|Российская наука и мир|
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
Space Daily / Dec 28, 2012
В рамках соглашения о сотрудничестве в области гелиофизики российские ученые получили полный доступ в режиме реального времени к информации, получаемой американской солнечной обсерваторией SDO. Запущенная в феврале 2010 года обсерватория является на сегодняшний день самым совершенным инструментом для изучения Солнца.
Russian scientists have gained access to the data of the SDO solar observatory (NASA). The SDO Data Center is created in the Lebedev Physical Institute of the RAS. After the untimely breakdown of the CORONAS-Photon solar observatory at the end of 2009, Russia has not gotten its own solar research satellites, and the next project in this area, Intergelio-Zond, is expected to be carried out only after 2015.
NASA's SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) project has been working in the geosynchronous orbit since February, 2010. The task of the scientific complex consisting of three devices on board the satellite was almost constant observation of the Sun in a wide range of wavelengths, as well as the monitoring of changes that are happening to our star (hence the name of the project).
About a year after the launch of the observatory in April, 2011, Roscosmos and NASA signed an agreement on cooperation in heliophysics. According to it, the Russian Space Agency undertook the task of giving NASA the data archive from the Russian CORONAS-Photon solar Observatory, which operated from January to December 2009 (the actual period of obtaining scientific data was even less). In exchange, NASA was to provide Russian specialists with access to the SDO's information in the real-time operation mode.
The CORONAS-Photon worked in orbit for less than a year; at the end of 2009 the observatory went out of operation due to defects in the power supply system. It was the third spacecraft of the CORONAS series of solar observatories and up to now, the last Russian space project connected with the study of the Sun.
According to the plan, it was to operate during the period of the Sun's going out of the protracted minimum activity, but in reality it turned out that the spacecraft collected very little of the data. This archive was handed to NASA about six months ago reports Sergey Bogachev, researcher of the laboratory of x-ray astronomy of the Sun of the LPI RAS.
In exchange for this data, researchers of the LPI RAS got access to all the data of the SDO Observatory without a prior request in the real-time operation mode. Sergey Bogachev emphasizes that the LPI RAS must not only receive the data, but also facilitate their spreading through the Russian SDO center (web-site of the Russian centre - http://sdo.lebedev.ru). The agreement between the agencies provides that the Russian center will enjoy this support during the whole period of the Observatory's work, that is, at least up to 2015, and possibly longer, if it is decided to extend the mission.
The SDO project is a part of the NASA program "Living With the Star" (LWS), aimed at studying solar-terrestrial relations, that is, the mechanisms through which the Sun's activity changes the situation on the Earth; and it is also a part of its "extended", international version - ILWS, which includes spacecrafts of different countries. The CORONAS-Photon was a part of the ILWS, too.
The launch of the next Russian space project related to the research of the Sun is scheduled for 2015 at the earliest. This will be the Intergelio-Zond spacecraft, which has two important tasks: to approach the Sun at a distance of about 40 solar radii (about 27 million km; for comparison, in the closest point of its orbit, Mercury is at approximately 46 million km distance from the Sun) and "to have a look" at the polar areas of the Sun (by means of the inclination of the orbit) - until now this was done only by the Ulysses spacecraft (NASA).
The leading organizations of the project are the Pushkov Institute of Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Waves Propagation of the RAS and Lavochkin Research and Production Association. today, the project is in the initial stage of experimental-design work. After the approval of the draft project by the scientific-technical Council of the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, it was agreed to consider the possibility of creating two spacecrafts in order to increase the mission's reliability and extend the scientific programme.
The next solar project, "Polar-ecliptical patrol", provides for the placing of two spacecraft into orbits, located at an angle to the plane of the ecliptic, to watch the Sun at "unusual" angles. As opposed to Intergelio-Zond, these spacecrafts will be placed only halfway from the Earth to the Sun. However, the precise terms of realization of this mission are still not determined.
The break in the solar and magnetospheric studies is uncharacteristic for the Russian space program: even in the 1990s, spacecrafts of the Interbol project and the CORONAS series were working in this field.
In fact, today, only the Plasma-F instrument complex is functioning aboard the Spektr-R observatory and the Resonance multi-satellite project, designed for the study of processes in the Earth's magnetosphere, is getting ready for launch in 2014. They are also included in the ILWS program. However, in the next few years there will be no Russian solar observatories, therefore, the agreement on the use of the SDO data is particularly interesting.
© Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network.
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French Tribune / Sat, 12/29/2012
Earth microbes can survive on Mars: study
Группа биологов из МГУ и Университета Флориды установила, что некоторые земные бактерии вполне способны выжить на Марсе, но при одном условии - если объединятся в сообщества.
Статья "Growth of Carnobacterium spp. from permafrost under low pressure, temperature, and anoxic atmosphere has implications for Earth microbes on Mars" опубликована в журнале PNAS.
Some Earth microbes are capable of surviving the extremely harsh environmental conditions on Mars, according to a newly published study.
The study conducted by a group of scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences and the University of Florida revealed that the anaerobic organism called Carnobacterium can survive on Mars.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study says that the researchers harvested Carnobacterium from between 40 feet and 65 feet in the Siberian permafrost, which is known for its harsh conditions.
Once harvested, the bacteria were grown into larger cultures for an experiment in a lab. Then, the bacteria were exposed to Mars-like harsh conditions, such as extremely cold temperatures and very low level of oxygen.
Over the course of a month, out of 10,000 isolates exposed to the harsh Mars-like conditions, all but six of the bacteria died. The six that survived were flourishing well under the conditions.
The study concludes, "The ability of terrestrial microorganisms to grow in the near-surface environment of Mars is of importance to the search for life and protection of that planet from forward contamination by human and robotic exploration."
This astonishing finding comes is in steep contrast of the belief that any Earth microbes that were sent to Mars via rivers like Curiosity would not have survived the Red Planet's harsh conditions. The finding also underlines that scientists will have to be very careful in future to avoid sending microbes to Mars.
© 2010 FrenchTribune - Tribune Online Services.
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Science Daily / Jan. 8, 2013
Graphene Oxide Soaks Up Radioactive Waste: U.S., Russian Researchers Collaborate On Solution to Toxic Groundwater Woes
Российские и американские химики (МГУ им. М.В.Ломоносова и Университет Райса) открыли новое свойство графена - впитывать растворенные в воде радиоактивные вещества, связывая радионуклиды между собой и создавая из них твердые тела, которые потом легко утилизировать.
Graphene oxide has a remarkable ability to quickly remove radioactive material from contaminated water, researchers at Rice University and Lomonosov Moscow State University have found.
A collaborative effort by the Rice lab of chemist James Tour and the Moscow lab of chemist Stepan Kalmykov determined that microscopic, atom-thick flakes of graphene oxide bind quickly to natural and human-made radionuclides and condense them into solids. The flakes are soluble in liquids and easily produced in bulk.
The experimental results were reported in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.
The discovery, Tour said, could be a boon in the cleanup of contaminated sites like the Fukushima nuclear plants damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. It could also cut the cost of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for oil and gas recovery and help reboot American mining of rare earth metals, he said.
Graphene oxide's large surface area defines its capacity to adsorb toxins, Kalmykov said. "So the high retention properties are not surprising to us," he said. "What is astonishing is the very fast kinetics of sorption, which is key."
"In the probabilistic world of chemical reactions where scarce stuff (low concentrations) infrequently bumps into something with which it can react, there is a greater likelihood that the 'magic' will happen with graphene oxide than with a big old hunk of bentonite," said Steven Winston, a former vice president of Lockheed Martin and Parsons Engineering and an expert in nuclear power and remediation who is working with the researchers. "In short, fast is good."
Determining how fast was the object of experiments by the Kalmykov group. The lab tested graphene oxide synthesized at Rice with simulated nuclear wastes containing uranium, plutonium and substances like sodium and calcium that could negatively affect their adsorption. Even so, graphene oxide proved far better than the bentonite clays and granulated activated carbon commonly used in nuclear cleanup.
Graphene oxide introduced to simulated wastes coagulated within minutes, quickly clumping the worst toxins, Kalmykov said. The process worked across a range of pH values.
"To see Stepan's amazement at how well this worked was a good confirmation," Tour said. He noted that the collaboration took root when Alexander Slesarev, a graduate student in his group, and Anna Yu. Romanchuk, a graduate student in Kalmykov's group, met at a conference several years ago.
The researchers focused on removing radioactive isotopes of the actinides and lanthanides - the 30 rare earth elements in the periodic table - from liquids, rather than solids or gases. "Though they don't really like water all that much, they can and do hide out there," Winston said. "From a human health and environment point of view, that's where they're least welcome."
Naturally occurring radionuclides are also unwelcome in fracking fluids that bring them to the surface in drilling operations, Tour said. "When groundwater comes out of a well and it's radioactive above a certain level, they can't put it back into the ground," he said. "It's too hot. Companies have to ship contaminated water to repository sites around the country at very large expense." The ability to quickly filter out contaminants on-site would save a great deal of money, he said.
He sees even greater potential benefits for the mining industry. Environmental requirements have "essentially shut down U.S. mining of rare earth metals, which are needed for cell phones," Tour said. "China owns the market because they're not subject to the same environmental standards. So if this technology offers the chance to revive mining here, it could be huge."
Tour said that capturing radionuclides does not make them less radioactive, just easier to handle. "Where you have huge pools of radioactive material, like at Fukushima, you add graphene oxide and get back a solid material from what were just ions in a solution," he said. "Then you can skim it off and burn it. Graphene oxide burns very rapidly and leaves a cake of radioactive material you can then reuse."
The low cost and biodegradable qualities of graphene oxide should make it appropriate for use in permeable reactive barriers, a fairly new technology for in situ groundwater remediation, he said.
Romanchuk, Slesarev, Kalmykov and Tour are co-authors of the paper with Dmitry Kosynkin, a former postdoctoral researcher at Rice, now with Saudi Aramco. Kalmykov is radiochemistry division head and a professor at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Tour is the T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of computer science at Rice.
The Office of Naval Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, M-I SWACO and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research funded work at Rice. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, a Russian Federation President stipend to Romanchuk and the Russian Basic Research Foundation funded research at Moscow State.
1. Anna Yu. Romanchuk, Alexander Slesarev, Stepan N. Kalmykov, Dmitry Kosynkin, James M Tour. Graphene Oxide for Effective Radionuclide Removal. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2012; DOI: 10.1039/C2CP44593J
Copyright © 1995-2012 ScienceDaily LLC - All rights reserved.
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Smithsonian.com / December 28, 2012
5 Science Stories to Watch in 2013
Смитсоновский образовательный и научно-исследовательский институт (США) опубликовал в своем журнале список пяти самых захватывающих и увлекательных научных событий 2012 года. Первые два пункта - открытая российскими астрономами-любителями комета C/2012 S1 (ISON), которая, вполне возможно, станет самой яркой кометой первой половины 21-го века и будет видна невооруженным глазом с ноября этого года, и завершение российскими полярниками бурения 4 километров льда над реликтовым антарктическим озером Восток.
Over the past year, we've seen a ton of scientific milestones and discoveries of historic importance, from the discovery of the Higgs Boson to the landing of a mobile laboratory on Mars. Science, though, is defined by its relentless march forward: No matter how much we learn, there are always more questions to answer. So, after our roundup of 2012's most surprising (and significant) scientific events, we bring you the most exciting studies, projects and science developments we'll be watching for in 2013.
1. Comet Ison: Back in September, a pair of Russian astronomers discovered a new comet heading in our direction. At the time, it was just a faint blip detectable only with the most sophisticated telescopes, and it was unclear how visible it would become during its approach. Now, though, astronomers are predicting that when it passes by us and closely orbits the sun in November and December of 2013, it could be the astronomical sight of our lifetimes.
"Comet Ison could draw millions out into the dark to witness what could be the brightest comet seen in many generations - brighter even than the full Moon," astronomer David Whitehouse writes in The Independent. One thing's for sure: we'll be watching.
2. Lake Vostok: For more than a decade, a team of Russian scientists has worked to drill nearly 12,000 feet down into Antarctica's icy depths with a single purpose: to obtain samples from the ultra-deep isolated subglacial lake known as Lake Vostok. After barely reaching the water's surface last Antarctic summer, they now plan to return at the end of 2013 to drill fully into the lake and use a robot to collect water and sediment samples. The lake may have been isolated for as long as 15 to 25 million years - providing the tantalizing potential for long-term isolated evolution that could yield utterly strange lifeforms. The lake could even serve as a model for the theoretical ice-covered oceans on Jupiter's moon Europa, helping us better understand how evolution might occur elsewhere in the solar system.
Rival American and British teams were also racing to probe the depths of other subglacial lakes in search of life - the American team's efforts to reach subglacial Lake Whillans is expected to meet with success this January or February, while the British have been forced to cease their drilling efforts into subglacial Lake Ellsworth due to technical difficulties.
3. Algae Fuel: Experts predict that 2013 will be the year when vehicle fuels derived from algae finally take off. A handful of biofuel stations in the San Francisco area started selling algae-based biodiesel commercially for the first time last month, and after the product met state fuel standards, the pilot program is expected to be expanded shortly. Because algae use less space, grow more quickly and can be more efficiently converted into oil than conventional crops used for biofuels, advocates are excited about the possibility that algae-based fuels could wean us off petroleum without using up precious food crops.
4. Cosmic Microwave Background: Energy left over from the Big Bang still radiates through the universe - and the European Space Agency's plans to use the Planck satellite to measure this energy more precisely than ever before could help us better understand the formation of the universe. The 1965 measurement of this microwave energy first supported the concept of the Big Bang, and subsequent examination of variations in the radiation has led to more sophisticated theories about our universe's earliest days. The Planck satellite, launched in 2009, has already collected a wide range of valuable astronomical data and images, but plans to release all this info in early 2013 has the cosmology world all atwitter.
5. Supercomputers to the Rescue: A number of supercomputers around the world could have a remarkable impact at solving problems in health, the environment and other fields over the next year. Yellowstone, a 1.5 petaflops cluster computer in Wyoming, was installed this past summer and will spend 2013 crunching numbers (1.5 quadrillion calculations per second, to be exact) to refine climate models and help us better understand how storms and wildfires move across the planet. Meanwhile, Watson, IBM's world-famous Jeopardy-winning supercomputer, is currently being trained by doctors to recognize medical symptoms and serve as a diagnostic tool, providing treatment options based on case histories and clinical knowledge. So far, the computer has been trained to recognize breast, lung and prostate cancers.
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Daily Mail / 14 January 2013
Russian scientists take samples from Antarctic lake trapped beneath the frozen landscape for tens of thousands of years
Наконец получены первые образцы воды из древнего подледного озера Восток в Антарктиде. Бурение четырехкилометрового слоя льда было завершено год назад, но полноценные пробы воды удалось взять лишь сейчас, с глубины 3406 м.
Russian scientists are celebrating successfully bringing up a sample from an Antarctic lake that has been buried beneath ice for at least 100,000 years.
The announcement was made just weeks after a British expedition to extract water from an Antarctic lake gave up and headed for home. The Russian team initially drilled more than two miles into ice to reach the surface of Lake Vostock last year. They managed to bring up a sample, some of which was served to President Vladimir Putin, but it was uncertain if the water can from the lake or the glacier above it. Having returned to Antarctica the scientific team extracted a further sample which, according to the Russian state-owned news agency Ria Novosti, was from the lake itself. The project team relied on the huge pressure the lake is under to force water up into last year's borehole where it froze and could be extracted in cores, it was reported.
'The first core of transparent lake ice, 2 meters long, was obtained on January 10  at a depth of 3,406 meters, the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, part of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, was quoted as saying. "Inside it was a vertical channel filled with white bubble-rich ice."
The core is now to be tested to see if any microbial life has persisted Lake Vostock, which at 1,300 cubic miles in volume is the largest lake in Antarctica and one of the biggest in the world.
There are more than 400 sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica and they are attracting scientific attention in part because they represent environments similar to those that might harbour life elsewhere in the solar system, such as Jupiter's frozen moon Europa.
Analysis of samples from last year's Lake Vostock expedition yielded nothing alive except for a few microbes which are feared to have been through contamination. However, a US-led Antarctic expedition announced in November that they had detected microbes thriving in the slushy centre of the otherwise frozen Lake Vida. The microbes had been sealed off by ice for at least 2,800 years and were living without oxygen in salty, acidic water which would be toxic to many lifeforms. In Lake Vostock any microbes would have to have survived frozen beneath ice for at least 100,000 years and perhaps for millions of years.
In December the British Antacrtic Survey had to abandon an attempt to reach Lake Ellsworth through almost 1.8 miles of ice by drilling with water at close to boiling point. It was defeated by technical problems at it tried to link the main borehole with a secondary hole that was to be used to syphon off water.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.
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The Christian Science Monitor / January 16, 2013
Russia sets its sights on the moon - again
Russia is beginning a new series of missions to the moon - likely an effort to overcome a slew of space setbacks in recent years by setting its sights on more fail-proof endeavors
В планах "Роскосмоса" - несколько беспилотных полетов на Луну в 2015 году с целью взять пробы грунта с последующей (но не ранее 2030 года) высадкой космонавтов. Запуск ракет планируется осуществить с нового космодрома "Восточный", который строится в Амурской области.
Nearly 40 years after abandoning its lunar exploration program, Russia says it's preparing to shoot for the moon again.
The Russian space agency, Roskosmos, announced this week that it will send a series of at least four robot probe missions to the moon in 2015, to be followed by a manned mission no later than 2030. All of this activity will be launched from a new $1 billion space center, Vostochny Kosmodrome, which is under construction in the Amur region of Russia's far east.
Some experts insist that the plans are serious, and that they represent part of a concerted Russian effort to overcome a string of space setbacks in recent years, which seemed to hit so consistently that at one point Russian space officials blamed them on foreign sabotage.
The mishaps included a chain of crashes involving Russia's space workhorse, the Proton rocket booster. Moscow's plan to build a satellite-based global positioning system to rival the American GPS network ran into repeated problems, including the loss of several critical satellite payloads.
The most galling was the complete loss of the ambitious Mars probe, Phobos-Grunt, which had been designed to bring back rock and soil samples from the Martian moon Phobos. The probe's engines stalled in Earth's orbit, and despite weeks of frantic efforts by ground controllers, it crashed into the Pacific Ocean a year ago.
"We were so depressed after what happened to Phobos-Grunt, that the decision was made to turn to more simple and readily accessible projects. The moon is a step to all the rest," says Igor Lisov, columnist with the Russian space journal Novosti Kosmonavtiki. "The timing is reasonable, the plan is logical, and there's clear understanding about what to do and when to do it," he says. "It's a matter of state interest."
The first flight, slated for 2015, will see a 1.2 ton lunar lander called Luna-Glob (Moon Globe) deposited on the moon's surface to search for water, take soil samples, and beam back its findings to Earth.
"We will begin our exploration of the moon from there," Roskosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin told Russian journalists yesterday.
Further missions, including three satellite observatories and two lunar landers, will target the moon's north and south poles, where signs of water have been noted, with the ultimate aim of establishing a fully robotic Russian lunar base, Mr. Popovkin said.
Roskosmos has also opened a $300,000 tender to develop a design for a heavy rocket that would be capable of powering a manned mission to the moon by 2030. Popovkin said the winning design will be selected within a few months.
He added that the new rocket system, capable of supporting manned spacecraft, should be ready by 2020.
But some experts argue that the new plans are just another symptom of the organizational disarray and technical ineptness that has overtaken the once mighty Soviet space program and, despite dramatically increased funding in recent years, few of the schemes are likely to be seen through.
"I don't think these declarations of our officials should be taken too seriously. They seem to change regularly, and with no good reason," says Andrei Ionin, an expert with the government-linked Tsiolkovsky Space Academy in Moscow.
"There is no serious strategy of development. Instead we see space officials rushing about over the past couple of years without any positive results… State financing is growing, so officials want to demonstrate that the money is not being allocated in vain. But this has all the earmarks of a pure PR campaign," he adds.
© The Christian Science Monitor. All Rights Reserved.
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La Russie d'Aujourd'hui / 17 janvier, 2013
Des porcs-épics vivaient dans l'Oural il y a 120.000 ans
Les chercheurs de l'Institut d'écologie des plantes et des animaux du Département de l'Oural de l'Académie des Sciences de Russie (RAS) ont prouvé l'existence de porcs-épics anciens dans l'Oural
120 тыс. лет назад на Урале обитали дикобразы. На этот факт указывает находка сотрудников Института экологии растений и животных УрО РАН, обнаруживших зуб ископаемого животного в пещере на границе Свердловской и Челябинской областей.
A la frontière des régions de Sverdlovsk et de Tcheliabinsk, près de la ville d'Acha, des archéologues ont découvert dans une grotte, à une profondeur de 2,5 mètres, la dent d'un animal qui vivait sur le site des fouilles il y a 120.000 ans.
Comme l'a annoncé aujourd'hui au correspondant d'Itar-Tass le chef du laboratoire de paléoécologie de l'Institut d'écologie des plantes et des animaux du Département de l'Oural de la RAS Pavel Kossintsev, cette trouvaille a révolutionné la compréhension de la faune ancienne des montagnes de l'Oural.
"Avant cette découverte, aucun scientifique n'avait trouvé de preuve étayant l'existence de porcs-épics dans l'Oural. On pensait que dans le monde antique, ces animaux vivaient beaucoup plus au sud de la crête des montagnes de l'Oural, a indiqué M. Kossintsev. Cependant, notre trouvaille prouve le contraire. Il y a plus de 100.000 ans, le climat de l'Oural était beaucoup plus chaud que les scientifiques ne le décrivent. Il y avait ici des forêts caducifoliées similaires à celles qui poussent dans la région de Kiev. Dans ces forêts vivaient non seulement des loups et des ours, mais aussi des porcs-épics ".
La dent de porc-épic et d'autres objets trouvés dans la grotte permettront aux scientifiques de reconstituer de manière plus fiable le climat de l'Oural, de comprendre comment il a évolué au cours des millénaires, et de déterminer ce qui a influencé son évolution.
© 2007-2013 Russia Beyond The Headlines.
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UPI.com / Jan. 30, 2013
Veggies grown in space said safe to eat
Ученые Института медико-биологических проблем РАН пришли к выводу, что овощи, выращенные на борту Международной космической станции, вполне пригодны в пищу и по составу ничем не отличаются от земных.
MOSCOW, Jan. 30 (UPI) - Russian scientists say vegetables grown on board the International Space Station can be consumed without fear of food poisoning or other adverse effects.
Researchers have been studying "orbital-grown" vegetables such as Japanese cabbage for several years.
"The samples of cabbage have been brought to Earth," a researcher at the Moscow-based Institute of Medical and Biological Problems told RIA Novosti Wednesday. "We have not detected any deviations in their biomass composition compared with cabbage grown on Earth."
"From a microbiological perspective, these samples were absolutely safe to consume," the researcher said.
Because fruits and vegetables cannot be washed with water on board a spacecraft, the researchers said, microbiological safety is a significant factor in determining space travelers' diets.
The results of the orbital growing experiments could help in compiling a list of plants suitable for cultivating during prolonged space missions including manned flights to Mars and beyond, they said.
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Laser Focus world / 01/25/2013
RF science to advance should be demanded in economy - Alferov
Академик Жорес Алфёров встретился в Лондоне с членами Координационного совета международной ассоциации русскоязычных учёных и специалистов в области технологий, проживающих за пределами Российской Федерации. Встреча была посвящена обсуждению различных вариантов сотрудничества и совместной работы над проектами. В своем выступлении академик также высказал свое мнение о состоянии российской науки, назвав основной проблемой не нехватку финансирования, а отсутствие интереса со стороны общества, экономики и промышленности к научным достижениям.
Russia's science, in order to be developed, needs the attention of the country's businesses and economy that should take an interest in its discoveries and achievements, outstanding Russian scientist and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Zhores Alferov told Itar-Tass.
On Thursday, evening Academician Alferov spoke at the Russian Embassy in London, delivering a lecture on the semiconductor revolution and its impact on human life, as well as talked to representatives of the scientific community. The physicist is currently in Britain on a visit during which he meets with his colleagues from the country.
Answering a question what is the scientist's view on the current situation of Russian science and whether it can be compared to the situation during the days of his youth, Alferov said: "This is the most difficult subject of those I have to speak about. We've lost very much over the past quarter of the century. And the most important is the fact that we have practically lost such sphere as industrial science."
"There is no need to speak about the close interrelation between the development of science and the availability of the necessary equipment, which is particularly important in that sphere of knowledge in which I work," continued the scientist. "In the late 1970's of the last century, we could reach the desired level of technical support and fulfil the most serious tasks." "But then, in the 1990's this was lost, and as a result many talented people were forced to leave the country to be able to effectively do their work," he admitted.
At the same time, speaking about the current situation Alferov also called it "very difficult." "I always emphasise that the main problem of the Russian science is not in the financing," he said. "The main problem is that the economy, society and industry should need scientific findings. When businesspeople have a practical interest in our field, the money for research is found as a rule." "The lack of such interest is the main contradiction," the scientist stated.
Zhores Alferov is the only Nobel Prize winner in physics currently living in Russia. He received the top award in the world of science in 2000 for developing semiconductor heterostructures and creating fast optoelectronic and microelectronic components. Alferov invented the heterotransistor. This coped with much higher frequencies than its predecessors, and apparently revolutionised the mobile phone and satellite communications. Alverov and Kroemer independently applied this technology to firing laser lights. This in turn revolutionised semiconductor design in a host of areas, including LEDs, barcodes readers and CDs. He is also a Russian politician and has been a member of the Russian State Parliament, the Duma, since 1995. Lately, he has become one of the most influential members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF).
His research has played an important role in the development of computer science, and the scientist received numerous Russian and foreign awards.
© 2013. PennWell Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Russia & India Report / 24/01/2013
Scientists to conduct "census" of Far East leopards
Проведенный в Приморье мониторинг занесенных в Красную книгу дальневосточных леопардов показал, что за последние шесть лет их численность не уменьшилась и даже увеличилась. Хотя популяция этих животных, насчитывающая всего около 50 особей, по-прежнему находится на грани вымирания.
Russian scientists have managed to prevent the extinction of Far East (Amur) leopards. For the first time in recent years the population of these rare big cats has increased. In late January, in the south of Primorye (Russia's Far East region) a new census of Amur leopards will be conducted. Last time it was conducted 6 years ago.
The preservation of Far East leopard, which was introduced into the Book of Endangered Species, is an international concern. The situation with Far East leopard can be called catastrophic. In the last 20 years its habitat has almost twice reduced while the population has reduced by ten times. According to experts, today it is almost impossible to come across Amur leopard in the Far Eastern taiga. A constant control has been conducted over these rare wild cats, Sergey Aramilev, Species Program Coordinator At Amur Branch, World Wildlife Fund, says.
Every spring we conduct a monitoring using automatic photo cameras. This kind of work has been conducted since 2002. Its data shows that the number of leopards is stable and there are some trends towards the increase. At least on the territory where static photo cameras have been installed leopard population is growing.
Classic method of fixation and analysis of animal traces on snow can provide a more precise picture. This work requires about 100 workers of different research organizations, Aramilev continues.
"This work implies that about 120 routes each 15 km long will cover the whole territory of the habitat. The main task is to track all the routes simultaneously. If one day is not enough it should be done in no longer than in 2-3 days. This is required for obtaining an instant cross section of traces along the whole area of leopard habitat."
In early January, scientists conducted a preliminary registration of the number of leopards in the Land of the Leopard national park. The new national park was opened in 2012 to protect critically endangered Siberian (Amur) tigers and the Far East leopard The Land of the Leopard National Park safeguards 1,011 square miles of leopard and tiger habitat.
However good protection from poaching is not enough for the restoration of leopard population. To increase the number of these big cats it is necessary to recreate the natural conditions of their habitat, director of the International Fund of Animal Welfare (IFAW) Maria Vorontsova says.
"In order to let leopards spread across the whole habitat it is necessary to create migration passes for them. They should migrate to the north of the Far East region to occupy the lands where they lived before but today it impossible because the Vladivostok-Khabarovsk highway divides the northern and southern parts of the habitat. The protection of the territory and fighting poaching are also very important."
According to preliminary data at present about 50 species of Far East leopard are living on the territory of the reserve but the exact number can be announced only after the results of the January census are summed up. A similar "census" will be conducted on the border with China. The biologists from the Hunchun reserve visited in the Land of the Leopard and studied the method of defining the exact number of rare species.
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