as a foundry worker. It has come to London as a gift from the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, and stands opposite the statue of another great explorer, Captain Cook, outside the British Council's offices where there is also an exhibition of extraordinary objects and images which have never left Russia before, including space food, a flight seat for a dog, and Gagarin's anti-gravity training harness and seat.
"It is a great event, important not only for my family and my country, but for all the people - 50 years ago a new era began," Gagarina said.
In his own account of the 108 minutes in April 1961 when his Vostok 1 space capsule orbited the earth in April 1961, Gagarin recalled his eventual safe return, parachuting down close to the capsule into a field near the village of Smelovka - the fact that they feared he would not survive landing inside the capsule was concealed at the time.
"Stepping on to firm ground again, I saw a woman and a little girl looking curiously at me. I was still in my orange spacesuit, and they were frightened. "I'm a friend," I shouted, taking off my helmet. "Have you come from outer space?" the woman asked. "As a matter of fact, I have."
He came to England as part of a triumphant world tour, and the handsome, charming cosmonaut was greeted everywhere with the rapture now given only to pop stars, footballers and newly married princesses.
He never forgot his visit, and the warmth of the crowds who greeted him, Gagarina said. "He knew from newspapers and literature they are very closed but he felt when he came to Great Britain that everybody liked him very much and they expressed their joy so that he was astonished."
The government scrambled to keep up with the rapture of the crowds: the three-day visit was extended twice so that Gagarin could lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace - passing the spot where the statue now stands, in a Rolls Royce with the number plate YG1 - and to meet the prime minister, Harold Macmillan.
In Manchester huge crowds waited for hours in the rain. Gagarin asked for the top of the car to be opened, saying "If all those people are getting wet to welcome me, surely the least I can do is get wet, too." In London, an American correspondent reported with undisguised shock, the crowds were as large and as enthusiastic as those a month earlier for President John F Kennedy.
Gagarin's visit seemed a time of optimism and joy, the thawing at last of the cold war - but Nato allies sharply condemned the semi-official welcome given to Gagarin, and within a month the new Iron Curtain was rising, the Berlin Wall.
His celebrity grounded him, too precious to Soviet propaganda to be allowed into space again. Gagarina vividly remembers her handsome, happy, physical-fitness-fanatic father, but he was hardly ever there: "He was so busy he was at home perhaps one evening a month." He died just seven years later when a Mig fighter in which he was training, hoping to get back into the space programme, crashed.
Yesterday a small but passionate crowd gathered for the unveiling, including Britain's first astronaut, Helen Sharman, children from the Russian International Theatre School, Prince Michael of Kent who so eerily resembles his cousins of the last of the Russian imperial family - and Lea Georgiades, who came wearing her Lenin badge three hours before the ceremony to be sure of getting a good place. She was a teenager in 1961, and remembers the impact of his visit: "He was modest, clever, charming and handsome - we just thought he was a hero." She would have liked to be an astronomer, she said wistfully, but her grammar school had never heard of such a career for a girl and so she became a teacher who inspired her pupils to look to the stars for hope for the world.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011.
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    Совместный европейско-российский проект APOS направлен на более продуктивное использование суперкомпьютеров нового поколения в науке и промышленности. Планируется разработка и совершенствование программного обеспечения таких стратегически важных областей, как сейсмическое моделирование, моделирование залежей нефти и газа, вычислительная гидродинамика, термоядерная энергетика и молекулярная динамика.

July 15 - Faster computers do not immediately lead to better results. Incompatibility between the requirements of existing software and the capabilities of new supercomputers is a growing problem that will be addressed by a pioneering new Russian-European collaboration called APOS.
The future of high-performance computing means two things - massive parallelism and heterogeneity. Processor manufacturers are squeezing ever more computational cores onto their CPUs, and HPC vendors are looking to augment these many-core chips with GPU-like accelerators to deliver the next push forward for computing capacity. While such developments give scientists the potential to run ever bigger, faster, or more detailed simulations, there are significant challenges involved before today's most important application codes attain these advances.
"A key consideration for exascale computers is programmability. The APOS team is working with some of today's most important HPC applications, developing the tools and techniques required to help them realise the benefits of future-generation supercomputers," explains George Beckett, APOS project manager at EPCC, University of Edinburgh.
Funded by the European Union's 7th Framework Programme and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, APOS will target popular codes from the strategically important application areas of seismic modelling, oil- and gas-reservoir simulation, computational fluid dynamics, fusion energy, and nanotechnology. It will pool expertise from computational science, high-performance computing and software engineering to enable next-generation science on next-generation supercomputers.
"Improving seismic image quality to find oil and gas deposits thousands of metres below the seafloor requires ever increasing computing power. Simulating oil and gas reservoir behaviour with various physics and detailed meshes also poses serious challenges in terms of programming methods that should match future architectures. We expect significant benefit from joint research with academia," reports Pascal Dauboin, TOTAL S.A.
APOS is a unique coupling of internationally renowned research centres in Europe and Russia, along with TOTAL - one of the world's major oil and gas groups - and CAPS - an innovative European HPC tools producer.
"Collaboration in the framework of APOS allows Russian scientists to adapt their numerical methods to modern supercomputer systems using the experience and innovative tools of European partners, and to carry out joint theoretical investigations on the basis of developed scientific software tools, to be used in practically important application areas," says Boris Chetverushkin, Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences.
Facts and figures
The APOS project runs for two years, from February 2011 until January 2013. The collaboration is formed from two consortia:
1. APOS-EU is composed of University of Edinburgh, CAPS entreprise, Uniwersytet Warszawski, TOTAL S.A., and Höchstleistungsrechenzentrum Stuttgart (HLRS).
2. APOS-RU is composed of the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics (Russian Academy of Sciences), the National Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute", the Ugra Research Institute, and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
Project website: http://www.apos-project.eu

Copyright © 1994-2011 Tabor Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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    После наблюдения лунного затмения 15 июня с.г. астрономы из Института космических исследований РАН выдвинули гипотезу о взаимосвязи загрязненности атмосферы и степени темноты умбры (полной тени Земли).

It's been a month since skywatchers in the Eastern Hemisphere were treated to the longest, deepest total lunar eclipse in decades. Many observers carefully monitored the Moon's darkness as it coursed through the center of the umbra - the darkest part of our planet's shadow. It's been realized for years that the amount of cloudiness along Earth's limb can affect the darkness of the umbra. But could the umbra's darkness be accentuated by pollution in our atmosphere?
During June's event, a trio of Russian astronomers took photometric measurements of the eclipsed Moon and found that the western part of the umbra was as dark as expected, while the eastern part had regions of varying darkness that didn't match theoretical predictions. The team took measurements using CCD cameras equipped with visible and near-infrared filters centered on 501, 673, and 867 nm.
This unusual pattern of shadows aligned with the glancing path that sunlight took over eastern China, when it interacted with "aerosol pollution," according to coauthor Oleg Ugolnikov of Moscow's Space Research Institute.
The umbra's unusual appearance stems from the way light from the Sun passes through Earth's atmosphere - specifically, the troposphere, which extends as high as 12 miles (20 km) above sea level. In this region, sunlight interacts with air molecules and is thrown of its original course. This process, called Rayleigh scattering, is what causes Earth's sky to appear blue, because short-wavelength sunlight is scattered most readily by atmospheric gases. Longer-wavelength red light, however, is relatively unaffected, so it passes through Earth's atmosphere relatively unimpeded and then paints the surface of the Moon with the distinctive ruddy hues seen during totality.
The tiny aerosol particles that make up smog can also affect sunlight. They produce Rayleigh scattering when the particles are smaller than the wavelength of light - and Mie scattering when they're larger. The more light that's lost this way, the less of it that makes it all they way to the Moon during totality. The skies over China were largely cloud-free at the time of the eclipse. So, according to Ugolnikov's team, their evidence suggests that the heavily polluted air over China is responsible for the darker-than-expected shadow on the eastern side of the Moon. By contrast, even though the sunlight that leaked into the western part of Earth's shadow passed through the atmosphere over densely populated Spain and Portugal, the umbra showed no signs of "unusual darkening," says Ugolnikov.
The Russians, however, aren't the only scientists learning how Earth's atmosphere affects the darkness of the umbra. In a recent paper, Antonio García Muñoz and Enric Pallé, astrophysicists at La Laguna University in Spain, explore how different atmospheric conditions affect lunar eclipses. "Aerosols injected by volcanic eruptions and large wildfires can cause a significant darkening of an eclipse," says García Muñoz. In fact, "Scattered sunlight may represent a significant fraction of the sunlight that reaches the eclipsed Moon under conditions of high aerosol content in the atmosphere." García Muñoz and Pallé also show that air containing background levels of aerosols will scatter sunlight 10 times more efficiently than air with no aerosols, but that increased aerosol levels do not necessarily increase the amount of scattering.
But the link between air pollution and dark umbras has not been definitely established. "The Russians' manuscript shows only three images that can each be seen as a snapshot of Earth's atmosphere," says García Muñoz. "It would have been nice to have a sequence of images. Such a sequence would give important clues on the time-scale for variations of some of the structures observed."
Also air pollutants usually remain within the bottom 1 or 2 km of the troposphere, much lower than the 5- to 6-km altitudes that he and Pallé find most responsible for causing the umbral glow.
Other atmospheric events, like large airborne dust clouds, might bear some of the responsibility for the unusually darkened shadow last month. "The best explanation is indeed the aerosol pollution over China, but we cannot rule out the presence of an episode of desert sands transported over Asia," says Jean-Baptiste Renard of the University of Orleans in France. He adds that observations during lunar eclipses might prove to be an inexpensive way to provide a survey of air pollution on a continental scale.
There is a growing recognition that scattered light - not refraction - causes much of the red-tinted moonshine we see during a lunar eclipse. "Most of the photons that make it to the eclipsed Moon are scattered from tropospheric altitudes," says García Muñoz. That scattering occurs more often when the atmosphere has been loaded with aerosols, like those spewed out by volcanic eruptions. All of this recent research suggests that the traditional (refraction-based) model of how the Moon glows during lunar eclipses may have to be revised.

Copyright © 2011 New Track Media. All rights reserved.
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    На прошедшем в Москве заседании совета управляющих Международного научно-технического центра было принято решение об организованном сворачивании деятельности МНТЦ в России - все утвержденные проекты будут полностью завершены к 2015 г., после чего Российская Федерация выйдет из Соглашения об учреждении МНТЦ.

WASHINGTON - The Moscow hub for an international organization established to prevent the proliferation of WMD expertise from Russia will continue operations in that country for another four years (see GSN, April 18).
The six-member governing board of the International Science and Technology Center unanimously voted on June 28 to allow the facility to continue overseeing and hosting existing scientific efforts until 2015, according to the facility's latest newsletter.
"The center will stay open in Russia until 2015 in order to finalize ongoing projects," the document states. Board members - Canada, the European Union, Japan, Russia, the United States and Kazakhstan - also decided to gradually shift the main facility's activities to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where the organization's second-largest branch office is located, it adds.
The Moscow center opened in 1994 as an effort to halt the spread of WMD know-how by providing weapons scientists and engineers in the former Soviet Union with grants and hands-on resources to redirect their talents to basic research and other civilian projects. Today it boasts a nearly 200-person staff and thousands of pieces of research equipment.
The center's 2010 annual report shows that participating scientists were involved in a range of efforts, including developing better forms of radiation detection, building high-tech prosthesis and studying climate change.
In addition to its Moscow and Almaty locations, the organization has branch offices in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The center might seek to "reinforce" its presence in the Caucasus by further developing one of those sites, though "much depends on further developments," according to ISTC spokesman Sebastien Dakin. He did not elaborate.
Last August, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree announcing that the government would withdraw from the international organization sometime in the future. Under the agreement that created the center, the main facility in Moscow would have at most six months to operate once Russia released a formal withdrawal declaration.
Russian withdrawal is now expected to take place sometime in 2015.
International observers since last August had been concerned the Russian government would release the document soon, possibly forcing the Moscow office to shut its doors before the end of the calendar year.
However, the idea that Moscow would issue that six-month decree "had faded from our expectations," according to a U.S. State Department official. The decision to wait "was not unexpected. As a matter of fact, it was quite in line with the assurances we got in recent months," the official added in a Thursday interview.
The decision by the Kremlin to delay submission of the declaration by four years allows Russian scientists and researchers to complete their projects as intended, said the official who was not cleared to speak on the record about the center.
"You can't say, "Everyone, what you were planning to do over the course of 30 months now you're going to do in six months," the official said in reference to U.S.-backed projects within Russia. "It just isn't doable otherwise you would have done it in six months to begin with."
The official said the other former Soviet states "are solidly for continuation of this kind of cooperation."
A spokesman at Rosatom, the Russian state-run energy agency that coordinates many projects with the center, did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.
The international organization is estimated to have assisted roughly 76,000 scientists and engineers to date. Last year the center awarded more than $25 million in grants to about 11,000 scientists and experts in all recipient states.
The United States has donated about $1 billion to the organization over its lifetime. The international hub also receives money from Japan, Norway and South Korea.
"The board has taken a number of decisions securing the future of ISTC in the region. The main aim is now to implement these decisions and to plan future activities together with our parties and partners," Andriaan van der Meer, the center's executive director, said on Thursday in an e-mail statement to Global Security Newswire.
"Indeed, the situation looks much different now than a year ago," he added.
The organization is supporting more than 350 active projects, including 230 led by Russian research institutes, according to Dakin.
The question of what to do with the facility's nearly 54,000 pieces of laboratory and research equipment "is not yet resolved," he stated.
"We are working to simply transfer the ownership of the equipment to the institutes who carried out the projects," Dakin said. "We don't intend on transferring equipment to other countries."
He noted that governing board members also weighed merging the center with its sister organization, the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine, before choosing the present course of action.
The decision by the Kremlin to allow completion of ongoing ISTC-financed research projects inside the country "tracks perfectly with the Russian Federation's reconception of itself as a donor nation, rather than a recipient nation," said Matthew Rojansky, deputy director for the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
"If you want to put your money where your mouth is ... then I would suggest that Russia, rather than essentially removing itself from the ISTC altogether, should actually become a donor" to the center, he said in a telephone interview on Thursday.
Rojanksy said the Kremlin is likely to have also decided to keep the center's doors open in part because "you had real money on the table and Russian institutions doing non-negligible research that depend on being able to continue receiving support and coordination from the center."
Such motivation would be "more consistent with the Russian government's interest to support its own domestic research operations, which are currently receiving tens of millions of dollars" in assistance, he said.
Rojansky said he hopes that thinking inside the Kremlin would change from viewing hosting a facility such as the International Science and Technology Center from an obligation into a "privilege."

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    18 июля с Байконура стартовала ракета-носитель с уникальной астрофизической обсерваторией "Спектр-Р" (проект "Радиоастрон", начатый еще в 1985 г. и возобновленный в начале 2000-х). Задача проекта - исследование различных типов объектов Вселенной (галактик, черных дыр, радиопульсаров), измерение расстояний до них, определение фундаментальных космологических параметров.

Le plus gros télescope spatial est russe et il vient de déployer son miroir fait de 27 pétales de fibres de carbone. Destiné à faire de la synthèse d'ouverture en radioastronomie, il pourrait révéler, entre autres, que certains quasars sont en réalité des trous de ver connectant notre univers à un autre.
Cela faisait des dizaines d'années que les ingénieurs et les astrophysiciens russes travaillaient sur une gamme de satellites du nom de Spektr-R, destinés à rivaliser au cours des années 1990 avec les projets américains qui sont devenus Hubble, Chandra, Compton et Spitzer.
Malheureusement, la chute de l'URSS et les coupes budgétaires ont paralysé ce programme. Tenaces, certains ont tout de même continué à développer ce qui s'appelle aujourd'hui le projet RadioAstron et dont on peut voir une vidéo de présentation (en russe) sur la chaîne YouTube tvroscosmos, celle de l'équivalent russe de Nasatelevision.
Il s'agit d'un radiotélescope pesant 5 tonnes et qui, une fois ses 27 pétales en fibres de carbone déployés, se retrouve doté d'un miroir de 10 mètres de diamètre. Il a été lancé du cosmodrome de Baïkonour, situé au centre du Kazakhstan, le 18 juillet 2011. C'est de ce même cosmodrome, aujourd'hui administré conjointement par la Russie, l'Ukraine et le Kazakhstan, que sont partis Youri Gagarine et Valentina Tereshkova.
Mais pourquoi lancer un radiotélescope dans l'espace alors que l'atmosphère ne fait pas obstacle aux ondes radio ? Tout simplement pour faire de la synthèse d'ouverture avec des radiotélescopes au sol. En utilisant cette technique d'interférométrie, on peut alors disposer de l'équivalent d'un radiotélescope dont le diamètre du miroir peut se compter en milliers de kilomètres et même plus. De fait, le satellite RadioAstron, qui vient de déployer avec succès son miroir il y a quelques jours comme l'a indiqué l'agence Roscosmos, se retrouve sur une orbite elliptique dont le périgée est à environ 10.000 kilomètres de la Terre mais l'apogée à 390.000 kilomètres.
En fonctionnement, il sera donc capable d'avoir, dans le domaine des ondes radio centimétriques à décacentimétriques, une résolution mille fois supérieure à celle de Hubble dans le visible !
Un test scientifique de l'hypothèse d'un multivers ?
Cela ouvrira des perspectives fantastiques. On devrait ainsi pouvoir observer les noyaux actifs de galaxies avec une résolution jamais égalée jusqu'à présent et en particulier on pourra tester certaines de nos idées sur la nature des quasars. En effet, la résolution atteinte devrait nous révéler ce qui se passe au plus près de l'horizon du trou noir supermassif à l'origine du rayonnement des quasars.
Certains vont même plus loin, comme le grand radioastronome Nikolaï Semionovitch Kardachev que l'on peut voir dans la vidéo de présentation de RadioAstrom. Il avait déjà suggéré, avec Igor Novikov, que certains noyaux actifs de galaxies, comme celui de M 87, pourraient bien être des trous de ver formés dans des phases très primitives de la naissance de l'univers !
Connectant notre cosmos avec des univers parallèles, ils pourraient ressembler à des trous noirs mais n'en seraient pas à cause de l'absence d'un horizon des événements. Cette absence d'horizon et les modifications engendrées concernant les orbites des plasmas proches de l'entrée d'un trou de ver confondue avec l'horizon d'un trou noir, pourraient être visibles avec la résolution record d'un radiotélescope dont le diamètre est de l'ordre de la distance de la Terre à la Lune. RadioAstron serait donc en mesure, peut-être, de départager ces deux théories concernant la nature des quasars.
Des quasars au champ de gravité de la Terre
Tout cela est bien sûr très, très spéculatif mais l'on ne peut s'empêcher de rêver aux conséquences qu'une telle découverte aurait sur notre quête de la compréhension de la structure et de l'évolution de l'univers du Big Bang au Vivant. Nous pourrions avoir une preuve de l'existence du multivers !
En tout état de cause, on attend du Hubble russe qu'il nous en apprenne plus sur l'univers observable dans les domaines suivants :

  • les noyaux galactiques actifs (trous noirs supermassifs et quasars) ;
  • la cosmologie avec la matière noire et l'énergie noire ;
  • les zones de formation des étoiles et des planètes (masers, mégamasers) ;
  • les trous noirs de masse stellaire et les étoiles à neutrons ;
  • le milieu interplanétaire et interstellaire ;
  • l'astrométrie avec la construction d'un système de référence de haute précision ;
  • les mesures à haute précision du champ gravitationnel terrestre.
    © 2001-2011 Futura-Sciences, tous droits réservés.
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      Процессы эволюции структуры темной и обычной материй в космических масштабах аналогичны. Подтверждение этой гипотезы стало одним из результатов высокоточного компьютерного моделирования, проведенного астрофизиками и космологами из Варшавского университета, Физического института имени П.Н.Лебедева РАН и Потсдамского астрофизического института.

    Large cosmic structures made up of dark and normal matter evolve along the same lines - this is one of the most important conclusions emerging from the latest computer simulations. The performed calculations mark the culmination of many years of work by a Polish, German and Russian team of astrophysicists and cosmologists.
    High-resolution computer simulations prepared by a team of scientists from the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw (FUW), the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam made it possible to trace the evolution of large clouds of dark and normal matter that fill the Universe. The results confirm earlier assumptions regarding the basic features of dark matter, especially its distribution on cosmological scales.
    For several decades, astronomers have been struggling to explain the motion of stars in galaxies and of galaxies in galaxy clusters. Measurements show that a typical galaxy must contain 10 to 50 times more invisible matter than normal one, and galaxy clusters must contain even up to 100 to 500 times more of the former. "It turns out that normal matter, which makes up our everyday world, is but a slight addition to dark matter. There is at least six times more of the latter in the Universe - and nobody knows what it is. Discovering its nature is a thrilling experience," says Prof. Marek Demiański from the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw (FUW).
    Currently, it is assumed that dark matter consists of exotic particles, not yet known to science, which barely, if at all, interact with electromagnetic radiation and other elementary particles known today. Scientists can observe dark matter only indirectly, by investigating the impact of its gravity on the motion of normal matter.
    Given the significant amount of dark matter, it must have played a fundamental role in the formation of galaxies and their clusters.
    Scientists are, therefore, interested in the way in which dark matter is distributed across the Universe and in which the structures made up of it evolved over time. In order to answer these questions, one would need to observe galaxy clusters, the light of which travelled to Earth ten or more billion years. Yet such distant object are difficult to detect. As a result, the amount of observational data is insufficient to allow for a statistical analysis.
    Computer simulations prove useful in research into dark matter. They make it possible to observe the process of clustering of dark matter on large scales and its impact on the distribution of normal matter. By comparing the results obtained in this way with observational data, it is possible to assess the extent to which the scientists' assumptions regarding the properties of dark matter coincide with the reality.
    In the early periods after the Big Bang both dark and normal matter were more or less equally distributed. In contrast to normal one, dark matter does not interact with electromagnetic radiation, which filled the Universe shortly after the Big Bang and thus could succumb more quickly to the impact of its own gravity. Slight distortions in the distribution of dark matter began to contract gravitationally, attracting dark matter, and in later periods also normal one. The simulations by Polish, German and Russian group of scientists mirror the process.
    During the simulations the scientists analyzed the behaviour of about a billion point objects distributed in a cube with side length of several hundred million light years. As time went on, the original cube was expanded along with the "ballooning" Universe. About a billion points were evenly distributed in the cube - the limitation on their number being the computing power of today's computers. Each point in the simulation had a mass of hundred million times the mass of the Sun. Characteristics of dark matter were assigned to most of the points.
    Subsequently, the scientists analyzed the way in which the distribution of the points was changing over time under the influence of gravity.
    One of the most important conclusions emerging from the performed simulations is the confirmation of the self-similarity of the process of evolution of the structure of dark and normal matter on large cosmic scales. Which means that if we examine a cube four billion years after the Big Bang and later compare it with a ten-billion-year-old cube, then, after matching the dimensions of both cubes, it turns out that the structures inside them made up of dark and normal matter look virtually the same.
    "This similarity between the processes of evolution of both types of matter makes it possible to recreate the distribution of dark matter on the basis of the distribution of normal matter. Our simulations have confirmed this effect and we can now say with greater certainty that we are able to gain insight into the invisible world of dark matter by observing the motion of galaxy clusters," concludes Prof. Demiański.

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