In the past year Russian researchers achieved significant success in various fields of science – from astronomy to molecular biology. Results of their work were published in world’s leading science journals. We spoke to young scientists from Kazan University to learn what had become a breakthrough in the fields of their specialization.
Mr. Mikhail Varfolomeev, Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry Department of A. M. Butlerov Institute of Chemistry, told us about several discoveries and achievements in chemistry.
On August 27, 2013 scientists from Sweden confirmed existence of the 115th chemical element. For the first time this element was discovered in 2004 by Russian scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna. To include this element to Mendeleev’s Period Table one needs its existence to be confirmed by two more groups of scientists. An international group headed by physicists from Lund University (Sweden) was the first to do that in 2013. Experiments were conducted in Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, GSI (Darmstadt, Germany). The essence of the experiments was thin americium film bombing with calcium ions. The result was 30 atoms of a new element. Swedish scientists managed to repeat results of researches done in Russia. It was the most important achievement in chemistry in 2013.
(Find more details on: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130828-science-chemistry-115-element-ununpentium-periodic-table/?rptregcta=reg_free_np&rptregcampaign=20131016_rw_membership_n1p_intl_ot_w# и http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/28/world/europe/new-chemical-element/)
Solar Power Engineering
New energy source development is one of the top-priority fields of chemistry. Works by a group of scientists from the USA and Japan in this sphere have become the most interesting in 2013 (http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n2/full/ncomms2411.html). They obtained the first organic polymer with the solar energy transformation efficiency of over 10 %. This is a great step to development of high-performance tandem solar cells. Furthermore, in September, 2013 scientists from Germany managed to break a record in efficiency of silicon solar cells (http://phys.org/news/2013-09-world-solar-cell-efficiency.html). Now it reaches 44.7 %. One more work done by an international group of scientists from Germany, Sweden and China, published in Science journal, can also be mentioned in this sphere (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6123/1057). All the aforesaid certainly makes a significant contribution to solar power engineering development.
Works in the sphere of biochemistry became the most popular in 2013. Two of them can be mentioned here. The first one (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6116/189) is devoted to development of artificial low-molecular machine for protein synthesis. This machine moves along the molecular chain, picking up amino acids which block its way to synthesize peptides of a certain sequence. Chemical structure of the machine is based on a rotaxane fragment (molecular threaded ring on a molecular axis).
Scientists from Edinburgh developed and introduced a procedure of stem cell obtaining using 3D-printing (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-21328109). In future this technology can become a breakthrough in ready organ and laboratory-made tissue transplantation. One more interesting work was published in Nature Chemistry journal in January by scientists from Cambridge. The work is devoted to quantitative visualization of DNA of G-quadruplex structures in human cells (http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v5/n3/full/nchem.1548.html#affil-auth).
Mr. Oleg Gusev, teaching assistant of Invertebrate Zoology and Functional Histology Department of the Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology, told us about projects in the sphere of medicine and pharmaceutics.
Science ranking is very good, especially for biological sciences. I can name the following as “interesting stepping stones for 2014 with interesting data expected”:
1. Systems of genome modification using CRISP and TALEN methods.
2. Access to Vostok lake and qualitative analysis of its inhabitants.
3. Experiments on blind man curing with the help of iPS, launched in RIKEN.
4. Deep analysis of whole genome of the Neanderthal man and Denisova hominin.
5. DNA damage analysis procedure, which has just appeared and permits to see “breakomes” –landscapes of DNA breakages along the whole genome.
Mr. Ayrat Khasyanov, the Director of Higher School of Information Technologies and Information Systems, told us about achievements expected in the sphere of Information Technologies in the next few years.
- Breakthrough in the sphere of microphotonics.
- New technologies for computer memory.
- Printed circuit boards on flexible organic materials.
- New achievements in the sphere of quantum computers.
- New achievements in the sphere of man-computer interface.
- Mass penetration of robots and smart technologies into everyday life.
- New achievements thanks to access to big data generated by the Internet.
- Implants, including brain implants, which can restore brain functions lost after apoplectic stroke.
- Achievements in the sphere of information security.
- Additive production.
- New educational technologies based on open access to educational materials.
- Mass use of various smart portable devices.