Science and Education News

“Russia K” TV channel started to produce a new series of programs called "ACADEMIA". Within its framework, the viewers will get an opportunity to hear public lectures of the leading Russian scientists, including physicists Sergey Kapitsa, Jores Alferov, historian Andrey Sakharov, as is said in report of the channel’s press-service.
We have ambitious targets: to give an all-Russian auditory to the science stars of the 21st century, to broaden to the maximum the range of our compatriots interested in knowledge. The all-Russian TV chair will be given to Nobel prize-winner physicists Jores Alferov, director of the Russian History Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Andrey Sakharov, a famous linguist and philosopher Vyacheslav Ivanov, patriarch of Russian archaeology Valentin Yanin, biochemist academician Vladimir Skulachev, bioengineer academician Konstantin Skryabin,” said Sergey Shumakov, chief editor of the “Russia K” TV channel, whose words are quoted in the report.
According to Shumakov, the TV channel will give air not only to the leading figures in science, but also to young scholars, including prize-winners of the Russian President’s awards.
The channel’s press-service reminds that the tradition to broadcast popular science lectures on Russian TV dates back to the mid-1950-s and early 1960s. Among the examples of the genre are TV-lectures delivered by the culture expert Yury Lotman, philologist and academician Dmitry Likhachev, historian Lev Gumilev.
“Reviving this most important TV tradition, organizers of "ACADEMIA" project gave it renewed momentum. We are speaking about an immeasurably larger scale, about involving the newest achievements in multimedia and modern television technologies. However, the essence remains the same: the live speech of authoritative scientists expounding fundamental scientific knowledge in the format of popular lectures understandable to as many people as possible,” the report says.
According to professor Kapitsa, such program format will enable “to show on TV the voices of outstanding scientists, and essentially the voice of reason against the background of ignorance that reigns today”.
In TV studio turned into a modern lecture hall with the help of new design, the greatest scientists and scholars of our country will give lectures to senior and post-graduate students from the leading Moscow colleges and universities, such as Moscow State University, Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, Russian State Humanitarian University, taking into consideration their own interests.
“Each scientist will give a lecture or a series of lectures reflecting his or her vision of the topical scientific and social problems. The speeches will not become mere recital of highly specialized problems. They will reflect scientific achievements, discoveries, and forecasts on the most interesting and important issues of history and civilization development. They will be not only scientific, but also social messages for our compatriots, reflecting the vision of the scientist,” is noted in the report.
Right after the lecture there will be time for Q&A.
“It will be very interesting for me to communicate both with people in the studio and with TV audience. It will inspire me and give me more impetus in my further work. This is because the task of a scientist is not only to sit and create fundamental scientific works, but also to speak directly to people, to the nation the about the conclusions made at the desk,” said the historian Sakharov, cited by the press-service of the channel.
Source: RIANovosti
In the upcoming couple of weeks Medvedev is to name the place for building the Centre for Research and Development. The question of what such a “Techno park” should be like seems to have been solved, but the question of where to put it is still open.
From the point of view of infrastructure and access to educational resources, the Moscow region in general, and especially its part closest to Moscow, certainly seems the most attractive place. Sure, the Silicon Valley in the USA is far from the centre of the country, but it is 20 miles from San Francisco international airport. To make such a centre accessible and attractive, an airport should be not just close, but very close to it. Besides, it should be an international airport.
The next factor is infrastructure. It is well-developed in Moscow: historically, not many scientific centres were situated away from Moscow. Certainly, there are Tomsk and Novosibirsk, but the centres there are highly specialized, there are no good, quality colleges and universities there. There are few of them even in Moscow, but still there is something to make a good university and a scientific centre from.
Another factor is climate. It is cold in Siberia, and this probably will stop many foreign specialists. For many, comfort is an important, decisive factor. Why move from sunny California to 40 degrees below zero? We should understand that beside “institutional” we also have natural restrictions that we should control as far as possible.
Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, has signed a decree abolishing the Federal Agency for Science and Innovation and Federal Agency for Education, and transferring their functions to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. He ordered the Government of Russia to take necessary measures for realization of the decree, and to change its official documents according to it. The decree comes into force on the day of its official publication, according to the document.
“Determine that the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation is the legal successor of the Federal Agency for Science and Innovation and Federal Agency for Education, including obligations arisen from the execution of court decisions,” is stated in the decree.
Federal Agency for Science and Innovation (Rosnauka) and Federal Agency for Education (Rosobrazovanie) were established in 2004 and were under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.
Federal Agency for Science and Innovation determined the state policy in the scientific sphere, ran state property in the spheres of scientific, technical, and innovative activities, was the customer of federal special purpose programs in the fields of science, technology, and innovations. Rosnauka was headed by Sergey Mazurenko.
Federal Agency for Education, headed by Nikolay Bulaev, offered state services, ran state property, and had law enforcement duties in the sphere of education, upbringing and youth policy.
The agency organized the work of educational institutions of general, professional, and additional education, refresher courses and retraining for scholars and teachers of the state institutions of higher professional education.
Source: RIANovosti
Since the end of 2007 Opera Software company has charged Microsoft with antitrust offense because of the use of Internet Explorer browser in all its operating systems. From this week on the problem will partly be solved: PC users from France, UK, and Belgium will get a window in which they will be able to choose a browser on default. Since March 1 this option will be available for all EU residents. Eurocomission approved of this variant, which had been proposed by Microsoft itself.
The list available to PC users consists of 12 browsers: 5 main ones (Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera) that will be seen on the first page, and 7 additional ones (AOL Explorer, K-Meleon, Flock, Avant Browser, Sleipnir, Maxthon browser, and SlimBrowser) on the second page. It is also added that the browsers will be listed at random.
Soon all the people in EU who use Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 will get a notice of this update, which can be installed through Windows Update service.
Let us remind that Internet Explorer has 45.4% of the European market, Firefox has 39.3%, Chrome – 6.4%, Opera – 4.3%, and Safari – 3.7%.
At present, storage capacity of a Blu-ray disk is 25 GB. Thanks to i-MLSE (Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation) technology, presented by Sony and Panasonic, it may rise up to 33.4 GB, and with the use of two-layer disk it will allow to obtain a disk with storage capacity up to 66 GB.
I-MLSE (Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation) technology allows to enhance reading and writing quality of Blu-ray disks thanks to the use of a special signal-processing method, which works on the principle of partial response maximum likelihood — PRML.
One of the main advantages of the technology is its full compatibility with the existing devices for reading and writing Blu-ray disks.
It is worth mentioning that this technology is not a novelty, but until this time its implication was hindered by instability of synchronization in work with disks of high recording density. Developers solved this problem with the help of i-MLSE technology.
According to the representatives of Sony and Panasonic, the companies plan to promote the use of i-MLSE technology within the framework of Blu-ray Disc Association. Today the companies are ready to start producing two-layer disks with storage capacity of 66.8 GB. If Blu-ray keeps developing at such speed, soon we will be able to get optical disks with storage capacity equal to that of modern hard disks.
Victor Sadovnichy, President, Russian Rectors’ Council, Rector, Moscow State University, academician, declared that the test of first-year students’ real knowledge, conducted in Russian higher education institutions, had shown the decrease in the quality of school education. “Both last-year and this-year tests have shown that the quality of school education is decreasing,” stated Victor Sadovnichy at the meeting of Russian Rectors’ Council.
He also stressed that the analysis of the quality of knowledge was made on the material of control works. As a step to increase the quality of education in Russian schools, he proposed to organize refresher courses for teachers in all higher education institutions of the country. “Our universities should organize refresher training institutions for school teachers,” he added.
On November 10 Andrey Fursenko, Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, made a report to the President, and at the same time heard an interesting lecture from Dmitry Medvedev, ex-lecturer on Roman law of Leningrad State University.
- I have signed the decree on the status of Moscow and St. Petersburg State Universities, the President informed Fursenko.
St. Petersburg and Moscow State Universities, the most prestigious universities of our country, will now stand aloof of all other higher education institutions in Russia. These universities are now officially free from the Unified State Examination, they are allowed to hold their own traditional exams. Moscow and St. Petersburg State Universities will establish their own educational standards, requirements, and will issue their own diplomas, equated with the state ones. The President himself will assign rectors of the country’s two main universities. These changes pursue an ambitious purpose – to range Moscow State University and St. Petersburg State University with the largest world universities, to design a special development program for them.
“Certainly, I don’t think that these two universities should rule higher school,” the President specified, “These are really our largest educational centres, probably the best universities in terms of their staff – that is the way it is.”
Medvedev regretted, that the main Russian universities were far from the top of the international rating. However, the list of the world’s best universities is often very subjective. The President considers that universities should be rated according to citation rating of their scientific works.
“Naturally, this idea is based on international experience, though it is not universal,” Medvedev explained. “Nevertheless, it should be adopted.”
Fursenko and his ministry now have a task: to reform higher education institutions in a way that will make them more competitive, make studying more interesting and comfortable, and provide an opportunity for students and lecturers to share experience with other higher education institutions, including international ones.
“We are endeavouring to work,” Fursenko got enthusiastic, “With your permission, at the end of the year, according to the terms, I will report to you about the taken steps.”
Source: Komsomolskaya Pravda
“Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation approved of new admission regulations for higher education institutions. At present, the decree on the new admission regulations is under registration in the Ministry of Justice,” announced Igor Remorenko, Director, Department of State Policy and Education of the Ministry of Education and Science.
Igor Remorenko noted, that “there will be few essential differences from this year’s regulations: reduction of the number of stages of admission to a higher education institution from three to two; ability of higher education institutions to assign minimal marks not only for core subjects, but also for others; reduction of target admission from 30% to 20%; limitation of the number of applications.”
“Rectors suggested to make a limit, so that a person could apply only to three higher education institutions, but we consider this measure too strict,” stressed director of the department. In the final text of the regulations the stated limit for applications is five universities and three exams in each, which is quite adequate for a range of interests of the overwhelming majority of applicants”.
In general, final examinations for students and admittance to higher education institutions in 2010 will be better tuned and more habitual, as estimated by Igor Remorenko. “The regulation of conducting Unified State Examinations were already approved of this year, in February. The new admission regulations for higher education institutions will be valid on a permanent basis. In this way, the regulations of conducting examinations are stated in general, and are of long duration,” he said.
Source: Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation,
Dmitry Medvedev, the President of Russian Federation, signed a decree granting state-financed academic and higher education institutions the right to establish small enterprises for implementation of innovations.
Federal law “On amendments to certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation on the establishment of business entities by state-financed academic and educational institutions with a view to practical application of the results of intellectual activity” was adopted by State Duma on July 24, 2009, was approved of by the Council of Federation on July 27, and enters into force from August 15, 2009.
The law stipulates granting to state-financed academic and educational institutions the right to establish business entities, the activity of which will consist in practical application of the results of intellectual activity, exclusive rights to which belong to these academic and educational institutions, as informs the Kremlin press-service.
The law also stipulates, that if a business entity is established in cooperation with other parties, the interest of a state-financed academic (educational) institution must exceed 25% (in case of a joint-stock company) or one third (in case of a limited liability company).
Besides, the income from the disposal of interest (shares) in authorized capital stock of business entities, as well as parts of revenue of the business entities, received by state-financed academic and educational institutions, enter into their own disposal and are used only for legal protection of the results of intellectual activity, compensation payments to authors, and fulfillment of chartered activities of these institutions.
Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation came forward with an initiative to reduce the number of priority directions of science and technology development during the crisis. According to ITAR-TASS, the declaration was made by Sergey Ivanov, Vice-Premier, at the meeting of the Governmental Committee on High Technologies and Innovations.
Sergey Ivanov elaborated on the solution proposed by the ministry. According to him, after the analysis of each of the selected directions “the most promising ones from the point of view of technological and innovative development of Russia” will be chosen. In this way, vice-premier specified, the priorities of science development in the country will be made more precise, and the necessary resource concentration in the remaining directions will be ensured. The government will prefer the projects that will provide “maximum effect” in “ensuring national security, raise in manufacturing competitive ability, stable social and economic development”.
Besides, the Vice-Premier stressed that the economic situation with attracting new staff to high-tech branches is critical.
“The basis of policy of the Russian Federation in the sphere of science and technology development before 2010 and in further prospect” was adopted in 2002 by the then-President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. In his speech at the united meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Presidium of the State Council of the Russian Federation, and Council on High Technologies and Innovations, Vladimir Putin called the list of the priority directions of science development “short”.
There already was a reduction of the number of priority directions in 2004. Then seven direction out of nine were left, and the number of critical technologies was reduced from 52 to 33. Such scientific directions, as the development of space and aviation technologies and modern transport technologies, stopped being priorities.
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