|Российская наука и мир|
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
Mikhail Lukin is famous in the Russian scientific community. The young scientist graduated with honors from Moscow Physicotechnical Institute in 1996, leaving for the United States to do a postgraduate degree there.
After getting his degree, Lukin began research work at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where, with Ron Walsworth, he carried through a unique experiment of stopping a beam of light.
Even if they succeeded for only a split second, it was an extraordinary event for world science. Writing up the Smithsonian experiment, the press worldwide suggested that the theory of relativity had been refuted, that the day a quantum computer would be created was near, and even that time travel might occur because modern physics links stopping light to stopping time.
In Russia, his phenomenal success was written up just as extensively. But there was a distinctly bittersweet feel to the commentary: the unique experiment by the Russian scientist was performed in America, not Russia, and it was not fortuitous.
Lukin himself was correct when he told a Russian television network, "In Russia, science is slowly dying".
The talented young physicist's story epitomized the daunting problem that emerged in Russia in the early 1990s, namely, a serious brain drain - many scientists insist it is a national disaster.
Funding for Russian science - deemed the "world's-best" during the Soviet era - has dwindled. The average pay for a scientist has dropped below the breadline. Grants from foreign and domestic foundations could not help everyone, and whole research institutes began to quit science.
The brain drain became enormous. Some academics pursued a second career in business. Others took up civil service jobs in the government. Those truly dedicated to their scientific calling looked abroad, offering their talent to universities and research centers in the United States, Canada and Western Europe.
Lukin doesn't belong to any of these camps. He is a member of the younger, new generation of Russian "brains" that are draining. The standard of tertiary education, still quite high in Russia, enables graduates of the better Russian higher educational institutions to find jobs abroad.
Of course, this is not the case in the humanities, where few if any scholars quit the country and rarely if ever do so until a mature age when they have built strong academic credentials at home.
By contrast, students specializing in sciences, particularly from the better-known establishments with a rich scientific tradition, remain in demand abroad.
According to Rector Viktor Sadovnichy of Moscow State University (MGU), only half of 1 percent of Russian graduates leave the county, but that's the cream of the crop - 10 percent to 15 percent of the alumni of the country's best advanced schools.
Yuri Samarsky, Deputy Rector of Moscow Physicotechnical Institute (MFTI), says 5 percent of MFTI graduates found jobs abroad last year.
Young mathematicians and biologists from Russia get an even better reception.
Out of the 400 graduates of Moscow State University's faculty of mechanics and mathematics, about 60 find jobs abroad yearly.
While there are no exact statistics, university people familiar with the matter say some 100,000 mathematicians may have left the country to work abroad over the last few years.
The Public Opinion Foundation recently attempted to find out how Russians feel about the brain drain.
Sixty-one percent said the main reason why scientists were moving abroad was the low pay in Russia. Significantly, only 20 percent of respondents reproached them. However, almost 90 percent were concerned about the brain drain.
Russians were practically unanimous (99 percent) in saying the government must reduce the exodus.
What kind of measures are possible? In the second half of the 1990s, a federal law was adopted mandating that the state spend no less than 3 percent of the budget on science and education.
But that was wishful thinking. The government cannot provide the money, so administrators at research institutions are on their own.
MGU's Sadovnichy reports that his university has started acting without edicts from on high, with a "100-plus-100" program instituted whereby 100 young candidates of science may become assistant professors, and 100 young doctors of science may become full professors.
"Thanks to this, about a thousand young people forged a career in the university five to 10 years faster, and that shows in their pay", Sadovnichy explains.
Recently, MGU tested another innovation enabling promising young candidates in the sciences to take a two-year research internship abroad, with a decent salary paid by the university.
Such measures, supplemented with grants and bonuses abroad, are being adopted by all Russian higher educational and research institutions that value their intellectual potential. Scientists do insist that the door abroad must be open at all times: by its very nature, science is international and tends to wither away without academic communication and the exchange of experience globally.
But would that door swing both ways? After all, not only must the best minds travel abroad, they must return to share their knowledge and passion for science with new generations of Russian scientists.
© Copyright 2002, Xinhua News Agency, all rights reserved
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Victor Mikhaylov had high hopes when he left his native Chelyabinsk to work as a programmer at a promising Internet-based company on the U.S. West Coast in 2000, at the height of the technology boom. Three years later, the U.S. high-tech sector is in shambles and Mikhaylov, like many other Russian scientists, engineers and programmers who left for jobs abroad, is back working in Russia. The high-tech crisis in the West coupled with the growth of technology-driven Russian companies is sending skilled Russian techies scrambling for jobs back home. Industry experts say 10 percent of those looking for work in the Russian IT sector are recent returnees or would-be repatriates. And this trend is likely to continue for at least two more years and will put a small dent in the technological brain drain that has plagued Russia for more than a decade, analysts said. Mikhaylov's case is a textbook example.* * *
In June 2000 he was hired by a company in Seattle, Washington, that sells digital music on the Internet. He survived layoffs that cut the number of company employees from about 90 to six. But when business got so bleak that the CEO moved the company into the basement of his home, Mikhaylov quit. He interviewed at Microsoft, Expedia.com and a telecom firm in Miami, Florida, but he couldn't land a job. With his wife already back in Moscow and his H1B visa running out, Mikhaylov reluctantly returned to Russia last October. Within a couple of months here, he had multiple offers - including his current job at Luxoft developing software for Dell.
"When American or European companies need to downsize, foreign employees are often the first to go," said Larisa Lukashyova, human resources manager at Spirit Corp., a Moscow software development firm with 100 employees. She says in the last couple of years she has hired five programmers who had been working abroad. "People are coming to us not only because of the crisis in America, but because there has been stable growth in the Russian IT sector," she said. In recent years, the domestic IT sector has expanded some 20 percent annually, causing salaries to rise steadily. Nonetheless, Lukashyova said, they continue to lag well behind those in the West. Oleg Tsetovich, an IT personnel consultant at Avenir & Partners, a Moscow recruitment agency, said Russians returning from abroad have skills and knowledge that are in demand. Often, they command higher salaries than their counterparts who have stayed at home.
"They speak English. They have great business connections. Plus they bring Western corporate culture back with them," he said. Like Lukashyova, he estimated that about 10 percent of the people seeking employment in the domestic IT sector are recent returnees or would-be repatriates. A4Vision, one of the country's hottest high-tech companies, was started by a pair of Russian scientists who moved back to Russia after working in Europe. The company, a developer of cutting-edge 3-D face recognition technology for security systems, maintains offices in Geneva and Silicon Valley - but all the researchers are in Moscow. Alexei Gostomelsky, the head of the firm's Moscow office, said the IT market trends coincided in a beneficial way for Russia. "At the same time the IT market was falling in the States, Russia started to grow and more opportunities became available for high-tech people here," he said. "It's difficult for pure researchers to come back to Russia.
But for applied scientists, now is a very good time." "They bring back unique skills like ... how to work in a team, project management skills and knowledge of how to work with Western people." he added. "That's important."
Understanding how to work with Westerners is especially crucial in a field as globally interconnected as the technology industry. Despite the ongoing high-tech crisis in the West, successful Russian technology companies depend primarily on sales to North American and European companies. Luxoft, a division of IBS, develops software for Dell, Boeing, IBM and other firms. Spirit's biggest buyer is Texas Instruments. A4Vision's customers include Logitech, Siemens and Bell Group. Software development centers established directly by large Western companies in Russia also employ many programmers. Sun Microsystems has about 500 programmers on staff in Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg and Moscow. Intel has 300 engineers at work at its research and development site in Nizhny Novgorod, while Motorola has 250 researchers based outside St. Petersburg. The IT division of Kelly Services, an employment agency, says that the trend of Russians coming home to work is likely to continue for at least two to three years. A sharp slowdown in high-tech emigration because of tighter visa regimes and a lack of jobs abroad has helped stem the brain drain that has afflicted Russia since the early 1990s. Mikhaylov, the programmer from Chelyabinsk, says he likes his job at Luxoft and he admits that the repatriation trend is ultimately good for Russia. But, he said, "If I could have found another job in the States, I never would have come back."
Rosbalt / 17/06/2003
Nobel Prize Laureates Meet in St. Petersburg
Лауреаты Нобелевской премии встречаются в Санкт-Петербурге
ST. PETERSBURG, June 16. A meeting of Nobel prize laureates triumphantly opened in the St. Petersburg academy of sciences center today. According to Rosbalt , Nobel prize winning Russian physicist Zhores Alferov welcomed the group of scientists. He said that it was the largest meeting of scientists in the history of Russian sciences. The meeting is not only dedicated to the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, but also the 300th anniversary of Russian science.
The organization committee told Rosbalt that 19 Nobel prize laureates arrived in St. Petersburg (one is one the way) from Belgium, Germany, US, Taiwan, Switzerland and Japan. The largest delegation of 12 people came from the US. The veterans of the group are German physicist Rudolph Mossbauer who received the award in 1961, and American physicist Raymond Davis who was awarded the prize in 2002.
The Nobel prize laureates will present lectures in the St. Petersburg science center, in the Gorky house of scientists and the science-education center at the Ioffe institute. The meeting of laureates is being conducted on the initiative of Zhores with sponsored financing. It was organized by the St. Petersburg academy of sciences, the fund for support of education and science (Alferovsky fund) and the Global Energy fund.
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The Associated Press/ June 16, 2003
Putin Presents Scientists With New Energy Prize
Президент Владимир Путин наградил российского и двух американских ученых новой ежегодной премией
ST. PETERSBURG, -- President Vladimir Putin presented two Americans and a Russian scientist with a new $900,000 prize for energy-related work in a ceremony at an ornate tsarist-era palace outside St. Petersburg Sunday.
The first recipients of the annual Global Energy Prize, whose names were announced earlier this spring, were physics professor Nick Holonyak Jr., Ian Douglas Smith of the California-based Titan Corp.'s Pulse Sciences Division and Gennady Mesyats of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Putin awarded the men, who will share the prize money, at a ceremony in the newly restored Konstantin's Palace in Strelna, on the Gulf of Finland near the former imperial capital.
The award, established last year, was an initiative of Zhores Alferov, the 2000 Nobel Prize laureate in physics, Itar-Tass reported.
According to the news agency, it is supported by three companies in energy-rich Russia: state-connected natural gas monopoly Gazprom, nationwide utility Unified Energy Systems and the country's largest oil company, Yukos.
Speaking at the ceremony, Putin said it was "deeply symbolic and natural" that the prize was created by Russia, which he called "one of the recognized leaders on the world energy market, with enormous experience in international cooperation in this sphere," Itar-Tass reported.
The prize criteria are loosely tied to any kind of energy-related development, with preference given to work that promotes ecologically clean energy production, boosts energy-conserving mechanisms or makes a breakthrough in research into renewable energy.
Holonyak was cited for his invention of a device for regulating electric current, and of the first semiconducting light-emitting diodes in a visible part of the spectrum. Such diodes are widely used, and brighter versions are likely to become the low-power replacement for the light bulb in the future.
Mesyats and Smith are known for development of methods to move electricity from place to place without loss.
Putin underscored the importance of the search for alternative energy sources and said that Russia - the world's No. 2 oil producer and a major exporter of natural gas to Europe - can play a role in maintaining stability in energy markets.
© Copyright 2003 The Associated Press
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Корпорация Isonics спонсирует международную конференцию "Высокочистые моноизотопные полупроводники, анализ, свойства и применения", которая будет проходить с 19 по 22 июня в Нижнем Новгороде
GOLDEN, Colo. (BUSINESS WIRE) June 17, 2003 -- Isonics Corporation (NASDAQ:ISON), a leader in the development of isotopically engineered semiconductor materials, a supplier of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers, and isotopes for life sciences and health care applications, announced that for the second year it is sponsoring the Conference on "High Purity Mono-isotopic Silicon Production, Analysis, Properties, and Applications," to be held June 19 through 22 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.* * *
The conference is organized by a scientific committee consisting of internationally known scientists and researchers from Russia, Germany, Japan, and Belgium. Over 100 attendees are expected at the Conference, which will be hosted by the Institute of Chemistry of High-Purity Substances of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a well-known and respected high-purity materials research facility.
Over 30 papers are expected to be presented on topics including new methods and improvements of enriching silicon isotopes; the economics of silicon isotope production; production of single crystals of silicon-28; the unique properties obtained through isotopic purification; and new potential applications. Isonics supports the Conference in its efforts to further the use of enriched silicon in semiconductor applications. Isonics currently has a number of commercial evaluation programs in various stages of testing of silicon-28 wafers for a wide range of applications in the semiconductor industry and has a Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRADA) with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to investigate the properties of silicon isotopes.
About Isonics Corporation
Isonics is a world leader in isotopically engineered materials and produces isotopically pure silicon-28 chemicals and wafers and silicon-on-insulator wafers (SOI) for the semiconductor industry. Isonics also markets and sells stable isotopes for the health care industry such as Oxygen-18 for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. The company is also a leading supplier of several radioactive isotopes used in medical imaging and therapy. Isotopes can be thought of as ultra pure materials.
Except for historical information contained herein, this document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the Company's actual results or outcomes to be materially different from those anticipated and discussed herein, and which may result in the parties being unable or unwilling to complete the transaction described herein. Further, the Company operates in industries where securities values may be volatile and may be influenced by regulatory and other factors beyond the Company's control. Other important factors that the Company believes might cause such differences are discussed in the risk factors detailed in the Company's 10-KSB for the year ended April 30, 2002 as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which include the Company's cash flow difficulties, dependence on significant customers, and rapid development of technology, among other risks. In assessing forward-looking statements contained herein, readers are urged to carefully read all cautionary statements contained in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Rosbalt / 17/06/2003
VIII International Nuclear Physics Conference Gets Under Way in Moscow
С 17 по 21 июня в Москве пройдет VIII международная конференция "Столкновения ядер - 2003"
MOSCOW, June 17. The VIII international nuclear physics conference Nucleus-nuclear collisions-2003 will be held in Moscow on June 17 to 21. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, similar conferences are held every three years and are attended by over 250 leading nuclear physicists from 33 different countries.
Yuri Abov, a representative of the Russian Science Academy at the opening ceremony, said 'we are studying nuclear collisions to try to gain a better understanding of the structure of matter and the processes taking place in the universe.' He said that representatives of the leading nuclear research centres in the US, Japan, Germany, Italy and Russia would present the results of their work over the last three years. Other invitees include famous physicists, members of the Russian Science Academy and government representatives connected with the organisation and development of scientific research in the area of nuclear physics.
© 2000-2003 Rosbalt News Agency
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MOSCOW, June 3. Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Jacques Chirac have made a joint declaration on research in the Arctic region. As a Rosbalt correspondent was informed by the president's press office, one section of the declaration reads: 'Russia and France believe that the protection of the planet's indigenous peoples is an important factor for the development and protection of the environment, which is an important goal for both countries. The two leaders support the Russian State Polar Academy and the French Arctic Research Centre and Natural History Museum and their endeavours to raise the number of exchange students and researchers and in this way create a joint platform for higher education and scientific research in Russia and France.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is financing several training programmes at the Russian Polar Academy to prepare a team of researchers for travelling to the far north of Russia.
© 2000-2003 Rosbalt News Agency
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