|Российская наука и мир|
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
The Russia Journal / December 09, 2003
Nobel laureate wants to create fund for atheism; lectures to be published in Russia
MOSCOW, Tomorrow, two Russian scientists and a British colleague will receive the Nobel Prize for Physics in Stockholm.
Reporters from Rossiiskaya Gazeta interviewed scientist Vitaly Ginzburg, who stated that he is not too nervous before the event, as he has expected it for quite a long time and understands that all awards are given only subjectively, although it is very pleasant to receive them.
He also expressed concern regarding the current situation in Russian science, which does not receive sufficient financing. Ginzburg will not spend his prize money for science purposes, he said, as it is too little for something really significant, but rather create a fund for publishing atheistic and antireligious literature.
Meanwhile, for the first time in Russia, a book of Nobel lectures will be published. Earlier, this was not possible, due to the unwillingness of the Soviet government to co-operate with the Nobel fund. The first volumes will be in print at the beginning of next year.
Copyright © 1999-2003 Norasco
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Eurekalert / 22-Dec-2003
United States, Russia, China link up first global-ring network
Первая глобальная кольцевая сеть соединила Соединенные Штаты, Россию и Китай
ARLINGTONA Va.-The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), a broad consortium of Russian ministries and science organizations and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) today announced the start of operations for the first roundthe-world computer network ring, which will be used for joint scientific and educational projects. Completing the ring includes increasing the bandwidth between the United States and China and making the first-ever fiber network connection across the Russia-China border.* * *
The new network increases the bandwidth to 155 megabits per second (Mbps) between the United States and China and continues current 155-Mbps service levels between the United States and Russia. In addition, Russia and China are connecting their science networks at the border cities of Zabajkal'sk and Manzhouli-completing a ring around the Northern Hemisphere. "As part of the international community of science, we share common concerns that reach across national borders," said NSF Director Rita Colwell. "As we all aim to strengthen our nations' capabilities in research, we also aim to contribute to the cumulative knowledge that lifts the prospects of people everywhere. This new network serves as both a physical and symbolic reminder of our common goal of solving problems and building a world of peace and prosperity."
The new network will provide both increased reliability and flexibility for researchers as they address scientific issues including joint responses to natural and man-made disasters, safeguards for nuclear materials, better understanding of the human genome, joint exploration of space, distributed monitoring of seismic events and environmental studies and simulations. The network will also enable cooperation on international fusion energy research and support the advanced requirements of high- energy physicists. The network will also enable collaborations between universities and local schools, such as shared seminars, distance-learning programs and multi-national science fairs.
Known as Little GLORIAD, the ring "begins" in Chicago at the NSF- supported StarLight facility, managed by the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University. The network crosses the Atlantic Ocean to the NetherLight facility in Amsterdam from which it continues to Moscow, then to the Russian science city of Novosibirsk, across Siberia to the border at Zabajkal'sk. After crossing the border to Manzhouli, the network continues to Beijing, then Hong Kong and crosses the Pacific Ocean to complete the ring in Chicago.
"Little GLORIAD is a giant step in providing CAS scientists unique opportunities to cooperate with the researchers in the United States and Russia and will contribute significantly to the CAS initiative on knowledge innovation," said Dr. Yan Baoping, director of the Computer Network Information Center (CNIC), Chinese Academy of Sciences. "The ring network is the foundation for the GLORIAD, which will be an integral part of the cyber- network for developing the China E-Science initiative scheduled to commence in 2006."
Little GLORIAD is being funded in part by a $2.8 million NSF grant to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Russian support for Little GLORIAD is provided through a consortium of government Ministries and science organizations coordinated by the Russian Research Center (RRC) "Kurchatov Institute" and the Russian Ministry of Industry, Science and Technology. Chinese support from CAS and through CNIC, which coordinates China-wide networking for CAS, was finalized with an agreement signed November 12, 2003, among CAS, the University of Illinois and Tyco Telecommunications, which is providing the U.S.-China and U.S.- Europe bandwidth across its Tyco Global Network.
"GLORIAD is an historic step in linking scientists and science resources of the three countries," said Dr. Evgeny Velikhov, president of the RRC Kurchatov Institute.
"Through its advanced network and grid services, it will substantially improve the manner in which scientists, educators and students can work with and learn from each other on pressing issues of our day."
As the name suggests, Little GLORIAD is a first step towards a higher-speed network-GLORIAD, shorthand for Global Ring Network for Advanced Application
Development-that the three countries are jointly developing for a mid-2004 start. GLORIAD is proposed to be a 10-gigabit-per-second optical network around the entire northern hemisphere.
The U.S. leaders of the effort, Greg Cole and Natasha Bulashova of NCSA, have been operating U.S.-Russian NaukaNet for science and education collaboration for five years. SToday's announcement represents an important step in the development of the larger GLORIAD network," Cole said. "This new program should further enable our scientists and educators to better communicate and cooperate with each other."
The GLORIAD network will provide Chinese and Russian scientists, educators and students direct connectivity to an important common interconnection point for North American research and education networks including Internet2's Abilene, the National LambdaRail, CANARIE, NASA's networks and the Department of Energy's ESnet.
The GLORIAD project's partners also include SURFnet in Amsterdam, where an experimental exchange point into the European science and education community will be established at the NetherLight facility. In addition to links to the United States and Russia, this exchange point will enable new high-speed capabilities between Europe and Asia across the Russian science and education network.
EE Times / December 24, 2003 (5:03 p.m. ET)
Global scientific research net starts operation
MANHASSET, -- The U.S. National Science Foundation, a consortium of Russian ministries and science organizations and the Chinese Academy of Sciences this week announced the start of operations for a dedicated global computer network ring for joint scientific and educational projects.
The Global Ring Network for Advanced Application Development (Gloriad) is a 155 Mb/s ring spanning research institutes in the three countries in the Northern Hemisphere.
"This new network serves as both a physical and symbolic reminder of our common goal of solving problems and building a world of peace and prosperity," said NSF Director Rita Colwell in a statement.
Gloriad will provide researchers a means to address scientific issues including joint responses to natural and man-made disasters, safeguards for nuclear materials, better understanding of the human genome, joint exploration of space, distributed monitoring of seismic events and environmental studies and simulations. The network will also enable cooperation on international fusion energy research and support the advanced requirements of high-energy physicists.
The network will also enable collaborations between universities and local schools, such as shared seminars, distance-learning programs and multi-national science fairs.
The Gloriad ring is routed via Chicago from the NSF-supported StarLight facility which is managed by the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University. The network crosses the Atlantic Ocean to the NetherLight facility in Amsterdam from which it continues to Moscow, then to Novosibirsk, across Siberia to the border at Zabajkal'sk.
After crossing the border to Manzhouli, the network continues to Beijing, then Hong Kong and crosses the Pacific Ocean to complete the ring in Chicago.
"Gloriad will be an integral part of the cyber network for developing the China E-Science initiative scheduled to commence in 2006," said Yan Baoping, director of the Computer Network Information Center (CNIC), Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"Through its advanced network and grid services, it [Gloriad] will substantially improve the manner in which scientists, educators and students can work with and learn from each other on pressing issues of our day," said Evgeny Velikhov, president of the Russian Research Center's Kurchatov Institute.
A higher-speed optical network is being jointly developed for a mid-2004 start and will run at 10 Gb/s.
Gloriad is being funded in part by a $2.8 million NSF grant to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Russian support is via a consortium of government ministries and science organizations coordinated by the Kurchatov Institute and the Russian Ministry of Industry, Science and Technology.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences and CNIC, which coordinates China-wide networking, recently signed an agreement with the University of Illinois and Tyco Telecommunications to use the U.S.-China and U.S.-Europe bandwidth links across its Tyco Global Network
Copyright © 2003 CMP Media LLC
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Business Wire / December 23, 2003
InnoCentive Hosts Russian Virtual Scientific Competition; Bringing Together More Than
500 Students from Russia and Abroad to Solve Challenges in Chemistry
Ученые из InnoCentive и химического факультета Московского государственного университета подготовили вопросы из шести разделов современной химии (органическая, аналитическая, физическая, квантовая, неорганическая химия и биохимия).
В виртуальном конкурсе принимали участие более 500 студентов, обучающихся в России и других странах, а также молодые ученые.
Победители получат премии и поддержку для проведения дальнейших исследований
InnoCentive(R) Monday announced its sponsorship of its first virtual scientific competition. Jointly sponsored by Moscow State University, the event, titled "Intellectual Opportunities and Capabilities of Chemistry" was broadcast online via Moscow State University's Web site. More than 500 young scientists from Russia, as well as Russian students studying in Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Belarus, Kirghizia and the U.S. participated in the competition. The event underscores InnoCentive's global presence and commitment to supporting the scientific community in its quest to solve intellectual scientific challenges.* * *
Scientists from InnoCentive and the Moscow State University Chemistry Department prepared challenges in six areas of modern chemistry, including organic, analytical, physical, quantum, inorganic and biochemistry. The competition introduced young scientists and university students to InnoCentive's global R&D online community, where they can compete to solve challenging scientific problems posted by the world's leading innovation-driven companies.
"InnoCentive congratulates the winners of its first virtual scientific competition, and we are thrilled that so many qualified and impressive students participated and found the experience valuable. We extend our gratitude to Moscow State University for graciously hosting the event. In addition, we thank Academician Nikolai A. Plate, vice president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, for joining us at the awards ceremony and distributing prizes to the winners," said Darren J. Carroll, CEO and president of InnoCentive.
"The faculty at Moscow State University is delighted to collaborate with InnoCentive on the scientific competition," said Valery V. Lunin, academician and dean of the Department of Chemistry at Moscow State University. "We are pleased to offer our students the opportunity to further their scientific education and gain valuable experience, while acquainting them with our partner, InnoCentive."
"InnoCentive recognizes the importance of developing young scientific minds from around the world to help them become tomorrow's scientific leaders," said Ali Hussein, vice president of marketing at InnoCentive. "Our goal is to bring together innovation-driven companies with uniquely prepared scientific minds around the world, and these young scientists represent the future of the global scientific community."
The top-rated winners of the virtual scientific competition were Jury Golovko of Byelorussia State University, Igor Sedov of Kazan State University and Dmitry Perekalin of Russian Chemical - Technological University.
InnoCentive is the first online forum that brings together leading global corporations and scientists from across the globe to solve tough R&D challenges. Global companies including BASF, Dow Chemical, Eli Lilly and Company, and Procter & Gamble post their tough R&D problems confidentially on the InnoCentive Web site where more than 45,000 leading scientists and researchers (known as Solvers) in 150 countries can solve them. Scientists who deliver solutions that best meet InnoCentive's Challenge requirements receive a financial award for their work, ranging up to USD $100,000.
The Russia Journal / 1 Dec 2003
Coaxing Russia's minds
Vladimir Filippov holds a doctorate in physical and mathematical sciences. He has been Education Minister since the late 1990s - a difficult period to say the least - and, since then, has devoted himself to keeping Russia’s educational system up to speed.
Filippov, 52, looks far younger than his age. Born in Uryupinsk, a town in Volgograd Oblast, he moved up the academic ladder and and credits hard work and determination for his career achievements.
The energetic Filippov heads a huge ministry, and more than 40 million people - teachers, students and schoolchildren - are associated with it. It has a larger budget than any other ministry, including the Defense Ministry, and its reforms and debates reflect the state of Russian society as a whole, balancing between red tape and giving a free hand to development.* * *
The Russia Journal: You became education minister at the end of the 1990s - not an easy period for the country - but most observers say that you have managed to do a great deal to develop education here. What are your guiding principles?
Vladimir Filippov: I have a simple principle - leaving behind all the "isms": socialism, capitalism and so on. The only "ism" I would leave is pragmatism. We have to base ourselves on what is best for the educational system and the people studying and teaching in it, and we need to act accordingly. We began by making sure teachers were paid on time, reduced utilities payments for schools and approved the basic documents that provide the foundation for developing the educational system.
Very important documents have now been approved. These include the National Education Development Doctrine and the Federal Education Development Program. These are major programs that deal with education in general.
We also had to define a whole range of concrete aims, tasks and measures at every different level of education, from pre-school to higher education, and the government approved just such a program two years ago - a concept for modernizing Russian education through to 2005.
I think the fact that this program contains concrete measures is a sign of pragmatism. This approach has the support of the people working in the educational system, and, through our joint efforts it enables us to deal with the problems we face.
TRJ: The educational system is complex. Which level gives the ministry the most problems today - pre-school education, school, vocational education, higher education?
VF: There is plenty of work to do at every level. Regarding pre-school education, there are still unresolved problems of education content and financing. We still have to approve standards for pre-school education, that is, set out model programs for kindergartens, because without these programs, kindergartens start to ask parents for money for everything and anything, including for what is supposed to be free, such as teaching children to count to 10 and learn the alphabet.
Once we have approved pre-school education standards, we can guarantee that certain services will be free and, at the same time, give kindergartens the chance to earn money by offering services beyond the standard program, for instance Spanish lessons or dancing and so on, for a certain fee.
The biggest difficulties are in school education. For a start, this is the level with the most people - 20 million of the total of 33 million students in Russia. There are still basic problems to solve in this area, such as what to teach in schools and how to teach it. And the main problem: How to evaluate it at the end of the process. At the moment, the teachers teach the content and they give the grades. Once we have the single-exam system in place, one teacher will teach, and another will hand out the grades.
Today, schools in Russia are controlled entirely by their directors, but the Law on Education calls for a more public organizational form. We also have to change the way schools function economically. Teachers’ wages are tightly pegged to the number of hours they work, and this encourages them to give children as many hours of various subjects as they can.
There are also a lot of problems still to tackle in other areas of education. The government-approved education-development concept, for example, states that the priority over the coming years should go to vocational education. Now, the system has been skewed in favor of higher education. Too many children finish school and want to go to a university, partly in order to get a deferral from military service. As a result, there are too few students in vocational establishments learning trades. Industry today is beginning to recover, and there is a real shortage of workers.
TRJ: How much budget money goes to education? How does it all work in practice, and is this money enough?
VF: We get about half of what we actually need, but since the educational system can also earn its own money, we make up for a part of this shortfall through our own efforts. In higher education, half of the students are studying for free, and the other half pay fees. In 2002, the budget for higher education was 33 billion rubles, and the higher-educational system earned around 30 billion rubles.
There can only be enough budget money in a system of developed capitalism or developed socialism. Russia isn’t about to see either system in the near future, and so we cannot count on having enough budget money to cover all our needs. This means we have to develop ways of attracting money from other sources into the sector, as is done in many other countries.
TRJ: You mentioned modernization of the educational system. Why is it necessary, and what is involved?
VF: We called this process "modernization" rather than "reform" because we wanted to emphasize that we will not change the essence of the Russian educational system - its fundamental principles will remain in place.
The Russian educational system is has at its foundation a systemic approach based on standards for higher and school education and so on. Many countries follow this principle of state standards, and we will keep it in place. We will continue to teach mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology and so on, that is, continue to give students a solid foundation in math and science. We will also keep to the principle of having a system based on free education.
The modernization program concentrates on three main priorities. First is to make education more accessible, including quality education for talented children. Good education should depend on the children’s abilities and not on their parents’ wallets. We want to make kindergartens more accessible (sometimes there are waiting lists to get in at the moment), and also gymnasiums and lyceums (which sometimes go by ability to pay rather than ability to learn) and make higher education more accessible (it can be hard for students from Siberia and the Far East to get into universities in the European part of the country).
The second priority is to improve the quality of education at every level so that schoolchildren do not need to get tutors to help them get into universities and so that university teaching itself is of a better quality, as there has been a drop in standards in many cases since paying for education began.
The third priority is to make more effective use of budget money for education. We still have a socialist-style system in place: We finance educational establishments based on past estimates of their needs. In Volgograd Oblast, for example, where I’m from, the tractor plant has cut production three-fold, the chemicals plant likewise, but the local educational establishments continue training people to work in these areas. Not one department and not one chair has closed. At the same time, half of the graduates of pedagogical institutes do not go on to become teachers, but pedagogical institutes are not very well-funded. In other words, funds are not being distributed effectively.
TRJ: Work has begun to introduce a single-exam system that will set a common state exam for all final-year schoolchildren, but there is still a great deal of debate among specialists about the merits of this system. How long will it take to get it working throughout the country?
VF: This is a major innovation that has two aims: To make higher education more accessible and to improve the quality of school education. The experiment is proceeding at an active pace. In 2003, 47 of the country’s 89 regions took part. In 2004, 64 regions will take part, and three-quarters of all final-year schoolchildren will take the single exam.
At the same time, we have developed a system to seek out talented young people who compete in contests held by regions, with the winners then going on to universities without having to take exams. This has hugely increased the number of talented students getting into universities. There are now additional contests for different specialty areas (engineers, teachers, doctors, etc.).
The fact that Moscow and St. Petersburg are now joining the single-exam experiment shows that it is a success. None of the 47 regions that have tried it out have then backed out of continuing to use it. For the regions, the single exam is not so much about getting into university as about getting an objective assessment of the quality of school education.
When people talk of debate surrounding the exam, what you should remember is that children and parents come out in favor of the exam because it gives children greater possibilities for getting into different universities. They don’t need to travel anywhere, they don’t need to go call on the guy from the university-acceptance commission, and they don’t need to make sure they have the right tutor from the same university like today.But tutors and various university-acceptance commissions are against the exam because it cuts them off from the lucrative business of entrance exams. And school directors and teachers protest against the exam because it establishes greater control over their work. But school directors and teachers who do good, honest work and know that their school will do well support the exam.
The exam will support good schools and good teachers. We had wanted to have the exam in place nationwide by 2005, but we won’t manage to do it and will probably have it in place by summer 2006.
TRJ: It’s no secret that there is little work for scientists in Russia. Many Russian science graduates end up finding work abroad. What is happening now with the brain drain, and will education reform do anything to help stop it?
VF: Russia is integrating into the world economy in all ways, including the flow of intellectual capital. Like financial capital, intellectual capital goes where conditions are good.
Of course, Russia must try to create these attractive conditions. At the 50th anniversary of Novosibirsk Technical University, the president said that we should try to create a certain mentality in our society, and that if a talented young scientist works here, we should pay him $3,000 [a month]. But the average university lecturer is still making only 3,000 rubles. Unfortunately, changing mentalities is a long and difficult process.
But though the state cannot give a lot of money to science overall at the moment, it must ensure more effective training for scientists. There is a new program that will start working from next year. Under this system, students will be able to enroll in a university under this program and have free tuition, but after their five years of study, they will either have to work for a time where the state sends them or pay back their tuition costs. This will give the state the chance to send teachers to villages and doctors to hospitals and so on. This system could also be used for scientific professions to encourage scientists to stay in Russia. The law on this program makes this possibility available. We will use economic methods and this kind of targeted program for spending the limited funds we have.
TRJ: A lot of universities, even the most prestigious ones, do not have all the modern equipment they need, making it hard to teach students up-to-date skills. What is being done in this area, and what is the ministry doing to help?
VF: There is only one way forward here, and that is to integrate universities and science. Rather than buying good equipment separately for universities and for scientific-research institutes and the Russian Academy of Sciences, there should be more integration. For example, we have signed agreements with the sections of the Academy of Sciences on locating our faculties in the academies more and more. This will eventually create a group of universities that are involved in research and training researchers but, instead of having their own laboratories, are working with the Academy of Sciences, which still has a huge potential. Like elsewhere in the world, we need to bring science and universities closer together and ensure, for example, that the best clinics are university clinics rather than particular city hospitals, which will lead to better medical training in medical schools.
TRJ: The higher-education boom has led to a bribery boom, which is in part due to teachers’ low wages. Is something being done about this?
VF: There is a lot of truth in this. There is a general state strategy for fighting corruption, because it’s not possible to fight corruption in one sector alone. Of course there is a problem with corruption and the use of connections for getting into universities. It is partly for this reason, but only partly, that the single-exam system is being introduced. This leaves the problem of bribery within the university system when students pay to be given a passing grade in exams - and not even always out of laziness but because the teachers demand it. This is a question of developing democracy within Russian society and within each educational establishment.
As part of the Bologne process that Russia is now involved in, we want each educational establishment to create a quality-control system that involves students and employers and for final exams to be graded by different teachers than the ones who taught the course, as with the single-exam system.
We hope to resolve many problems in this way. I have already set up a special commission that journalists have dubbed "the quality police." If I hear, say, through the Internet of problems at some university or other, than this brigade will go there. They will take with them a list of questions on the courses taught, give them to the students, collect the answers and bring them back to Moscow. If the answers are good, then it shows the university is working normally. Bribes, after all, are a problem where the teaching quality is poor.
TRJ: Now, there are many private universities and for-pay sections at state universities. Does this lower the quality of education?
VF: It hasn’t done anything yet to improve the quality of education. These newly created universities do not have the years of tradition that make higher education what it is. This is a problem because there are so many private universities now. But a civilized market for education services is now beginning to emerge, and the competition is forcing state universities to make more efforts to attract students away from the private sector. More and more graduates are going to state universities, even if also on a tuition-paying basis. They have realized that studying in private universities gives them a piece of paper but won’t guarantee that they find work afterward.
I think the problem of the number of students in private universities is exaggerated, for they are only 8 percent of the total. There are hardly any separate fee-paying sections in state universities. The fee-paying students study together with the others, and it is prohibited to separate them. They enter the university in different ways - some compete for free-tuition places, and others pay fees - but after that they all study following the same program.
This is a problem in any country. I wouldn’t say that we have a higher-education boom; it’s just that higher education has become more of a mass phenomenon. When something takes on a mass scale like this, no matter whether it’s shoes, clothes or education, it’s impossible to keep the quality the same throughout. You end up with differing quality; better in some places, average in others, not so good in others again.
TRJ: There has to be demand for education from society and employers. Do you have statistics on which graduates from which universities are in greatest demand with employers?
VF:There’s a paradoxical situation today of having too many graduates in law and economics. These professions have been fashionable for too long. At the same time, there are not enough genuinely good economists and lawyers in Moscow and elsewhere in the country. There are a lot of law and economics departments, but they produce few good graduates.
All professions connected to information technologies are in demand - computer-security specialists, [and specialists in] statistics, applied mathematics etc.
The main thing is that it is clear today that one diploma is not enough on the labor market. It’s good to have a second diploma, or at least to have some proof of additional skills as well.
This is why we need additional education services. We are only at the beginning of this road at the moment, and universities are making money the easy way by offering for-pay higher education. But they have not yet developed a system of additional education services. Unlike many American universities, which are a lot richer, ours are empty over the summer. Everyone is on vacation, and there is nothing going on. But they could hold language courses, for example, invite specialists, organize camps and so on. Unfortunately, we have not yet learned how to do this.
TRJ: During the Soviet years, people said that Russians read more than anyone else in the world, but now young people do not read much, especially not the classics. Does this mean that the quality of education now is lower than during the Soviet years?
VF: You know, I liked President Vladimir Putin’s answer when someone complained that today’s generation is worse than the previous one. He said that each new generation is better than the last, because if we take the opposite logic, the Neanderthals were better than us. I think it was a good answer.
Each new generation is always better overall - and also different. We used to get a lot more information through paper, through reading books, but children today have far more information at their disposal. They get it not just from books but also from television and the Internet, and they do read, even if not the classics, and they read a lot more than before.
The thing is that there was a simpler and more understandable system before of education through literature. Today, we cannot use only books to educate because the world we live in has changed. Times have changed and so have people. We need to find new approaches to children and new teaching methods, and we need to move away from authoritarian teaching to a more co-operative teaching style.