Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Февраль 2014 г.
Дайджест за другие годы
2014 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)

январь февраль март апрель май июнь июль август сентябрь октябрь ноябрь декабрь

    Nanotechnology News / February 3rd, 2014
    Diamond film possible without the pressure: Rice University, Russian researchers lay out rules for ultrathin "diamane"
    Ученые из Университета Райса (Хьюстон, США), Технологического института сверхтвердых и новых углеродных материалов (Москва) и ряда других российских и американских научно-исследовательских учреждений рассчитали фазовую диаграмму для создания диамана, чрезвычайно тонкой алмазной пленки, обладающей превосходными полупроводниковыми и термическими свойствами. Также они установили, что при некоторых условиях диаман может быть получен без использования давления, химическим путем.

Scientists have speculated about it and a few labs have even seen signs of what they call diamane, an extremely thin film of diamond that has all of diamond's superior semiconducting and thermal properties.
Now researchers at Rice University and in Russia have calculated a "phase diagram" for the creation of diamane. The diagram is a road map. It lays out the conditions - temperature, pressure and other factors - that would be necessary to turn stacked sheets of graphene into a flawless diamond lattice.
In the process, the researchers determined diamane could be made completely chemically, with no pressure at all, under some circumstances.
The team led by Rice theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson and Pavel Sorokin, a former postdoctoral associate at Rice and now a senior researcher at the Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials in Moscow, reported results in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.
"Diamanes have a wide potential range of application," Sorokin said. "They can be applied as very thin, dielectric hard films in nanocapacitors or mechanically stiff, nanothick elements in nanoelectronics. Also, diamanes have potential for application in nano-optics.
"The possibility of obtaining such a quasi-two-dimensional object is intriguing, but available experimental data prevents the expectation of its fabrication using traditional methods. However, the "bottom-up" approach proposed by Richard Feynman allows the fabrication of diamanes from smaller objects, such as graphene."
The researchers built computer models to simulate the forces applied by every atom involved in the process. That includes the graphene, the single-atom-thick form of carbon and one of the strongest substances in the universe, as well as the hydrogen (or, alternately, a halogen) that promotes the reaction.
Conditions, they learned, need to be just right for a short stack of graphene pancakes to collapse into a diamond matrix - or vice versa - via chemistry.
"A phase diagram shows you which phase dominates the ground state for each pressure and temperature," Yakobson said. "In the case of diamane, the diagram is unusual because the result also depends on thickness, the number of layers of graphene. So we have a new parameter."
Hydrogen isn't the only possible catalyst, he said, but it's the one they used in their calculations. "When the hydrogen attacks, it takes one electron from a carbon atom in graphene. As a result, a bond is broken and another electron is left hanging on the other side of the graphene layer. It's now free to connect to a carbon atom on the adjacent sheet with little or no pressure.
"If you have several layers, you get a domino effect, where hydrogen starts a reaction on top and it propagates through the bonded carbon system," he said. "Once it zips all the way through, the phase transition is complete and the crystal structure is that of diamond."
Yakobson said the paper doesn't cover a possible deal-breaker. "The conversion from one phase to another starts from a small seed, a nucleation site, and in this process there's always what is called a nucleation barrier. We don't calculate that here." He said carbon normally prefers to be graphite (the bulk form of carbon used as pencil lead) rather than diamond, but a high nucleation barrier prevents diamond from making the transition.
"Thermodynamically, an existing diamond should become graphite, but it doesn't happen for exactly this reason," Yakobson said. "So sometimes it's a good thing. But if we want to make flat diamond, we need to find ways to circumvent this barrier."
He said the manufacture of synthetic diamond, which was first reliably made in the 1950s, requires very high pressures of about 725,000 pounds per square inch. Manufactured diamonds are used in hardened tools for cutting, as abrasives and even as high-quality gemstones grown via techniques that simulate the temperatures and pressures found deep in Earth, where natural diamond is forged.
Diamond films are also routinely made via chemical vapor deposition, "but they're always very poor quality because they're polycrystalline," Yakobson said. "For mechanical purposes, like very expensive sandpaper, they're perfect. But for electronics, you would need high quality for it to serve as a wide-band gap semiconductor."
The paper's lead author is Alexander Kvashnin, a former visiting student at Rice and a graduate student at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT). Co-author Leonid Chernozatonskii is a researcher at the Emanuel Institute of Biochemical Physics at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. Sorokin holds appointments at MIPT and the National University of Science and Technology, Moscow. Yakobson is Rice's Karl F. Hasselmann Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, a professor of chemistry and a member of the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.
The U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research supported the study.

© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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    UPI.com / Feb. 4, 2014
    Russia proposes water-hunting instrument for future Mars rover
    НАСА объявило конкурс на предложения научных приборов для марсохода, который предполагается отправить на Марс в 2020 году. Ученые из Института космических исследований (ИКИ) РАН предложили прибор NORD, который сможет находить воду, определять элементный состав грунта и исследовать космические лучи.

MOSCOW, Feb. 4 (UPI) - Russian scientists have proposed an instrument for an upcoming NASA Mars rover to search for underground water that could support life on the Red Planet.
The instrument designed by Russia's Space Research Institute was one of 58 proposals submitted to NASA this month for inclusion on the agency's upcoming Mars 2020 rover. "On the surface everything looks the same, just layers of dust and rock, but our instrument can see minerals of scientific interest underground," institute lead scientist Igor Mitrofanov told RIA Novosti.
The proposed instrument would be based on earlier water-scanning devices built by the institute for a series of NASA probes.
One of those devices, the High Energy Neutron Detector on the Mars Odyssey orbiter, helped detect quantities of frozen underground water on the Red Planet in 2002.
The new detector would look for gamma radiation produced when cosmic rays crash into the martian surface.
"With gamma rays we can see the elemental composition of the soil. The spectral lines that are emitted by the soil when bombarded by cosmic rays indicate how much iron, silicon, calcium, etc. are present under the surface," Mitrofanov said.
NASA is expected to announce the chosen experiments for the upcoming rover mission in March.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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    io9 / Feb 4, 2014
    Space veggies are good to go
    Российские ученые подтвердили, что выращенные в ходе эксперимента на МКС овощи не подвергаются никаким мутациям и, следовательно, безопасны и пригодны для употребления в условиях космических полетов.

Russian scientists have confirmed that plants grown on the International Space Station are safe to eat. This has important implications for future long duration space missions.
"The plants have been very developed, absolutely normal and did not differ a lot from the plants grown on Earth," according to Margarita Levinskikh of the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Crop scientist Bruce Bugbee told Popular Science, "We have also gotten experience with the astronauts and cosmonauts eating the fresh food they grow and not having problems."
Growing plants can also provide a psychological boost as well as food. According to Howard Levine, project scientist for NASA's International Space Station and Spacecraft Processing Directorate:
It can be pretty harsh out there, confined to a small metal box. Caring for a plant every day provides vital psychological relief, giving astronauts a small remembrance of Earth.
The Lada greenhouse on the ISS needs repairs but in the near future the plan is to plant rice, tomatoes and bell peppers, none of which have been grown in space before. Since the rice genome has been fully sequenced, the space grown rice can be compared to Earth rice to see if gene expression is affected.

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    The Cavalier Daily / Feb 06 2014
    University tuberculosis researchers form Russian partnership
    Disease's resurgence includes drug-resistant strands, posing large problems abroad.
    • By Emily Dinning
    Исследователи из Виргинского университета (США) совместно с иркутскими учеными занимаются разработкой методов раннего выявления и лечения туберкулеза. Российская группа специализируется на молекулярной эпидемиологии болезни, в США же это направление развито пока слабо.

Tuberculosis, a disease usually associated with the turn of the century and the Great Depression, is making a comeback, with drug-resistant strains of TB recently found across multiple countries. Because of the disease's global reach, researchers from the University will be teaming up with Russian researchers to look at treatment and prevention.
"Everything was going well until the late 80s or early 90s," Asst. Infectious Diseases Prof. Dr. Scott Heysell said about the disease's resurfacing. "HIV changed the landscape."
TB is a bacterial infection which spreads through the lymph nodes and blood stream to other organs in the body. It can be transmitted through the air, making the disease contagious and easily contracted. TB bacteria can live in an inactive - or latent - form inside the body and become active when the immune system weakens. People with the inactive form will not show symptoms. When active, TB bacteria require oxygen to thrive. Because of this, TB usually attacks the lungs, where the oxygen concentration is highest. The disease has existed in its general form for thousands of years.
"TB has been around for awhile - we probably carried it with us from the early days in East Africa with the domestication of cattle," Heysell said. "It is traced along with human evolution."
The disease, once widespread and unconstrained, became better controlled by the late 1950s with the help of newly-developed antibiotics. With the spreading of HIV, however, TB experienced a rebirth, preying on the weakened immune system of HIV patients.
Today, new and improved TB is making a vengeful comeback, having developed new strains with varying degrees of drug-resistance. Many present strains of TB are labeled either as multi-drug resistant or extensively drug-resistant. Heysell's research confirmed the resistance developed due to inherent qualities in the germ, such as its capacity to replicate and genetic mutations.
Of the 300 average cases of TB in Virginia each year, only five are drug-resistant, However, this is not the case internationally - in Siberia, one hospital will treat more than 1,000 cases of TB, 30 to 50 percent of which are drug resistant, Heysell said.
Currently, Heysell and Dr. Eric Houpt, assistant professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University, are collaborating with researchers in Irkutsk, Siberia in an effort to develop optimal doses of antibiotics and develop faster ways of testing for TB. The University research team received a grant of $342,598 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to fund their work for the next two years.
Heysell sees the relationship with Russia as bi-directional, meaning both the National Institute of Health and Russian Federation for Basic Research, the Russian equivalent of the NIH, have to approve of all research and interactions.
The collaboration brings a double-edged sword to the battle against TB. The two groups of researchers complement each other's strengths and weaknesses, with the Russian researchers specializing in the molecular epidemiology of TB, a weakness in the research of the States.
"This is very, very difficult to treat," Heysell said. "… In a well-resourced setting, the cure rates are above 90 to 95 percent for patients with drug-susceptible TB, but in many parts of the world, it drops below 50 percent for drug-resistant tuberculosis, and that's certainly the case in Irkutsk."
Despite TB bacteria's anomalous developments, University researchers remain confident in their work and its potential to lower the mortality rates associated with the disease.

All Content © Copyright 2014, The Cavalier Daily.
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    BBC News / 10 February 2014
    Russian scientists offer mossy treats on for fast-food menu
    Ученые из Научного центра изучения Арктики представили экспериментальные образцы продуктов, изготовленных с добавлением мха (ягеля и сфагнума), ягод и другого местного растительного сырья.

"Lichen chocolate" and "mossy sweets" are some of the delicacies on the world's first Arctic-sourced fast-food menu.
Scientists at an Arctic research laboratory in Russia's far north have developed quick and easy meals from local ingredients, including a mixture of dried bread and swamp moss, seasoned with lichen sauce. "Just add hot water, and your lunch is ready in three minutes," they told Governor Dmitry Kobylkin of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area at an official tasting.
Laboratory Deputy Director Alexander Lobanov also recommended a loaf made of herbs, moss and lichen to Vesti Yamal TV, saying the abundant local plants are packed full of goodness.
The Arctic Studies Centre made the point that these plants provide a healthier alternative for the once-nomadic Nenets people, who have adopted a sedentary life and Russian diet and now suffer hitherto unfamiliar ailments ranging from heart disease and atherosclerosis to diabetes. The huge Autonomous Area in northern Siberia is home to about half a million people, of whom the indigenous Nenets number roughly 40,000. Temperatures are known to drop to almost -60C in winter.

BBC © 2014.
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    ScienceInsider / 11 February 2014
    Embattled President Seeks New Path for Russian Academy
    Интервью президента РАН Владимира Фортова для ScienceInsider, новостного сайта журнала Science. Президент Академии наук критикует навязывание реформы научному сообществу и объясняет, почему стратегия сотрудничества и переговоров сейчас предпочтительнее борьбы.

Russia's scientific community is in the throes of upheaval. Last month, the powerful Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) was compelled to merge with two sister academies that serve medical and agricultural research. The reform law setting that change in motion also created a Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations (FASO) that oversees the combined academies and their assets.
President Vladimir Putin has said that the reforms will restore luster to an ailing scientific establishment. Others claim to see the machinations of individuals in Putin's inner circle bent on harming the academy or stripping it of its estimated $10 billion in real estate holdings.
In an interview with ScienceInsider, RAS President Vladimir Fortov, 68, an accomplished plasma physicist, criticizes how the reforms were forced upon the scientific community and defends his strategy of cooperating with the academy's adversaries rather than confronting them. His answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: Why is the government reforming RAS?
V.F.: Reforms were happening in the Russian Academy of Sciences, but they were not so conspicuous to society and to the leaders of the country. That is why the leadership introduced its own plan of action. It was the plan for more rapid and more radical reforms, without appropriate consultations with scientists. To the government, it seemed more appropriate to integrate the academies into a general framework that would correspond to their notions of what is modern.
There were, of course, reasons for introducing changes in the Academy of Sciences; we saw them, and just after [my] election as president of the academy we ourselves started to deal with them. Why was a reform forced on us at that time? To my mind it was a mistake - to rely on opinions of some interested bureaucrats but not on the opinions of scientists.
Q: By law, last month RAS merged with two other science academies. Has RAS ceased to exist?
V.F.: On 8 February, the Russian Academy of Sciences celebrated its 290th anniversary. Will it be able to celebrate its 300th anniversary 10 years from now? Much depends on the interpretation and implementation of the law on reform.
As the research institutes of RAS were transferred to FASO, the task of the academy is to preserve their research potential. But from a realistic point of view, one has to admit that in the future, the total corps of research institutes may be diminished.
Q: When all this is settled, what other country will Russia resemble in terms of the organization of scientific research? Are you searching for a model?
V.F.: I'm afraid that it is such a model that was long ago described by Nikolai Gogol, well-known Russian writer in his play Zhenitba, which means marriage, when the bride has a dilemma of a choice among bridegrooms. Nowadays in Russia, there is a fashionable trend of borrowing superficial features from overseas and not paying enough attention to substance.
Q: How will the merged academies be governed?
V.F.: Now, I'm president of a new Russian Academy of Sciences that united the three former academies: the main RAS, the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. We are in preparation for the first general meeting of the academy, which is due to take place at the end of March. This general meeting will adopt the statutes that clarify the management of RAS.
Q: How do you feel about the law's provision to abolish the rank of corresponding academician?
V.F.: We managed to avoid the original proposal in the draft law, which was a straightforward scheme of converting corresponding members to academicians [full members]. Corresponding members will have to undergo elections before they become full members. However, academician status has already been devalued by an increasing number of academicians. It looks as if you had turned on a money-printing machine and manufactured three times more money than justified. Naturally, this currency has less value.
Q: There is much discussion about how scientists in RAS institutes will be affected by the merger and budgetary considerations. What percentage of RAS's 55,000 scientists do you anticipate will lose their positions in 2014?
V.F.: Issues of staff reduction are today beyond the scope of RAS and at least in the near future are not going to be considered by RAS.
Q: Do you envision the reforms will trigger a brain drain from Russia?
V.F.: There is no doubt that it will be followed by a brain drain. We have already felt it among the young people especially.
Q: You have said that you are ready to cooperate with FASO Director Mikhail Kotyukov. However, some observers argue that you should be taking a more aggressive stance to fight for the future of RAS. How you will represent the interests of academy scientists in the coming difficult weeks?
V.F.: We as scientists are well aware of mathematical game theory and understand what strategies could lead to a win or at least to a draw, and which of them will undoubtedly lose. Aggressive strategies turn out to be winning only in one case, i.e., if you have the multiple advantage of force. Otherwise, it's more reasonable to use negotiations, i.e., cooperative strategies. To rush about and change your strategies depending upon success or failure in resolving individual issues is to go from bad to worse. That's why, having suppressed our emotions, we along with the RAS Presidium have chosen our own line of conduct, and many scientists and members of the academy have supported us. I still stick to it and remain of the opinion that I have taken sound decisions. I am convinced that over the past half a year we have managed to achieve for academic scientists more than what might have been gained from one or two aggressive attacks.
Q: To what extent will research directions continue to be decided by the researchers? Scientists at the Steklov Institute of Mathematics, for instance, say that a new directive decrees that their research fields will be limited to finance, molecular biology, and other applied fields. Areas that the Steklov gained fame for - geometry, topology, and algebra, for example - will no longer receive support. What is your understanding of this issue, and what leverage will you have in the new system?
V.F.: It's one of the most complicated and pressing questions. We'll see how it'll work in practice. But according to the general health of the economy, the financial support of science is hardly likely to trend upward. So some directions will suffer.
Q: In hindsight, is there anything you wish you had done in the past several months that might have led to a more optimistic outlook for RAS?
V.F.: We wish we had prepared more seriously and carefully for the legislative connotations of the law, to require formal negotiations and a written account of the results of the negotiations. Verbal agreements work badly in today's Russia.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.
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    The Financial / 14/02/2014
    Rosneft and General Electric expand science and technology cooperation
    Компания "Роснефть" (Россия) и корпорация General Electric (США) намерены расширить свое научно-техническое сотрудничество. Стороны заключили соглашение, предполагающее на первом этапе создание специализированных прикладных и исследовательских центров.

Rosneft and General Electric signed an Agreement to set up a series of joint ventures, according to ROSNEFT.
The document was signed by Rosneft President Igor Sechin and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt in the presence of the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev.
The Agreement is aimed at the expansion of science and technology cooperation between the companies and envisages in the first phase the creation of two specialized centers: Application Engineering and Training Center and Research and Development (R&D) Center.
Rosneft and General Electric will initially contribute a total of US$20 million to the centers on a parity basis. Additional aggregate financing of US$50 million will be made by the parties upon agreement on specific projects. Rosneft and GE intend to jointly invest up to US$400 million in the centers through 2020, according to ROSNEFT.
The centers will allow Rosneft, the world leader of oil and gas production, to maintain efficient onshore production and to enhance Arctic and offshore shelf projects by implementing the most sophisticated and safe technologies.
"The implementation of the project will allow Rosneft and General Electric to create unique engineering and R&D technology hubs in Russia. Critical to their mission will be the localization of equipment and service opportunities for Rosneft projects. A project-based approach envisaged for the activities of the centers drastically increases the impact and efficiency of direct financing of science and technology projects critical to the development of the Russian economy. Moreover the implementation of this Agreement will create new jobs and train high level specialist for the needs of Rosneft and the Russian economy," said Igor Sechin.
"We see great opportunities in the sustainable growth of the oil and gas sector in Russia, one of the largest in the world. Today we are pleased to build on our strategic partnership with Rosneft by signing an agreement focused on developing local expertise and technology solutions which will drive productivity and growth in the oil and gas sector in Russia," said Jeff Immelt, GE Chairman and CEO.

© 2007 The FINANCIAL, Business News & Multimedia. All rights reserved.
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    Science Codex / February 19, 2014
    Using holograms to improve electronic devices
    Ученые из Университета Калифорнии (США) и Института радиотехники и электроники им. В.А.Котельникова РАН представили новый вид голографического устройства памяти, использующего спиновые волны (колебания спинов в магнитных материалах) вместо световых волн. Спиновые волны совместимы с обычными электронными устройствами и могут работать при более короткой длине волны, что позволяет обеспечить большую емкость для хранения данных при малых размерах устройства.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A team of researchers from the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering and Russian Academy of Science have demonstrated a new type of holographic memory device that could provide unprecedented data storage capacity and data processing capabilities in electronic devices.
The new type of memory device uses spin waves - a collective oscillation of spins in magnetic materials - instead of the optical beams. Spin waves are advantageous because spin wave devices are compatible with the conventional electronic devices and may operate at a much shorter wavelength than optical devices, allowing for smaller electronic devices that have greater storage capacity.
Experimental results obtained by the team show it is feasible to apply holographic techniques developed in optics to magnetic structures to create a magnonic holographic memory device. The research combines the advantages of the magnetic data storage with the wave-based information transfer.
"The results open a new field of research, which may have tremendous impact on the development of new logic and memory devices," said Alexander Khitun, the lead researcher, who is a research professor at UC Riverside.
A paper, "Magnonic Holographic Memory," that describes the finding has been submitted for publication in the journal Applied Physics Letters. An advance copy of the paper can be accessed at: http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.5133
There are three co-authors of the paper: Frederick Gertz, a graduate student who works with Khitun at UC Riverside, and A. Kozhevnikov and Y. Filimonov, both of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Holography is a technique based on the wave nature of light which allows the use of wave interference between the object beam and the coherent background. It is commonly associated with images being made from light, such as on driver's licenses or paper currency. However, this is only a narrow field of holography.
The first holograms were designed in the last 1940s for use with electron microscopes. A decade later, with the advent of the laser, optical holographic images were popularized. Since, other fields have significantly advanced by using wave interference to produce holograms, including acoustic holograms used in seismic applications and microwave holography used in radar systems.
Holography has been also recognized as a future data storing technology with unprecedented data storage capacity and ability to write and read a large number of data in a highly parallel manner.
Khitun has been working for more than nine years to develop logic device exploiting spin waves. Most of his initial research was focused on the development of spin wave-based logic circuits similar to the ones currently used in the computers.
A critical moment occurred last year when he decided the device didn't need to replace the computer's electronic circuits. Instead, the device would complement the circuits, or help them accomplish certain tasks, such as image recognition, speech recognition and data processing.
The experiments outlined in the paper were conducted using a 2-bit magnonic holographic memory prototype device. A pair of magnets, which represent the memory elements, were aligned in different positions on the magnetic waveguides.
Spin waves propagating through the waveguides are affected by the magnetic field produced by the magnets. When spin waves interference was applied in the experiments, a clear picture was produced and the researchers could recognize the magnetic states of the magnets. All experiments were done at room temperature.

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    Indiana University Bloomington / Feb. 19, 2014
    IU mathematician receives $2.7 million to establish center in Russia
    Megagrant allows Vladimir Touraev to work in Russia and U.S.
    Челябинский государственный университет выиграл мегагрант в размере 90 млн рублей на создание лаборатории квантовой топологии и разработку математического языка для создания сверхкомпьютера. Возглавит лабораторию один из основателей квантовой топологии Владимир Тураев (Индианский университет, США).

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Vladimir Touraev, a Russian high school math teacher in the mid-1970s who 30 years later would become the first named professor in the Indiana University Department of Mathematics, has been awarded over $2.7 million to establish a new mathematics laboratory in Russia.
The award - one of 42 megagrants awarded by the Russian government this year to scientists from around the world to conduct research in the country - will allow a recognized leader in the field of low-dimensional topology to establish a scientific center based in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The new center will include about 20 students and an equal number of experienced mathematicians. Kevin Zumbrun, chair of the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Mathematics, said the award highlights the quality of Touraev's work over the years and creates new opportunities for collaboration between IU scientists and their counterparts in Russia.
"The department is both delighted that Vladimir's excellence is being recognized at this scale and excited about the possibilities this raises for new international collaboration at a number of different levels: undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and faculty," Zumbrun said.
Touraev will be based out of Chelyabinsk State University, but about half of the people he will work with and fund will be based in Moscow, Novosibirsk and St. Petersburg. He'll be funded to organize and operate the new laboratory through 2016 and will have an opportunity to renew funding for an additional two years.
Touraev will continue in his role as the Boucher Professor of Mathematics at IU, spending summers in Russia.
"The aim of the megagrant is to encourage the development of modern mathematics in Russia: I bring the expertise, they bring the resources and, most importantly, the students and scientists," Touraev said. "The grant will support these undergrads, grad students, postdocs and experienced mathematicians financially as a complement to their basic salaries and stipends from their home institutions, while also supporting their travel, workshops, conferences and invitations to foreign specialists."
Touraev's expertise is in low-dimensional topology, a branch of topology - the study of the properties of geometric shapes that are unaltered by elastic distortions - that looks at two-, three- and four-dimensional structures such as knots, braids, tangles, links, surfaces and manifolds. Generally, wherever research involves continuity, equilibria, stability or dynamics, topology comes into play. Areas of modern theoretical physics like string theory, improvements in complex networks like neuron interactions and social networks, and movement planning in automated robots are all areas where topology is relevant.
But Touraev said low-dimensional topology would not be the only focus of the new research center.
"While I will try to promote some directions close to my work, I expect the established researchers to pursue their own lines of research," he said. "Quantum topology has many aspects including connections with low-dimensional topology, representations of algebras, category theory, mathematical physics. Let us just say that at this stage, the grant creates considerable opportunities for mathematicians working in these fields and excellent possibilities for collaboration."
A permanent U.S. resident with a dual citizenship in Russia and France, where he worked for 17 years as research director with the French National Center of Scientific Research in Strasbourg, Touraev said the first person he invited to visit the new center was his former Ph.D. advisor Oleg Viro, a Russian topologist and professor at Stony Brook University who is also a senior researcher at Russia's Steklov Institute of Mathematics, where Touraev received his Ph.D.
Touraev said he already has or will soon extend invitations to a number of other scientists in the U.S., including current and former colleagues of the IU Department of Mathematics.

Copyright © 2014 The Trustees of Indiana University.
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    Phys.Org / February 20th, 2014
    Mega-bucks from Russia seed development of "big data" tools
    Руководитель отделения по физическому программному обеспечению Брукхейвенской национальной лаборатории (США) Алексей Климентов получил от Минобрнауки РФ мегагрант на развитие системы управления так называемыми "большими данными" (Big Data), т.е. рядом методов и технологий, позволяющих работать с огромными массивами информации.

The Russian Ministry of Education and Science has awarded a $3.4 million "mega-grant" to Alexei Klimentov, Physics Applications Software Group Leader at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, to develop new "big data" computing tools for the advancement of science. The project builds on the success of a workload and data management system built by Klimentov and collaborators to process huge volumes of data from the ATLAS experiment at Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where the famed Higgs boson - the source of mass for fundamental particles - was discovered. Brookhaven is the lead U.S. laboratory for the ATLAS experiment, and hosts the Tier 1 computing center for data processing, storage and archiving.
"The increasing capabilities to collect, process, analyze, and extract knowledge from large datasets are pushing the boundaries of many areas of modern science and technology," Klimentov said. "This grant recognizes how the computing tools we developed to explore the mysteries of fundamental particles like the Higgs boson can find widespread application in many other fields in and beyond physics. For example, research in nuclear physics, astrophysics, molecular biology, and sociology generates extremely large volumes of data that needs to be accessed by collaborators around the world. Sophisticated computing software can greatly enhance progress in these fields by managing the distribution and processing of such data."
The project will be carried out at Russia's National Research Center Kurchatov Institute (NRC-KI) in Moscow, the lead Russian organization involved in research at the LHC, in collaboration with scientists from ATLAS, other LHC experiments, and other data-intensive research projects in Europe and the U.S. It will make use of computational infrastructure provided by NRC-KI to develop, code, and implement software for a novel "big data" management system that has no current analog in science or industry.
Computing tools for science
Though nothing of this scope currently exists, the new tools will be complementary with a system developed by Brookhaven physicist Torre Wenaus and University of Texas at Arlington physicist Kaushik De for processing ATLAS data. That system, called PanDA (for Production and Distributed Analysis), is used by thousands of physicists around the world in the LHC's ATLAS collaboration.
PanDA links the computing hardware associated with ATLAS - located at 130 computing centers around the world that manage more than 140 petabytes, or 140 million gigabytes, of data - allowing scientists to efficiently analyze the tens of millions of particle collisions taking place at the LHC each day the collider is running. "That data volume is comparable to Google's entire archive on the World Wide Web," Klimentov said.
Expanding access
In September 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science awarded $1.7 million to Klimentov/Brookhaven and UT Arlington to develop a version to expand access to scientists in fields beyond high-energy physics and the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid.
For the DOE-sponsored effort, Klimentov's team is working together with physicists from Argonne National Laboratory, UT Arlington, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Part of the team has already set up and tailored PanDA software at the OLCF, pioneering a connection of OLCF supercomputers to ATLAS and the LHC Grid facilities.
"We are now exploring how PanDA might be used for managing computing jobs that run on OLCF's Titan supercomputer to make highly efficient use of Titan's enormous capacity. Using PanDA's ability to intelligently adapt jobs to the resources available could conceivably "generate" 300 million hours of supercomputing time for PanDA users in 2014 and 2015," he said.
The main idea is to reuse, as much as possible, existing components of the PanDA system that are already deployed on the LHC Grid for analysis of physics data. "Clearly, the architecture of a specific computing platform will affect incorporation into the system, but it is beneficial to preserve most of the current system components and logic," Klimentov said. In one specific instance, PanDA was installed on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, a web-based computing service, and is being used to give Large Synoptic Survey Telescope scientists access to computing resources at Brookhaven Lab and later across the country.
The new system being developed for LHC and nuclear physics experiments, called megaPanDA, will be complementary with PanDA. While PanDA handles data processing the new system will add support for large-scale data handling.
"The challenges posed by "big data" are not limited by the size of the scientific data sets," Klimentov said. "Data storage and data management certainly pose serious technical and logistical problems. Arguably, data access poses an equal challenge. Requirements for rapid, near real-time data processing and rapid analysis cycles at globally distributed, heterogeneous data centers place a premium on the efficient use of available computational resources. Our new workload and data management system, mega-PanDA, will efficiently handle both the distribution and processing of data to help address these challenges."

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    bulletins-electroniques.com / 27/02/2014
    Les glucides et leurs applications à la médecine
    Одно из новых перспективных направлений исследований лаборатории химии гликоконъюгатов в Институте органической химии РАН - применение в медицине углеводов и их структурных аналогов.

Dans une récente interview réalisée par ITAR-TASS, le professeur Nikolaï Nifantiev de l'Académie des sciences de Russie (RAN) a présenté le potentiel des applications des glucides à la médecine. Les glucides jouent un rôle biologique important dans la détermination des causes des maladies.
Le professeur Nifantiev dirige le Laboratoire de Chimie des glycoconjugués de la RAN. Ce laboratoire étudie la possibilité de créer de nouveaux traitements sélectifs, qui visent à lutter contre les infections bactériennes et virales, l'asthme, les inflammations, le cancer, les maladies auto-immunes et d'autres maladies dangereuses. Ces recherches sont interdisciplinaires et impliquent des chimistes comme des biologistes.
Etudier la structure, la biosynthèse et le rôle des glucides naturels permet de comprendre les propriétés des cellules, bloquant ou activant un mécanisme de la maladie. Les glucides émettent des signaux clés dans le processus de reconnaissance cellulaire. Ils codifient le dialogue entre les cellules. Comprendre ces mécanismes au niveau cellulaire permet de créer des composés qui inhibent les récepteurs, comme les agents pathogènes. Ces dernières années, les recherches menées dans le domaine ont permis de réaliser des avancées significatives pour envisager des applications thérapeutiques nouvelles. Certains sont déjà sur le marché pharmaceutique.
Cette approche est appliquée depuis peu au traitement des maladies neurologiques. Le laboratoire du professeur Nifantiev a synthétisé un groupe de substances, appelées antigènes HNK - 1 ("human natural killer"), qui sont des signaux de croissance des cellules nerveuses. Dans ce domaine, le laboratoire de la RAN est engagé dans des collaborations avec des laboratoires neurobiologiques allemands et américains.
La fabrication de vaccins à base de glucides constitue l'une des autres pistes d'applications. Un vaccin a notamment été inclus dans le calendrier russe des campagnes de vaccination nationale pour 2015. Il s'agit du vaccin contre le haemophilus influenzae, qui est une des bactéries responsables de la pneumonie, de la méningite et le pneumocoque chez l'enfant de moins de cinq ans. Ce vaccin a permis de réduire de manière considérable le nombre de cas dans les pays où il a été déployé et administré.
D'autres maladies, comme certains cancers, VIH, bactéries pathogènes et autres, pourraient bénéficier de traitements sur la base de glucides. La création de vaccins glucidiques est assez complexe et nécessite d'établir des laboratoires interdisciplinaires. Le professeur Nifantiev a mis en place l'équipe de recherche nécessaire. Il travaille maintenant activement sur l'obtention de vaccins contre un certain nombre d'agents pathogènes bactériens et fongiques et de vaccin contre le cancer. Il espère notamment obtenir des financements grâce à la nouvelle agence de moyens créée en Russie en début d'année, le Fonds russe pour la Science, qui proposera des véhicules financiers adaptés à ce type de programme de recherche fondamentale.

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