From Yu.S. Osipov's book
«Academy of Sciences in the History of the Russian State» Moscow, «NAUKA», 1999
A new stage in the life of the Academy of Sciences began since the early nineties. It was a difficult, complicated and dramatic period. The collapse of the USSR and the habitual state and social institutions, a deep economic crisis, a legal vacuum are far from all the problems facing the Academy of Sciences. In 1991, the situation grew worse with a wide scale campaign of discreditation of the Academy of Sciences in the eyes of society, attempts to separate the Academic community from institutes, and set up a faceless association of institutes, to dissolve the Academy of Sciences by analogy with liquidation of all-Union structures under a pretext of fighting totalitarianism. This was frequently based on an understanding of democracy as all-out permissiveness with no serious responsibility. But the Academy has withstood. A decisive role was played by the decree of President of the RF of November 21, 1991. On the Reconstruction of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Despite the hardest political, economic, social and psychological problems in the country, the Academy of Sciences has preserved its unity. It remains the main scientific center of Russia, and one of the leading scientific centers of world science. The major scientific achievements of the nineties are an obirous proof of it. Let me mention some of them.
The fundamental results were obtained by mathematicians in classical and new branches arising lately. A number of problems posed many decades ago in the number theory, algebra, geometry, topology, probability theory, mathematical physics, differential equations, and other fields have been solved. Studies on mathematical modeling and image recognition led to creation of effective methods of solution of important theoretical and applied problems. Multiprocessor computer systems of the domestic supercomputer line have been created. A number of complicated applied problems have been solved.
Major discoveries extending our ideas of the Universe and, in particular, understanding of the processes of the galaxy formation at the early stages of the Universe evolution were made in astrophysics. Thus, by means of a 6-meter optical telescope at the Academy Special Astrophysical Laboratory, images of the remotest galaxies with red shifts up to 7 were received. At the radio telescope of the Physical Institute of the Academy of Sciences at Pushchino, radiation of a pulsar known as the brightest source of X-ray radiation was discovered, and at the 6-meter optical telescope, optical pulsations of this object.
Russian scientists continue to occupy leading positions in a number of branches of modern physics. This is the physics of quantum liquids and crystals, semiconductor heterostructures, laser physics, the physics of extreme conditions, high-precision relativist electronics, the physics of colliding beams, and a number of other directions.
Major scientific plants have been launched for the last years. Russia’s unique impulse neutron complex on the proton beam of a high-precision accelerator has been started. The world’s only deep-water neutrino telescope on Lake Baikal was created. Literally the other day, the Globus tokamak plant was started.
Rare processes of decay of short-living k-mesons were studied on our plants. The world’s best limit for the neutrino mass in the state of rest was obtained. Major achievements marked the studies in the field of solid-state physics, plasma physics, optics and radiophysics.
Research into the physics of solid-state low-temperature nanostructures developed successfully.
Methods for receiving two-dimensional, one-dimensional (points) semicinductor heterostructures were worked out, and absolutely new devices such as injection lasers, transistors, etc., were created. They will become a basis for the elementary base of electronics in the 21th century.
Major achievements were made in relativist high-precision electronics.
Important research and developments with applications to industry, medicine, ecology and other fields have been carried out. A laser femtosecond microscope with record space resolution close to the fundamental theoretical limit has been created. A method of coherent optical tomography to construct object images hidden in strongly diffusing media has been worked out; optical tomographs for nondamaging diagnostics of biotissues to a depth of 2 mm have been created. Unique plasmotrons have been designed.
Major achievements were made in mechanics, solution of problems in machine-building, control, informatics and solution of physical engineering problems.
An effective method for opening the oil-bearing stratum and exploitation of oil wells with a substantial increase in their debit was offered. A new generationof walking robots capable of moving across surfaces with an arbitrary orientation in space was created. A method for synthesis of control of manipulation robots in case the information about the state is of qualitative character (of the “faster-slower” type) was designed. A system was created, providing for automatic extraction of significant information from textual messages. A number of important studies on the durability, resource and endurance of powerful turbines, and other power equipment were performed. A system of plasma destruction and neutralization of complex chloro-fluorocarbons causing destruction of stratospheric ozone was worked out for the first time.
The phenomenon of partial gas collapse in two-dimensional nonstationary nonautomodel compression of gas prisms was discovered. Construction of the general theory of wave solid-state gyroscope was completed. A number of difficult problems of control of complex systems were solved.
Works on ballistico-navigational support of flights on the MIR long-life orbital station and the international ALFA station were performed, including those necessary to provide for the transport ships PROGRESS M-37, 38,39, 40 and the manned SOYUZ TM 27,28 ships. Parameters of maneuvering necessary for approaching and docking the transport ships with the MIR station, the undocking and descent of the ships to a prescribed region were determined.
A new-generation mesoscale stochastic trajectory model for atmospheric displacement used as a basis for a Nostradamus computer system capable of predicting the radiation situation in emergencies at nuclear power stations was devised. A promising method for measuring the adhesion stability of the coating of gas turbine blades was created.
Major achievements were obtained in chemistry. A catalytic fixation of molecular nitrogen in soft conditions was discovered. An impact of weak magnetic fields on chemical reactions was discovered, and a new branch, so-called spin chemistry, was created.
Important results were obtained on catalytic transformations of hydrocarbons, photocatalysis, directed synthesis of physiologically active substances and high-molecular compounds, tunnel effects in chemical processes, kinetics of superfast reactions in nano- and femtosecond bandwidths, production and research of giant palladium clusters.
A family of chemical sensors of different use was created, new methods for monitoring the environment worked out, scientific foundations for ecologically safe chemical technologies were worked out.
Unique constructional and functional materials for new technologies were designed. Totally new methods for self-extending high-temperature synthesis of various substances were created. A new superstrong steel was developed, having no worlds analogs. Products are made from it by rolling and other methods for processing under pressure, and not by moulding.
Life sciences are one of the priorities of the nearest decades, and, possibly, of the whole 21st century. Our scientists determined the spatial structure of a number of proteins and peptides. Molecular mechanics of ion transport through biological membranes was studied. Informosomes playing an important role in transferring genetic information in the processes of biosynthesis are discovered. The structure and mechanisms of the ribosome functions playing a special role in protein synthesis were studied. The technique of noncellular proteing synthesis on ribosomes has been worked out. Problems of biochemistry and biotechnology, cellular biology, biophysics and bioenergetics are solved successfully. Original research into the genetic engineering of protein molecules with prescribed properties is performerd. Work on the studies of the human genome is in progress.
Together with colleagues from the Argonne National Laboratory, biochips were created, serving as express diagnosticums for identification of individual DNA molecules enabling with high precision to exhibit genetic defects in their structures. Unknown regulator molecules called mielopeptides were discovered, and their structure decoded. Together with the Immunology Institute under the Russian Health Ministry, new-generation vaccines were worked out; in particular, against flu and hepatitis. Original cancer- and TB-fighting medicines were created. New promising biologically active substances and medicines were produced from sea and ground plants, and animals.
New methods for ecological norming, based on analysis of the reaction of natural ecosystems against a toxic load, were worked out.
In spite of dramatic cuts on expedition research, new and previously formed directions in the earth sciences advances substantially. New outstanding geodetic and seismological data on geodynamical processes were obtained. An effective system for monitoring seismic events and control of nuclear tests, incorporated into the global system, was created. A new map of possible seismic threat on the CIS territory, which is part of the World Map worked out under the aegis of UNESCO, was published. We retained a leading position in the field of geochemistry of isotopes, ore-formation theory and dynamics of climatic processes.
Prompted by the academic scientists’ prognosis, the world’s oldest, Precambrian, oil was discovered in Eastern Siberia. A high estimate of oil content of the shelf of Arctic seas was confirmed, and unique reserves of hydrocarbons in the Far North and Western Siberia discovered. Discoveries of the most important industrially feasible reserves were predicted scientifically.
Models for redionuclides migration in the atmosphere, ocean, continental landscapes and underground hydrosphere were worked out.
Unique atlases of the Nature and Resources of the Earth, Snow and Ice Resources of the World, and Radioactive Pollution Resulted from Chernobyl Accident were created.
Of fundamental importance are the discoveries related to the dynamics of the World Ocean waters, serving as a basis for mathematical models of the general circulation of waters, and interaction of the ocean with the atmosphere. Space studies on the color of the surface layer of the ocean for the first time enabled to estimate the global biological productivity of the ocean waters. Progress in the field of social sciences is substantial.
In the past decade Russian historians introduced qualitative changes in the methods of historical research and substantially extended its sources.
A great number of documents became available, enabling to look at the known events and processes from a new angle, advancing totally different ideas and appraisals in the understanding of social transformations and modernization of social processes, in the analysis of international relations, and in the systems of social and state management.
A new treatment of the role of man and spiritual origins in history should be regarded as one of the most important achievements. The theory and comparative history of different types of civilizations, revealing the role and place of Russia in the world history was worked out intensely. Publishing fundamental generalizing works on the history of Russia and other countries, a series of documental publications of qualitatively new type, and monograph studies crowned tremendous research work. Important results in the studies of World Wars I and II wee obtained. A number of discoveries of the world level were made by native archeologists in this country and abroad. Historical education was renewed qualitatively on the basis of the newest achievements of historians, and new basic textbooks for schools and higher educational establishments were written. Remarkable encyclopedias were published.
In the field of philosophy, global social and scientific and technological processes of modern times were comprehended. Outstanding works were published.
The sociologists received impressive all-Russia data on the state and mechanism of functioning of pubic opinion during perestroika. Lawers determined basic tendencies in the development of modern law and the state in Russia and abroad. Dominating tendencies in the sphere of relations between the national minorities and the making of public self-government in Russia were revealed. Our scientists studied problems in the psychic development and psychodiagnostics of man in a changing world.
Stidies in the sphere of economics enabled to work out a conception and strategy o financial and monetary-credit policy for the purpose of recovery of the Russian economy. Modern decision-making technologies were offered, providing for a progressive structural transformation and economic growth. A concept for the state strategy in the social sphere in Russia was offered.
The Academy of Sciences worked out a concept of the modern stage in international relations as a forming multipole global system of correlations, reflecting the variety and integrity of the interests of a citizen, society, state and world community. With the account of confrontation and conflicts going on in the world, problems of national security in Russia were considered. Theoretical and practical problems of the economic security of Russia, its geoeconomic interests and relation with the “far” and “near” abroad were studied.
A long-term prognosis for development of the world economy and policies up to 2015 enabled to find the most probable variants of the making of new systems of international political and economic relations between the main countries, including Russia. Among practical results we must point out the elaboration of an expert classification of the priority interests of Russia, goals of the national and state policy, mechanisms and methods for their attainment.
The traditions of native philology developed successfully in recent years.
Literary critics paid special attention to Pushkin studies. The Pushkin House completed an 8-volume edition of A.S.Pushkin. Work Notebooks.
Studies on Old Russian literature continue. The publication of the multivolume series Monuments of Literature of Old Rus has been completed. A significant event in literary studies was the completion of the fundamental History of World Literature in 8 volumes.
Continuing the traditions of Acad. N/I/Tolstoy, folklore specialists actively work on collecting, studying and publishing works of spoken folk art. In recent years, a number of dictionaries and grammar books were prepared.
The Russian Language Federal Program was worked out, whose realization will prompt strengthening the state support for the Russian language.
The history of Russian emigrationis studied actively. An important place is occupied by a complex interdisciplinary program for studying Russian culture in the world context.
In the nineties, the Academy of Sciences preserved and developed the traditional directions of activities, which, of course, started acquiring new forms and shads, in accordance with new realities.
With an incredible effort, we preserved the system of academic book publishing. We publish about 200 scientific and 7 popular science journals, 150 of which are translated into English. We publish all major remarkable traditional series. Our staff members have written wonderful books, many of which are of great cultural value.
International ties are being developed. Today, the Academy of Sciences has about 100 bilateral cooperation agreements, takes part in realization of more than 40 intergovernmental egreements, and is a member of 236 international organizations, representing Russia in them.
We are developing and strengthening cooperation with the Academies of Sciences of the CIS countries, including that within the framework of the International Association of Academies. We actively cooperate with the National Academies of Sciences and scientific centers of France, the UK, Germany, U.S.A., India, Italy, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Israel, China, Japan, and other countries. The Academy of Sciences actively works on a mutually beneficial cooperation with foreign companies interested in joint applied studies.
Dozens of international scientific conferences were held in Russian for the last few years. Our workers also took an active part in other international conferences.
Following the tradition, the Academy of Sciences attaches a great importance to a cardinal rapprochement between science and education. Dozens of lyceums and colleges were set up. Scientific educational centers, academic universities and faculties were created. About 700 members of the Academy of Sciences and thousands of its workers are involved in education. The academic scientists wrote textbooks and manuals for schools and higher educational establishments. The closest interaction between our institutes and the country’s higher educational establishments is a strategic line of the academic activities. I have already said that they will be discussed in detail in June 8.
In recent years, the Academy of Sciences substantially extended its interaction with state structures on a professional basis.
I could mention just a few of the key directions of the academic activities in recent years.
It is not customary to talk about troubles and problems on such occasions as today. We have a lot of them, and they are well-known. Today, in the 275th year of the Academy, we can say that, with common efforts, we have preserved the Academy of Sciences, the invaluable asset of Russia. It is alive and developing. Its strength has been tested by time, due to the deep historical traditions cementing the Academy, and thanks to the selfless work of many generations of our workers.
In 275 years, Russia has managed to cultivate a unique tree of academic science bearing remarkable fruit for its people and works civilization, changing the image of this country. Powerful branches of the whole of Russian science and education, and many impressive achievements of our people have started out from this tree. Not every state is capable of doing this!
Storms and hurricanes striking our home-land sometimes break the branches of the tree of science, and inflict deep wounds. But the Academy and academic science will support Russia in all its basic deeds.