Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Декабрь 2013 г.

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январь февраль март апрель май июнь июль август сентябрь октябрь ноябрь декабрь
    Xinhua / 2013-12-05
    Russian scientists claim world record in heating thermonuclear plasma
    В Институте ядерной физики им. Г.И.Будкера СО РАН физики впервые смогли разогреть в газодинамической ловушке открытого типа плазму до 4,5 млн градусов. Это позволит создать мощный генератор нейтронов, необходимый для тестирования компонентов будущего термоядерного реактора ИТЭР, а также для быстрой утилизации радиоактивных отходов.

MOSCOW, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) - Russian scientists have set a world record in heating thermonuclear plasma, the Russian Academy of Science (RAN) said Thursday.
"The temperature of 4.5 million degrees Celsius is approximately 1.5 to two times higher than it has been achieved previously," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Alexander Ivanov, deputy director of the Budker Nuclear Physics Institute of the RAN, as saying.
That achievement is a step to the peaceful use of thermonuclear energy, Ivanov said. So far, the process of nuclear fusion could be carried out only as an unmanageable reaction during thermonuclear explosions of the H-bombs.
"No other equipment in the world is capable of heating heat plasma to such temperature," the scientists said, adding that the record was set in November in the institute based in the city of Novosibirsk in southern Siberia.
The record-high temperature of plasma was sustained for about 10 milliseconds, according to the experimenters.
Currently, international scientific community has been building the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in France.
Ivanov said the scientists hope to reach the temperature of 7 million degrees during future experiments, adding the equipment used in Budker Institute costing 300 million U.S. dollars, which was considerably cheaper than the spending for the ITER.
The ITER's equipment worth 10 billion dollars will be used for similar experiments.
Russia participates in that project along with the European Union, China, India, the United States, Japan and South Korea.

© 2013 Xinhua, english.news.cn. All rights reserved.
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    Futura-Sciences / Le 09/12/2013
    Des supraconducteurs à haute température avec des métamatériaux
    • Par Laurent Sacco
    Физики Вера и Игорь Смоляниновы предложили новый путь исследования высокотемпературной сверхпроводимости: предлагается объединить обычные сверхпроводники с метаматериалами. Возможно, в будущем это поможет получить материалы, обладающие сверхпроводимостью не при высокой температуре, а при обычной комнатной.
    Статья «Is there a metamaterial route to high temperature superconductivity?» опубликована на сайте arXiv.org.

Deux physiciens russes viennent de proposer une nouvelle voie de recherche sur les supraconducteurs à haute température critique. Il s'agirait d'associer des supraconducteurs conventionnels à des métamatériaux pour faire au moins aussi bien que des supraconducteurs non conventionnels, comme le sont les cuprates. Les chercheurs espèrent même que leurs idées pourront déboucher sur la fabrication des mythiques supraconducteurs à température ambiante.
C'est en 1986 que Georg Bednorz et Alex Müller, alors chercheurs chez IBM, ont fait la découverte de matériaux devenant supraconducteurs à haute température. Elle a ouvert la porte à un rêve, celui d'une révolution technologique d'envergure basée sur l'existence probable de matériaux qui seraient supraconducteurs à température ambiante. Trente ans après, les physiciens poursuivent encore ce rêve, mais il s'est révélé plus difficile à atteindre que prévu. Les meilleurs matériaux obtenus jusqu'à présent ne restent supraconducteurs qu'à des températures inférieures à 140 K, ce qui est encore bien trop froid pour une utilisation courante. Surtout, ils restent coûteux, ce qui limite leur utilisation.
Depuis quelques années, d'autres matériaux magiques font parler d'eux, mais en rapport avec l'invisibilité cette fois. Il s'agit des métamatériaux. On doit à l'école de physique théorique russe, inspirée par le grand Landau, des travaux majeurs aussi bien sur la supraconductivité que sur les métamatériaux. Il n'est donc guère surprenant que ce soient deux de ces représentants qui aient eu l'idée de combiner ces deux domaines de recherche pour réaliser des supraconducteurs à haute température critique, et peut-être même à température ambiante. Dans l'article qu'ils ont déposé sur arxiv.org, Vera Smolyaninova et Igor Smolyaninov s'inspirent d'ailleurs des idées d'un compatriote, le physicien russe David Abramovich Kirzhnits.
Comme les travaux du prix Nobel de physique François Englert, ceux de Kirzhnits ont porté sur la notion de symétrie brisée en théorie quantique des champs. Il s'est notamment fait un nom au début des années 1970 en étudiant ce qui se passait avec des champs quantiques à haute température susceptibles de présenter des transitions de phase. Le modèle standard avec le mécanisme de Brout-Englert-Higgs prédit précisément l'occurrence de ce phénomène avec une brisure de symétrie, ainsi que les théories de grande unification, les Gut. Ces questions ont été explorées par Kirzhnits et son collaborateur de l'époque, Andreï Linde, dans le cadre de l'univers primordial, lorsque celui-ci n'était même pas âgé d'un milliardième de seconde. Les résultats qu'ils ont obtenus sont à la base des premières théories de l'inflation, aujourd'hui associées à Brout, Englert, Guth, Starobinsky et bien sûr Linde.
Supraconductivité, permittivité diélectrique et paires de Cooper
David Kirzhnits s'est aussi intéressé à d'autres transitions de phase dépendant de la température : celles à l'œuvre dans la supraconductivité. Les scientifiques savent qu'à la base du phénomène, il y a la formation de paires d'électrons que l'on appelle des paires de Cooper. Le physicien russe a pris conscience du fait que la formation de paires de Cooper dans un matériau était influencée par la permittivité diélectrique de celui-ci. En particulier, la formation des paires d'électrons serait plus facile si cette permittivité diélectrique devenait négative. C'est précisément ce qui se produit avec certains métamatériaux.
Il ne s'agit encore que d'une théorie, mais selon Vera Smolyaninova et Igor Smolyaninov, la formation de paires de Cooper à haute température serait possible si l'on insère convenablement des métamatériaux dans un supraconducteur conventionnel. Il pourrait s'agir de couches alternées de ces deux matériaux ou de nanoparticules en métamatériaux, comme du titanate de strontium, incluses dans un supraconducteur. Dans ce dernier cas, il faudrait que les distances typiques entre les nanoparticules soient inférieures à ce qu'on appelle la longueur de corrélation entre paires d'électrons dans le supraconducteur, soit environ 100 nm.
Les deux chercheurs affirment que des expériences sont en cours pour tester leur théorie. Ils espèrent que de cette façon, on pourra au moins avoir de nouveaux supraconducteurs avec une température critique supérieure à celle de l'ébullition de l'azote, à savoir 77 K.

© 2001-2013 Futura-Sciences, tous droits réservés.
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    LesObservateurs.ch / le 14.12.2013
    « C'est un refroidissement planétaire qui nous attend, et non un réchauffement », disent les scientifiques russes
    • Jean-Patrick Grumberg
    Заведующий лабораторией «Газпром ВНИИГАЗа» Владимир Башкин и Рауф Галиулин из Института фундаментальных проблем биологии РАН считают, что в ближайшее время наступит новый «малый ледниковый период», опровергая мнения о глобальном потеплении. Ученые считают, что изменения климата не зависят от человеческой деятельности и обусловлены сменой циклов солнечной активности.

Les scientifiques russes prédisent l'arrivée d'une nouvelle mini-ère glaciale en 2014. La thèse du réchauffement climatique n'est qu'un stratagème marketing, disent-ils.
Le chercheur russe Vladimir Bachkine affirme que les changements climatiques sont cycliques et ne sont pas liés à l'activité des hommes. Raouf Galiouline, de l'Institut des problèmes de biologie à l'Académie des sciences de Russie, confirme : l'entrée dans une nouvelle ère de glace nous attend.
«Un petit âge glaciaire se produit tous les 500 ans environ. Le précédent a eu lieu au milieu du dernier millénaire, lorsque la Tamise gelait en Angleterre. On patinait en hiver aux Pays-Bas, et en Russie, les étrangers avaient peur de voir les arbres éclater à cause du gel. Les périodes de refroidissement et de réchauffement arrivent tous les 30 à 40 ans. Par exemple, la Russie a connu une période de réchauffement dans les années 1930, lorsque la route maritime du Nord pouvait être étudiée. Ensuite pendant la guerre, il y a à nouveau eu un refroidissement. Puis un nouveau réchauffement dans les années 1970. La période de réchauffement actuelle a pris fin au début du nouveau millénaire», explique Galiouline.
« Les recherches sur le climat des époques géologiques précédentes mettent le doute sur le bien-fondé des demandes formulées dans le Protocole de Kyoto », poursuit Vladimir Bachkine. « Le protocole limite les émissions de gaz à effet de serre et introduit les quotas sur ces émissions. Les émissions de dioxyde de carbone sont un processus naturel, il ne résulte pas uniquement de l'activité humaine. »
«L'effet de serre lié à des facteurs anthropiques représente de 4 à 5% des émissions naturelles», ajoute Bachkine. « L'éruption d'un volcan donne beaucoup plus. La plus grande contribution à l'effet de serre, c'est la vapeur. Dieu merci, personne n'a formulé l'idée de la réglementer» dit le scientifique pour se moquer des coûteuses règlementations liberticides et des taxes carbone.
« Le réchauffement de la planète, tant évoqué ces dernières années, n'est pas tant un problème scientifique, qu'un stratagème marketing » conclut Bachkine.

* * *
    Chemistry World / 18 December 2013
    Controversial academy reforms suspended
    • Eugene Gerden
    Очередные этапы реформы РАН: ФАНО и планы на 2014 год.

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has suspended controversial reforms of the country's science academy for at least a year after an outcry by scientists. A compromise over the management of the academy's property, a key sticking point, is now being sought.
The disagreement between scientists and the government centres around the newly established Federal Agency of Scientific Organizations (FASO), which was created solely to manage the property of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). FASO has now been asked to come up with a new arrangement by 2015 that will take into account the wishes of scientists.
The management of the academy's property is now expected to be shared jointly by the RAS and FASO. President Putin also noted that RAS president Vladimir Fortov will play a key role in personnel matters as the head of the commission of the Presidential Council for Science.
It is still possible that the government will make changes to the reforms, which were approved by the Russian parliament in September. Many scientists have expressed concerns that the transfer of RAS property to the state agency will result in its sale by corrupt officials.
According to Andrei Pogrebkov, a theoretical physicist at the Moscow Steklov Mathematical Institute, the current reforms are inefficient and need to be improved significantly by the end of 2014. "The new state agency will approve the directors of our scientific institutes," Pogrebkov said. He adds that FASO will also be the patron of the academy. "That means that the role of the academy will significantly decline and will have only a consulting [role]."
In the meantime, the RAS's senior management has welcomed Putin's decision. Fortov says there is a need to make sure that scientists will not experience problems associated with the changes. The academy needs to focus on scientific and organisational work, while FASO concentrates on the financial and property aspects, he adds.
Putin's decision to suspend the reforms runs counter to the plans of the initiators of the changes. In recent weeks checks on the RAS are being carried out by Russia's national auditor owing to suspicions of improper management of the academy's property. According to the lead auditor, Tatiana Golikova, there has been serious mismanagement of the RAS's property affairs. Golikova claims that there may be as much as RUB1 billion (Ј18.5 million) in unpaid taxes and lease payments, as well as the unauthorised sale of thousands of hectares of valuable land to third parties.
The government now plans to continue consultations with the RAS on the reforms, and these are expected to be finalised by 1 November 2014.

© Royal Society of Chemistry 2013.
* * *
    Nature / 18 December 2013
    365 days: Nature's 10. Ten people who mattered this year
    VIKTOR GROKHOVSKY: Meteorite hunter. A Russian researcher tracked the debris from the biggest object to hit our planet in a century.
    • By Quirin Schiermeier
    Журнал Nature назвал имена десяти «ученых года». Одним из них стал доцент Физико-технологического института Уральского федерального университета (УрФУ) Виктор Гроховский, занимавшийся вместе с коллегами исследованиями метеорита "Челябинск".

The event that made 2013 special for Viktor Grokhovsky came without any warning. The mighty meteor that fell to Earth on 15 February had approached our planet from a region of the sky that is inaccessible to ground-based telescopes, so it took astronomers by surprise.
Grokhovsky, a metallurgist at the Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg, Russia, who has studied meteorites for more than 30 years, was too far away to watch the incoming object light up the morning sky. But when he learned about a powerful explosion that had knocked people off their feet and shattered thousands of windows in the city of Chelyabinsk, he realized that something substantial had hit the planet.
In the days after the impact, Grokhovsky worked feverishly to calculate the meteor's trajectory and predict where fragments might have landed. He supervised searches that unearthed more than 700 pieces of the meteor, weighing a total of 5.5 kilograms. "It was a great satisfaction when it turned out that our initial calculations had been correct," he says.
But his greatest catch came later in the year. Calculations of the meteor's trajectory and a large hole in the ice of a lake to the west of Chelyabinsk had convinced Grokhovsky that the biggest single chunk had landed there. When divers finally searched the lake's muddy bottom in October, they recovered a 570-kilogram boulder.
Thousands of fragments from the meteor are being analysed in labs around the world and they have already begun to reveal their secrets. "It is hard to overestimate the importance of the Chelyabinsk meteor," says Grokhovsky. Because of its size and the damage it caused, it has prompted scientists to increase the odds of similar meteors - or larger ones - striking our planet.
Grokhovsky says that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him. "I was lucky enough to play a part in this exciting story about a space traveller's adventures on Earth."

© 2014 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.
* * *
    Eureka! Science News / Friday, December 20, 2013
    Virginia Tech research overturns assumption about mercury in the Arctic
    Группа ученых из России, Канады и США сравнила уровень содержания ртути в организме налимов, выловленных в арктических районах Европы, Канады и России. В первых двух случаях содержание ртути оказалось довольно высоким и к тому же постоянно растущим, в третьем же случае наблюдалась обратная ситуация.
    Статья «Low and Declining Mercury in Arctic Russian Rivers» опубликована в журнале «Environmental Science & Technology».

For years, scientists have assumed that if mercury is high and increasing in fish in the North American and European Arctic, the same is true of fish elsewhere in the Arctic. But a team of scientists from the U.S., Russia, and Canada has discovered that assumption is wrong in much of the continental Arctic.
In addition to differences in mercury processes as a result of diverse atmospheric, geological, and biological conditions, "It turns out that the economic decline of the former Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991, appears to have been good for the Arctic environment in that part of the world," said Leandro Castello, an assistant professor of fish and wildlife conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech.
He is the first author of a study to be published in today's (Dec. 20) issue of Environmental Science & Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society.
Atmospheric mercury comes largely from mining and ore processing, such as smeltering, according to a United Nation's environmental program study. Under certain water conditions, mercury is converted to a special form that can be absorbed by living organisms, through a process called methylation.
"Methylmercury is highly toxic," said Castello.
But the research team determined that burbot fish in two Russian rivers, the Lena and the Mezen, are safe to eat.
The fish from these rivers were compared to burbot from 20 locations along the Pasvik River on the Norwegian-Russian border and along the Mackenzie River in Canada, where decades of studies have found high levels of mercury that make the fish unsafe.
Burbot are cod-like fish found in fresh waters throughout the Arctic. They are long-lived, eat other fish, and are non-migratory.
"The burbot fish was chosen because they are top predators that integrate many bio-geo-chemical processes in the river watersheds," said Castello. "The fish were collected downstream of the watersheds, so that they would present everything that happened upstream."
Sampling was done using an ice-fishing method in the peak burbot season, November and December, by co-author Alexander V. Zhulidov of the South Russian Centre for Preparation and Implementation of International Projects.
"We developed and led an initiative of biological monitoring of the water quality of major rivers of Russia in 1980 and continued to do it until 2001, because we knew it could provide useful information one day. In 2002 the funding was cut and the program was closed. Unfortunately we have no funding to continue collecting such interesting data," said Zhulidov.
Mercury concentrations from fish in the Mezen River were lower than 10 locations, but higher than eight in North America, while mercury levels in burbot in the Lena River were among the lowest.
"Good news since the Lena River is one of the largest watersheds in the world," said Castello. Mercury concentrations from fish in the Mezen and Lena rivers also were found to have been on a decline by 2.3 percent a year, whereas in North America they have been increasing by 5 percent a year.
Why the differences? The researchers admit in their paper, "There are no ancillary environmental data from the time period of the study in Russia," but they suggest the differences across the Arctic "may be explained by differences in water quality, geological bedrock formations, and proximity to polluting sources."
Until the 1970s, atmospheric mercury were on the rise as a result of industry in Europe and in North America, but began to decline from those sources due to emission controls, with Asia coming on line as a source, the paper explains.
In Russia, metallurgic industries in Murmansk region and smelter companies in the Pasvik watershed explain high levels of atmospheric mercury in the Pasvik River. The economic decline near the watersheds of the Lena and Mezen lowered polluting activity there.
A confounding factor has been climate change, said Robert Spencer, an associate scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. In burbot in the Canadian Arctic, mercury concentrations in fish tissue have increased despite declining atmospheric concentrations because rising temperatures appear to increase availability of mercury to fish populations.
"More studies are needed in the Russian Arctic if we are to better understand how mercury moves through this type of environment," Castello said.

© 2014 e! Science News.
* * *
    EurekAlert / 23-Dec-2013
    The Russian Federation has decided to join the ESRF
    Россия присоединилась к проекту «Европейский центр синхротронного излучения» (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) в Гренобле. Представлять страну будет Курчатовский институт.

The Russian Federation has taken the decisive step in becoming a full Member of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble (France). On 17 December, the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a governmental act authorizing the accession of the Russian Federation as a new Contracting Party of the ESRF Inter-governmental Convention. The Ministries of Science and Education and of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation - with the support of the National Research Center Kurchatov Institute - will now finalize the Protocol of Accession with the current ESRF Contracting Parties to complete the accession process in early 2014. The envisaged participation in the ESRF of the Russian Federation is 6%.
"This is wonderful news which underlines more than ever the long-standing scientific and technical collaboration existing among scientists and engineers from Russia and from the 20 ESRF Partner Countries", said ESRF Director General Francesco Sette. "Exactly 25 years after the signature of the ESRF Convention, the reach of the ESRF expands on a global scale, with profound positive effects in ensuring a successful continuation of its leadership in synchrotron science and applications for many years to come."
"This announcement is very good news for the future of the ESRF, for France and for the Europe of science and innovation. We need more than ever to strengthen large research infrastructures such as the ESRF", says Geneviève Fioraso, French Minister of Research and Universities, in a statement.
"Russia's accession to the ESRF Convention will provide guaranteed access for Russian scientists to a unique scientific infrastructure, it will increase the effectiveness of their participation in topical research and help organize a modern platform for training of students and scientists", the Russian government said in a statement to the news agency ITER-TASS.
Russian scientists have from the early days of the ESRF, more than 20 years ago, made important contributions to the development of the ESRF. Negotiations on the accession of the Russian Federation to the ESRF started in 2011 with discussions between the National Research Center Kurchatov Institute and the ESRF - upon the initiative of their respective Directors, Mikhail Kovalchuk and Francesco Sette. Since 2012 Russian scientists access the ESRF peer review research programme under the same conditions of those from the Partner Countries. Today, they contribute some 3% to scientific research at the ESRF, a figure that is bound to grow rapidly over the coming years.

Copyright © 2014 by AAAS, the science society.
* * *
    UPI.com / Dec. 27, 2013
    Russian dark energy satellite's launch pushed back to 2015
    Запуск российского спутника «Спектр-Рентген-Гамма» откладывается до 2015 г. из-за задержки с телескопом eRosita, который изготавливается в Германии.

MOSCOW, Dec. 27 (UPI) - A Russian satellite to study dark energy forces by observing galaxies has been delayed due to problems with a German-built telescope, a science official said.
The satellite, designed to observe cosmic X-rays in an attempt to unlock the secrets of so-called dark energy - a force believed to be accelerating the expansion of the universe, - was to have been launched next year but now will be delayed until 2015, Mikhail Pavlinsky, head of high-energy astrophysics at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said.
The Spektr-RG satellite is named after the Roentgen (X-ray) and Gamma radiation it will observe.
A sensor on one of the satellites two telescopes was malfunctioning and attempts to fix it have shown its circuitry must be completely redesigned, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.
Its manufacturer, the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics near Munich, will do the reconstruction of the malfunctioning unit, officials said.
The craft's other main telescope, built in Russia, has not experienced any significant problems, they said.
A third wide-field X-ray observation instrument for the satellite is to be provided by Britain's Leicester University.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
* * *

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