|Российская наука и мир|
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
5 июня в Ханое состоялся Второй международный семинар по изучению морских обитателей Вьетнама, на котором вьетнамские и российские ученые подвели итоги совместных исследований.
Des scientifiques vietnamiens et russes se sont réunis mercredi à Hanoi dans le cadre du 2e colloque international sur les ressources marines du Vietnam.
Cet événement avait pour objet de faire le bilan des résultats des recherches communes, à l'occasion d'une 4e étude conjointe sur un navire de recherche russe dans les eaux maritimes du Vietnam du 19 avril au 8 juin.
Ce colloque fait partie des efforts de l'Académie des Sciences et des Technologies du Vietnam (VAST) et de l'Institut d'Extrême-Orient de l'Académie russe des Sciences pour renforcer la coopération scientifique et technologique.
Selon le président de la VAST, le professeur Chau Van Minh, son académie compte proposer au gouvernement d'autoriser le navire de l'Institut d'Extrême-Orient à prendre comme port d'attache la ville de Nha Trang (Centre), au service des recherches maritimes de la VAST et de cet Institut, au lieu d'utiliser tous les deux ans le navire russe Akademik Oparin pour les études conjointes.
D'après le professeur Chau Van Minh, l'Académie russe des Sciences est un partenaire important de la VAST. À ce jour, les deux parties ont mené quatre études conjointes dans les eaux du Vietnam à bord du navire russe Akademik Oparin, en 2005, 2007, 2010 et 2013.
Lors de ce colloque, les participants ont écouté des rapports scientifiques sur la biodiversité et la biochimie en Mer Orientale.
© Copyright, VietnamPlus, Agence vietnamienne d'information (AVI).
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Science News / June 12, 2013
Ancient Siberians may have rarely hunted mammoths
Study suggests Stone Age folk sporadically killed the beasts, primarily for ivory
Две основные гипотезы о причинах вымирания мамонтов - истребление человеком и изменение климата. Палеонтолог Павел Никольский (Геологический институт РАН) и археолог Владимир Питулько (Институт истории материальной культуры РАН), исследовав более тысячи костей мамонтов, обнаруженных на Янской палеолитической стоянке в Якутии, пришли к выводу, что древние жители Сибири охотились на мамонтов слишком редко, чтобы сыграть более-менее заметную роль в их исчезновении.
Статья «Evidence from the Yana Paleolithic site, Arctic Siberia, yields clues to the riddle of mammoth hunting» опубликована в журнале «Journal of Archaeological Science».
Contrary to their hunting reputation, Stone Age Siberians killed mammoths only every few years when they needed tusks for toolmaking, a new study finds.
People living between roughly 33,500 and 31,500 years ago hunted the animals mainly for ivory, say paleontologist Pavel Nikolskiy and archaeologist Vladimir Pitulko of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Hunting could not have driven mammoths to extinction, the researchers report June 5 in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
On frigid tundra with few trees, mammoth tusks substituted for wood as a raw material for tools, they propose. Siberian people ate mammoth meat after hunts, but food was not their primary goal.
Several European and North American sites have yielded single mammoth carcasses lying amid stone tools. Such finds could reflect either hunting or scavenging. Finds at Siberia's Yana archeological site provide an unprecedented window on the hunting and killing of mammoths over a long time period, says archaeologist John Hoffecker of the University of Colorado Boulder.
Mammoth bones appear in sufficient numbers at some sites in Europe to suggest that hunters there did seek more than ivory, says archaeologist Jiří Svoboda of Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. Whatever happened at Yana, many groups were probably interested in obtaining mammoth meat, fat, bones, tusks and skin, Svoboda says.
Since 2008, scientists have unearthed 1,103 bones from at least 31 mammoths at Yana. Radiocarbon measurements indicate that mammoth remains gradually accumulated there over 2,000 years.
Right shoulder blades from two mammoths contain pieces of stone spear points. An ivory splinter, possibly from a spear's shaft, pierced one of these bones. Another shoulder blade and a thigh bone display holes made by spears. Angles of these wounds suggest that hunters struck mammoths from behind. "Yana people definitely attacked from the mammoth's blind spot," Nikolskiy says.
Most mammoth bones at Yana come from animals with slightly curved tusks that were the best size and shape for making hunting weapons, Nikolskiy and Pitulko propose.
Researchers have found five mammoth bones from the base of the animals' tongues at a campsite not far from where remains were excavated. Meaty parts of the animals were probably consumed there, the investigators say.
While hunting was not the main cause of mammoths' extinction in Asia and Europe, it may have been the last straw as warming temperatures shrank livable areas for the creatures.
© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2013 All rights reserved.
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После того, как трехметровая волна от урагана «Сэнди» в октябре 2012 года затопила некоторые районы Нью-Йорка, возникла острая необходимость в плане по защите города от климатических изменений и их последствий. Одна из предложенных идей состоит в том, чтобы останавливать штормовые приливы с помощью восьмикилометровой дамбы через Нью-Йоркский залив, причем за образец взят комплекс защитных сооружений в Санкт-Петербурге, поперек Финского залива.
Ever since Hurricane Sandy's 3.3-meter sea surge drowned parts of New York City on October 29, 2012, scientists and engineers have been scrambling to devise a plan to protect the city against future storms. Two reports are due within a week, as the 2013 hurricane season gets rolling. One report, to be released this week, is from the New York City Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, created by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to figure out how the city should bolster itself against climate change. The other study, expected this month, is from the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), led by university researchers who in 2009 had published a long list of recommendations that would primarily fend off sea level rise, but not storm surges.
The most controversial and arguably most crucial piece of any plan to stop storm surges is a massive barrier built across New York Bay. The leading design, called the Outer Harbor Gateway, comes from Halcrow, an international engineering company based in Lower Manhattan (see image below). The eight-kilometer-long wall would connect Sandy Hook in New Jersey to the Rockaways in New York, separating all of New York City from the sea. The barrier would have three huge gates that would normally be open to allow ships to pass, and 11 other, smaller "sluice" gates within the wall that would also remain open to allow the mixing of seawater and freshwater necessary to keep the bay alive. All the gates would close as a surge approached.
According to Halcrow, the barrier could cost $6.5 billion. The structure may sound extreme, but engineers completed a very similar yet largely unknown barrier in 2010. It's in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and it is three times as long. And in 2012 it held back a winter storm that generated the fourth-highest floodwaters ever recorded in Neva Bay, the innermost portion of the Gulf of Finland, on which the city lies.
Halcrow oversaw the second half of the barrier's construction in Saint Petersburg, and its engineers say it is a model for New York City. The water depths, sea bottom and adjacent spits of land are similar in both places, and so are the potential surge heights. The Saint Petersburg barrier was designed in sections that could in effect be pieced together in a different order to fit New York's span. "It's almost like 'plug and play,'" says Graeme Forsyth, a civil engineer and a director of Halcrow in Scotland. "You could take Saint Petersburg apart and plug in the bits you want to create a new configuration for New York."
Even the strategic positioning of the two barriers would be the same. The primary risk in closing such a wall is that heavy rainfall and large, overflowing rivers could fill the bay from behind the wall like a bathtub, also causing bad flooding. But Neva Bay "is large enough of a reservoir to take heavy rain and river flow, and so is New York Bay," says Jonathan Goldstick, an engineer and vice president at Halcrow.
© 2013 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Ученые из Мурманского морского биологического института (ММБИ КНЦ РАН) разработали карты чувствительности берегов Кольского залива к нефтяным загрязнениям. Такие карты позволят определить наиболее уязвимые и наиболее устойчивые к загрязнению участки, определяя выбор приоритетов при очистке.
MURMANSK - Scientists in Murmansk Region in Russia's far north are working on a map showing where Kola Bay, a fjord in the Barents Sea just off the northern coast of the Kola Peninsula, is most susceptible to oil spills and most in need of protection during oil pollution cleanup - hoping to create what is deemed a much-needed tool for better environmental safeguarding of the area.
The map, dubbed "Kola Bay Vulnerability Map," is needed for the comprehensive management of this natural area and more efficient and safe use of natural resources, while also serving the important purpose of helping to protect the coastal territory of the Kola Peninsula from the harmful effects of oil spills.
The map is hoped to help minimize the damage arising from oil spills and cleanup operations. The threat that such damage may occur is becoming all the more palpable with the increasingly heavier tanker traffic in the Barents Sea.
The Kola Bay Vulnerability Map is being put together by scientists at the Murmansk Marine Biological Institute (MMBI), of the Kola Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The researchers are confident that the map is needed urgently - waiting until disaster strikes is not an option. The work, however, requires substantial funding, something that neither the state nor regional authorities can provide.
"The problem is that Kola Bay is a federal property, so the local administration is not authorized to spend its own funding on it, and the state clearly doesn't feel like doing it," MMBI's head of Engineering Ecology Laboratory Anatoly Shavykin, who holds a PhD in Engineering, told journalists at a press-conference at the Murmansk Regional Duma, the region's local parliament.
The necessary funding was allocated by the Russian Geographical Society, which issued a grant for research in Kola Bay so that MMBI scientists could gather the needed information.
The creators of the map hope their work is going to be appreciated by state authorities and that the map will be included into the official oil spill elimination plans for Kola Bay.
So far, such maps are not even required for oil spill elimination plans in Russia. Murmansk Region's authorities only have general maps of the Barents Sea at their disposal - maps that Shavykin believes are simply not specific enough and thus completely ill-suited for the purpose of responding efficiently to oil spills.
According to Shavykin, these maps have to show distribution of wildlife populating the habitats of the waters and seafloor of Kola Bay, as well as the locations of social infrastructure and industrial sites. And they must show those spots that are most vulnerable to oil pollution, as well as spots that can be sacrificed in order to preserve the most valuable areas.
"If we don't have such maps, oil will have to be cleaned up irrespective of the consequences," Shavykin said.
The scientists' work has already been commended by Murmansk Region's ecological organizations, which have long been warning of the immense risks that the area remains exposed to because of the growing transportation and transshipping of oil products in the region.
The first expedition that MMBI researchers undertook in Kola Bay for the oil spill vulnerability map project took place late last May, and several more are to follow. When all the necessary information is gathered, the scientists will add it to the data collected earlier when they were creating the "Interactive Map of Vulnerability of the Coastline of Kola Bay."
The aggregated data will then yield a comprehensive Kola Bay Vulnerability Map.
MMBI researchers expect this work to be completed at the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014.
Copyright © Bellona.
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В своем докладе на заседании президиума РАН об антропогенном воздействии на водоемы заместитель директора Института океанологии РАН Петр Завьялов заявил, что состояние Аральского моря стабилизируется, а процессы высыхания замедляются. К тому же, несмотря на высокую соленость воды, в Арале даже сформировалась своя экосистема.
The Aral Sea, which has been shrinking for almost half a century causing an environmental disaster in Central Asia, has finally stopped drying up, a Russian scientist said on Tuesday.
"The sea is currently close to a balance because its surface has shrunk so much that evaporation has gone down too, so that even the insignificant river and underground water flow balance the sea," Pyotr Zavyalov of the Russian Academy of Science's Oceanology Institute told a panel of scientists.
Divided between western Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the Aral Sea began shrinking in the 1960s, following a massive diversion of water for agriculture use from the two main rivers that fed it. Historians say that Soviet projects to irrigate vast areas of Central Asia, mostly for cotton farming, were part of a Communist doctrine of "conquering" nature and bending its rules to the needs of the future utopia.
Collective farms striving to boost cotton production used up huge amounts of fresh water in their irrigation systems, leading to the Aral Sea shrinking significantly by the 1970s, according to Soviet-era reports. The limited amount of water which reached the sea was filled with agricultural chemicals and pesticides.
Once as big as Ireland, the sea was once home to an extremely diverse ecosystem environmentalists dubbed "the Central Asian Amazon." By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the sea had lost 90 per cent of its water and had been reduced to three small bodies of water, two of which are almost devoid of life.
The sea's northern section, which lies in Kazakhstan and is known as the Small Aral, has been surrounded by an artificial dam and is now recovering, and the residents of some fishing villages abandoned decades ago have now returned. But the two southern parts are now filled with extremely salty water whose only inhabitants are tiny crustaceans and bacteria, scientists say.
As a result of the sea's desiccation, sizeable areas of arable land in parts of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are now covered with toxic salt, poisoning the soil and causing health problems such as cancer, tuberculosis and anemia, the UN says.
A gargantuan plan to supply the evaporating sea with water from Siberian rivers was abandoned in the 1980s due to high costs and unpredictable environmental consequences.
© 2006 Copyright.
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В 2011 году завершился совместный проект стран-партнеров международного сотрудничества SUST-RUS по созданию и апробированию для России межрегиональной экономико-экологической модели, которую можно использовать для оценки мер, направленных на устойчивое развитие страны. Над созданием модели работал международный консорциум во главе с Центром экономических и финансовых исследований и разработок (ЦЭФИР).
В статье с помощью этой модели рассматриваются различные аспекты политики энергоэффективности.
Christophe Heyndrickx is bio engineer in environmental and agricultural economics at research consultancy Transport and Mobility, in Leuven, Belgium. He specialises in modelling regional and national economic policy. In particular, he was one of the project partners in the EU funded project SUST-RUS, which developed spatial-economic-ecological model for the assessment of sustainability policies of Russian Federation. By the end of the project in 2011, it had been created a model to calculate Russia's sustainability in terms of social, economic and environmental outlook, in the short term - 1 to 2 years - and long term - 5 to 6 years. Heyndrickx tells youris.com about the Russian energy context and whether reality has mirrored its model's predictions.
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What was the overall goal of the project?
We wanted to create a model that is open source, to be used by Russian and European researchers. The model we developed allows the quantitative study of the sustainability policy. That is a policy which evaluates not only economic, but also environmental and social issues. For example: the model can be used to see what happens when measures are taken to increase energy efficiency.
Was it difficult to get the new data to supply the model from the Russian authorities?
Yes, it was very, very difficult. We got help from the statistical offices, but the official data on Russia is still missing, due to the transition of the economy. For example, the old structure of the Russian economy was based on a government controlled industrial economy, while in Russia today the service sectors have become much more important. The new service structure is almost non-existent in the official data of 2000. In our database, we made changes to increase the share of the services sectors and bring it into line with the present state of the Russian economy.
Can this model help in planning energy use and be used to increase the sustainability of gas consumption?
Yes, it can. It gives insight on what the impacts can be, indications of the direction, what steps to be followed when planning a gain in efficiency, for example. When we ran the model for the energy efficiency of the gas, we concluded that the price policy should be oriented towards both producers and consumers, in order to have a real impact on the efficiency of the gas sector and the greenhouse gas emissions. We also recommended the removal of the state subsidies for the gas supplied to the consumers and the decrease of the subsidies for the industrial producers. This is what the Russian government is doing now.
Has the price of the gas supplied by Gazprom increased by 10%, since 2011-2012 in line with the scenario proposed in the project?
It is happening, but only for the consumers. Of course the price of the gas delivered to the consumers is significantly lower than that supplied to the industry. The gap is still very large. In addition, there is a kind of tradition in Russia to sell cheap energy to please the people. But the goal of the Russian government is to eventually bring the price of the gas supplied for the internal consumption at the price level of Europe. 60 % of gas in Russia is used domestically. And it is used quite inefficiently, because of old technologies, old distribution networks and the existence of centralised heating systems for consumers, who do not have to pay separately for the gas they use. The government has still a lot of control on Gazprom. I think they slowed down this change in energy policy, for fear it would create social unrest.
Have the consumers been harmed about a hike in the gas bill they pay?
Yes, of course. Especially, during the cold winters. There will be a lot of pressure from the population to keep the price of the gas unchanged. It is a complex problem because Gazprom needs to carry out technological changes on its distribution network. It might be difficult, but it is necessary, because the Russian gas resources are not endless. There is a need for new investments. They will not be able to face the European market forever. It does not make sense to flare you own gas when you can sell it at a competitive price internally, as well. Economically and environmentally, the increase in price is necessary. But people are used to this cheap gas. It will create political and social problems to change the way people behave.
How do you evaluate the current situation in Russia regarding gas price policy?
The recent numbers show that the price of the gas is 74 dollars- per thousand cubic meters for the Russian domestic market while Europe pays for it between 350 to 450 dollars. And the former Soviet states pay around 200 dollars. Of course Europe is richer than average domestic consumers in Russia, but this cannot go on forever.
Gazprom sets the export price pretty high in order to compensate the losses in the domestic market. It pays 132 dollars to produce the natural gas and it sells it domestically for 74 dollars, so Gazprom loses about half of their production costs by selling it internally. We advise: liberalisation of the market, while slowly taking away the price controls, gradually bringing the price of gas to the competitive level.
What other developments have happened in Russia since the end of this project?
When we started this project, there was some interest of the Russian policy makers in issues regarding sustainability. But, as the economy is still passing through critical time, I noticed an enormous decrease in their interest in sustainability and emissions reduction. I think that the environment issue is back on the very low level of interest. The efficiency is now still on the agenda, but to promote economic growth. But maybe other producers will be inclined to invest in green technologies, because in Russia there is a huge need of new technologies to make the energy market efficient.
Российское космическое агентство планирует объединить свои усилия с Европейским космическим агентством (ESA) для исследования спутников Юпитера, в частности Ганимеда, в рамках проекта JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer), старт которого запланирован на 2022 год. Если Россия успеет построить свой космический спускаемый аппарат к этому времени, то обе программы будут объединены в одну.
PARIS - A Russian probe being designed to land on Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon, could launch toward the gas giant with a European spacecraft being developed to explore Jupiter's icy ocean-covered satellites, according to European space officials.
The benefits of such a joint launch arrangement, including sharing reconnaissance and mapping from Europe's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE), are not lost on scientists. But more Earthly concerns, such as government finances and the realities of technical developments, could thwart the proposal.
"It all depends on if the Russians are ready to fly at the same time as us," said Alvaro Gimenez Canete, director of the European Space Agency (ESA)'s science and robotic exploration programs.
The solar system's giant
JUICE is scheduled to launch in 2022 and arrive at Jupiter in 2030, entering orbit around the huge planet and making repeated flybys of three of its largest moons - Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.
In September 2032, the European spacecraft will arrive at Ganymede, becoming the first probe to enter orbit around the moon of another planet. Equipped with radar, a mapping camera and other instruments, JUICE will measure the thickness of global ice sheets covering Jupiter's moons and produce terrain and mineral maps of Ganymede.
Such data will prove to be a rich resource not only for researchers, but also for engineers planning missions to explore Ganymede's surface and study what lies beneath the moon's crust of ice, Gimenez told SPACE.com here at the Paris Air Show this week.
"Russia's plan is to implement a Ganymede Lander, which is a very ambitious mission," said Fabio Favata, head of ESA's science planning and community coordination office, which oversees the strategic direction of the space agency's space science programs.
Favata said the Russian mission, for now known by scientists simply as the Ganymede Lander, has captured the interest of Europe's planetary science community.
Europa or Ganymede?
Russian mission planners initially proposed the lander to target Europa, another of Jupiter's moons with a frozen crust thinner than the ice cap covering Ganymede. After a NASA mission to orbit Europa never materialized, Russia retooled the project to focus on Ganymede, falling in line with the goals of Europe's Jupiter mission.
There are numerous advantages of landing on Ganymede as opposed to Europa. The radiation environment at Ganymede is less severe than at Europa, which lies closer to Jupiter; this is one of the reasons ESA picked Ganymede as the destination for JUICE, Gimenez said.
According to presentations at a workshop hosted by Russia's Space Research Institute in Moscow in March, Russian scientists say mapping and reconnaissance of Ganymede are required before any attempted landing. Russia's concept for the mission, which assumes no international collaboration for now, includes an orbiter and a lander to be dispatched to Ganymede in 2023 or 2024.
The scope of a potential partnership between Europe and Russia on robotic Jupiter exploration ranges from no collaboration to a completely merged program in which JUICE and the Ganymede Lander would launch from Earth together on the journey into the outer solar system.
Another option - perhaps the most likely, scientists say - is a loose collaboration involving complementary scientific goals, shared development of science instruments, and the use of the JUICE mission to help select a landing site on Ganymede.
Forging a partnership
If Russia becomes a full partner in Europe's JUICE mission, the development of the lander will need to be accelerated to launch in 2022, if managers want the Russian craft to ride to Jupiter as a piggyback payload.
"That is going to be very difficult," Gimenez said. "It's not yet finalized because we have to wait until they put a clear program of what they want to do in the outer solar system. They are concentrating on Mars and the moon first, and then the rest of the solar system."
The question of Russia's commitment to the Ganymede Lander is also on the minds of ESA managers.
"The long-standing plan from Russia was to implement a lander on one of the Jupiter icy moons," Favata said. "The Russians are certainly planning to do it, but they need to decide exactly what they want to do with the landing element, and when they can do it."
Russia plans to spend between $300,000 and $1 million on the Ganymede Lander in 2014 for research and development, and construction of the first prototypes could begin by 2017, according to a report in March by Russia's RIA Novosti news agency.
A presentation by Maxim Martynov, deputy general designer of the Lavochkin Research and Production Association, at the March workshop suggested the 1,700-pound Ganymede Lander would touch down on Jupiter's largest moon on the power of rocket engines with adjustable throttle settings to control the craft's descent.
The inclusion of ESA in the Ganymede Lander program would cut costs by allowing Russia to stop work on the orbiter component of its mission and use data from the European JUICE spacecraft for surface surveys and reconnaissance.
Favata said ESA is interested in proposing European-built hardware for the Ganymede Lander. Europe could provide guidance radars to assist with the landing, flight computers and research equipment, such as a drill based on developments already underway for the ExoMars rover being built for the Red Planet.
"It would be a scientifically terrific mission," Favata said.
Copyright © 2013 TechMediaNetwork.com. All rights reserved.
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Одной из главных сенсаций проходившего 17-23 июня 50-го Парижского авиасалона в Ле-Бурже стал российский истребитель Су-35.
LE BOURGET, France - At the Paris air show this week, one of the biggest attractions wasn't an airliner from Airbus or Boeing Co., but a Russian fighter jet.
The new Sukhoi Su-35 streaked across the sky here in flying displays, making its first appearance outside Russia and performing extreme maneuvers that few Western aircraft can achieve. The plane carries new defense systems and missiles that - for the first time in years for a Russian aircraft - rival those made by Western suppliers.
"I think that this shows we are firmly holding a position as one of the world leaders," said Mikhail Pogosyan, chief executive of Sukhoi builder United Aircraft Corp., a holding company created in 2006 to consolidate and rebuild Russia's battered aviation industry.
Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's defense industry, like the Su-35, is roaring into global markets. United Aircraft and its Russian peers are benefiting from years of restructuring under President Vladimir Putin, rising Russian military spending and more attention from Moscow.
Russian military exports have roughly quadrupled since the early 1990s, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a think tank that focuses on security issues. Much of that growth has come in the past few years.
Most Russian products on display at the air show are modernized versions of Soviet-designed aircraft. The Su-35, for example, is among many successors to the Su-27, which first flew in 1977. The Kamov Ka-52 combat helicopter, which drew stares with its unusual pair of rotors that spin in opposite directions one atop the other, is an update of a model that first flew in 1982.
The Russian aircraft still lack the cutting-edge electronics of rival Western products and generally require more maintenance, which can get expensive. But the Russian models are robust, extensively tested and relatively inexpensive to buy.
"You get a really sexy looking aircraft that has got some very good capabilities, and you pay remarkably less than for a Western aircraft," said Francis Tusa, editor of Defence Analysis, a British newsletter.
Mr. Pogosyan of United Aircraft said he aims to sell 100 Su-35s outside Russia. He is positioning the aircraft as a rival to Cold War-era Western planes such as Boeing's F-15, the F-16 from Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Eurofighter Typhoon, from a consortium of European companies. The Western producers are taking note of Russia's push.
"They've been putting money into fighter aircraft development" and other products, said Chris Raymond, vice president of business development and strategy at Boeing's defense unit. Mr. Raymond said the most likely markets for Russian planes are countries already flying older models, including India and Malaysia, but he said Russia's global ambitions are clear. "I expect them to be bidding [in] more places around the world."
Russia's drive back onto the global market is intensifying as China is boosting arms exports and U.S. defense companies are chasing more foreign sales. Recent cutbacks in Pentagon spending amid U.S. economic troubles have prompted American defense behemoths, including Lockheed and Boeing. As a result, Europeans and Russians also have stepped up their marketing, say industry officials.
"The battle for the air is heating up," said Alberto de Benedictis, CEO of British operations at Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica SpA, which builds the Eurofighter alongside British defense giant BAE Systems PLC and Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. In the Persian Gulf, Mr. de Benedictis said, almost every country is shopping for fighter jets, and similar regional arms races are escalating around the globe.
Russia's aviation exports aren't just to military customers. Sales of Russian helicopters - renowned for their power, if not their efficiency - are rising in commercial markets by more than 15% annually, with particular success in India and China, said Igor Pshenichny, deputy director general of the Russian Helicopters unit of industrial holding company Russian Technologies, or Rostec. Against more sophisticated U.S. and European products, "we are very competitive on price," said company spokesman Roman Kirillov.
Sukhoi is also marketing a new short-range passenger jet, dubbed the Superjet 100, which it has already sold in Russia and other countries, including Mexico. But most aviation analysts say Russia's best prospects in global aviation for the near future are in bargain-priced military equipment.
Western aerospace companies acknowledge that Russian products are less expensive. They say that even less-developed countries still should opt for pricier Western equipment because such deals can bring other benefits.
American defense exports, for example, are handled through Washington, which can offer economic and political enhancements to close an important military deal.
Buying U.S. defense systems also can open the door to a range of American support and technology that other countries can't offer, said Patrick Dewar, Lockheed's senior vice president for strategy and business development. "You're getting a relationship with the U.S. government," he said.
Copyright © 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Журнал Nature в своем рейтинге публикационной активности за 2012 г. поместил Российскую академию наук на 193-е место из 200, за что тут же был заподозрен в необъективности.
MOSCOW, June 25 (UPI) - A Russian scientist has dismissed as "nonsense" a rating of academic research by a prestigious journal that ranked his academy 193rd among 200 institutions.
Geologist Nikolai Lavyorov of the Russian Academy of Sciences blasted the rankings released last week by the journal Nature.
"I'm absolutely convinced it's nonsense, since Russian science is a world leader in many spheres [of research]," Lavyorov told RIA Novosti, citing the space industry, nuclear technology and Arctic research as examples.
The Nature ranking was based on the number of primary researcher papers published in Nature magazine and its 17 subsidiary publications in 2012. The Russian Academy of Sciences, with 21 publications, was near the bottom of the list. Buts its poor rating is an "artificially exaggerated situation," Lavyorov said. Russia is doing enough research, he said, but was not making enough effort to promote its research in the English-speaking world.
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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24-26 июня в г. Циндао (Шаньдун, Китай) прошло ежегодное совещание Ассоциации технических университетов России и Китая, а также Первый китайско-российский научно-технический инновационный форум Синей кремниевой долины (Blue Silicon Valley - научно-технологический центр в китайской провинции Шаньдун, ориентированный на развитие экономики, связанной с разработкой ресурсов мирового океана).
The annual summit of the Association of Sino-Russian Technical Universities (ASRTU) and the first Qingdao Blue Silicon Valley Sino-Russian Scientific Innovation Forum was held in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, from June 24 to 26.
The summit included celebrations at the ASRTU's headquarters in Jimo and the groundbreaking ceremony for the Harbin Institute of Technology Qingdao Science and Technology Park was held on Tuesday, June 25.
The summit comprised a series of sessions focusing on innovation, talent development and scientific cooperation between Chinese and Russian universities.
According to the Qingdao Declaration announced at the summit, the ASRTU will build a series of cooperative programs including laboratories, innovation bases and technology incubators, a Sino-Russian scientific and technological cooperation website as well as an ASRTU mini-satellite to be launched by 2020.
According to sources from the local government, the establishment of the ASRTU headquarters and the Harbin Institute of Technology Qingdao Science and Technology Park will allow Jimo to build itself into a seaside scientific urban center.
The ASRTU consists of 15 Chinese universities led by the Harbin Institute of Technology and 14 Russian universities led by the Bauman Moscow State technical University.
Copyright 1995-2010. All rights reserved.
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Предложенная министром образования и науки Дмитрием Ливановым реформа Российской академии наук вызвала по большей части крайне негативную оценку. В том числе и потому, что проект реформы был подготовлен и представлен без обсуждения в научном сообществе.
MOSCOW - For months, Russia's science minister, Dmitry Livanov, has derided the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) for being ineffective and ripe for serious reform. At a press conference on 27 June, Livanov showed he means business, unveiling a draft law that would merge RAS with two other science academies, strip it of control of its real estate holdings, and abolish any distinction between full-fledged academicians and scientists of a lower rank, called corresponding members.
The move would radically transform the 289-year-old RAS less than a month after it elected a reform-minded physicist, Vladimir Fortov, as president. The science ministry has asked Russia's parliament to fast-track debate on the law, with passage expected in the next 2 weeks. To the chagrin of scientists who may have hoped to see the law derailed, it has backing from the country's top leaders. Speaking to the RIA Novosti news agency, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that the law is meant to help scientists concentrate. "It's important to allow the scholars to focus on science and research and spare them the irrelevant function of managing real estate," he said.
Instead, the draft law has had the opposite effect: Many scientists are too blinded by rage to focus on their work. The legislation is a "national tragedy," fumes Alexandr Spirin, an academician and former director of the Institute of Protein Research in Pushchino. "The academy will lose the independence it has enjoyed since the time of Peter the Great," the Russian czar who created RAS in 1724, he says.
Under the draft law, RAS would merge with two more specialized bodies, the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. The law would also establish an Agency for RAS Scientific Institutions that will manage the academy's real estate holdings and property. And it would promote all corresponding members to full academicians - "eliminating the scientific elite," Spirin says - and impose a 3-year moratorium on election of new academicians.
Some researchers bristle at the way that the law was drawn up without outside input. "They didn't even consult with us," says physicist Alexei Khokhlov, vice-rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University and head of the science ministry's Council on Science. In a 28 June statement, the council argues that it is "incorrect that a law that radically changes the whole system of organization of science in Russia was prepared and considered without any discussion in the scientific community." The council went on to note that it was not even aware the law was being drafted.
The stealth and unveiling of the law by press conference are "disgusting," says Mikhail Gelfand, a bioinformatics professor and a member of the Ministry of Education and Science's Public Council. "Many rights were declared for researchers, but in reality everything was decided without their consent," he says. In a 28 June statement, the Interregional Society of Scientists, a nongovernmental organization based here, called the law a "personal affront" to many scientists and demanded a "broad debate" on the law with the possibility to amend it.
Fortov had vowed to reform RAS, but has previously stated that the academy should hold onto its real estate and told RIA Novosti on 28 June that the draft law must be postponed and discussed by the scientific community. Neither he nor Livanov could be reached for comment before ScienceInsider went to press.
Rumors are rampant about the motives that may be driving a law that many scientists feel would neuter the academy. The bottom line, says Mikhail Ugryumov, an academician and neuroendocrinologist at the Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology here, may be a lack of interest of Russia's leadership in science. "If the Russian government were willing to develop science, it could do that, and the investment would not be tremendously big," he says. "It just looks like science is not among the priorities in Russia."
© 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.
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Одним из победителей третьего конкурса мегагрантов, завершившегося в апреле 2013 г., стал профессор Исследовательского института Скриппса (Kалифорния, США), химик Валерий Фокин. Он станет руководителем лаборатории по применению биортогональной химии в исследовании живых систем в Московском физико-техническом институте.
Newswise - La Jolla, CA - June 27, 2013 - Valery Fokin, professor in the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has been awarded a prestigious grant from the Russian government for $3.75 million over three years, with the possibility of a two-year renewal. The grant will fund the establishment of a laboratory at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).
This highly competitive program - called "mega-grants" in Russia - is aimed at recruiting the expertise of leading scientists in a variety of fields, ranging from history and archeology to industrial biotechnology, to reinvigorate Russian science. Among the 42 winners are researchers from countries including USA, Russia, Germany, Japan, France, Spain, Israel, Australia and Israel.
"Doing research on two continents is a challenging but rewarding endeavor," says Fokin. "With the support of this grant and administrations of both institutes, I am hoping that our work will benefit from synergies and will result in mutually beneficial collaborations between Scripps and Russian scientists and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, leading to new technologies and products in both nations."
Fokin will assemble a team of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff scientists to work at the newly established laboratory on the development of new chemical transformations and their use in studies of biomarkers for the diagnosis and treatment of inflammation, cancer and immune diseases.
About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists - including three Nobel laureates - work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation.
The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (http://www.phystech.edu) is the leading institute of higher education of the Russian Federation, training highly qualified specialists in various areas of modern science and technology. The institute has a rich history. Its founders and early staff members were Nobel Prize winners P.L Kapitsa, N.N Semenov and L.D. Landau. Nobel Prize winners are among its graduates as well. From the beginning, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology has used a unique system for training specialists, known commonly as the "Fiztech System," which combines fundamental education, engineering disciplines and student scientific research. Many Fiztech professors are leading scientists in Russia, among which are more than 80 academics and corresponding members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
© 2013 Newswise, Inc.
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