Тексты для чтения в весеннем семестре 2010

Research impact

As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is a unique and historic institution. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.

Research carried out by Oxford’s staff, students and alumni has, over the centuries, made an enormous impact on the world of ideas, on our fundamental understanding of the physical world and of biology, on health prevention and treatment, on public policy, international affairs, the arts, business and much, much more.

Impact needs to be judged in ways relevant to each research area, program or project. So the impact of, say, Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch’s ground-breaking work on the history of christianity, is very different to that of Professor Lionel Tarassenko’s research on neural networks and intelligent algorithms, and commercial spin-offs such as Oxford Biosignals Ltd. In some cases it takes years, decades even, before the true value of some research becomes apparent or is formally recognised. There are no simple predictors of potential benefit or of outcomes, and no single ‘measure’ of impact.

Oxford leads and actively supports a wide range of regional, national and international initiatives designed to showcase the value of research and its intellectual, social, cultural, industrial and economic impacts, including through the Learned Academies, RCUK, medical charities such as the Wellcome Trust, open access repositories, literary and artistic exhibitions, trade fairs, regional economic development forums, the Oxford Innovation Society, Oxford at Westminster, international conferences, and the like.

(Источник: www.ox.ac.uk)

Turning up the heat on quantum mechanics

by David Bradley

June 9th, 2008

Scientists have made a startling prediction about the quantum world that seems to show that simply taking the temperature of certain types of quantum systems at frequent intervals causes such systems to break one of the hard and fast rules of thermodynamics.

Anyone who has dabbled in quantum mechanics will know just how slippery is the atomic and sub-atomic world of probability wave-functions where particles eddy and swirl like waves.

One of the underlying rules of the quantum world is the Time-Energy Uncertainty Principle. Wrapped up in this apparently simple phrase is the notion that it is impossible to know both the precise duration of any process and its exact energy cost in an atomic or subatomic particle with 100 % certainty; the very act of observing one or the other somehow disturbing the counterpart property.

The quantum world is spooky, to say the least.

Now, the laws of thermodynamics are apparently irrefutable, after all they allow sceptics to see straight through the claims of those inventors who claim perpetual motion machines, they allow us to build power stations, and ultimately they will take us to the ends of the universe.

One law reveals that the interaction between a large heat source and a cluster of smaller systems will, on average, move progressively towards thermal equilibrium – hot moves to cold to even out the temperature, in other words; this is the so-called zero’th law of thermodynamics. But, it ain’t necessarily so in the quantum world claim Weizmann chemists Gershon Kurizki, Noam Erez and Goren Gordon of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, working with Mathias Nest of Potsdam University, Germany. They have shown that an ensemble of quantum systems in thermal contact with a large heat source could buck this thermodynamic trend.

Their predictions suggest that such a quantum ensemble could actually heat up even if it is hotter than a neighbouring large heat source or if it is colder, it could get colder still, but only under certain conditions. The scientists showed that if the energy of these systems is measured repeatedly, both systems and large heat source will undergo a temperature increase or decrease, and this change depends only on the rate of measurement, not on the results of the measurements themselves.

In the classical world, a thermometer does not interfere with the laws of thermodynamics no matter how hot or cold a system nor how often the thermometer is read, but taking the temperature of a quantum system somehow decouples it from the neighbouring heat source. This decoupling, followed by recoupling of the two when measurement ceases, introduces energy (at the expense of the measuring apparatus) into the systems and the heat source alike, and so heats them up. Depending on whether the measurements are repeated at short or long intervals, it should be possible to heat up or cool down the systems.

The predicted effects may be the key to developing novel heating and cooling schemes for microscopic solid-state devices, such as quantum computer chips or in allowing ultrafast temperature control for fast optical measurements in the chemistry laboratory.

(Источник: http://www.intute.ac.uk)


Moscow Region to get its own collider

MOSCOW. Yury Zaitsev for RIA Novosti

The attention of physicists worldwide is currently riveted on the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which is operating the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
The LHC is expected to become the main impetus and pinnacle of achievement in high-energy physics research; however, it is already clear that answers to many questions will not come via the LHC.
For example, it will be impossible to observe the process of the transition of very dense nuclear material to a new state - quark-gluon plasma - a mixed phase existing in the first moments after the Big Bang. There is a theory that that was when quarks existed in a free state. Then they grouped together and protons and neutrons appeared. In the LHC, this process is skipped because the energy of the particles' interaction is too high.
Alexei Sisakyan, director of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) at the international scientific center in Dubna, says that this may be compared to boiling water. If we can see how water (heavy nuclei) changes into steam (quark-gluons) at 100 degrees, then at 1000 degrees, this process is invisible - it takes a fraction of a second for the water to evaporate and observing it is impossible.
Scientists hope to register the transition of quarks into protons and neutrons in the collider that is planned to be built in the Moscow-region town of Dubna. The new physical device has been named NIKA (a high-energy heavy ion collider). A one-of-a-kind accelerator complex will be created. It will consist of a cascade of four accelerators, one of which is already built and activated - the superconductive ion synchrotron-nuclotron.
The collider developers intended for the particles to be accelerated in several of its coils in one direction, picking up more and more speed. In the final stage, they will travel in the opposite direction in the two coils. Collision points for particle beams are anticipated in several places along these coils. It is expected that free quarks will be seen during the time of their collision (currently quarks exist only in clusters of three) and it will be possible to observe the process of their attractive interaction with one another.
Scientists are counting on being able to use the new installation to research the properties of the transition of matter from one phase state to another, as well as the conditions associated with the transition to this phase (if indeed such a transition takes place), during which the nuclear and quark-gluon material may coexist. It is not improbable that such conditions currently exist in the cores of neutron stars.
In the NIKA collider, particles of the nuclei of gold molecules will be collided, accelerated towards one another at an energy of 5.5 gigaelectronvolts. Scientists will study the consequences of the collision with the aid of a Multi Purpose Detector (ÌÐD) installed at the "point of collision" of the beams.
While the length of CERN's LDC is 27 kilometers, the NIKA is only 251 meters long. The basis for its design was the synchrophasotron built in Dubna back in 1957 - one of the largest charged-particle accelerators in the world.
It was specifically in the Soviet Union that the idea of building a collider was first aired. The first prototype was built in Novosibirsk and had a capacity of tens of gigaelectronvolts. This accelerator is still used in research.
Today in Dubna, the updating of the nuclotron is in full swing - the vacuum in the coil has been fundamentally improved; the cryogenic unit, which is the heart of the superconducting accelerator, has been fully renovated; the power system has been upgraded; modern diagnostic equipment is being installed and a new ion source is being made.
NIKA will be a one-of-a-kind world-class installation and will be of interest to other physics centers. The development of NIKA will enable the return of many scientists to Russia, particularly those young scientists that participated in the development of the LHC. The construction of modern experimental installations is impossible without detailed technical planning, for which qualified design engineers are needed. There was a mass exodus of such experts to the West when the Russian scientific community fell apart. Today, their high qualifications are in demand again in Russia.

(Источник: РИА Новости)


Education system in Russia

Education system in Russia is similar to European and American education systems:
2 cycle education system:
-undergraduate level of education System in Russia: Bachelor degree,
-postgraduate level of education System in Russia: Master degree and Ph.D.
There is one difference between Russian and European education systems: 5-year engineer / Specialist programs.
Russia joined to Bologna agreement (Intеgrating process of developing common European education system). So, the number of non-degree programs in Russia is decreasing.

•    Bologna process is the creation of the European Higher Education Area. The main objectives of the Bologna declaration are to increase the mobility and employability of European higher education graduates thus ensuring competitiveness of European higher education on the world scale. The Russian Federation joined Bologna process in 2003.
•    Basic characteristics of Bologna process:
- 3 cycled system of higher education (Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, Doctor's Degree).
- usage of a credit system.
- mobility of students and staff around the European Higher Education Area.
- the joint European Diploma Supplement
- Quality control of higher education.
- creation of the European Higher Education Area.
Being a holder of the Secondary School Certificate or an equivalent, you can study through all levels, starting from Bachelor to Doctoral Studies.
A degree or diploma holder of any higher school can be admitted to a successive learning level after accreditation of his/her prior learning.

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