* The 4th Moscow international innovation and investment show is being held in Moscow from February 25-28. Its purpose is to spot promising innovation ideas, demonstrate the scientific potential of the Russian regions, and establish ties between the scientific, industrial and financial fields.
The show features more than 1,700 inventions and innovation designs in a broad spectrum of science and industry. It is being attended by more than 400 organisations and enterprises from over 40 of Russia's regions, and from abroad.
On view are such areas as environmental and human safety, the latest from the aviation and motor industries, new materials, energy, medicine, and farming.
Promising ideas will be awarded the Grand-Prix, medals and diplomas, as well as special prizes of Russian and international organisations.
* A mobile ecological observatory, unique in world practice, has been developed in Russia. It is designed to monitor the atmosphere, pinpoint sources of pollution, assess the quality of water and soils, and analyse vegetation.
The laboratory occupies two special railway cars and can travel in a train or separately. Provision is made for using it not only in Russia, but also in other European and Asian countries.
All instruments are calibrated according to international standards. The bulk of the measurements is done automatically. Via a satellite the information obtained is fed to a stationary data centre.
The observatory is a joint project of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Atmospheric Physics, the All-Russian Research Institute of Railway Transport, the Max Planck (Germany) Chemistry Institute and the Torzhok Waggon Works in the Tver region.
* The top award of the Russian Academy of Sciences for 2003 - the M.V.Lomonosov Grand Gold Medal - has been given to Yevgeny Chazov and Michael de Bakey. Chazov (b. in 1929) is awarded for his fundamental contribution to the development of cardiology. A member of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chazov is known for his achievements in the investigation and treatment of myocardial infarction, as well as the organiser of the cardiological service in Russia.
His American opposite number de Bakey (b.1908) has been awarded the Lomonosov medal for outstanding achievements in heart surgery. During his life he has performed more than 30,000 operations on the heart. De Bakey is a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
By tradition, the M.V.Lomonosov Grand Medal is awarded to two scientists - Russian and foreign - engaged in the same field of science. Last year it was mathematics, while this time it has been decided to choose physiology and medicine.
The award will be handed at a general meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences, to be held on May 17-19, 2004 in Moscow. The winners will make scientific reports at this major academic event.
* New ideas of the Institute of Chemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences have found application at Russia's first plant for the manufacture of synthetic oils, specially built in Tataria (a republic on the Volga).
Russia currently has in operation about 22 million cars, 5 million lorries, 600,000 buses and large fleets of tractors and combine harvesters.
All of them, plus aviation, sea transport, rocket and space systems, and various kinds of special equipment, are potential users of the new plant's products.
For Russia, which experiences extremely low temperatures in many of its regions, it is highly important that the synthetic oils developed by Russian scientists on the basis of polyalfa-olefins do not freeze even at minus 70 degrees Celsius, while mineral-based lubricants cannot function below minus 20 degrees Celsius.
* In March, Russia is planning to make three space launches. All of them are scheduled to blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
March 15, 2004 is set for launching a Russian heavy-class Proton-M carrier rocket with a European W-3 communications satellite. Two days later a Russian Zenit-2 carrier rocket is to orbit a Cosmos-2406 radio reconnaissance satellite. March 27 is set for a Proton-K carrier rocket lifting a Cosmos-2407 satellite, likewise in the interests of the Russian Defence Ministry.
All in all, Russia plans to carry out 20 launches of various carriers in 2004.