|Российская наука и мир|
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Barents Observer / 2011-09-23
Incubator for new polar researchers
22-23 сентября в Архангельске прошел II Международный форум "Арктика - территория диалога". В рамках форума, на базе Северного Арктического федерального университета (САФУ), состоялось открытие офиса международного Университета Арктики, объединяющего образовательные и исследовательские институты.
ARKHANGELSK: The University of the Arctic's research Office will be the place to find the next generation's polar researchers, said Artur Chilingarov at the opening of the office today.
The famous polar researcher and the Russian President's special aide on Arctic and Antarctic affairs is appointed scientific leader of the University of the Arctic's (UArctic) first research office, which opened at the Northern Arctic Federal University (NArFU) in Arkhangelsk today.
UArctic is a cooperative network of universities, colleges, and other organizations committed to higher education and research in the North. UArctic has members more than 140 member institutions in all eight Arctic states. The members share resources, facilities, and expertise to build post-secondary education programs that are relevant and accessible to northern students.
- Our goal is to educate students from northern universities for future positions in the Arctic Council and other international institutions, said UArctic President Lars Kullerud at the opening.
UArctic is a decentralized organization, with offices, programs and other functions hosted at member institutions in the Circumpolar North. The administration is located at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland. But until now the network has not had its own office for research.
- We distribute responsibility on all member countries, and when it comes to research on the Arctic, Russia was the obvious choice, Kullerud said.
The office will be led by Marina Kalinina, Vice Rector for International Cooperation at NArFU.
Kullerud sees the establishment of a research office as a critical step in creating a collective capacity for UArctic members to coordinate research on the Arctic. Many of UArctic's members are perceived as smaller actors, and risk being marginalized by larger institutions from outside the region when it comes to high level research projects. The new office will help to promote the collective capacity of these members and strengthen the role of northern institutions in Arctic research.
Copyright © 2003 BarentsObserver.
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The Green Optimistic / September 22, 2011
Russia and Iceland to Collaborate on Renewable Energy Matters, Through the Northern Sea Route
В ходе II Международного форума "Арктика - территория диалога" между Россией и Исландией было заключено несколько соглашений, в том числе о сотрудничестве в сфере возобновляемой энергии, в частности - в сфере геотермальной энергетики.
After meeting at the second international forum The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Iceland President Olafur Grimsson have concluded that the two countries will cooperate on renewable energies in the area.
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"Even ten years ago no one in Iceland could imagine that we would need assistance while developing Arctic natural resources, but the time has come and we have needed such help from an economic and environmental point of view," said Grimsson, adding that Iceland needs help from foreign companies to harvest Arctic resources.
On top of the talks between Putin and Grimsson were the projects involving geothermal energy. Putin said that Russia has a few ideas about how the two countries should cooperate on the matter.
Of course, any cooperation at this level would need a higher communication capacity between the countries, and this translates in better Russian-Iceland commercial navigation, transport terminals and corridors like the Northern Sea Route.
This kind of cooperation is beneficial for the two countries and for the environment, but intensifying the traffic in the Northern Sea Route is something that had been predicted by scientists a while ago.
The route is now available to regular ships because the icebergs that were once there melted and now they don't pose significant threats anymore. The paradox is that with the increase of ship traffic in the area, further heating of the climate will be promoted and the rest of the icebergs will keep melting even faster.
Economically and politically, though, everything looks nice and profitable.
The Wall Street Journal / September 22, 2011
Russia to Extend Life of Aging Reactors
Chernobyl-Style Design Is Among Those That Nuclear Official Says Would Stay in Service; West Has Pushed for Shutdowns
- By David Crawford and Rebecca Smith
На ежегодном совещании МАГАТЭ многие эксперты по ядерной безопасности выразили обеспокоенность решением России продлить срок эксплуатации построенных в советское время атомных реакторов (РБМК) на 15 лет.
VIENNA, Austria - Russia has decided to extend the life of a controversial generation of nuclear reactors like the one that catastrophically exploded at Chernobyl in 1986, the head of Russia's state-owned nuclear monopoly said.
Sergei Kirienko, chief executive of Rosatom, said in an interview that Russia has taken action to extend the operational life of all of its Soviet-era reactors to 45 years. Among those reactors are 11 units like the one at Chernobyl, which Soviet nuclear engineers thought should be decommissioned after 30 years.
The Rosatom chief's comments place Russia at the extreme end of a global reaction to March's post-tsunami nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi complex. While Germany and Switzerland have laid the groundwork to shut down their reactors in the coming years, several other countries are pulling back on plans to build new reactors while attempting to eke further life out of those they already have.
While Rosatom now builds reactors to designs that are considered safer than those of Soviet-era reactors, its decision to add 15 years to the operating life of older plants that lack some modern features is raising eyebrows among international nuclear-safety experts.
Many nuclear scientists attending the International Atomic Energy Agency's annual meeting this week in Vienna expressed concern at the Russian move, which would give the youngest of the 11 reactors a planned shutdown date of 2035.
The IAEA, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, declined to comment, saying the decision rests with Russia's nuclear authorities.
Four of the 11 Soviet-era reactors, known as RBMK reactors, are located less than 50 miles from St. Petersburg, a city of nearly five million people. Another three are near Smolensk and four are close to Kursk, both in western Russia.
RBMK reactors were designed to operate without a concrete-and-steel containment structure to contain any radiation that might escape during an accident, a standard feature on Western models as well as on later Soviet and Russian designs.
The lack of a containment structure around the stricken reactor at Chernobyl, in then-Soviet Ukraine, allowed radiation to spread for hundreds of miles across Europe after operator error sparked the 1986 reactor explosion there.
The European Union has urged Russia and other former Soviet republics or satellites to shut down their Soviet-era reactors, particularly the RBMK models. RBMKs in Ukraine and Lithuania are retired. Under original operating-life expectations, Russia would have permanently shut down the first of its RBMK reactors in 2003, with just five operating today.
Rosatom has made modest changes in its aging reactors, installing new electronics and improving fire protection. Mr. Kirienko said these and otherupgrades mean the plants comply with Russian and international safety standards. Stress tests conducted by Russian and international experts since the Fukushima disaster have confirmed their safety, he said.
Aging reactors' new lease on life is causing consternation among critics in countries including the U.S. and France. Older reactors are vulnerable to stresses from extreme heat, radiation bombardment and chemical corrosion.
While various countries have different standards for extending the life of plants - the U.S., for example, licensing two-thirds of its reactor fleet for 20-year extensions following their initial 40-year licenses - experts agree that extensions should happen for well-maintained plants with good designs.
Soviet engineers built four types of reactors in Eastern bloc countries, three of which were markedly inferior to contemporary reactors built in the West, experts say. Despite the risks, the Russian Federation has shut down only one small, 5-megawatt reactor.
"No one expected these four reactors to still be running today," William Horak, head of nuclear research at the Brookhaven National Lab, a part of the Department of Energy and key adviser to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in a interview earlier this year.
Many Western nuclear experts believe the RBMK reactors are among the world's most dangerous and still suffer from fundamental design shortcomings.
Unlike reactors in the U.S. and most of Western Europe that hold radioactive fuel in pressure vessels, RBMKs have no central crucible. Instead, each radioactive fuel rod sits in a separate pressure tube. So engineers must worry about deterioration in some 1,000 individual tubes, per reactor, greatly increasing the risk of problems.
"They swell, they bind and they crack," said Brookhaven's Mr. Horak. "If you rupture enough tubes, you can have a catastrophic accident."
One reason Russia's 11 reactors remain in service is because they not only make electricity, but also supply steam heat to St. Petersburg, Kursk and Smolensk. Critics say Russians would rather squeeze more power out of the old reactors than build expensive new ones, or gas-fired power plants, as Russian officials prefer to sell the natural gas to Western Europe.
Mr. Kirienko said Rosatom puts safety before business considerations, and that during the extension period, the reactors will be need to pass safety reviews at three- to five-year intervals. He added that since Fukushima, Rosatom's risk assessments give greater weight to the potential danger to the population stemming from possible nuclear disasters, even if the probability of such an incident is extremely low.
But Mr. Kirienko also said that the extension of RBMK reactors' lives was necessary for Russia's economy, which will continue to need the energy output of Rosatom's legacy reactors until a new generation of nuclear power plants can be built. "We can't shut all the [old] reactors down at once," he said.
Rosatom believes nuclear power has a bright future. Mr. Kirienko, speaking on the sidelines of the IAEA meeting, said he foresees a global market for between 90 and 300 new nuclear power plants in the next 20 years. "We would like to achieve a 25% market share" of those new construction projects, he said.
Rosatom's ability to build new reactors - both at home at for export - suffered a blow earlier this week when German engineering group Siemens AG confirmed that it no longer wants to form a nuclear joint venture with Rosatom.
Under the formerly envisaged partnership, Siemens would have provided vital non-nuclear components for new Rosatom reactors such as electronic control systems. But the German company has all but scrapped its ambitions following Fukushima and Germany's move to phase out nuclear power.
Mr. Kirienko said Rosatom hopes to continue cooperating with Siemens in other fields, such as nuclear medicine. But analysts say that, in order to realize its global ambitions, Rosatom will need to find another source for some of the technology that Siemens would have supplied. Mr. Kirienko said Rosatom is currently looking new technology partners.
Rosatom has previously done reactor-export business with some controversial customers including Iran. The Russian company this year completed a reactor at Bushehr in Iran, a project that Mr. Kirienko said he wouldn't want to repeat, following technical problems at the site and much wrangling with the Iranians over the price and other issues.
Russia obtained UN Security Council approval for its construction of the Bushehr plant despite the intense international scrutiny of Iran's nuclear program. While Iran says it only seeks civil nuclear power, Western government suspects it wants the ability to make nuclear weapons.
Copyright © 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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EurekAlert / 20-Sep-2011
MU researchers to study dangerous, deadly weather phenomenon
Researchers awarded $100,000 from Russian Academy of Sciences to study atmospheric blocking
Совместная группа исследователей из Университета Миссури и Института физики атмосферы им. А.М.Обухова РАН получила грант на исследование такого явления, как атмосферный блокинг. Это циркуляция в атмосфере, блокирующая перемещение воздушных масс, что приводит к экстремальным погодным условиям - повышенной засушливости и жаре летом, сильным морозам зимой.
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Atmospheric blocking is a relatively unknown weather phenomenon responsible for prolonged bouts of extreme conditions, such as the summer 2011 Midwest heat wave that led to destructive wildfires in Texas. Now, University of Missouri researchers will collaborate with the A.M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in a 3 million Russian ruble (about $104,000) project to understand and predict blocking patterns.
"Atmospheric blocking occurs when a high pressure system gets stuck in one place," said Tony Lupo, professor and chair of the Department of Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences in the School of Natural Resources. "If hot, dry weather doesn't move, it can lead to extreme heat and drought conditions. If a rainy pattern becomes stuck, it can lead to flooding."
Atmospheric blocking occurs between 20-40 times each year throughout the world and usually lasts between 8-11 days, Lupo said.
Although atmospheric blocking is one of the rarest weather events, it can trigger dangerous conditions, such as a 2003 European heat wave that caused 40,000 deaths. Blocking usually results when a powerful, high-pressure area gets stuck in one place. Because they cover a large area, fronts behind them are blocked.
With the grant, MU researchers will develop new methods for spotting and predicting atmospheric blocking. They also will analyze the social and economic impacts that blocking events caused during the 20th century. By better understanding the effects of blocking and how to identify the weather phenomenon, forecasters and government officials will be able to better prepare communities for extreme weather.
"Blocking events are important because of the effects on people living in affected areas," Lupo said. "Heat waves caused by blocking killed 15,000 people in Russia last year."
Atmospheric blocking has a major effect on the environment and commerce. In 2004, a blocking event over Alaska decreased precipitation and increased temperatures. The heat melted glaciers and, when coupled with decreased precipitation, it caused fierce forest fires in the interior of the state. Blocking can also have positive effects. In 2004, blocking caused prolonged pleasant temperatures and sunny skies leading to excellent crop yields in Missouri. However, a cold snap in spring 2007 caused by blocking killed budding plants.
Lupo has studied atmospheric blocking for more than 20 years and has authored more than 20 scientific papers on the subject. Lupo is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society in London. In 2005, he was named a Fulbright Scholar and spent a summer at the Russian Academy of Sciences working with fellow climate scientists. Lupo is a member of the International Panel of Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.
Copyright © 2011 by AAAS, the science society.
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EurekAlert / 23-Sep-2011
Hints of universal behavior seen in exotic 3-atom states
В 1970 году советский ученый Виталий Ефимов предсказал, что при сверхнизкой температуре и определенных условиях три частицы могут вести себя как единое целое, образуя так называемые кольца Борромео - три кольца, продетые друг в друга. При перемещении одной частицы перемещаются и две других, при попытке отделить один элемент распадается вся система. Впервые предсказанное состояние физики смогли получить в 2006 г. - на атомах цезия, а недавно удалось доказать, что подобные конструкции образуют не только атомы, но и другие частицы, как и утверждал Ефимов.
Статья "Universality of the Three-Body Parameter for Efimov States in Ultracold Cesium" опубликована в журнале Physical Review Letters (2011, V.107, N 12).
A novel type of inter-particle binding predicted in 1970 and observed for the first time in 2006, is forming the basis for an intriguing kind of ultracold quantum chemistry. Chilled to nano-kelvin temperatures, cesium atoms - three at a time - come together to form a bound state hundreds or even thousands of times larger than individual atoms. Unlike the case of ordinary atoms, wherein electrons are bound to a nucleus in a spectrum of energy levels on the order of an electron volt (that is, it would typically take an eV of energy to free the electron), the cesium triplets feature energy levels that are measured in trillionths of an electron volt (peV). Stranger still, a new experiment observing four such cesium states reports that the states' sizes are roughly the same. This has taken theorists by complete surprise.
In the seventeenth century Isaac Newton derived the classical force laws used to calculate the force between two objects. Calculating the behavior of three-body groupings such as the Moon/Earth/Sun system was much harder; indeed Newton never succeeded. Nowadays such problems can be studied with powerful computers, but only numerical simulations are possible, and not exact, analytical solutions.
In 1970, however, Russian physicist Vitaly Efimov predicted that under some special conditions, three bodies, such as atoms at ultralow temperatures, could be made to enter into stable states whose behavior could be calculated with remarkable ease. Then in 2006 exactly such states were actually observed by scientists at the University of Innsbruck. Now, these researchers have extended their work and demonstrated that the "three-body parameter," used to describe how the three participating bodies interact, varies in a consistent way regardless of the atomic species used.
Paul Julienne, a scientist at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), operated by the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), contributed theoretical help to the Innsbruck scientists conducting the experiment, a team led by Rudolf Grimm. "None of the experts in three-body physics had expected this kind of universal behavior to show up in these 3-atom systems," Julienne said. "This behavior came as a big surprise." And the universality, in turn, might suggest the existence of some new kind of ultracold chemistry at work.
Efimov's 1970 work met with much skepticism, especially since his prediction specified that three particles could form stable partnerships even though none of the two-particle matchups were stable. That is, 3 particles could accomplish what 2 particles could not. This novel arrangement has been compared to the "Borromean Rings," a set of three rings used on heraldic symbol for the Borromeo family during the Italian Renaissance. The three rings hold together unless any one of the rings is removed.
Efimov's prediction applies not just to atoms but to any 3 particles. For example, helium-6, a semi-stable nucleus consisting of 2 protons and 4 neutrons, can be made by from a helium-4 nucleus and 2 extra neutrons. The 2 neutrons cannot form a stable composite; neither can He-4 plus 1 extra neutron. But the three-body He4-n-n system is stable, at least for a while.
Such Borromean nuclei have been known for some time, but atoms have turned out to be more useful in pursuing the novel interactions called for in Efimov's theory. That's because atoms can be chilled to nano-kelvin temperatures in traps and made to interact with great precision.
As atoms cool down, they get larger - at least in a quantum sense: as waves, their equivalent wavelength can be many times larger than their nominal particle size (a hydrogen atom is about 0.1 nm across). Furthermore, by applying an external magnetic field, subtle interactions among neutral atoms can be achieved.
Such interactions, called Feshbach resonances, were used to bring cesium atoms together, three at a time, in Efimov states. These atoms were part of a vapor held at temperatures of tens of nano-K. In 2006 the Innsbruck team reported seeing one such troika of atoms. Now, in the 16 September 2011 issue of Physical Review Letters, the Innsbruck-JQI-Durham researchers are reporting the observation of three more state of 3 atoms bound together.
These trimers are quantum objects; they have no classical counterpart. The weak binding of the super-cold Cs atoms is described in terms of a parameter, a, called the scattering length. If a is positive and large (much larger than the nominal range of the force between the atoms), weak binding of atoms can happen. If a is negative, a slight attraction of two atoms can occur but not binding. If, however, a is large, negative, and three atoms are present, then the Efimov state can appear. Indeed an infinite number of such states can occur. The Efimov state has an energy spectrum, as if it were a chemical element all by itself, with each binding energy level scaling with the value of a. This kind of universal behavior was expected.
The effective size of these Efimov-triplets is referred to as the three-body parameter. In the case of the four cesium states seen so far, the value is just about the same, about 50 nm, or about 500 times the size of a hydrogen atom. This, combined with the three-body-parameter values observed in experiments for lithium and possibly for other elements being studied right now, suggests that while adjusting for the size of the respective atoms all the species are behaving in the same way. This kind of universality was totally unexpected.
"It is really amazing how the new research field developed since we found the first traces of Efimov states, "said Grimm. "Now things have become reality, things we did not even dream about five years ago."
"Universality of the Three-Body Parameter for Efimov States in Ultracold Cesium" by M. Berninger, A. Zenesini,1 B. Huang, W. Harm, H.-C. Nägerl, F. Ferlaino, R. Grimm, P. S. Julienne, and J. M. Hutson, 16 September 2011 Physical Review Letters.
The Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), located in College Park, Maryland, is operated by the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Copyright © 2011 by AAAS, the science society.
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MarketWatch / Sept. 19, 2011
Cleveland BioLabs Subsidiary Incuron Receives $5 Million Grant From Russian Federation Government Initiative
Компания "Инкурон", занимающаяся разработкой лекарственных средств для лечения онкологических заболеваний, получила грант Фонда "Сколково" в размере 150 млн. руб. Компания была создана американской инновационной компанией Cleveland BioLabs, Inc. и венчурным фондом "Биопроцесс Кэпитал Венчурс", созданным при участии капитала "РВК".
BUFFALO, NY, Sep 19, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) - Cleveland BioLabs, Inc. and Incuron, LLC today announced that Incuron has been awarded a $5 million grant through the Russian Federation Government initiative "Skolkovo" to support research and clinical development efforts related to Curaxins. This government initiative aims to encourage breakthrough science and innovation in biotechnology and other sectors of the Russian economy.
Andrei Leonov, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Incuron, stated, "This prestigious Skolkovo grant significantly raises the profile of our work with Curaxins in oncology. Moreover, it may enable us to explore additional potential applications of this novel class of therapeutic agents. Scientific and medical innovation is a high priority for the country and we are proud to be developing such a promising platform of compounds."
Curaxins are synthetic small molecules designed to simultaneously target major cell stress response pathways that are frequently deregulated in cancer. Additional insights into the mechanism of action of Curaxins were recently published in Science Translational Medicine (Gasparian, et al., Science Translational Medicine, 3:95ra74; August 10, 2011).
About Cleveland BioLabs, Inc. Cleveland BioLabs, Inc. is a drug discovery and development company leveraging its proprietary discoveries around programmed cell death to develop treatments for cancer and protection of normal tissues from exposure to radiation and other stresses. The Company has strategic relationships with the Cleveland Clinic, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, ChemBridge Corporation and the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute. To learn more about Cleveland BioLabs, Inc., please visit the company's website at www.cbiolabs.com.
About Incuron, LLC Incuron, LLC is a Russian Federation based joint venture between Russian Closed Mutual Venture Fund "Bioprocess Capital Ventures," and Cleveland BioLabs, Inc. Bioprocess Capital Ventures is a Russian Federation Venture Capital Fund managed by "Bioprocess Capital Partners, LLC," which was founded by several Russian investors including "Russian Venture Company," JSC and a state corporation VneshEconomBank (VEB). The Fund focuses on investments in innovative projects in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and fine chemistry sectors of the economy in the Russian Federation. Incuron's strategy includes preclinical and clinical development of breakthrough biotechnologies discovered by CBLI with the subsequent introduction of brand new anticancer drugs with novel mechanism of action ("Curaxins") to both Russian and American markets. To learn more about Incuron, LLC, please visit the company's website at http://eng.incuron.ru.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements reflect management's current expectations, as of the date of this press release, and involve certain risks and uncertainties. The Company's actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors.
These factors include, among others, the Company's history of operating losses and the potential for future losses, which may lead the Company to not be able to continue as a going concern; the Company's need for substantial additional financing to meet its business objectives; the potential for the loss of funding from the Company's R&D grants and contracts and its ability to win additional funding under such grants and contracts; the Company's failure to successfully and timely develop new products; the risks inherent in the early stages of drug development and in conducting clinical trials; the Company's inability to obtain regulatory approval in a timely manner or at all; the Company's collaborative relationships and the financial risks related thereto; the Company's ability to comply with its obligations under license agreements; the potential for significant product liability claims; and the Company's ability to comply with various safety, environmental and other governmental regulations. Some of these factors could cause future results to materially differ from the recent results or those projected in forward-looking statements. See also the "Risk Factors" and "Forward-Looking Statements" described in the Company's periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
© Copyright 2011 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.
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Nanowerk LLC / Sep 22nd, 2011
IV International Nanotechnology Forum RUSNANOTECH 2011 will be held on October 26-28
26-28 октября в Москве пройдет IV Международный форум по нанотехнологиям Rusnanotech 2011.
RUSNANOTECH Forum is one of the central events of the year in the field of innovation in Russia. Traditionally, the event is attended by leading politicians, scientists and heads of major domestic and foreign companies. The Forum is focused on the main trends of global scientific and technological development and the advanced experience of innovative development commercialization.
to present one's developments to potential investors and partners
to select prospective subjects for investment
to find suppliers of innovative products
to build chains for project implementation
to build-up new contacts at various levels
This year's forum will be held from October 26-28 in Moscow. This year the Forum's main topic will be the demand for innovation. The participants will discuss the prospects for nanotechnology use in a wide range of industries, from construction and engineering to electronics and pharmaceuticals. Another set of topics concerns the various mechanisms for supporting innovation, from infrastructural projects to various financial instruments. A separate section will be dedicated to innovation programs of large industrial companies.
Furthermore, also as part of the Forum tradition, challenges and prospects for cooperation with compatriots living abroad will be discussed. The scientific part of the program will be dedicated to discussing the latest R&D in the field of nanoelectronics and nanophotonics, nanomaterials, nanobiotechnology, and the use of nanotechnology in green energy.
More than 80 exhibitors and 26 collective exhibitions have already confirmed their participation in the RUSNANOTECH Expo Exhibition, including representatives from several countries, global nanoindustry leaders. "The Shop of the Future" presentation will take place at the exhibition. This is a new retail format, created jointly by RUSNANO, X5 Retail Group N.V. and Sitronics OJSC. Due to the wide use of RFID-tags in the new store, information on the cost of goods will be read remotely, which will remove the need for a cashier from the buying process and eliminate queues.
In addition, RUSNANOTECH Expo visitors will be able to see the unique "NanoHome" model, a model of living premises constructed using the most advanced building materials and energy-saving technologies. For the first time "The Project Fair" will be organised at the Forum. In the course of this event anyone will be able to openly present their innovative business projects to a special commission consisting of Russian National Association of Business Angels and Russian Venture Capital Association representatives, and to seek consultation from the leading domestic hi-tech investors. The authors of the three best projects will be eligible to take part in the Forum business program along with experienced scientists and entrepreneurs.
One of the Forum's central events is a Lecture by the famous American scientist Eric Drexler, who is considered to be one of the founding fathers of nanotechnology as a scientific and technological field. He is the author of the nanotechnological mechanosynthesis concept and the first molecular nanorobots theoretician. Eric Drexler will share his vision of nanotechnology development prospects with the Forum participants. During all the three days of the Forum, the Discovery cinema hall will show nonstop the best scientific films from this American TV channel. RUSNANOTECH Forum is a place for discussing and demonstrating innovative technologies in machine-building and metal-working, opto- and nanoelectronics, solar energy and energy-saving, healthcare and biotechnology, new nanostructured materials industry and infrastructural projects. The Forum objective is to enable participants to discuss main trends in global scientific and technological development and key trends of investment process in the field of hi-tech and to engage in practice in implementing new in Russia:
The International Award in the Field of Nanotechnology RUSNANOPRIZE 2010 is ceremoniously awarded at the Forum. As part of the RUSNANOTECH Forum awards for the Russian youth prize Field of Nanoindustry and the International Contest of Young Scientists' Works in the Field of Nanotechnology are presented. RUSNANOTECH 2010 brought together over 10 thousand participants from 50 countries. Over 400 speakers delivered reports as part of the Forum's business and scientific programs. Among them were Nobel Prize Laureates Zhores Alferov and Professor Konstantin Novoselov, the Provost of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Rafael Reif and Microsoft GM Steve Ballmer.
The Forum plenary session was opened by the President of the Russian Federation Dmitri Medvedev. Hundreds of Russian and foreign companies presented their developments at the Forum Exhibition.
Copyright © 2011, Nanowerk. All Rights Reserved.
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PhysOrg / September 14, 2011
A cut above the Eiffel Tower
Architects from Technische Universitaet Muenchen are studying the lattice towers created by Russian engineer Vladimir G. Shukhov
Инженер Владимир Григорьевич Шухов был одним из самых выдающихся конструкторов конца XIX - начала XX вв., основоположником современных строительных конструкций и автором революционных разработок. Его висячие покрытия, башни-гиперболоиды и сетчатые оболочки, востребованные и в XXI веке, сочетают прочность и устойчивость с легкостью и элегантностью. Сейчас международная группа ученых занимается выявлением и оценкой состояния всех сооружений Шухова. Вторым этапом станет детальное исследование объектов и изучение использованных технологий.
Vladimir G. Shukhov, one of the most ingenious engineers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, developed revolutionary construction techniques. The Russian engineer built lattice towers up to 150 meters high using rows of twisted, intersecting bars - an efficient, stable and elegant construction method. An international research team is now investigating his work. Andrij Kutnyi from Technische Universitaet Muenchen was the first scientist to gain access to Shukhov-built lighthouses in the Black Sea.
During the two and half weeks spent on a tiny man-made island with two lighthouse keepers, Andrij Kutnyi had to deal with poisonous snakes and watch his drinking water supplies dwindle as temperatures soared. Yet the architectural historian took it all in his stride. He was, after all, one of the first scientists to experience firsthand an early modernist architectural masterpiece - exactly one hundred years after it had been built. The 70-meter high lighthouse and its 25-meter high front beacon still guide ships along the range line from the Black Sea to the Dnieper River and into the Ukraine. Until five years ago, the lighthouse was part of a military exclusion zone. Ukrainian-born Kutnyi was granted access just in time for the lighthouse's anniversary.
The towers' steel lattices sweep elegantly up to the sky, easily supporting the lantern rooms despite their delicate appearance. The lattice design was invented by the Russian engineer Vladimir G. Shukhov (1853-1939) in what proved to be an unprecedented move in construction history. To create his structures, Shukhov arranged two parallel groups of rods in a circle and twisted these against each other to create the hyperboloid shape and "waist" - the same shape of cooling towers today.
This apparently simple arrangement has a number of key benefits. Firstly, it only requires minimum amounts of material. For a 350-meter radio mast in Moscow, which ultimately was never built, Shukhov planned to use just 2,000 tons of steel. In contrast, around 10,000 tons of steel went into the 300-meter Eiffel Tower. Secondly, it creates a lightweight structure that is surprisingly stable. The opposing curves in the lattice structure enable it to bear major loads.
Seven years after the inauguration of the Eiffel Tower at the World's Fair in Paris, Shukhov presented the first of his towers at the All-Russia Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod. This was followed by a veritable building boom in water towers, oil and gas tanks and transmission towers.
Due to the high strength offered by Shukhov's technique, Russia and the US used it to build radio towers on battle ships. And the structures are still in use today. The recently completed Canton Tower in Chinese city of Guangzhou, which - at 600 meters - is the sixth highest building in the world, is a hyperboloid structure. "Shukhov invented one of the most intelligent and effective design principles in the history of steel construction," explains TUM architect Kutnyi. And it was not the only revolutionary idea to come from Shukhov, the chief engineer of a major construction company. He also developed suspended roof structures, arch structures and grid shell structures. In many cases, these designs were not used again until the second half of the 20th century. The roofs of Munich's Olympic stadium are a prime example.
"Shukhov is one of the most important pioneers in lightweight construction," reports Matthias Beckh from the TUM Department of Structural Design. Yet his structural work has been all but forgotten in the West. The lighthouses in the Black Sea are at most familiar landmarks to ships' captains.
Therefore, the first aim of the interdisciplinary research project, which brings together scientists from the University of Innsbruck and ETH Zurich, is to identify all of Shukhov's works. The researchers have already found numerous previously unknown projects. Many towers are in an extreme state of disrepair and in danger of collapsing. Yet the extent of the damage also reveals just how strong these structures are. One transmission tower was still standing although 16 of the 40 vertical bars at the base were missing. In this case, the engineers were able to kick-start renovation work. Other structures have already been destroyed. Recently, a Shukhov structure that the researchers had only just discovered was dismantled. The engineers' hope that their research will raise awareness of these structures and increase the chances of them being preserved.
In a second phase, architectural historians at TUM intend to measure and document the structures and reconstruct the engineering processes. On his first visit to the Dnieper lighthouse, Andrij Kutnyi discovered that the construction workers used a method that dates back to medieval times. The workers made notches in the individual pieces to number them before they were raised and assembled - a technique very similar to the methods used by medieval carpenters. "This numbering is very valuable information for us. We can use it to determine the sequence in which the tower was built," enthuses Kutnyi. The engineers already know that this tower is particularly special. At 70 meters, it is the highest tower to have just one "waist", as Shukhov built his other towers in several sections, each a hyperboloid shape in its own right.
The structural engineers at TUM will also be investigating the individual factors that make the towers so stable. This includes examining the parameters that determine the shape of a hyperboloid, as well as the interplay between geometry and load-bearing characteristics. The researchers plan to test models of the towers in TUM's wind tunnel. "Nobody knows how much of an impact wind really has on these complex structures," explains Matthias Beckh. "This makes it difficult to apply conventional engineering standards." The research project could lay the foundations for a renaissance in Shukhov's timelessly elegant structures - making them ideal candidates for new transmission towers that will be needed as the world moves towards more renewable energy sources.
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EurekAlert / 14-Sep-2011
The cause of Earth's largest environmental catastrophe
Siberian traps and their relation to the mass extinction 250 million years ago
Извержение колоссальных масс магмы 250 млн лет назад на территории современной Сибири стало причиной гибели 90% видов живых организмов. К такому заключению пришли российские и германские ученые на основании изучения образцов породы и геодинамического моделирования.
Статья "Linking mantle plumes, large igneous provinces and environmental catastrophes" опубликована в журнале Nature (vol. 477, p. 312-316).
The eruption of giant masses of magma in Siberia 250 million years ago led to the Permo-Triassic mass extinction when more than 90 % of all species became extinct. An international team including geodynamic modelers from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences together with geochemists from the J. Fourier University of Grenoble, the Max Plank Institute in Mainz, and Vernadsky-, Schmidt- and Sobolev-Institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences report on a new idea with respect to the origin of the Siberian eruptions and their relation to the mass extinction in the recent issue of Nature (15.09.2011, vol. 477, p. 312-316).
Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) are huge accumulations of volcanic rock at the Earth's surface. Within short geological time spans of often less than one million years their eruptions cover areas of several hundred thousand square kilometres with up to 4 kilometers thick lava flows. The Siberian Traps are considered the largest continental LIP.
A widely accepted idea is that LIPs originate through melting within thermal mantle plumes, a term applied to giant mushroom-shaped volumes of plastic mantle material that rise from the base of the mantle to the lithosphere, the Earth's rigid outer shell. The high buoyancy of purely thermal mantle plumes, however, should cause kilometer-scale uplift of the lithosphere above the plume head, but such uplift is not always present. Moreover, estimates of magmatic degassing from many LIPs are considered insufficient to trigger climatic crises. The team of scientists presents a numerical model and new geochemical data with which unresolved questions can now be answered.
They suggest that the Siberian mantle plume contained a large fraction of about 15 percent of recycled oceanic crust; i.e. the crust that had long before been subducted into the deep mantle and then, through the hot mantle plume, brought back to the Earth's lithosphere. This recycled oceanic crust was present in the plume as eclogite, a very dense rock which made the hot mantle plume less buoyant. For this reason the impingement of the plume caused negligible uplift of the lithosphere. The recycled crustal material melts at much lower temperatures than the normal mantle material peridotite, and therefore the plume generated exceptionally large amounts of magmas and was able to destroy the thick Siberian lithosphere thermally, chemically and mechanically during a very short period of only a few hundred thousand years. During this process, the recycled crust, being exceptionally rich in volatiles such as CO2 and halogens, degassed and liberated gases that passed through the Earth crust into the atmosphere to trigger the mass extinction. The model predicts that the mass extinction should have occurred before the main magmatic eruptions. Though based on sparse available data, this prediction seems to be valid for many LIPs.
Stephan V. Sobolev, Alexander V. Sobolev, Dmitry V. Kuzmin et al., Linking mantle plumes, large igneous provinces and environmental catastrophes, Nature, vol. 477, p. 312-316, 2011.
Copyright © 2011 by AAAS, the science society.
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Science / 23 September 2011; V.333, N 6050, pp.1689-1691
Aboriginal Genome Shows Two-Wave Settlement of Asia
Анализ генома австралийского аборигена показал, что коренные австралийцы, а также горцы Новой Гвинеи происходят от древней волны мигрантов, проникших в Юго-Восточную Азию 75-62 тыс. лет назад и скрещивавшихся с "денисовскими людьми". Примесь "денисовских" генов в геноме австралийцев значительно больше, чем у европейцев и азиатов. Современные азиаты происходят в основном от второй, более поздней волны переселенцев с запада, которые отделились от предков современных европейцев и заселили Азию около 38-25 тыс. лет назад, вытеснив и частично ассимилировав своих предшественников.
Полный текст статьи доступен по подписке.
Almost a century ago, British anthropologist Alfred Cort Haddon traveled the world seeking samples of human hair, among other curios, for his ethnographic studies of native people. The samples, which lay in a museum drawer for 90 years, included hair from a young Australian Aboriginal man. Now in a paper published online this week in Science, geneticists report that they have extracted enough DNA from that hair to sequence the first complete genome of an Aboriginal. The genome offers the first good look at the origins of Aboriginals, showing that they are one of the oldest continuous populations outside of Africa, the authors say.
© 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.
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