Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Февраль 2001 г.
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    ITAR-TASS / 02/08/2001
    Cabinet considers changes to budget, support of science

    Российский кабинет Министров рассмотрел проект закона об изменении федерального бюджета на 2001 год и меры по усилению национальной научной школы и осуществлению новой системы поддержки науки

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia must reorganize its scientific and technological sectors so that they can play a leading role in reviving the ailing economy, acting President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday. Science also could play a major role in helping to modernize the country and raise it to the level of Western nations, Putin told a conference at the Moscow Institute of Electronic Technology.
" Russia is facing a task of strategic importance: to achieve a rapid modernization of the national economy", he was quoted as saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency.
Putin, who faces elections March 26, said the Soviet system of the state controlling all scientific work was not feasible. He said the sector needed to be revived with a combination of state aid and market reforms.
The scientific establishment was heavily subsidized and controlled by the state during the Soviet era.
While Russia has many talented scientists, lack of funds has left the sector almost moribund.

© 2000 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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    M2 Communications / 02/23/2001
    Indian Government: Dr. Joshi made member of prestigious Russian academies
    Индийский ученый избран членом Российской академии естественных наук

Feb 23, 2001 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- The Minister for Science and Technology and Human Resource Development Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi has been chosen a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. He is one of the rare scientists to be elected to join the academy as a foreign member. The invitation relating to this was personally handed over to Dr. Joshi by Prof. G.N. Fursey, the Vice President of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, here yesterday.
Dr. Joshi was also conferred a Diploma to make him a member of the International Academy of Ecology, Man and Nature Protection Sciences. Prof. H.A. Denisov, the Vice President of the Academy presented the formal diploma of the membership to Dr. Joshi.
The International Academy of Ecology, Man and Nature Protection Sciences in its diploma said that the membership has been conferred on Dr. Joshi considering his authority in India as well as abroad, as also his high-professional level.
The Russian Academy of Natural Sciences acclaiming Dr. Joshi`s contribution as a scientist and as a minister holding important portfolios applauded his vision lecture on "Sustainable Consumption" at St. Petersburg last year. The academies have a number of well-known scientists as members including several Nobel laureates. The former UN Secretary General Butros Butros Gali was also a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. M2 Communications Ltd disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at www.presswire.net on the world wide web.

©1994-2001 M2 Communications Ltd .

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    Los Angeles Times / 02/10/2001
    Experts Dispute Nuclear Dump Data

    Группа исследователей, в которую входит Юрий Дублянский из Сибирского отделения РАН, пришла к выводу о невозможности хранения радиоактивных отходов в горах в штате Невада

    Safety: Researchers disagree on water evidence and thus whether Nevada's Yucca Mountain is the place to store radioactive waste.

A team of researchers agreed that hot water existed in Yucca Mountain rock more than 4 million years ago, but they can't agree whether the finding means nuclear waste shouldn't be buried there.
A Russian scientist representing Nevada in the $1.4-million study sided with a Nevada state geological consultant Thursday in arguing that nuclear material should not be stored in the mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
"My personal opinion is you can take the data . . . and come to the conclusion this cannot have resulted without having [thermal] water flowing inside", Yuri Dublyansky of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Branch, said during a briefing.
Dublyansky said that if thermal ground water shot upward in the mountain in the past, it could happen again, creating a hreat to flood the cavern and spread radioactivity from nuclear waste stored in the mountain. But a U.S. Geological Survey geochemist attributed the water evidence in rock samples to rainwater seepage. Current rainfall totals are low enough that they aren't seen as a threat by most experts.
Jean Cline, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas associate professor who headed a two-year study, said the study found no evidence of hot water in Yucca Mountain in the past 2 million years.
"I don't think Yucca Mountain was a hydrothermal system", Cline said.
Dublyansky and Nevada state geological consultant Jerry Szymanski said the evidence of water in ancient rock means the site should be disqualified for nuclear waste disposal.
"It is my personal opinion Yucca Mountain cannot be licensed as a permanent repository", Szymanski said.
Yucca Mountain is the only site being studied to entomb 77,000 tons of the nation's high-level nuclear waste, mostly metal rods containing spent fuel pellets from commercial power reactors.
Nevada, Clark County and Las Vegas are contributing money to buy advertising to help stir opposition and press the Department of Energy to reject the site.
At the urging of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the federal inspector general's office is investigating allegations of bias in the site selection process by the Department of Energy and its contractors.
Scientists agree the volcanic rock ridge was formed by hot ash that spewed from volcanic eruptions nearly 13 million years ago. Roughly 11 million years ago, the mountain was reheated by below-ground volcanic activity from nearby Timber Mountain.
Based on fluids trapped in Yucca Mountain's calcite, the majority of the study team, including geochemist Joseph Whelan of the U.S. Geological Survey office in Denver, thinks the minerals took 6 million years to cool to temperatures ranging from 113 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
The scientists analyzed 155 mineral samples, finding that about half, 78, contained "fluid inclusion" records indicating elevated temperatures. Whelan insisted that the minerals were formed by rainwater that percolated from Yucca Mountain's surface. Szymanski and Dublyansky held to their claim that the minerals were formed by hot water from within and that the mountain did not take 6 million years to cool.
"Something had to cause those elevated temperatures", Cline said " but our study didn't address that".

Copyright © 2001 / Los Angeles Times

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    ITAR-TASS / 01/24/2001
    Russian scientist warns against AMD illusion

    Глава Российского федерального центра ядерных исследований Евгений Авронин осудил намерение США создать национальную противоракетную оборону как чрезвычайно опасную идею создания иллюзии безнаказанности

SNEZHINSK (Chelyabinsk region) -- Head of the Russian federal nuclear centre Yevgeny Avrorin has branded the US intention to set up the National Anti-Missile Defence (AMD) as " an extremely dangerous idea generating the illusion of impunity".
He told a local paper on Wednesday that the AMD " is a purely political move". "The only sensible explanation for it is that this is the way the Americans wish to maintain their scientific potential in the area of armament", he said.
According to Avrorin, the AMD is "an illusion of the last decade". When the Soviet Union had up to 20,000 strategic nuclear warheads, Americans could not dare think of creating the AMD, he said.
"It is an open secret that the anti-missile defence aims solely at protection against a retaliatory strike by Russia", the scientist said. "Our goal is to debunk this illusion and make a retaliatory strike effective even if the AMD exists, and we are working on it" he said.

©1996-2001 ITAR-TASS. All rights reserved.

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    AP Worldstream / 02/02/2001
    Russian minister agrees to joint probe into controversial industry deal

    Российский министр промышленности, науки и технологий согласился на совместное исследование спорного вопроса, касающегося продажи ведущего химического производителя Венгрии группе акционеров из Австрии и России, подозреваемых в действиях от имени Газпрома

BUDAPEST, Hungary, Feb 02, 2001 (AP WorldStream via COMTEX) -- Moscow's industry minister on Friday agreed to a probe to be jointly conducted by his and the Budapest government into the controversial purchase of Hungary's leading chemical producer.
Alexander Dondukov, who heads the Russian Ministry for Industry, Science and Technology, spoke two days after the Budapest government expressed concern about the sale of Borsodchem to a group of Austrian and Russian shareholders suspected of acting on behalf of Gazprom, the Russian natural gas giant. Russia's state-controlled Gazprom is the world's largest natural gas producer and the largest gas supplier to Western Europe. Dondukov did not deny that Gazprom was behind the deal.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has questioned the legality of the transaction, which remained shrouded in secrecy, wondering whether perhaps money laundering may have been involved with a link to organized crime. While taking a mostly defensive attitude toward the Hungarians' suspicions, Dondukov, speaking through a translator, said, "We will carry on a joint investigation, the Russian and the Hungarian government and authorities, and we will involve the Russian central bank so that neither the Hungarian nor the Russian party suffer losses".
There was no immediate reaction from the Hungarian side to the minister's offer. and the extent and other details of the probe were not immediately clear.
Other comments made by Dondukov strongly suggested that he was taking exception to the Hungarians' misgivings about the deal. Dondukov said that a few years ago, when Hungarian investors appeared "aggressively" on the Russian market, they were welcome. He also said that if the Hungarians find fault with the deal it's their problem. Dondukov predicted that Europe has to be "prepared" for an influx of Russian investment capital in the near future.

©2001 Associated Press, All rights reserved

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    ITAR-TASS / 02/13/2001
    Genome decoding to go down in history with atom fission

    Самые последние достижения международного консорциума ученых в расшифровке человеческого генома "поражают воображение и являются эпохальным явлением, которое войдет в историю науки наряду с расщеплением атома и открытием структуры ДНК", сказал российский академик Лев Киселев в своем комментарии по поводу исследования, которое помогло установить, что человеческий геном содержит не 100,000 генов, а не больше 35 тысяч

MOSCOW, February 2 (Itar-Tass) -- The latest achievements of an international consortium of scientists in the decoding of the human genome "baffles one's imagination and are an epoch-making event which will go down in the history of science along with the fission of the atom and the discovery of the DNA structure", said Russian academician Lev Kiselev in his comment on the research that helped establish that the human genome contains not 100,000 but not more than 35 thousand genes.
"Much of what we have been guessing at has been confirmed but also some unexpected things came to light", Kiselev noted. "For example, a mere two years ago I wrote in my articles that, according to estimates by a majority of specialists, the number of genes in the human organism ranges between 80 thousand and 100 thousand, and it was absolutely right. But now we know that their number does not exceed 35 thousand.
"These genes account for a mere one-twentieth of the entire genome which comprises 3.2 billion pairs of "letters" of the genetic alphabet. That is only 5 percent of this information contains a record of programmes for the production of proteins, but we do not yet know what the other 95 percent of the genome are needed for and what they are responsible for. The main efforts will henceforth be focused on this enigma which is of great concern for the researchers. We know already that these parts of the genome contain molecular fragments of the viruses which merged with the DNA when our very distant ancestors suffered from viral diseases. It appears that the human organism does not have a special mechanism which would enable man to get rid of these "relic deposits", and this is why molecular "remains" are accumulated in a sort of "cemetery" of the viruses which afflicted our ancestors". The Russian scientist noted, "the obtained results have also confirmed an old hypothesis that each gene is responsible for the production of not one but of many proteins and that the "one gene - one protein" relationship is not a rule but an exception".
Lev Kiselev also stressed that the research done by his foreign colleagues "identified similar genes in different living organisms and thus confirmed the long-established theory of molecular evolution, which has nothing sensational about it".

© 1996-2001 ITAR-TASS. All rights reserved

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    Insight / 02/05/2001, Vol. 17 Issue 5, p33, 1/4p.
    Siberia: Light at the End of the Tunnel?

    Туннель длиной 60 миль соединит Россию и Соединенные штаты Америки. По оценке Виктора Разбегина , руководителя центра проектирования транспортировок и инфраструктуры, строительство может продолжиться около 20 лет

A 60-mile, $90 billion "Bering tunnel" joining Russia and the United States is feasible, land plans for its construction will be presented shortly to the World Bank, according to the chief of Russia's Center for Transportation and Infrastructure Projects. The official, Viktor Razbegin, made his comments while discussing a recently completed international study regarding the safety of such a project. The tunnel would connect what arguably are the most remote sections of each country. According to a report in the British Columbia Vancouver Sun, each country would have to establish about 1,000 miles of roadway or rail line to reach the points where the tunnel would be constructed. The countries are separated by 23 miles of water at their closest point (excluding the Diomede Islands) but, for safety reasons, the tunnel would be much longer. Completion would take about 20 years, by Razbegin's estimate. He did not say whether he'd factored in downtime that might be required to deal with protests about the discommoding of some seal pups or inconvenience to meandering salmon.

© Copyright of Insight is the property of Washington Times Corporation

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    ITAR-TASS / 02/01/2001
    Russian rescue specialists to visit Scotland

    25 сотрудников Министерства по Чрезвычайным ситуациям прибыла в Эдинбург, столицу Шотландии. Визит продлится 20 дней. Во время визита российские и британские спасатели будут готовиться к совместной экспедиции в Якутию, которая состоится в июле - августе этого года

MOSCOW, Latvia (AP) -- February 1 (Itar-Tass) - A group of 25 officers of the Russian Emergencies Ministry flies to Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, on Thursday, for preparing an expedition jointly with the Rear Support Corps of the British Defence Ministry. The Russian group includes members of the Centrospas aeromobile group, the Leader centre for staging especially risky operations, as well as the search and rescue services of Yakutia and the Elbrus area, a spokesman for the Emergencies Ministry told Tass. The visit of the Russian rescue specialists to Scotland will take 20 days. During the visit the Russian and British rescue workers will train survival skills in extreme conditions.
The joint expedition will be held in Yakutia in July-August, this year. Its members will climb the Chersky Plateau, which is the uppermost place in Siberia and the Far East, with a height of 3,140 metres. The rescue specialists will test during the expedition the most up-to-date search and rescue technologies, as well as new types of special rescue equipment.

©1996-2001 ITAR-TASS. All rights reserved

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    ITAR-TASS / 02/05/2001
    Russia nuclear scientists designed cheap energy plant
    Российские ученые - ядерщики разработали завод, который производит дешевую электроэнергию

MOSCOW, February 5 (Itar-Tass) - Specialists of Russia's Snezhinsk nuclear centre, Chelyabinsk region, have designed an energy plant which can produce cheap electricity.
The director of the State Center for Market Research, Andrei Lumpov, said at news conference on Monday that the plant can produce electricity at severalfold lower costs as compared to any other stations. The facility works on deuterium and represents an underground "explosive combustion boiler", Lumpov said.
Fission of uranium-233 triggers the blast of a deuterium charge in the boiler one or two times in an hour, but the boiler's design prevents its destruction. Lumpov said the Russian Ministry of Industry and Science will decide how to use this project which at present is undergoing a feasibility study now. He said it was likely that a joint stock company would be set up, with a 75 per cent stake in it to be owned by the government the rest to be offered to Russian and Western investors. If the project is adopted in the industry, the new plants could provide with electricity not only Russia but other countries, Lumpov said. The cost of energy would be one cent a kilowatt-hour.

©1996-2001 ITAR-TASS. All rights reserved

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    New York Times / February 20, 2001
    Under Icy Arctic Waters, A Fiery, Unexpected Find
    • By William J. Broad

    Анализируя звуковые сигналы, принятые субмариной, собирающей данные для создания карты дна Северного Ледовитого океана, ученые обнаружили сигналы двух больших действующих вулканов

By accident, scientists peering into icy waters far beneath the North Pole have found a hidden world of fire. Buried in sonar readings taken by a Navy submarine to create a map of the ocean floor, the scientists discovered two large volcanoes that had recently convulsed the Arctic seabed. The surprise, reported in the current issue of the journal Nature, throws light on one of the last ocean frontiers, the Arctic deep.
"We like to think we're smart people", Dr. Margo H.Edwards, a marine geologist at the University of Hawaii who led the discovery team, said in an interview. "But we weren't looking for this".
The unexpected outbursts are challenging old ideas about the geology of the earth's northern polar regions and offering a new target for an expedition later this year.
Divers now plan to visit the eruption sites in tiny submersibles to collect lava samples and to look for the bizarre creatures that often thrive in the hot springs of deep undersea volcanoes. Powered by the earth's inner heats rather than sunlight, these dark ecosystems are often surprisingly lush, with riots of giant tube worms and other strange life. "I've studied this region for 30 years", said Dr. Alfred S. McLaren, a retired Navy submariner who pioneered deep Arctic mapping and is president emeritus of the Explorers Club of New York City, which is sponsoring the expedition. The opportunity to see it close up, Dr. McLaren added, "is the realization of a dream". Nearly landlocked, the Arctic Ocean is about six times the size of the Mediterranean Sea. Its depths are among the most mysterious of the global ocean, mainly because of the ice, which averages about eight feet thick. This veil blocks satellites from peering into the depths and rules out the customary flotillas of research ships that bounce sound waves off the bottom to map the wilderness below.
But submarines have an unobstructed view of the sunless depths. Dr. McLaren, as commander of the Queenfish, in 1970 probed the Arctic deep with sound beams. His work foreshadowed the recent volcanic find.
After the cold war, in a first, the Navy agreed to let civilian scientists regularly use its fleet of nuclear attack submarines to study the Arctic. The Hawkbill did so in 1998 and 1999, traveling as level as possible some 700 feet beneath the ice.
Financed by the National Science Foundation, the scientists on board, using gear mounted on the submarine's hull, fired unusually fine beams of sound into the depths. At the bottom, some cut up to 600 feet into seabed ooze, enough to distinguish soft sediments from hard rock. The goal was to produce the first detailed three-dimensional maps of the dark region.
A main focus was the Gakkel Ridge, a mountainous spine that runs about 1,100 miles down the middle of the main Arctic basin, which beneath the North Pole is nearly three miles deep. Gakkel is the earth's slowest spreading midocean ridge. These volcanic rifts gird the globe like seams on a baseball, making ocean crust and, over the eons, moving the continents around like putty. The conventional wisdom of geologic theory said the Gakkel Ridge spread far too slowly to vent molten rock from the earth's hot interior. Its spreading over the ages was seen as slow and cold.
In December 1999, months after the last Hawkbill expedition, Dr. Edwards of the University of Hawaii was still reading and analyzing the Gakkel mapping data. The Navy declassification process had slowed the work, she recalled last week. But then one of her graduate students, Gregory J. Kurras, was approached at a science meeting by Dr. Maya Tolstoy, a scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.
Dr. Tolstoy, a seismologist, asked if the Hawaii scientists knew that the global network of sensors that track faint planetary rumbles had recently detected swarms of seaquakes on the Gakkel Ridge. Seaquakes? Hundreds of them? No, they replied, they had no idea.
Dr. Edwards and Mr. Kurras quickly called up the data from the area and found clear evidence of two large volcanoes, one exactly where the seabed had been shaking violently, unbeknownst to the submarine passing overhead. The volcanoes lay more than two miles deep and showed up in the soundings as huge mounds of hard reflective rock.
"We were jumping up and down, saying `Look, look, look,'" Dr. Edwards recalled. "People had predicted that we wouldn't see any eruptions here. But there they were. A lot of science is good luck".
Nature published the findings on Thursday. The authors were Dr.Edwards, Mr. Kurras, Dr. Tolstoy, DelWayne R. Bohnenstiehl of Lamont, Dr. Bernard J. Coakley of Tulane University and Dr. James R. Cochran of Lamont. They report that the two volcanoes cover nearly 280 square miles of undersea terrain in a valley heavily laden with muddy sediments. "These findings", they wrote, "demonstrate that eruptions along the ultraslow- spreading Gakkel Ridge are focused at discrete locations and appear to be more voluminous and occur more frequently than was previously thought".
Scientists say the volcanoes are a challenge for modern tectonics, which studies how the earth's crust slowly deforms. "They're making us revamp our theories, which is good", Dr. Edwards said.
Dr. Cochran of Lamont agreed. "These big flows", he said, "mean either more melt is created or there is some unknown mechanism by which it is being concentrated".
As interesting, the scientists said, is that the eruptions are potentially opening a new window into the earth's mantle, the region between the planet's cold crust and the hot core. The polar crust is unusually thin, and the new eruptions may allow unusually direct sampling of mantle rock - a holy grail of science. "If that's true", Dr. Edwards said, "the rock chemists are going to be in hog heaven".
The new expedition plans to find out. During a two-week voyage in late August and early September, the divers are to descend to the Gakkel in Russian Mir submersibles, which hold three people and are owned and operated by the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology in Moscow.
Never before, experts say, has the Arctic been so plumbed. The Explorers Club and two companies, Quark Expeditions and Deep Ocean Expeditions, are using the Mirs as part of a commercial cruise to take adventure tourists to the North Pole, where for $50,000 they can dive into the abyss. American and Russian scientists are to dive on the Gakkel in as many as three scientific side trips.
The Russian nuclear icebreaker Yamal is to pound through the ice pack, and the cargo vessel Papanin is to launch the twin Mir submersibles, which filmed the Titanic for James Cameron's 1997 movie.
Dr. McLaren of the Explorers Club said the scientists intended to photograph the Gakkel and to gather samples of volcanic rock and deep creatures. Since the Arctic is the world's most isolated ocean, he added, the animals might prove to be unusual. "It's a strange area", he said. "And for me, the whole expedition is tremendously exciting. My imagination and dreams have literally been consumed with what I'm likely to encounter".
Dr. McLaren said the discovery of odd forms of life in the deep Arctic, miles below a world of ice, would lend support to one of the wilder speculations of current science - that the moon of Jupiter known as Europa might harbor alien swarms in a liquid ocean hidden under its icy crust. "If we find black ecosystems there", he said of creatures on the Gakkel Ridge, "it's going to increase the chance of finding them on Europa".

© Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company

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Продолжение дайджеста за ФЕВРАЛЬ 2001 года (часть 2)
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