The Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) has announced winners of the annual Science Achievements’ Competition - top twelve achievements were selected from 55 eligible proposals that were submitted for evaluation.
Traditionally the achievements in science are divided in two groups – fundamental science and applied science; the achievements shortlisted for the winners group usually cover a wide scope of research areas – ranging from solid state physics and robotics, biomedicine, pharmacy and chemistry, engineering and agricultural sciences to literary science, philosophy, and economy.
About the competition
The year 2022 marks the 21st anniversary since the Latvian Academy of Sciences launched the annual science achievement competition. The principal aim of the competition since then has been: annual monitoring of the processes in Latvian science by assessing and naming the most significant achievements of the year. Also, the results and winners of the competition would be popularized among wider public thus contributing to science communication in Latvia. Since 2011, as the competition gained its popularity among researchers and the academic community, the winners are awarded diplomas, and a special awarding ceremony is held. In the following years the event's regular and numerous attendees include its supporters, sponsors, media representatives and stakeholders, and it has become the most festive event of the year that highlights and celebrates the excellence in Latvian science and research.
Twenty five researchers were elected members of the Latvian Academy of Sciences at the General Meeting on 24 November 2022. The General Meeting also elected one honorary member.
Agnese DĀVIDSONE (Communication Sciences), Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences.
Jānis Vanags (Theology), Latvia.
On Thursday, November 24, 2022, the regular Autumn General Meeting of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) is scheduled to convene beginning from 2PM. Conferring of the LAS Grand Medal and the elections of the LAS new members are on the agenda of the meeting.
- Introduction by the LAS President Ivars Kalviņš.
- Awarding of the LAS Grand Medal to Year 2022 laureate Māra Grudule.
- Laudatio for LAS Grand Medal Year 2022 laureate Māra Grudule by academician Benedikts Kalnačs.
- “From Stenders’ soap to science”: academic lecture by Māra Grudule.
- Awarding of the LAS Grand Medal Year 2022 laureate Olafs Daugulis.
- Laudatio for LAS Grand Medal Year 2022 laureate Olafs Daugulis by academician Māris Turks.
- “New methods in Carbon-hydrogen bond functionalization": academic lecture by Olafs Daugulis.
- Announcement of the results of the LAS new members' elections.
See also: LAS full member Māra Grudule and foreign member Olafs Daugulis to be conferred LAS Grand Medal 2022 (16 March 2022).
The aim of ERA Chair project “Natural Products Research at Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis as a Driver for Excellence in Innovation (Natalion)” is to promote innovation excellence of LIOS by the establishment of Natural Products Research (NPR) group and implementation of LIOS Innovation hub as a complementary structural change. The aim of the project will be achieved under the competent guidance of the ERA Chair holder Dr. Stefano Donadio and collaboration with company NAICONS (Italy). Dr. Stefano Donadio is a scientist with an excellent track record in NPR and outstanding leadership skills. He is a founder and CEO of Biotech company NAICONS and has over 30 years of industrial experience in antibiotic discovery and development.
“Natural products have revitalized the interest of the drug discovery community as a result of impressive scientific and technological advances in the field. Natalion will be an efficient engine to develop new technologies and products with high innovation potential, and I am proud that NAICONS, with its powerful platform in natural products, will be part of the project. Natalion is expected to facilitate the institutional environment fostering innovations and entrepreneurial culture and to promote brain circulation for researchers and innovators,” says Dr. Stefano Donadio.
The excellence of research and innovation will be attained by setting up NPR group comprising high level scientists and integrating the operations into internal and external collaboration networks. Sourcing of natural products with wide spectrum of biological activity will strongly synergize with the existing LIOS competencies in drug discovery.
ERA Chairs are grant schemes under Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence actions of H2020 and Horizon Europe framework programmes. The grants are focused on implementation of institutional changes and increasing research capacity in Widening countries. LIOS is proud to be the first Latvian research organization receiving ERA Chair grant, which will contribute to its ambitious goal of becoming one of the leading EU research centers.
About LIOS: LIOS is the leading drug discovery and development center in the Baltics with a broad spectrum of expertise including medicinal chemistry, organic synthesis, in vitro and in vivo pharmacology, bioanalytics, computational modeling, biophysical chemistry, structural biology, and process chemistry. LIOS has a strong focus on collaboration with industry and is a part of a wide academic network including 11 EU funded research consortia and EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC.
About NAICONS: NAICONS Srl is a biotechnology company based in Milan, Italy. Thanks to a world-class technology platform and knowhow on Natural Products NAICONS is building the Micro4all platform, the first Molecule Search Engine that is going to disrupt the Drug Discovery Process.
On October 17-19 2022, the academic Ion Tiginyan, President of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, payed a visit in Riga. On Monday, October 17, the Moldovan delegation, including the Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the Republic of Latvia Andrian Roșa, visited the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) where it was welcomed by the president of Latvian Academy of Sciences Prof. Ivars Kalviņš as well as representatives of the LAS administration.
The signing of the Scientific Cooperation Agreement between the Academy of Sciences of Moldova and the Latvian Academy of Sciences, which will provide a solid platform for joining the efforts of the scientific communities of the both states for development in various fields of cooperation, took place in the conclusion of the meeting.
On Tuesday, October 18, the academic Ion Tiginyan attended the meeting of the LAS Senate and delivered a comprehesive lecture on the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, its structure, history and the current activities.
Also, on October 18, the President of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova Professor of the Technical University of Moldova, Ion Tiginyan visited the Institute of Solid State Physics of the University of Latvia. Prof. Tiginyan delivered an academic lectures and met with the management of the Institute, had a discussion with the scientists and visited research laboratories.
We will be happy to see you at Baltic Sea Region Innovation, Investment and Development Conference 2022.
The European Union is a leader in the transition to a more ecologically sustainable economy, while the Baltic Sea region is a leader in the implementation of a macro-regional strategy. In order to achieve our common sustainable development goals, it is necessary to strengthen and develop cooperation between partners in the region.
The conference will bring together decision-makers, public development banks, development financing institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations and stakeholders to discuss the main challenges and share experience in the implementation of large development projects, taking into account the challenge for Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050.
This year the main topics will be:
- Creation of green infrastructure for energy efficiency and energy independence.
- Development projects of public institutions in the Baltic Sea Region countries.
- Public development banks - their areas of responsibility, opportunities for cooperation and support for the implementation of state policy.
CONFERENCE HOME PAGE: https://bsr2022.lu.lv/
On 7 October, the meeting of the Joint Jury of the Baltic Assembly took place. During the meeting, members of the Joint Jury decided that the winners of the Baltic Assembly Prize in 2022 are Kai Aareleid (Estonia) in Literature, Šarūnas Sauka (Lithuania) in the Arts and Gustavs Strenga, Andris Levāns, Renāte Berga and Laura Kreigere-Liepiņa (Latvia) in Science.
Kai Aareleid was nominated for her novel “Vaikne ookean” (“Pacific Ocean’’, published in 2021). Šarūnas Sauka was nominated for the unique iconography of paintings, principles of painting, which are closely related to surrealism and magical realism, for his phantasmagorical nightmare visions and hallucinations, which are rooted in reality, fed by biblical and literary visual images of hell, paradise, and purgatory, which have evolved through the history of fine arts. And Gustavs Strenga, Andris Levāns, Renāte Berga and Laura Kreigere-Liepiņa were nominated for the collective monograph “Rīgas jezuītu kolēģijas grāmatu krājuma (1583-1621) katalogs. Krājuma vesture un rekonstrukcija”, (“Catalogue of the Riga Jesuit College Book Collection (1583-1621): History and Reconstruction of the Collection”) (2021)*.
Among the Jury members there are highly acknowledged artists and experts from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania - Elīna Līce, Ilze Jansone, Andrejs Krasņikovs, Indrek Mesikepp, Kadi-Ell Tähiste, Linda Lainvoo, Eugenijus Ališanka, Ramutė Rachlevičiūtė and Valdemaras Razumas.
The aim of the Prize is to support outstanding achievements in literature, the arts and science; demonstrate the common interests of the countries in this region in upholding of their national identity and self-esteem; create an opportunity to learn about the achievements of the neighbouring countries; maintain a continuous interest among the people in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania about developments in the Baltic states; strengthen cooperation among the Baltic states in the fields of literature, the arts and science; encourage more and more people to become interested in the intellectual values and languages of the Baltic nations; and raise the level of literature, the arts and science in the Baltic states.
The Prize consists of a monetary prize, a certificate and a statuette, which are awarded annually during the Session of the Baltic Assembly. This year the Prize of the Baltic Assembly will be awarded on 28 October in Riga.
* The candidature of the authors of the collective monograph "Catalogue of the Riga Jesuit College Book Collection (1583-1621): History and Reconstruction of the Collection” for the Baltic Assembly 2022 Prize in Science was nominated by the Latvian Academy of Sciences.
Source: Baltic Assembly, 7 October 2022.
Alliance4Life (A4L), an international alliance of leading research institutions and universities operating in the field of biomedical sciences in Eastern Europe, including the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS) – a member of A4L since 2018, has published a new comprehensive self-assessment studyof the current research and innovation performance of its members.
The document offers a comparison of data collected in 2015-2017 with the new benchmark results collected three years later in 2018-2020, during the ongoing A4L_ACTIONS project. The self-assessment report covers several dimensions of research activities. It includes a SWOT analysis providing an overview of the influence of various internal and external factors, as well as examines research culture across various institutes, managerial practices, resources as well as responsible metrics evaluated in the context of a quantitative benchmarking study. For better comparability with research institutions in Western Europe, the new self-assessment included a survey of perception of internal research culture, inspired by the Wellcome survey on research culture published in 2019 and 2020 (https://wellcome.org/reports/what-researchers-think-about-research-culture).
The report demonstrates that in the period 2018-2020, Alliance4Life members have initiated institutional changes that have already resulted in success in providing higher scientific productivity indicators. The results clearly show that the best-performing partners in terms of research outputs work in the environment of relatively well-functioning national systems, well-implemented practices of institutional management and well-developed internal research culture.
The report is publicly available to inspire other Eastern European research institutions to improve and modernize their management and research culture.
Large-scale ESIF investments into the life science infrastructure alone could not close the R&I gap in Europe so far, financial support needs to be complemented by measures on research and innovation strategy at institutional and national levels. Alliance4Life members believe that improving governance and managerial practices as well as transforming institutional culture will enhance efficiency and increase return on investment. The recently released self-assessment report serves as proof that the Alliance4Life members are on the right path towards the desired transformation.
Thanks to its membership in Alliance4Life, LIOS has been able to compare the effectiveness of its operations with other similar research organizations in Eastern Europe and incorporate best practices into its research management strategy.
On Monday, August 8, Prof. Christoph Markschies, President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBWA), visited the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS). The guest was received by Prof. Baiba Rivža, LAS General Secretary, Prof. Ojārs Spārītis, LAS Vice-president, and Ņina Linde, Director of LAS Economic Institute. The parties discussed the history of both academies and how their roles have changed over the past few decades. Prof. Markschies was interested in the COVID-19 pandemic management policy in Latvia, the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine caused by Russian aggression and the organization of assistance in Latvia for refugees from Ukraine, he also presented the mechanisms of refugee assistance policy in Germany. In the conclusion of the meeting the Amendment to the Agreement on Scientific Cooperation Between the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften), Formerly Prussian Academie of Sciences and Humanities, Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany, and the Latvian Academy of Sciences, concluded on 1 November 2002, was signed, which provides for the extension of the forms of scientific cooperation and specifies the mechanisms for supporting this cooperation: “Both Sides will do all in their power to promote and facilitate visits in either direction, thus encouraging selected candidates of at least postdoctoral or equivalent status in the natural, technological, social sciences and the humanities to develop cooperative activities with scientists from the other country.”
“As the population and their living standards grow, global energy demand also continues to grow. Although the annual demand for energy growth seems less dramatic, at only 1–2%, it is undoubtedly dramatic in the long period and will lead to irreversible climate change,” writes the academician Valdis Kampars in his article Climate Neutral Renewable Eenergy Technologies in the chapter “Novelties in power industry” of the LAS Yearbook 2022. The most suitable solutions for future energy sources in Latvia are analysed in the articles of the chapter.
“Riga Technical University (RTU) is an active developer of energy policy and new technological solutions for the implementation of this policy. At least three RTU Research Platforms have a direct connection to the problem: Energy and Environment, Transport and Materials, Processes and Technologies. The Institute of Applied Chemistry has also been involved in the development of new technologies of climate neutral economy.” [Valdis Kampars. Climate Neutral Renewable Eenergy Technologies]
“The total area of peat bogs is estimated at approximately 643 thousand ha, i.e. around 9.8% of the size of the country – 208 400 ha in Vidzeme, 117 600 ha in Kurzeme, 95 800 ha in Zemgale, and 221 500 ha in Latgale. Of these, only a part can be exploited to extract peat in commercially viable quantities. Industrial processes require peat to be accessible over a certain extraction of a certain minimum area and volume of peat contained therein. The industrial operations require an area of at least 100 ha with a mean layer thickness of 2.5 m containing approximately 175 kg of dry peat per cubic metre. The total area of swamps in Latvia that may be thus exploited was around 350 thousand ha in Latvia.” [Uldis Ameriks, Igors Graurs. Peatlands and Peat – Marsh Management: Myths and Solutions]
Betulin, Larifan, food supplements such as fractionated beet root juice are already commercialised products. The chapter “Commercialisation of knowledge” reveals the research processes behind these success stories.
“With the development of technology and knowledge, research has shown that the external, white layer or birch bark of Latvian birch contains biologically active substances, which make up about one third of the birch outer bark mass. Birch outer bark extractives are primarily composed of lupane-type pentacyclic triterpenes, mainly betulin, betulinic acid, and lupeol. Very valuable biological activities have been identified for these three compounds, including those that allow their derivatives to be used in the treatment of various severe diseases in the future. Betulin itself improves liver function, regulates cholesterol levels and heals skin cells. A betulin-related synthetic compound has shown good results in drug trials against HIV. In scientific studies, betulin has also demonstrated immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as indicated a good potential in virus-like vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2. Compounds of birch outer bark extractives also have preservative, antioxidant, emulsifier and supramolecular gel-forming properties. Betulin has also been identified for a wide range of applications in the food and cosmetics industries.” [Aigars Pāže, Jānis Rižikovs, Kristaps Stankus, Inguss Virsis. The Unique Properties of Nature’s Wonder – Betulin]
“The history of Larifan dates back to interferon in the 1960s. When interferon, a protein with antiviral properties, was discovered in 1957, it was a major milestone in the fight against viral infections. At the beginning, there were high hopes and expectations placed on interferon, as it was believed that a universal antiviral agent had been developed that would stop all viral diseases and that it was a weapon in the fight against viruses in general. Unfortunately, the first steps did not live up to the hopes placed on them, as many and varied obstacles and limitations to obtaining interferon itself became apparent.” [Guna Feldmane. Pathway of Antiviral Drug Development From a Laboratory to a Commercial Product: Relevance of Antiviral Drugs in Medicine]
“Red beet (Beta vulgaris) was chosen as the most active plant. The specific activity of juices of 14 varieties of red beet was screened. As a result, one variety was identified whose juice efficiency significantly exceeded other varieties. With the help of preparative chromatography, the juice fraction was isolated and its molecular weight limits were established. Further fractionation was carried out by ultrafiltration using semipermeable membranes with appropriate parameters.” [Dmitry Babarykin. On New Trends in Increasing the Effectiveness of Food Supplements]
The chapter “Education and Humanitarian Sciences” of the LAS Yearbook 2022 presents the latest researches carried out by experts on history sciences, legal sciences, and pedagogical sciences.
“Between the 1st–2nd centuries to the 9th century, the lower reaches of the Daugava were sparsely populated – only a few settlement sites are known. The next boom in the lower reaches of the Daugava followed only after 1000 years in the Viking Age, when the Daugava once again became one of the most strategically important highways between the West and the East.” [Andrejs Vasks. The Lower Reaches of the Daugava in the Bronze and Earliest Iron Ages (1800–1 BC)]
“The Constitution of the Republic of Latvia as adopted on 15 February 1922 was a laconic and compact document comprising 88 Articles . The legal design of the Constitution can be described as minimalist, given that Articles for the most part are short (many consist of one or two sentences!), formulated with a high degree of legal abstraction and generalisation. Precisely the simplicity of the Constitutional ‘Architecture’, its minimalism and laconic nature of norms was one of the reasons why, after the restoration of independence (1990–1993), the Constitution could again enter into force.” [Ringolds Balodis. Scientific Commentaries on the Latvian Constitution (SATVERSME)]
“The topics approaching post-Cold War military bases in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, from the perspective of change and transformation, emerged in the last decade. The research project entitled “The Past in the Present. Post-Soviet Heritage in Poland and Latvia. Part I and II” was pursued under two three-year contracts between the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw and the Latvian Academy of Sciences in Riga and it was completed in the years 2016–2021.” [Dagnosław Demski, Dominika Czarnecka. The Past in the Present. Post-soviet Heritage in Poland and Latvia]
“In the context of European cultures of the 15th and 16th centuries, the Latvian culture was distinctly dual. This dualism also carried over to the field of music and was made more acute by the mixed inhabiting nations, as well as by the economic oppression (similar to that taking place in Estonia, another part of the Livonian church state). The essence of this dualism stems from two different world views, existing in the Western Europe since the early medieval period: one extrapolated the values of man on natural phenomena, attempting to humanise, spiritualise the outside world (Christianity), whilst the other integrated man into the processes of nature (folklore, culture of peasants).” [Ilze Šarkovska-Liepiņa. Latvian Music in Renaissance: Heralds, Maturity, Contexts]
“The turn of the 20th century – the age of Art Nouveau, Neo-Romanticism, and Symbolism – has left behind vivid traces in Latvian writing, painting, and music, as well as in Latvian architecture. This was a time when Latvian national culture was formed and experienced its first upsurge under difficult socio-political conditions. The Art Nouveau style reached Riga shortly before 1900, at a time when the city was growing rapidly, becoming a major city of the then Russian Empire.” [Silvija Grosa. Décor in the Art Nouveau Architecture of Riga]
“The development of innovative technologies and digitalisation have created unprecedented opportunities. Due to technological development, transformation through democratisation and decentralisation is taking place around the globe, with the world becoming more and more interconnected and accessible, and people – capable of achieving their goals faster, more easily and efficiently. Yet, humanity has never had similar experience and hence developed no sensitivity to it. The digital age clearly poses a range of risks and challenges that cut across different fields and contribute to the emergence of new research problems in science. Social sciences, including educational sciences, focus on the interrelationships between human activity and the use of technology.” [Zanda Rubene. Digital Childhood and its Topicality in Educational Research]
“At that time, at the start of the 20th century, the role of national religions grew not only in Latvia and its closest neighbouring countries, but also in other European countries, especially those which had regained or secured independent statehood during this period. It should be noted that during this period, similar trends could also be observed in Western Europe – the heirs to the traditions of the druids were active in Great Britain, while in Germany a national religious movement took shape led by General Ludendorff and Count Reventlow. In the Baltic lands, the first ideas about the revival of the so-called religion of the ancient fathers became relevant at the end of the 19th century, but it was only in the 1920s–1930s that organised religious movements were founded like Romuva in Lithuania and Dievturība in Latvia.” [Agita Gritāne. Phenomenon of National Religions in the Baltic States in the First Half of the 20th Century]
The articles of the chapter “Material Sviences” of the LAS Yearbook 2022 unveil the versatile and complex nature of different materials and the novel and unique ways of their application.
“Fusion reactors attract great interest as a potential source of environmentally clean energy. The radiation-resistant insulators (MgO, Al2 O3 , MgAl2 O4 , MgF2 , BeO, etc.) are of great importance for optical windows, diagnostic measurements, and other fusion reactor applications. From a practical point of view, it is very important to understand and predict their properties and functional characteristics in a very wide range of radiation doses under various radiation particle including a whole range of neutrons, protons, swift heavy and light ions as well as gamma radiation. Material properties are defined by radiation defects therein. Such accurate and objective predictions are especially important, since they are made for conditions that are difficult to verify experimentally and implement, due to both the high costs and the inaccessibility of the corresponding reactors.” [Anatoli I. Popov, Eugene Kotomin, Aleksandr Lushchik. Deep Understanding and Prediction of Advanced Materials for Extreme Radiation Conditions]
“Smart materials have properties that can be affected in a controlled manner by external stimuli. For instance, they can respond to light, temperature, pressure, pH, electric and magnetic fields. Due to their pronounced functional properties, smart materials find applications in various technologies including coatings for glasses and windows, security markers, sensors to control environmental conditions, etc. Molybdates and tungstates with a general chemical formula ABO4 (A = Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, etc. and B = Mo, W) belong to a wide class of functional materials with interesting and potentially useful properties. Among them, copper molybdate (CuMoO4 ) and its solid solutions are some of the most fascinating multifunctional materials that exhibit thermochromic (temperature-induced colour change), piezochromic (pressure-induced colour change), halochromic (pH-induced changes in colour), thermosalient, catalytic and antibacterial properties.” [Inga Pudža, Aleksejs Kuzmins. Study of Structure-property Relationship in the Versatile Copper Molybdate]
“Chemistry is a science of molecules and transformations between them. Some reactions proceed in a blink of an eye, whereas sometimes a reaction rate may vary from one week to ten years. To increase the reaction rate, scientists have developed different rate-increasing chemical compounds – catalysts. The main advantage of using catalysts is that they are not consumed during the reaction and remain unchanged after its completion. This property allows one catalyst molecule to deliver one molecule of the desired product from one molecule of the starting material and then take the second molecule, the third one, and so on, continuing the catalytic cycle until all of the starting material molecules are consumed. As a result, a very small amount of catalyst is required for the reaction to proceed fast and productively.” [Liene Grigorjeva, Jekaterina Boļšakova, Lūkass Tomass Lukašēvics, Aleksandrs Čižikovs. Cobalt-catalysed C-H Bond Functionalisation of Amino Acid and Amino Alcohol Derivatives]
In the five articles of the chapter “Fundamental and Applied Sciences” of the LAS Yearbook 2022 the most important researches in fundamental and applied sciences are revealed.
“We will focus on the theory of networks. Networks are thought usually as sets of elements, which are called also nodes, with a description of interrelation between elements. Networks can appear in economics, industry, social sciences, military ones, literally everywhere. The networks we will speak about, emerge in the study of the human brain (neuronal networks), genetics of living organisms (gene regulatory networks). Due to their efficiency, some other areas have attempted to borrow principles of their functioning for themselves (for instance, telecommunication networks).” [Felikss Sadirbajevs. On Mathematical Modelling of Networks Dynamics]
“In many fields of optics, it is often needed to improve the optical quality of an image degraded by distorted optical media. The optical quality of an image is degraded in astronomy due to the turbulence of atmosphere, in biology due to the light scattering caused by tissues surrounding the object under study, etc. The optical quality of an image can be considerably improved by adaptive optics based on spatial structuring of the light coming from the object.” [Varis Karitāns, Sergejs Fomins, Māris Ozoliņš, Katrīna Laganovska, Kārlis Kundziņš. New Optical and Mathematical Methods to Improve Image Quality]
“Common photos and videos involve all rainbow colours. However, so-called spectral images which are related only to specific narrow spectral intervals (e.g., only to the violet part of spectrum) can be even more informative for specific applications. Multispectral imaging (MSI) ensures remote evaluation of object’s content and properties, based on comparative analysis of several images of the same target taken within different spectral bands. An essential performance parameter is spectral selectivity of imaging; for most of the currently available MSI systems it exceeds 10 nm. Our studies during the recent decade allowed reaching spectral selectivity better than 0.1 nm, so considerably improving the performance of MSI technology. The novel concept was provisionally called “snapshot multi-spectral-line imaging” or SMSLI.” [Jānis Spīgulis, Ilze Ošiņa. Spectral Line Imaging: Principles, Implementation and Applications]
“This study exploited the photon time-of-flight method in diffuse reflection. Diffuse reflection is reflection from the sub-surface layers of light scattering media. The main principle is to inject laser pulses of fixed wavelength into the skin at a certain point and to analyse the shapes of output pulses measured at variable distance from the injection point. Our measurements allowed evaluating the remitted photon mean path length values at 35 spectral-spatial combinations and exploring the trends of their spatial and spectral dependencies.” [Vanesa Lukinsone, Māris Kuzminskis, Uldis Rubins, Jānis Spīgulis. Skin-Scatttered Photon Path Lengths: an Experimental Study]
“Riga Technical University, Latvia and the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic in 2016 initiated the cooperation project “Thin films for optoelectronics and sensors – preparation and defects investigation” (supported since 2017 by the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Latvian Academy of Sciences) which focused on the pragmatic issues of nanoscience/nanotechnologies. The project is dedicated to films for optoelectronics/ nanoelectronics, gas sensors, and nanodosimetry.” [Yuri Dekhtyar, Michal Novotný, Peter Pokorny. Black Holes and Nannofilms For Optics, Sensing, and Dosimetry]
The chapter “Forestry, Agriculture, and Food Industry” of the LAS Yearbook 2022 includes two articles that focus on the latest findings in forestry and agricultural sciences.
“The forest sector is an important area in Latvia from all three traditional aspects – economic (contribution to GDP, import-export balance, employment), ecological (“the Lungs of the Earth”, CO2 sequestration, renewable resources) and social (jobs, recreation). Sustainable, reasonable, economic use of wood in construction, and living environment is one of the traditional components of the sector, which is being given increased attention in connection with the wider use in construction and innovative solutions to wood materials. In this context, wood durability issues are not outdated.” [Bruno Andersons. Research on Wood Protection Problems in Latvia]
“Currently, food science focuses on the processing of raw materials into new, high-quality products, the development and implementation of new technologies and materials, processes and equipment to improve the safety and validity of food products. The challenges for science in the future will be the supply of food raw materials, including the use of non-traditional raw materials, the increasing application of biotechnological processes for the production of raw materials/products, and the need to improve the ingredients and products composition and nutritional value. As a result, synergies between food science and technology will be increasingly promoted, with close links to nutrition science, to ensure not only a low-cost, easy-to-use and palatable product, but also a nutritiously balanced and valuable product for everyday consumption.” [Inga Ciproviča. Foof Science in the Face of New Challenges]
The chapter “Studies in Medicine, Pharmaclogy, and Biology” of the LAS Yearbook 2022 includes four articles each dealing with a specific research topic in medicine, pharmacology, biology, as well as history of medicine.
“Current therapies can only delay, not halt neurodegenerative processes in the brain. Moreover, current therapies are only temporary effective, often cause unwanted side effects and about 30% of all patients do not respond to the therapy. Hence, there is an urgent necessity to find new approaches to design anti-neurodegenerative drugs, capable of stopping pathological events before dementia occurs, which in patients is a brief moment between mild cognitive impairment and the onset of dementia.” [Karīna Narbute, Vladimirs Piļipenko, Vija Zaiga Kluša. Is There a Light at the End of the Tunnel?]
“Our research has resulted in the discovery of unique, natural product inspired molecules which effectively kills breast and lung cancer cells without affecting normal healthy cells.” [Raivis Žalubovskis. A New Direction in the Development of Anti-cancer Drugs – the Construction of Special Molecules]
“Over the years, a large number of unique exhibits have been collected at Anatomicum. The very first collection contained about 2000 exhibits of natural material brought to Latvia by the first head of the Department of Anatomy, Swedish professor Gaston Backman (1883–1964).” [Māra Pilmane. THEATRUM ANATOMICUM RIGENSE and Their Historical Collections in the 20th Century]
“Pituitary neuroendocrine tumours (PitNETs) are nonmetastasising tumours of the pituitary gland with an overall estimated clinical prevalence affecting 1 in 400 to 1 in 1000 people. PitNETs are responsible for reduced quality of life and increased mortality.” [Vita Rovīte, Helvijs Niedra, Oļesja Rogoza, Līva Šteina. Research of Pituitary Neuroendocrine Tumors in Latvia, 2011–2021]