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by Academician Valery CHERESHNEV, Chairman of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The establishment of close links between science and production facilities- that was the central objective of the architects of what is now the Ural Branch (UB RAS) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Today the army of its researchers-including tens of specialized institutes, R&D and engineering centers-are facing a task of no lesser magnitude-to ensure scientific support for development strategy of the region at the start of the third millennium.
The date of birth of what we call the academic science in Ural was January 13, 1932. On that day the Secretariat of the USSR Central Executive Committee-the leading governing body of that time-adopted its decision on the organization of a comprehensive R&D base in Ural. The resolution was sponsored by the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the Ural Regional Branch of the Communist Party and the Secretariat of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR. Shortly after there began functioning in what was then Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) research centers of chemical, geological and geophysical profiles. The Ural Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences was headed by Acad. A Fersman. In 1935 it included the Ilmensky State Natural Preserve (established in 1920) and added in 1939 was the Ural Physico-Technical Institute (founded in 1932). Schools of scientific research were being organized in areas like the extraction and process-
PAS research center in the Urals.
ing of ores and other raws; chemistry of mineral raws and oil; science of metals and thermal treatment of steel, etc. Over the years all of these gained recognition in this and other countries. By the start of the 1940s they employed 140 research scientists and post-graduate courses were set up for the training of "young blood".
In the years of the Great Patriotic War with Nazi Germany our region was subordinated to defense needs and requirements. These activities were under rigid control of a special State Commission headed by Acad. I. Bardin (he was in charge of the Ural Branch of the USSR Academy from 1937 to 1957). Incidentally, part of the Presidium of the USSR Academy, including its President Acad. V Komarov, was evacuated from Moscow to Sverdlovsk from 1941 to 1943.
Among major projects implemented during the war one should single out the development of technology of manufacture of high-grade steel for the production of tanks, high-grade motor fuels from high-sulfide oils, manufacture of highly effective medicinal preparations of the sulfanilamides class, development of "detectors" of sunk ships and quality control gear for the war industry, etc.
At the same time steps were taken for an expansion of the Ural Branch of the Academy. Added to its structure were the Sector of Technico-Economic Studies (1942), institutes of biology (1944) and of metal physics (1945). Added to this list in the post-war years were research institutes of metallurgy (1953), chemistry (1955), electrochemistry (1957) and geophysics (1958). Opened in 1956 was the Sverdlovsk Branch of the Institute of Mathematics named after V. Steklovofthe USSR Academy, and in 1959-a special section of power engineering and automation.
In a word, the Ural Branch of the USSR Academy became a center of comprehensive scientific R&D work and the achievements of its staffreceived broad recognition. Thus a Lenin Prize was awarded for a cycle of studies of Prof. K. Ivanov on the theory of incorrect problems (1966). State prizes were awarded to a program of methods
of control of the quality of metals and metal products (R. Yanus and M. Mikheyev, 1951), for the development of magnetic materials and their economic applications (Ya. Shur et al., 1967), studies of occurrence of copper-pyrites and their resources, followed by the discovery of the major Sibaisky deposit (S. Ivanov, 1949). Many researchers distinguished by these award were later elected corresponding members of the USSR Academy.
Successfully progressing during those years were schools of research headed by academicians S. Vonsovsky (theoretical physics), V. Sadovsky (physical metallurgy), I. Postovsky (organic chemistry), S. Schwarz (ecology of animals and plants), corresponding members Yu. Bulashevich (nuclear geophysics), G. Chufarov (physical chemistry) et al.
1971 saw the establishment on the basis of the Ural Branch of Ural Scientific Center (USC) of the USSR Academy with a range of new research centers, including the institutes of mechanics of continuum mechanics (1980), organic chemistry (now Institute of Technical Chemistry) (1985) in Perm; of the Physical-Technical Institute in Izhevsk (1982); of Electrophysics in Sverdlovsk (1986). Labs of economics research started functioning in Orenburg, Perm and Chelyabinsk. Since its establishment, the number of staff of the USC has been doubled, including 1,073 Candidates and 173 Doctors of Sciences.
The USC coped successfully with its task of coordination of research efforts of academic and industrial research centers and colleges in dealing with key regional problems. Close ties were established with industrial enterprises of Ural and research projects implemented by agreements with the federal and Russia ministries. Works of our researchers have won many high awards. For example, the monographs of S. Vonsovsky "Magnetism" and "Magnetism of Microparticles" were awarded the State Prize in 1975. In 1976 Acad. A. Kurzhansky was awarded the Lenin Prize for a cycle of research into the mathematical theory of controlled systems. Also awarded were future members of the Academy N. Krasovsky, Yu. Osipov and A. Subbotin.
Continued development of our region in the 1980s caused a range of new prob-
lems including the technical "rearmament" of the industries, intense search for and development of new sources of raws, mounting ecological problems and slow development of the social infrastructure. With all of these problems in mind, the Ural Branch of the USSR Academy was established in 1987 on the basis of the USC.
Thanks to the concerted and coordinated efforts of specialists in related branches they were able to achieve impressive results within a short span of time. To give just one example, a cycle of works of N. Krasovsky on the theory of stability and theory of optimal management was honored with the USSR State Prize (1984), Lyapunov Gold Medal (1992), Demidov Prize (1996), the Lomonosov Big Gold Medal (1997) and the Triumph Prize (2001). Honored with the State Prize of the Russian Federation in 1993 were Yu. Osipov and V. Gasilov for research into high-accuracy navigation.
It was in Ural that a new trend of mechanics got its start-non-stationary inner ballistics of solid-fuel rocket engines (Acad. A Lipanov). The 1999 State Prize of the Russian Federation for Science and Technology was awarded to Acad. A Sidorov (posthumously), Corresponding Member V. Matveenko et al for fundamental and experimental studies of instability and methods of its suppression; in the year 2000 Acad. Ilyin was awarded for his work "Asymptotic Methods of Studies of Equations of Mathematical Physics". Acad. N. Semikhatov was awarded the Demidov Prize (2000) for his contribution to the theory of methodology of projection, development and production of management systems of moving objects operating under extreme conditions.
Studies launched in Ural cover a broad range of problems related to the physics of metals and semiconductors, thermal physics, high-temperature superconductivity, low-temperature plasma, science of machines, etc. Substantial contributions were made into the studies and development of laser technology and processes of explosive electronic emission, to the fundamental studies of high-speed processes and the development on this basis of a new class of electrophysical devices. The International Prize of the American Optical Society was awarded to Cor-
responding Member B. Zeldovich and Prof. N. Kudnikova for non-linear optics research. The Lomonosov Prize was conferred upon Acad. I. Tsidilskyfor a cycle of works on the electronic structure of semimagnetic materials.
Ural scientists have been traditionally in the lead in the of studies of materials. In this connection one should mention the monograph "Laser Heating and Steel Structure" by Acad. V. Sadovsky, Corresponding Member V. Schastlivtsev et al.
Enjoying recognition in this and other countries are studies of our specialists in the field of chemical-technological sciences. They have developed, among other things the fundamentals of modern physical chemistry and electrochemistry of molten salts and carried out fundamental and applied studies in organic chemistry which provide the basis for the production of medicinal preparations, biostimulators, fungicides, lubricants, laquers and other substances of practical importance. In the course of their studies of multicomponent metallic and slag systems our experts have developed energy- and resource-saving ecologically friendly technologies of comprehensive reprocessing of ores of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. One should note in this connection a cycle of works by academicians M. Vatolin and L. Leontyev and also the work of Prof. S. Shavrin "Theoretical Foundations of Comprehensive Reprocessing and Utilization of Traditional Titan-Rare-Earth and Alumosilicate Raws".
Ural scientists have provided tangible contributions to the understanding of fundamental problems of present-day population and evolutionary ecology and environmental protection. Works in this field have won the USSR State Prize, the Karpinsky International Prize and Medal (V. Bolshakov, 1990, 1993), the Government Prize of the Russian Federation (V. Bolshakov, A. Taskaev, 1996), the V. Sukachev Medal (Acad. P. Gorchakovsky, 2000), the Gold Medal of P Semyonov- Tyanshansky of the Russian Geographical Society (Corresponding Member A. Chibilev, 1996), the V. Sokolov Prize (V. Bolshakov, 1999). Studies in evolutionary and population morphology of mammals won the A Severtsev Prize in 1999 (V. Bolshakov, A Vasilyev, I. Vasilyeva). The
Timakov Prize of the Russian Medical Academy (2000) was awarded to a monograph of Corresponding Member O. Bukharin on studies in microbiology, immunology and virology, the Mechnikov Prize (2001) was awarded to V. Chereshnev and O. Bukharin for a cycle of works "Adaptive Interaction Strategies of Symbionts in the 'Parasite-Host'" System (2001), and the A. Stoletov Prize of the Academy was awarded to B. Gonetsky and M. Sadovsky.
The most important problem before us in the field of earth sciences consists in broadening the mineral-raw materials base of Ural and the adjacent territories. A school of geologists of the Komi Science Center belonging to the Academy is working on a fundamentally new approach to this problem, tracing links between the animal and mineral worlds. Its members have discovered more than 40 new minerals. The N. Melnikov Prize of the Academy has been awarded to a cycle of studies (Corresponding Member V. Yakovlev) on "Geotechnological Aspects of Comprehensive Development of Mineral Deposits". Actively developing are geophysical studies in Arkhangelsk (Corresponding Member F. Yudakhin * ).
The establishment of the Ural Branch of the Academy gave a new impetus to studies in economics, philosophy, law, history, archeology and sociology. Our experts have formulated the strategic priorities of the socioeconomic development of Ural Federal Region, methods of assessment and distribution of rent payments and diagnostics of what we call economic and energy security of territories of the Russian Federation, models of distribution of productive forces at regional level, ways of boosting their competitiveness. Forecasts of social-economic development have been prepared for Arkhangelsk, Perm, Kurgan, Orenburg, Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions, the Komi Republic and Udmurtia.
Deserving special attention are studies on the preservation of the national cultural traditions of the local ethnic groups. Actively developing is a new area of research- industrial archeology. Researchers of the Institute of History and Archeology of the Ural Branch of the Academy have prepared and published a series of works called "Ural Historical Encyclopedia" (editor-in-chief-Acad. V. Alexeyev), "Metallurgical Plants of the 17th-20th Centuries. Ural" and an encyclopedia
* See: D. Rundkwist, N. Yushkin, "Treasures of Timan and Urals ", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2002. - Ed.
"Yekaterinburg" (2002). These works represent fundamental and systematic collections of data about the past and present of the Urals, its economics and culture from the beginning and up to the end of the 20th century.
The establishment of the Ural Branch of the Academy also helped promote our international links with colleagues in more than 45 countries. This cooperation takes different forms-from participation in international meetings, conferences, symposia and field expeditions, to joint research within the framework of long-term agreements and international projects.
Many ideas generated by our specialists and related to socioeconomic matters and problems of metallurgy, geology, mechanics, computer mathematics and programming, processing of metals etc. are being translated into practice in close cooperation with specialists of higher educational establishments, specialized institutes, industrial enterprises and organizations of the military-industrial complex.
The list of the main problems before the Ural scientists for the next few years includes, above all, what we call the introduction of science-intensive products into mass production. And there are already practical suggestion in this field. For example, experts of the Institute of Metallurgy of the RAS Ural Branch * have developed a unique mathematical model of blast-furnace process which is of particular importance for perfecting the technologies of reprocessing of the local iron ores. Then there is an automated system of control of the technology of production of ferrosilicon, using a fundamentally new methodological and algorithm base, instrumentation and programming; a module unit for dispersion of alloys for making metallic powders and shot granules with the annual capacity of 500 tons; an original gas-phase technology for the production of high- and ultradispersed powders of metals and alloys, anticorrosion and wear-resistant materials on their basis; technology for boosting carbon content in steel, using the first home-made injection unit.
Experts of the wood chemistry lab of the Institute of Chemistry of the Komi Scientific Center have developed a technology of production of biologically active substances from fir wood. This biopreparation belongs to natural active substances and stimulates plant growth and protection. Its field tests have been conducted on cabbage, potato, oat, clover and native haylands. Optimal concentrations and modes of application have been determined which make it possible to boost crop yields by 24 - 40 percent thanks to a shorter time of maturation; the rate of infectious diseases is also reduced, including phytophtorosis, false mildew, brown rust, etc. The preparation can be used for the saturation of seeds in order to accelerate their germination and growth; plants treated with this substance can better preserve ovaries, especially in extreme climate conditions (frosts, droughts). Pilot production of the preparation has been started on the basis of the Institute of Chemistry.
Experts of the Institute of Mining, working together with specialists of the Kachkanarsky Ore-Dressing Plant, the URAL-ASBEST plant and the Nizhni Tagil Quarry Administration have developed RFPs for a new generation of drilling rigs operating in different mining-technical conditions. The documentation has been submitted to the RUDGORMASH Company for designing and building commercial models. One of these, SBSh-160-48, is already undergoing field tests. The main requirements for these units include reduced weight, lower energy consumption by 1.8 - 2 times and boosting productivity by 1.5 - 1.8 times.
Specialists of the Institute of High-Temperature Electrochemistry have suggested a new technology of processing of the surface of deformation-proof materials for cold strain treatment of metals and alloys, drawing, stamping, sink drawing, production of mounting hardware by cold heading and thread rolling, which helps boost productivity by 10 - 25 times. The factor of metal utilization is increased from 20 - 50 to 95-98 percent, and labor consumption drops by 8 - 10 times.
Being successfully applied are two industrial technologies developed in the same Institute: for electrolytic production of platinum metals from salt melts: their electrolytic refining and galvanoplastic production of parts (electroforming in fluidized bed). Two of the local plants have mastered the production of seamless indium crucibles, unrivalled anywhere in the world.
A fundamentally new method of induction control of the mass share of magnetite and common iron on ore conveyors has been developed by the Institute of Mining. Its accuracy is comparable with that of chemical analysis. The method rests on optimization solutions based on the geometry of signal formation of the multi-sonde device and the algorithm model of the logic-functional data processing in on-line tutorial programs. An induction probe, MV-5, has been specially developed for the new technology, and in the year 2000 the URALRUDAVTOMATIKA firm started introducing the new technology at ore-dressing plants of Russia and the Ukraine in combination with the automated data measurement system SKRP-1.
Joint studies by experts of the Institute of Organic Synthesis and the Oncological Research Center of the Russian Medical Academy have produced anti-tumor preparation LYZOMUSTIN (synonym of NITRULLIN). Its original structure provides for its active transport across the cytoplasmatic membranes of tumor cells.
And one would like to conclude by saying that the efforts of our researchers today find support at all levels of government-federal, regional and municipal. All this gives us added confidence and encourages our creative quests and efforts in the interests of Russian science and for the benefit of our Motherland.
Illustrations supplied by the author
* See: L. Leontyev, E. Selivanov, E. Beilin, "'Akademichesky' Innovation Technologies Center", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2003. - Ed.
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