Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Март 1999 г.

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1999 г.
Российская наука и мир
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январьфевральмартапрельмайиюньиюльавгустсентябрьоктябрьноябрьдекабрь


    На прошлой неделе министр науки М.Кирпичников кратко рассказал о планах подддержки прикладных исследований путем создания коммерческих предприятий. Он объявил, что правительство Германии обещало дать России ссуду сроком на 2 года в размере 100 млн. марок для покупки научного оборудования. Министр сказал, что его министерство совместно с министерством финансов и Российской Академией наук предложило сформировать правительственную комиссию для создания налоговых стимулов, способствующих проведению научных исследований на малых предприятиях.

Russia's applied researchers can look forward to government initiatives to make their work pay for itself. Last week, Science Minister Mikhail Kirpichnikov sketched out plans to support applied research by moving into new commercial ventures, and announced that the German government has promised to lend Russia 100 million marks ($56 million) to buy scientific equipment over the next 2 years. Kirpichnikov has talked much about weaning Russia's dwindling scientific corps off of state support (Science, 11 December 1998, p. 1979). Now nearly a half-year into his tenure as minister, he's taking the first steps toward that goal. His ministry, with the Economics Ministry and the Russian Academy of Sciences, has proposed forming a governmental commission to ram through tax incentives to encourage entrepreneurial research - a goal shared by the Duma, which is drafting legislation to that effect.

© 1999 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science

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    Science / Vol.283, No.5408 Iss. of 12 Mar. 1999, P.1621
    Bright Spots in a Bleak Russian Landscape
    Яркие пятна на бледном российском ландшафте
    • Constance Holden

Its economy in tatters, Russia trails many of its former satellites in pulling the social sciences from the ideological morass into which they sank during the Soviet era. Many universities are simply repackaging old, dogma-riddled courses; a streak of nationalism in the intellectual community also threatens to undermine reform. Nonetheless, some beacons have appeared on the horizon--think tanks, renewed departments in universities, and freestanding institutions for graduate education.

© 1999 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science

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    Foxnews / March 11, 1999 1.07 p.m. ET (18.07 GMT)
    Russia, U.S. Look to Man ISS Earlier Than Expected
    • By Adam Tanner

    После нескольких лет задержки США и Россия разрабатывают грандиозный план запуска в октябре первого экипажа Международной космической станции. Это на три месяца раньше, чем предполагалось.

MOSCOW -- After years of delays on the International Space Station, the United States and Russia are working on a surprise plan to launch the first crew in October, three months earlier than planned, officials said Thursday. The unannounced change, if approved at a meeting next month, would represent a major publicity coup for the $60 billion station, which has been marred by repeated Russian delays in building the living quarters. "The idea here is that the earlier you can begin the manned program in the module the better," said Alexander Botvinko, deputy head of the Russian Space Agency's manned space division. "The station would begin to exist from the standpoint of its scientific work." Russia's dire financial problems have set back its completion of the vital living quarters by a year and a half, but officials now say it will be ready for shipment to the launch site at Baikonur in Kazakhstan early next month. It will then need about four and a half months of testing before an expected launch in September, when it will link up with two unmanned space station modules already in orbit. The three-man Russian-American crew was scheduled to go up in January, but the latest idea is to launch two men a few weeks after the living quarters module goes into orbit. The third man would come up by U.S. space shuttle soon after. "We first proposed the idea and now the Americans are even more enthusiastic than we are," said Leonid Gorshkov, head of space station design at the Energiya rocket corporation, which is now finishing work on the living quarters module. Mike Baker, Moscow-based deputy head of the U.S. Johnson Space Center, said he believed the October launch would be approved although it was now only under discussion. He said the early launch idea rose from contingency plans to send up astronauts if the living quarters do not properly attach to the rest of the station automatically. "So some of the thinking is that perhaps we could just go ahead and launch the crew at that time as well even if there isn't a contingency," Baker told Reuters. "The sooner we can get the crew on board the better off we are if there are any failures so the crew can intervene and perform maintenance," he said.
An early launch might also calm critics in the U.S. Congress upset about Russia's many delays to the program, and it could help build public enthusiasm which has been muted to date by putting astronauts on board before the new millennium dawns. The October launch plan could win approval in early April when top U.S. space officials travel to Moscow for an overall review of the new space station program. "I think we will find a consensus to solve this problem," said Botvinko. "But we must first study the situation." Possible obstacles include more Russian financing woes or unexpected technical difficulties, officials said. The new station brings together the United States, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan in what has been described as the most ambitious technological project undertaken.

© 1999 News America Digital Publishing, Inc. d/b/a Fox News Online
© Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved

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    University Science / 09-Mar-1999
    Device Can Detect Single Photons In A Flash
    • By Tom Rickey

    Ученый из университета Рочестера и его российские коллеги из Московского государственного педагогического университета создали новый полупроводниковый прибор. Сверхчувствительный электронный термометр способен обнаруживать одиночные протоны и распознавать изменения световых сигналов, имеющих скорости в 25 гигагерц. Прибор найдет применение в дальней связи и астрономии.

A University of Rochester scientist and his Russian colleagues from Moscow State Pedagogical University have developed a superconducting device capable of detecting light at wavelengths that were previously off-limits to the materials, with remarkable speed and sensitivity. The structure detects light in a portion of the infrared spectrum that is important for telecommunications and infrared astronomy, from 3 to 10 micrometers. The superconducting material, niobium nitride, is capable of detecting just a single photon, and it can recognize changes in light signals as fast as 25 billion times each second (25 gigahertz). Details of the device, along with the ultra-fast measurements of its capability, were published in the December 28 issue of Applied Physics Letters. "Detecting single photons is amazing, and ours is one of a few detectors that can do so," says electrical engineer Roman Sobolewski of the University. "But what really distinguishes our device is its speed - 25 gigahertz is very fast for an infrared detector." Sobolewski says conventional infrared detectors are typically either much less sensitive or slower. In some ways the instrument, known as a hot-electron photodetector (HEP), is "a very sensitive electron thermometer," Sobolewski says. When infrared light hits it, the temperature of its electrons goes up. At an atomic level, when a photon hits the niobium nitride, an electron absorbs it and becomes extremely energetic, or "hot." This rogue electron goes on to collide with other electrons, which in turn run into still others, causing a cascade, rather like a snowball rolling down a hillside and gaining in size. The temperature of these excited electrons quickly rises enough that the material itself temporarily loses its ability to be a superconductor, or carry an electric current with no resistance. The result is an electrical signal that engineers can readily detect. The type of light the detector captures is particularly important in telecommunications. Signals sent from Earth to satellites and back again travel in the range of 3 to 5 or 8 to 12 micrometers, in wavelengths that allow them to pass through Earth's atmosphere unscathed. Another possible application down the road: detectors for optical systems whose fibers would carry such light pulses. In astronomy such wavelengths capture tales of stellar birth and of the existence of planet-like objects outside our solar system. Engineers have long used superconducting materials in other configurations to detect energy at longer wavelengths; this work marks one of the first times a superconducting material has been used to detect energy at shorter wavelengths, in the infrared. Light at these energies is currently detected by other methods, including semiconductors, which must be carefully grown and are expensive to make. The team's device is simply a single thin layer of niobium nitride less than one-thousandth the thickness of a human hair that works at temperatures below about 15 degrees Kelvin. After absorbing a photon the material bounces back almost immediately, returning to its superconducting state within 40 trillionths of a second, or 40 picoseconds. The device works so fast because only electrons are heated up; the material's temperature remains very low. Such speed, combined with its small size and its ability to detect infrared light, gives the material potential as one component of a new type of computer known as a superconducting computer. The University of Rochester is one of three academic institutions in the country working on such technology. The U.S. and Russian scientists involved in this project owe their collaboration to the U.S. Office of Naval Research, which sponsored the work in an effort to promote international cooperation among scientists in the post-Cold War era. The films were made and tested in Moscow, and the speed of the detector was measured at the University of Rochester, whose engineers have long been known for their expertise in ultra-fast measurements.

© 1995-1999 UniSci. All rights reserved

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    University Science / March, 1999
    Bats, Day-Care And Suicide: The Science Of Sound
    • UniScience News Net, Inc.

    14-19 марта в Германии прошла 137-я объединенная конференция по вопросам акустики. Ученые из 44 стран представили 1950 докладов. Среди них был доклад о совместном проекте Норвегии, Германии и России по акустическому мониторингу климата в районе Северного Ледовитого океана. Второй доклад был посвящен использованию акустических датчиков при изучении атмосферных явлений.

What talent might insect-eating bats possess that most human musicians would envy? Can the sounds of a person's voice reveal warning signs of suicide? How might the naturally-occurring background noise in the Arctic Ocean provide indications of climate change?
These questions are all explored in the science of sound - otherwise known as die Akustik, les acoustiques, acoustics and many other names around the world. Researchers will be gathering at what is expected to be the largest meeting ever devoted exclusively to this scientific discipline: the joint 137th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the 2nd Convention of the European Acoustics Association integrating the 25th German Acoustics DAGA Conference, to be held March 14-19, 1999 at the Technical University of Berlin in Germany.
Approximately 1,950 abstracts of meeting papers have been submitted by acoustical scientists and engineers from 44 countries, including Germany, the United States, the UK, Russia, France, Japan, Brazil and many others. Therefore, this meeting is poised to break the record attendance set by last year's joint meeting of the International Congress on Acoustics and the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) in Seattle, where 1,600 papers were delivered.
The opening ceremony will be held in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall on Monday morning, March 15 at 10:00 a.m. On Sunday, March 14, there will be a guided tour on the architectural acoustics of the Berlin Parliament House (Preussischer Landtag) and Konzerthaus (another well-known concert hall different from the philharmonic hall) in Berlin. Tours to various labs at the Technical University of Berlin will take place during the week of the meeting.

      Here are some highlights from among the many papers being given at the meeting:

Listening for Arctic Climate Change with Naturally Occurring Noise. The Arctic Ocean and its surroundings exert a profound influence in the world's climate; scientists and others are concerned that the melting of glaciers and rises in sea level would drastically alter the world's climate. To measure climate variability and look for signs of global warming in this part of the world, a Norway-UK-Germany-Russian collaboration has embarked on a program called AMOC (short for Acoustic Monitoring of the Ocean Climate) in the Arctic Ocean. AMOC researchers have been developing and designing an acoustic system for long-term monitoring of the ocean temperature and ice thickness in the Arctic Ocean and surrounding areas. Ola M. Johannessen of the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC) in Norway will give an overview of the system (3aAOb4) and Hanne Sagen of NERSC will present preliminary results. (3pAOb10) In addition to the more conventional acoustical techniques that are being used, Sagen will describe how listening to the naturally present "ambient" noise in the ocean can provide additional indications of climate change in the environment. (3aAOb6)
Sound Waves Reveal Intense Turbulence in Middle Atmosphere. Computer models for forecasting weather have improved so greatly in resolution and sophistication that they call for similar improvements in making actual measurements of the atmosphere. To determine such properties as wind speeds and air temperatures, most people think of radar, which is based on radio waves, an invisible form of light. At sessions 5aPAb and 5pPAa, researchers will discuss advances in using sound waves to study the atmosphere. Sergei V. Shamanaeva of the Russian Academy of Sciences will discuss the promise of using acoustic sensors to make detailed measurements of fog and rain. (5pPAa5).
Sergey N. Kulichkov, also at the Russian Academy of Sciences, has found that intense turbulence exists in the middle atmosphere (20-80 kilometers above ground) during all seasons. (5aPAb4)
© 1995-1999 UniSci. All rights reserved

* * *

    Nature / Vol.398, 5 (1999) 4 March 1999
    US aid to Russian weapons labs defended
    • By COLIN MACILWAIN

    Департамент энергетики США пытается защитить проект сотрудничества американских и российских ученых в области создания вооружений.

WASHINGTON -- The US Department of Energy (DoE) is fighting to protect its 'lab-to-lab' collaborations with weapons scientists in the former Soviet Union following a critical report from the General Accounting Office (GAO), an investigative arm of Congress. The GAO report, published last month, argued that the Initiatives for Proliferation Program (IPP) is inefficient in getting money to scientists, and inadvertently supports work of military value to Russia (see Nature 397, 643; 1999).
But Leonard Spector, director of the office of arms control and non-proliferation at the DoE, says the GAO's assertion that most of the $62 million spent on the IPP since 1994 has gone to the department's US laboratories is wrong. He also rejects the GAO's contention that the department is failing to screen the projects adequately to ensure they are of no military use to Russia. Despite this, the DoE has said that it is addressing other criticisms in the report. These include a tendency to continue to support projects with no realistic prospects of commercial success, and the consumption of much of the money allocated to scientists by Russian taxes and institute overheads. The GAO report was requested by Senator Jesse Helms (Republican, North Carolina), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a long-time opponent of aid to Russia. It also argues that none of the 400 IPP projects has so far achieved "long-term commercial success". After the release of the report, which attacted widespread news coverage, the DoE may face an uphill struggle to win the $30 million it has requested for the IPP in the 2000 financial year. The programme began four years ago, evolving out of individual lab-to-lab activities initiated by scientists in the DoE nuclear weapons laboratories with their counterparts in the former Soviet Union. Eighty-four per cent of its projects are associated with institutes in Russia, the remainder involving Belarus, Kazakhstan or the Ukraine. Its aim is to keep former nuclear, chemical and biological weapons scientists gainfully employed, while improving their long-term economic prospects by developing commercially useful products. The United States pays for the projects, supporting a principal investigator at one of its own laboratories and a co-principal investigator and research team at the former Soviet institute. It also pays 'administrative costs' to a US industrial partner that will oversee the commercial exploitation of the projects. The GAO's strongest criticism was that most of the programme funds - 51 per cent during 1994-98 - were disbursed to DoE laboratories, with the target institutions receiving 37 per cent and the balance supporting the US industrial partners. Spector says, however, that the GAO misattributed a large investment in telecommunications at the partner institutions to the DoE laboratories. "The [GAO] pie-chart is wrong, and the real split is about 50-50," he says. He added that the division was defensible, given that salary differences mean a US cientist costs about 20 times more to support than one in the former Soviet Union. The DoE denies that it is helping Russia militarily - a charge the GAO backs up with examples mostly related to materials science. The report does say that laboratory officials told the GAO that "any improvement in materials" had potential military value. "We are very surprised with the charge that we are contributing to the Russian military capability, and we reject that," says Spector. The report also expresses concern that scientists at some of the partner institutes have had links with countries the United States wants to isolate from Western military technology, such as Iran and Libya. But DoE officials point out that none of the institutes involved in the IPP were among those black-listed by the US State Department last year in response to nuclear-proliferation concerns. The officials admit that the commercialization of IPP projects has been difficult, although they say that four years is too short a time to assess their full potential.
A handful of IPP projects have moved into early commercial exploitation. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, for example, is working with the Khlopin Radium Institute in St Petersburg on a pharmaceutical product that is already on sale in the city. "It's not impossible" to make a commercial success of the projects, says Patricia Godoy-Kain, IPP programme manager at Pacific Northwest, which has recently embarked on a large number of IPP projects, mainly with partner institutes previously engaged in biological-warfare research. The Congressional response to the report has been predictably mixed, with Democrats supporting the programme and some Republicans doubting its value. Helms said the programme's future would be threatened unless the findings were addressed. Spector is optimistic. "I believe that the administration and the Congress are both very much behind this kind of interaction." He adds, however, "that there is room for improvement".

Nature © Macmillan Publishers Ltd 1999

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    Science / Vol.283, No.5410 Iss. of 26 Mar. 1999, PP.1986-1987
    DOE Lab Exchanges Targeted in Wake of Espionage Claims
    • David Malakoff

    Заявления о том, что Китай украл у США ядерные секреты способны затормозить международные научные обмены. На прошлой неделе законодатели-республиканцы призывали к замораживанию программ обмена, привлекающих тысячи иностранных специалистов в лаборатории Департамента Энергетики. Некоторые исследователи опасаются, что паника по поводу шпионажа может свести на нет международное сотрудничество.

The political sparks from allegations that China has stolen U.S. nuclear secrets now threaten to singe international scientific exchanges. Last week Republican lawmakers called for a moratorium on exchange programs that bring thousands of foreign researchers from "sensitive" nations to Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories. DOE officials say such a policy would disrupt efforts to improve nuclear safety in Russia and do little for security. But some researchers fear the flap could smother international cooperation and undermine the labs' efforts to recruit the best foreign-born scientists.

© 1999 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science

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    Nandotimes / March 27, 1999 9:06 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com
    Sea Space Launch a Success
    Успешный запуск спутника с морской платформы

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- A rocket roared off a converted oil platform floating in the equatorial Pacific on Saturday in the first test of an international venture's ocean-going satellite launch system. The Ukrainian- and Russian-built Zenit-3SL rocket carried a dummy satellite as it lifted off from the Odyssey, a self-propelled platform stationed 1,400 miles south of Hawaii. Fueled by kerosene and liquid oxygen, the three-stage rocket was to put the satellite into a geosynchronous orbit, one in which it stays over a particular area of the Earth. It was expected to take 1 1/2 hours to determine the success of the 8:30 p.m. EST launch. Sea Launch Co.'s inaugural launch was conducted from mission control on the accompanying ship Sea Launch Commander. Company officials watched by satellite video link to Long Beach, home port for the two vessels. The launch was delayed more than three hours by minor problems with support equipment. The company, citing cautiousness, had already pushed it back one day. The demonstration launch was a critical step for Sea Launch Co., which has put $500 million into the first commercial marine-based launch system in hopes of capturing a chunk of the growing business of boosting communications satellite. Launches at the equator allow a rocket to carry more weight into space than they can from other latitudes. The payload simulated an HS 702, a big commercial communications satellite built by Hughes Space and Communications.

Copyright © 1999 Nando Media



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