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    Moscow. (Lyubov Sobolevskaya, a RIA Novosti analyst)

    * The Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) has created an automatic control system for the Severo Muisk railroad tunnel, a section of the East Siberian railway, writes Nauka v Sibiri, a Russian newspaper.

    The tunnel, which was opened on December 5, 2003, is the longest railroad tunnel in Russia and the sixth longest in the world. It took a commuter train 38 minutes to travel the length of the tunnel and back. The length of this impressive structure is 15,383 meters (the total length of the tunnel including the service tunnels is 35 kilometers).

    The tunnel is in the most problematic section of the Baikal Amur line. It is a unique and technologically complex facility that is located in a seismically hazardous area (there have been earthquakes with a magnitude of 9), which abounds in underground waters.

    The amount of energy the tunnel uses would be enough to satisfy the electricity demands of a town with 35,000 people. This demonstrates the grand scale of the project.

    Operating the tunnel requires information from many locations to be received simultaneously. More than 1,600 interrelated parameters are used to determine the condition of the tunnel. The Computer Engineering Institute of the RAS Siberian branch solved the problem of controlling the giant facility. The environment in the tunnel, including the temperature of drain water, the humidity, the direction of airflow, and any harmful impurities in the air, is controlled by 1,800 sensors throughout the tunnel.

    There is also a seismic monitoring system. Sensors are also used to monitor the movement of trains in the tunnel, traffic signals, the alarm system, and many other aspects of tunnel operations. Trackwalkers receive assignments through pocket computers.

    * Leonind Abalkin, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, was awarded the Nikolai Kondratyev prize, which the academy instituted in 2004, for his monograph, "Russia: Search for Self-Determination." Nikolai Kondratyev (1892-1938) was a prominent Russian economist.

    The book summarizes Mr. Abalkin's thoughts about the long-term socio-economic trends in Russia. In his unbiased analysis of the impact of theories on Russia's macroeconomic developments in different periods of history, Mr. Abalkin avoided ideological cliches.

    He is a pioneer in the analysis of the relationship between Russia's economic science and top political elite, a topic that was once taboo.

    * The Crystal Globe is a very unusual prize. The Scientific Tour Agency, which the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Tourism opened in Moscow to develop new scientific expeditions and tour routes in Russia, gives the Crystal Globe for the best scientific projects.

    The Institute of Tourism in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea, was the latest recipient of the award, reports the Kaliningradskaya Pravda newspaper.

    The Kaliningrad institute's project envisaged working at the Kaup archaeological site. Kaup was an ancient Varangian-Prussian settlement in the Zelenograd region. The goal of the expedition was to restore the settlement to its original state. This was not the first ancient settlement to be restored in the Kaliningrad region, which is also known as the amber province.

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