The 111 years of the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (Poli-USP) sum up the trajectory of a country that knew how to modernize itself with swift steps. São Paulo took on cosmopolitan airs thanks, in good measure, to the contribution of pioneers like engineer Antonio Francisco de Paula Souza (1843-1917) or the constructor of tall buildings and mansions Francisco de Paula Ramos de Azevedo (1851-1928), both founders of the São Paulo Polytechnic School, in 1893.  At the end of the 1920s, when to govern was synonymous with building roads, the institution provided personnel to sketch the first draft of the highway network that, decades later, was to replace the railroads for good.  Polytechnic engineers even ventured to produce armored vehicles and grenades, when São Paulo arose against Getúlio Vargas in 1932. The School, which was incorporated by the University of São Paulo in 1934, was soon to gain fame as a hothouse of public men  – a number of governors of São Paulo went through it.  

Between the decades of the 1950s and the 1970s, that phase when the Brazilian economy grew at the pace of the Asiatic tigers and lacked technological solutions to back development, the polytechnic engineers perhaps lived their golden age.  “We would go to college by bus carrying that enormous T-square and called attention to ourselves.  Many a future engineer arranged a girlfriend like that”, recalls Professor Moacyr Martucci Júnior, the president of Poli-USP’s Research Commission. The advent of information technology caused an earthquake in engineering, which exploded into new specialties. From electrical engineering, computing engineering sprouted.  From electrical and mechanical engineering, mechatronics.  Computers brought the T-square a well deserved retirement and laid new foundations for teaching and research at the institution, where today 495 teaching staff are at work, and 4,300 undergraduates and 4,000 postgraduate students are studying.  Poli-USP has morphed itself to maintain its modernizing role, and has continued to create devices capable of improving the well-being of society.  It is possible to cite noteworthy contributions from researchers and professionals educated at the institution in countless areas.  In the 1960s, planning in the area of transport in the country, which transformed traffic engineering into a science and was applied in the construction of the subway, also emerged thanks to the work of professors from the Poli, like Íon de Freitas and Antonio Galvão Novaes.  Between 1990 and 1994, USP’s Polytechnic School was run by Professor Francisco Romeu Landi, the director-president of FAPESP’s Executive Board, who died in April at the age of 71.  If Brazil today has at its disposal an industry of microelectronics and expertise in the area of telecommunications, it owes this to the capacity of the Polytechnic School for doing research and forming personnel in these areas over the last 30 years. The school claims to have created the first Brazilian computer. Baptized as “Ugly Duckling”, it was the work of researchers from the area of electrical engineering, in 1972.  With the passage of 30 years, this seed has produced a tree laden with fruit. Although Brazil, like several other countries, has not managed to develop a competitive computer industry, as originally planned, the researchers from the IT area of Poli-USP have stood out for the creation of software and network security. The School’s Computer Architecture and Networks Laboratory is a world-wide benchmark in cryptography codes. Paulo Barreto, a researcher from the Poli and head cryptographer of the Brazilian company Scopus, took part in the creation of the algorithms adopted for the digital signature of the European Community and of the American government, after winning international competitions for defining security standards. The Laboratory also created safe environments for the pages of several banks on the Internet and developed a security system for the payment of the Vehicle Tax (IPVA), which  put an end to the frauds practiced in São Paulo’s vehicle licensing department, Detran. Numerical tank In the telecommunications field, professors from the Poli-USP were hired at the beginning of the 1970s by Telebrás, to help to modernize the Brazilian telephone exchanges, which were analogic.  The digitalization of the switching centers expanded the access of Brazilians to a telephone and integrated the national territory. This group also developed, in 1976, the prototype that provided for international direct dialing calls.  Part of these researchers ended up straying away from the School to found Telebrás’s Researches and Development (CPqD), one of the principal dynamos of Brazilian research in telecommunications. The Brazilian naval industry gained consistency from 1956 onwards, after a strategic agreement entered into between the Navy and the Poli, which gave origin to the Naval and Oceanic Engineering Department.  The department continues to be active, but it has found new vocations.  In the last fifteen years, it has strengthened its ties with Petrobras, in a line of research that culminated with the creation, in 2001, of a numerical test tank.  This is a simulator, equipped with a cluster of 120 personal computers, capable of forecasting three-dimensional models of anything: aircraft, cars, ships.  “In a numerical tank, the processing of information is much more rapid, and it is possible to carry out simulations of very complex systems”, says Professor Hélio Mitio Morishita, the head of the department.  In the case of Petrobras, the main interest is the development of oceanic systems, like oil platforms, too complex to be tested in a real test tank. The Navy used the services of Poli-USP’s numerical tank before carrying out the adaptations to the aircraft carrier São Paulo, which used to belong to France.  There were doubts whether the enormous vessel would fit in the dry dock of the Navy’s arsenal, in Rio, where is was to be refurbished.  Based on images and measurements taken of the aircraft carrier and the dock, the tank showed that it would indeed be possible to park the aircraft carrier inside it – in actual fact, it was to be a close shave.  It was only after the simulation that the refit started.  Virtual reality tools are used more and more in engineering schools. Since 2000, the Polytechnic’s Integrable Systems Laboratory has been housing the Digital Cave, a complex for virtual reality, which creates an interactive environment by means of the projection of multiple images. Up to six people can enter the cave at the same time, and interact with the computer-simulated world. Besides its applications in the branches of engineering, the cave can also be used in medicine, in astronomy, and in the production of interactive games The link between the vocations of the past and those of the present is becoming more palpable in some of Poli-USP’s departments, like the Electrical Energy and Automation Engineering department. Under the command of Professor José Roberto Cardoso, the Applied Electromagnetism Laboratory continues to work with research into electrical traction in railroads and subways.  “As we took part in the implantation of the first line of São Paulo’s subway, the knowledge has been built up”, Cardoso says.  There is not a lot of work to be done with regard to railroads, which are more and more losing importance as a means of transport.  But as several Brazilian capitals are building their subways, the laboratory has been summoned to help, by making simulations of the trains running along the track at various speeds, as well as of the quantity of electricity needed to make the whole system work.  The laboratory is also devoted to research into electromagnetic interferences.  It has helped, for example, manufacturers of household appliances to control the electromagnetic emissions of their products at the internationally required levels. It has also assisted the Navy to do a study of the electromagnetic compatibility of the nuclear propelled submarine project that is being carried on at the Aramar complex, in the interior of São Paulo. This is an extremely sophisticated study, given the profusion of wires and circuits planned for the gigantic prototype. But the laboratory’s life is not limited to providing support for those who need it.  At the request of Petrobras, a tubular linear motor has been developed for extracting oil, which is going to replace the items of mechanical equipment known as nodding donkeys, installed in 9,000 wells on land in the country.  The electric motor has the gift of increasing the flow from the wells and suffers less wear and tear, since, unlike the nodding donkeys, it does not produce any attrition with the walls of the well. The School gets involved in theoretical research with the same zeal with which it seeks solutions for prosaic problems. In the Transport Engineering Department, the use of a compound road surface in which blocks of cement concrete work in adherence with asphalt concrete is being tested. Brought from the United States, the technique creates a more resistant surface and helps with the maintenance of road surfaces with structural deficiencies.  The Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Department, the one with the School’s largest academic production, developed a method capable of recycling the discarded ore dust which pollutes the environment. This dust, produced in great quantity in the process of degrading the ore, would clog the furnaces and used to be regarded as useless. In work on the thermal behavior of materials, the researchers from the Poli found that when the iron ore dust was mixed with charcoal, pellets, or briquettes, were produced, which after a curing process, became extremely hard and could be stored. The waste and the pollution came to an end. Today, they are used in the furnaces as raw material for steel.   “The research had great importance in the quest for clean and nonpolluting processes in metallurgy”, says Professor José Deodoro Trani Capocchi, the head of the Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Department.  There are 400 scientific works published in indexed magazines each year. The researchers there sometimes help to solve crimes. At the request of the São Paulo Scientific Police, they prepare reports on the deformation of projectiles or the wear and tear of other materials that are capable of elucidating the circumstances of homicides or accidents. Inside the Polytechnic, also at work is the International Water Reuse Referral Center (Cirra), linked to the Hydraulic and Sanitary Engineering Department. The group of researchers from this institution is working on several fronts, from the development of hydraulic systems that save water (like a cistern for a toilet that uses only 3 liters of water) to testing strategies for the reuse of water resources, such as the use of untreated water in agriculture, in industrial cooling systems, or in the irrigation of urban green areas.  They also help the National Water Agency to formulate new policies against waste.  On the list of practical applications, a researcher from Cirra designed a system for reusing water that will serve the third terminal at Cumbica Airport, in Guarulhos, to be built in the next few years.  Today, all the water used at the airport’s two terminals, which receive 14 million passengers a year, is taken from the airport’s subsoil. The construction of a third terminal is going to call for a new solution, because the source of water is almost exhausted and there not be sufficient water.  The proposal is to submit the waste water to a partial treatment, using it again to wash the tarmac and to cool the airport’s air conditioning system, to mention two examples.  “It is possible to establish a more parsimonious use of the water by following multiple strategies”, says Professor Ivanildo Hespanhol, Cirra’s director.  As in the majority of careers, field of knowledge in engineering has expanded a lot in the last few decades, and the Polytechnic School has striven to embrace all the developments, creating new departments and specializations. But the changes and oscillations in the labor market are so abrupt that a branch of engineering much contended for in an entrance exam may see its interest reduced a few years later, when the student is graduating. This has already happened several times. The traditional civil engineering, for example, lost strength in the 1980s, the lost decade in which Brazil stopped making hydroelectric power plants and highways, frustrating a generation of young professionals. Today, the demand for civil engineering has improved.  In spite of dearth of major works, room has opened up for engineers, for example, in the expansion of public works and infrastructure for sanitation.  Telecommunications engineering lived through its peak and fall in an extremely short period of time. With the privatizations, in the mid-1990s, competition in the entrance exams exploded, but there was a severe downturn in 2000 and 2001, which scared off the interest of the candidates.  “Neither the euphoria nor the hangover was justified”, says Paul Jean Etienne Jeszensky, a professor from the Telecommunications and Control Engineering Department.  “Today there is a move towards an equilibrium in the labor market, a scenario that is neither so good nor so bad as one imagined before”, he explains.  Such oscillations are natural and, except for the disappointment that they generate in the newly graduated, do not bring any profound consequences.  It so happens that the polytechnic engineer is trained, above all, to adapt to new situations, to be ready to solve problems that cannot even be imagined today.   “The School provides an excellent basis. The student takes up the rest”, says Jeszensky. “We prepare professionals for taking decisions, professionals who are always ready to learn new things”, says Moacyr Martucci, the president of the Research Commission. Just as the civil engineers frustrated in the 1980s made dazzling careers inside and outside engineering – the financial market, for example, stocked itself abundantly with these professionals –, the telecommunications class will be absorbed.  But there are also courses that do not know of any crisis. Computing engineering offers two classes of 40 students at each entrance exam. One of these classes does a course on traditional lines.  The other has a different syllabus, in which theory and practice have the same weight.  The modules alternate every four months – with the student now dedicating himself to theoretical disciplines, then doing an attachment in a company, which the School itself undertakes to arrange for the pupils.  “The engineer leaves here with a strong theoretical basis, and also with noteworthy professional experience”, says Professor Wilson Vicente Ruggiero, from the Computing Engineering and Digital Systems Department.   The School is rehearsing a conceptual change in the education of its pupils.  There is a demand in the market for work from professionals with a more humanistic baggage.  Today’s engineer has to take into account variables that were relegated in the old days.  It has been a long time since a hydroelectric power plant was designed without taking into account the ecological impact that the work would cause. Constructed at the beginning of the 1980s, the Balbina plant, which supplies Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas, is an example of an extremely beautiful work of engineering that perpetrated an environmental crime, creating a gigantic lake in which species of trees are rotting to this day. “An excessively technical education sometimes makes the engineer think without taking into account that there are people in the process”, says Professor Hélio Morishita, whose department, of Naval and Oceanic Engineering, altered its syllabus and nowadays calls for its students to do 24 optional disciplines in other units of the University of São Paulo. The choice of these disciplines is up to the student.  The best is for them to have a contact with sociology, communication, philosophy.  Some resist and take to the disciplines of the School of Economics and Management, which have more affinities with engineering”, Morishita says. The Electrical Engineering Department has brought about a similar alteration to its syllabus.  Humanization in the education of its pupils is one of the objectives of Poli 2015, a program to adapt the School, by 2015, to the challenges of this beginning of the century. Amongst the declared goals of  Poli 2015, those that stand out are “competence in the human relationship and in communication, an ethical posture, and cultural and social commitment to Brazil”.  Without giving up, of course, excellence in teaching. The future of Poli-USP is virtual as well.  Distance education is now a reality.  The classes of 105 disciplines are recorded in video and made available on the Internet, as is the didactic material used by the professor.  Those who missed the lesson can watch it at home on the screen of the computer.  Should the virtual student not understand the explanation can interact in a chat session and ask questions.  If it is a doubt that another pupil has had before (80% of them are recurrent), the reply has been stored and comes up right away.  Otherwise, the professor replies later, by e-mail.  The courses and their didactic material are now beginning to be freely available to anyone who has a computer at home.  “The idea is to disseminate the knowledge deposited in the Poli to other engineering students and faculties, to give back to society, in the most ample form possible, the investment that it has made in this school”, says Professor Wilson Vicente Ruggiero. If it works, the school that was born linked to the elite – its founders Ramos de Azevedo and Paula Souza had to get their degrees in Europe – will have achieved a fine settlement of accounts with the past.   [post_title] => Factory of inventions [post_excerpt] => USP’s Polytechnic School helped to modernize the country [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => factory-of-inventions-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-08-12 14:03:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-08-12 17:03:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 ) ) [technology] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 21928 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2004-06-01 10:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2004-06-01 13:00:00 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_79958" align="alignright" width="159"] Semiconductor components produced in Brazil by Aegis: 30% goes abroad[/caption] Present in every kind of electronic device, from the television set to the microwave oven, from the cell phone to the fuel injection system in automobiles, besides, of course, in computers, semiconductors have a characteristic that is always implicit in its description: evolution. Not that other products from the world of electronics or biotechnology, for example, are out of the evolutionary stage, but with semiconductors evolution happens as minutes pass. The demands for miniaturization, for speed in data processing, from the advance of software, and for memory capacity make these little silicon pads one of the supports of present-day civilization. Such importance is also measured by the volume of researches in this area. Semiconductors are constant targets for researchers from universities and from the whole electrical-electronic and information technology industry world-wide, which is always alert to the demands from market in the near and distant future. In Brazil, although we do not have a large-sized semiconductor industry with cutting edge products, which led the country to spend US$ 2 billion in 2003, according to figures from the Brazilian Electrical and Electronic Industry Association (Abinee), research often surprises. Here, it is carried out fundamentally at the universities and is already gathering good fruits. Among the most recent practical results, we find computer memories 250 times more powerful that are being analyzed by two multinationals, a microsensor of blood pressure for surgical operations, besides several alternatives to the compounds of silicon (Si), the main material used in the manufacture of semiconductor components (materials with an intermediate level of electrical conductivity, between conductors, like copper and other metals, and insulators like rubber and ceramics, which make better use of electrons in processing information). Within Brazilian academic research, besides São Paulo, important semiconductor study fronts were also opened up in the 1990's, in Rio Grande do Sul, in Santa Catarina, and in Pernambuco. The University of São Paulo (USP), for example, concentrates most of the studies in this area on the Polytechnic School (Poli) and on the Physics Institute (IF). At the Poli, the researches of the Integrated Microsystems Division (DMI), coordinated by Professor Nilton Itiro Morimoto, have already brought several results. "We have developed a disposable blood pressure sensor to monitor patients under surgery that resulted in a small start up company", Morimoto says. The system, which uses the technology for MEMs (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems), semiconducting devices known as micromachines, is assembled on a ceramic substrate and connected to the patient and to the electronic monitoring apparatuses. Located in São Paulo, the company is Torr Microssistemas, which was funded by FAPESP's Small Business Innovation Research Program (PIPE) and should, in three months, start distributing the product in a market whose similar sensors are imported. The production of Professor Morimoto's group can be measured by the number of papers published annually. "We are responsible for about 60% of the papers presented in the area of microelectronics processes at the Symposium on Microelectronics Technology and Devices, an international meeting organized annually by the Brazilian Microelectronics Society (SBMicro) and by the Brazilian Computing Society (SBC). For Morimoto, the incentive from the new industrial policy for creating a semiconductor industry is a praiseworthy initiative. "A semiconductor factory in Brazil means that the country will have the capacity for adding high value to its products, just by putting a minimum of electronic intelligence in them It means that the country will be able to export more and import fewer electronic products and components, and at the same time, creating thousands of jobs of an extremely high level, both in terms of salary and intellectually", he says. A similar opinion is held by his colleague Inés Pereyra, the head of the Electronic Systems Engineering Department of the Polytechnic School. For Inés, mastering this technology is a strategic issue, because a great deal of the technological development of the last few decades is based on it. "We could say, without exaggerating, that the economic independence of any country involves mastering semiconductor technology, and this, evidently, calls for investments in research and the existence of factories in the country", she says. The researcher is coordinating a thematic project that has as its focus research into new semiconducting and insulating materials and the development of micro and optoelectronic devices based on these materials. Inés's researches involve producing and studying thin films of materials like silicon carbide (SiC) and silicon oxynitride (SiOxNy), produced with processes involving low temperatures. Silicon carbide is an alternative semiconductor to silicon in the manufacture of devices that work in environments with high temperatures, that are chemically aggressive, or have high radiation, such as sensors for the aerospace and steel industries. Silicon oxynitride is an insulator than can replace silicon oxide in many applications. "We tried to improve the properties of these two materials, to develop micro and optoelectronic devices, such as transistors, light emitting and detecting diodes and optic guides (used in telecommunications via optical fiber)", says Inés. Besides applied research, the professors from the Poli also do theoretical research. This is the case of physicist João Francisco Justo Filho, who is using computer simulations to investigate the electronic, structural, and optical properties of semiconducting alloys. According to the researcher, these simulations are low cost tools that can assist in the development and manipulation of materials, and, in turn, in the creation of new devices and production processes. "Our systems for study are made up of sets of atoms, fundamental elements in the context of materials science. It is important to understand their microscopic properties, such as the type of interactions between them and their neighbors, because it is they that determine a major part of the macroscopic properties of materials." One of the lines of research of Justo Filho, who has a project under FAPESP's Young Researcher Program, is aimed at the development of software for simulating nanostructured materials, particularly silicon nanostructures. The researcher's first step towards creating it was to develop a computer code that made it possible to investigate the thermal properties of materials. The next stage was to create software for visualizing the simulations, where films can be constructed, showing the temporal evolution of the atoms. "One of the simulations that we carried out successfully was to observe the behavior of a silicon nanowire being submitted to a constant tension under certain temperature conditions", the researcher states. "In my view, silicon nanowires are the next step in nanotechnology. They will be able to be used in optoelectronic applications (lasers, mainly)." Growth of nanofilms Equally focused on semiconducting nanostructures is physicist José Roberto Leite, the coordinator of the New Semiconducting Materials Laboratory (LNMS), of the Physics Institute of USP in São Paulo. "We are working on the growth of nanofilms and characterizing and applying them in nanoelectronic devices like LEDs (light emitting diodes), LDs (laser diodes), sensors, and detectors. These devices are of great importance in optic recording (CDs and DVDs) and in telecommunications, amongst other areas. "We developed new LDs and LEDs of great interest, because they will be able to replace, in the future, household incandescent bulbs, with more luminosity and lower spending of energy." Another novelty, guaranteed by a patent and intended to improve computer memories, has been transformed into an industrial negotiation, as Pesquisa FAPESP showed in its issue No. 97. Up until now, two large multinational companies, which prefer not to reveal their names, have contacted Professor Elson Longo, from the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) and the coordinator of the Ceramic Materials Development Multidisciplinary Center (CMDMC) and asked for more information about the production process and the new formulation of a chip potentially capable of increase computer memories 250 times, based on a barium and lead titanate compound. "They contacted us and took reports to their head offices, and now they are analyzing them", says Longo. At Unicamp's Physics Institute, the quest for new semiconducting materials is also in the focus of the researchers. The Device Research Laboratory (LPD) is working on synthesizing new materials and on processing and characterizing optical devices and systems. "We are researching into semiconductors made from elements like gallium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and antimony, amongst others, which are more suitable for manufacturing optoelectronic devices", explains physicist Mauro Monteiro Garcia de Carvalho. These devices are used mainly in the manufacture of lasers, light amplifiers, solar cells and light emitters and detectors, much used in the telecommunications sector, in the storage of data, as in CD and DVD devices, in electronic displays, and in laser equipment for medical and dental applications. "We are in the forefront of research, both in synthesizing and in developing new semiconductor lasers." Created in 1974 as the Electronics and Devices Laboratory (LED) and restructured in 1993, when it gained its current name, Unicamp's Semiconductor Components Center is one of the few Brazilian microelectronics laboratories that are carrying out complete processes for making integrated circuits. "We are doing research and development in devices with CMOS (Complementary-Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) technology, which accounts for over 85% of the chips made at the world level", says Jacobus Swart, a coordinator of the center and a professor of Unicamp's School of Electrical Engineering. Several projects have already been carried out. "We are also researching into micromanufactured sensor technology, into MEMs, which are called micromachines and are used as sensors of pressure, gases, and radiation." MEMs are semiconductor devices that typically measure less than 100 micrometers or micra (1 micrometer is equal to a thousandth of a millimeter) and can be used in various industries. "They are sensors made from microelectronic processes. By reducing their size, we also reduce their cost, we improve their performance, and we increase their reliability", he explains. For Swart, overcoming Brazil's technological backwardness in this area will not be an easy task. He believes that the government will only succeed in creating a competitive semiconductor industry in the country if economic conditions are created, enough to attract investments from abroad, and incentives are granted to smaller companies that may be able to grow in specific market niches. Another aspect, according to him, are the human resources. "Without specialized personnel, this industry cannot work. In Brazil, there are only about 500 researchers with direct experience in silicon semiconductors. It is a low figure for our country. It would be ideal if we had at least double that." The government's objective is to stimulate native entrepreneurs to invest in this area and to attract direct investments to the country, with the installation of multinationals from the sector, like the major manufacturers of integrated circuits, also called chips, fundamental for the workings of all electronic equipment. "The semiconductor industry is crucial for innovation, for all the sectors that are growing most in the world: information technology, telecommunications, and entertainment", summarizes Sérgio Bampi, the president of the Brazilian Microelectronics Society and the coordinator of the multidisciplinary program in Microelectronics at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Going into this competitive sector, dominated by such countries as the United States, Germany, Japan, Ireland, Korea, and Taiwan is easily explained. The world semiconductor industry shows some gigantic figures and is the industry that is growing most in the world. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) of the United States, the sector's global sales reached US$ 166.4 billion last year - in 2000, at the height of the bubble of the information technology and Internet companies, they came to US$ 204 billion. In the last 20 years, the segment has had an average annual growth of 16%, against the 3 to 4% of the world economy in general. In Brazil, according to Bampi, the semiconductor market grosses around US$ 3.5 billion a year, adding together the imported components in isolation, those added to ready-made imported products, plus the smuggling market. Regardless of the interest, or otherwise, of the multinational manufacturers in producing chips in Brazil, in Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul, the Center of Excellence in Advanced Electronic Technology (Ceitec), is emerging, funded by the Financier of Studies and Projects of the Ministry of Science and Technology, state and municipal governments, besides companies. Still in the project stage, the institution will be a nucleus specialized in carrying out projects and the manufacture of prototypes of integrated circuits, particularly those endowed with CMOS technology. To do so, the prototyping center will have a class 1000 clean room (with a concentration of particles in suspension in the air of less than 1000 particles per cubic foot) of 800 square meters, with internal class 100 environments (less than 100 particles per square foot) and class 10. A support building will also be built, which will include the center's administrative sector, the greater part of which will be set aside for carrying out projects in integrated circuits and the training of human resources. While Ceitec has not begun to operate, the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul has several research projects for the development of semiconductors and chip engineering. The institution's postgraduate program in microelectronics, for example, is working on an integrated circuit project, on the development of devices with an MOS (Metal Oxide Semiconductor) structure, of software for integrating chips, and of the so-called hardware and software embedded system-on-chip, regarded as one of the future paths of the chip, with memory, processors and activators of data input and output in the same device. One of the most important studies, coordinated by Professor Israel Baumvol, has tested alternatives to silicon oxide (SiO2) in the production of chips, in particular with an oxide, silicates and aluminates of hafnium, a metallic chemical element (see Pesquisa FAPESP No. 82). "My research activity is closely related to the production of semiconductor components for the next ten to 20 years", Baumvol says. "If Brazil has a semiconductor industry, our work will be of vital importance. If we do not have one, the only beneficiaries of our researches will be the major international manufacturers", says he. Discrete components At the moment, there are only four factories working in the productive chain of semiconductors installed in Brazil: Aegis, Semikron, Heliodinâmica and Itaucom. The first two produce the so-called discrete power components - like diodes and thyristors –, which are simpler than integrated circuits. "Diodes and thyristors are devices that work like a key, letting electric current pass or blocking it", explains engineer Wanderley Marzano, the director-president of Aegis, located in São Paulo. "Our devices are made of silicon and are intended for the capital goods industry. They are used in sources of direct current that are make up automation and rectification equipment (transforming alternating current into direct current), amongst others." Aegis's monthly production is about 6,000 wafers, but it could be far larger. "I do not use even 25% of my installed capacity", says the businessman, who complains about the instability of the Brazilian market and of the difficulties in selling to customers abroad. Even so, 30% of his production is exported to a dozen countries, including the United States, China, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, and France. Heliodinâmica, in turn, produces mainly solar cells (which are made of silicon), and Itaucom works in the assembly of integrated circuits. The components come from abroad in the form of a processed silicon wafer, and the company carries out their assembly and testing for putting them on the market. Although it is very limited today, the Brazilian semiconductor manufacturing complex has been bigger in the past. At the beginning of the 1970, the country had a world class laboratory, the Microelectronics Laboratory of the University of São Paulo (USP), which was close to the state of the art in integrated circuit research. And in the 1980s, there were 23 companies installed, the majority belonging to major international groups. Changes to the course "The opening up of the market carried out by the Fernando Collor administration made the domestic companies close their doors, and the foreign ones leave the country", explains José Elis Ripper Filho, the director-president of Asga, located in the city of Paulínia, in the state of São Paulo, which in those days made semiconductors and today produces advanced equipment for telecommunications via optical fiber. With the end of the trade barriers, the makers of the end goods started to import kits, ready for assembly in Brazil. "Accordingly, the components purchase started to be done abroad", Ripper says. "Importing a complete kit came to be more advantageous for the end assembler, since it makes possible a reduction in the cost of its own engineering and simplifies the supply chain", points out the document of the National Microelectronics Program - A Contribution for Formulating a Structured Action Plan, produced by the Ministry of Science and Technology, in December 2002. A way will have to be negotiated, if cutting edge semiconductors start being produced in Brazil again. Inside the productive chain The factories that make up the productive chain of integrated circuits can be divided, in a simple manner, into three categories: the design houses, responsible for designing the circuits, the silicon foundries, which handle the manufacture properly speaking, which comprises the physicochemical processing of the circuits that make up the so-called front end stage, and the companies in charge of assembling, encapsulating, and testing the product, which make up the back end stage. Of them all, the foundries, precisely the ones that do not exist in the country, are the ones that add most value to the product. The amount of the investment for setting up these factories is very varied. According to a study carried out by the Ministry of Science and Technology, at the end of 2002, the cost of setting up a design house would vary from US$ 1 million to US$ 5 million, with the funds concentrated basically in software, training and workstations. Foundries, in turn, have a far more diversified cost, depending on the area of work. Factories specialized in the prototyping of small series, such as the production of simple CMOS devices on a small scale, call for relatively small investments, from US$ 10 million to US$ 100 million. Then there are the factories that are suppliers for specialized segments, like automobile components, sensors, transceptors (that send and receive radio signals) and microelectromechanical systems (MEMs), costing from US$ 300 million to US$ 600 million. “These foundries comprise the majority of the wafer factories in the world and allow for a lot of innovation in electronic products”, says Sérgio Bampi, the president of the Brazilian Microelectronics Society. The third category of these companies is made up of megafactories, like the American ones Intel and AMD, which produce mainly microprocessors and memories with cutting edge technology. The cost of implanting them is extremely high, ranging from US$ 1 billion to US$ 3 billion. The projects 1. Production, Characterization and Applications of Semiconductor and Insulating Alloys (nº 00/10027-3); Modality Thematic Project; Coordinator Inés Pereyra - USP; Investment R$ 287,049.00 and US$ 399,205.00 2. Experimental and Theoretical Study of Epitaxial Semiconductor Nanostructures Derived from Compounds III-V (nº 98/12779-0); Modality Thematic Project; Coordinator José Roberto Leite - USP; Investment R$ 416,700.00 and US$ 502,219.00 3. Theoretical Modeling of Electronic and Structural Properties of Semiconductor Alloys (nº 00/11438-7); Modality Young Researcher; Coordinator João Francisco Justo Filho - USP; Investment R$ 71,547.00 and US$ 45,449.00 4. Complete Encapsulation of Disposable Transducers of Blood Pressure (nº 01/08711-6); Modality Small Business Innovation Research Program (PIPE); Coordinator Edgar Charry Rodriguez - Torr; Investment R$ 155,100.00 5. Optoelectronic Integration Platform Based on Selective and Non-Selective Epitaxial Growth by Epitaxy of Chemical Beams (nº 98/14560-6); Modality Thematic Project; Coordinator Mauro Monteiro Garcia de Carvalho - Unicamp; Investment R$ 539,193.00 [post_title] => Race for the chip [post_excerpt] => Brazil seeks to reduce external dependence in the semiconductor area [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => race-for-the-chip [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-04 17:45:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-04 20:45:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 21930 [post_author] => 154 [post_date] => 2004-06-01 10:10:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2004-06-01 13:10:00 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_79962" align="alignright" width="168"] Test vessels for preparing fibers with silicon and germanium nanostructures[/caption] From the middle of the 70's to the privatization of telecommunications, in 1998, Brazil created telephone systems that were every bit as good as those then in use in the developed countries. The merit belonged chiefly the Telecommunications Research and Development Center (CPqD), a technological arm of the state holding company Telebrás, which managed telecommunications in the country. After privatization, investment in research and development fell, and a wave of imports started. The situation has improved, but it can improve even more with the recent developments coming from various research centers linked to universities or companies. Advanced amplifiers for operating with telephone and data transmissions, special optical fibers and networks for a super-rapid Internet, besides special software for managing mobile and fixed phone equipment and networks, are some of the new products that may serve the country in the near future, avoiding imports, besides providing for a more active participation in the international voice and data communication market. "Technological value still has to be added to the Brazilian products", comments Professor Hugo Fragnito, from the Physics Institute of the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), one of those making up the Optics and Photonics Research Center (Cepof), financed by FAPESP. "An important advance are the projects for high-speed networks on which it is possible to test new technologies on a far superior scale than in the laboratory", says Fragnito. One of these is the network of the Giga project, a venture of the CPqD in partnership with the Ministry of Science and Technology, which had the support of Embratel, Telefônica, Telemar, and Intelig, and received R$ 54 million in finance from the Telecommunications Technological Development Fund (Funttel). It began to operate in April, connecting 20 teaching, research and development institutions with Internet network technology to WDM technology (a system of wavelength division multiplexing), which expands the transmission capacity of the optical fiber networks. With a speed of up to 10 Gigabits per second, the Giga project is 400 times quicker than the domestic broadband connections. Another network with these characteristics is KyaTera, which is part of FAPESP's Information Technology in the Development of the Advanced Internet Program (Tidia). "The researchers from the two networks are working in cooperation", says Fragnito. Tidia has the Internet itself as the object of its studies and is bringing together several research groups specialized in information technology, communications, and laboratory control and automation. Groups of excellence in all the experimental sciences will join them so they can develop projects in optical communications, optical networks, access networks, information superhighways, and instrument control software and hardware. It will be a sharing of networks with objectives in research and in training specialists in developing technology for the Internet. Collaboration is, incidentally, one of the specialties of Cepof, which teams up with other research centers and companies of all sizes. A little over a year ago, for example, it wooed the University of Bath, in The United Kingdom , to develop a fiber optic parametric amplifier (Fopa, for short) that promises to increase by hundreds of times the speed of transmitting data and voice in long distance networks. Only three other research centers in the whole world are working on the development of this kind of amplifier: Bell Labs and Stanford University, in the United States, and Chalmers University of Technology, in Sweden. Today, the world market for amplifiers grosses roughly US$ 8 billion a year. The amplifier's function is to guarantee that the light signals that take information and spread themselves over the optical fiber cables in the form of a laser do not lose their original potency. In the 1980's, this was done by electronic equipment, which had to convert light signals into electrical ones and afterwards convert them back again, in a process that would increase the risk of failures. In 1989, optical amplifiers with erbium doped fibers inside them produced a veritable revolution: they increased the transmission band from 1 gigabit (1 billion bits) to 4 terabits (4 trillion bits), started to operate with multiple communication protocols, and, for good measure, reduced tremendously the cost of the networks. The parametric amplifier should also cost far less than the equipment currently in use, besides protecting the investments of the operating companies, by virtue of its practically inexhaustible capacity. The equipment needs a special optical fiber, called photonic crystals, and the research for choosing the most suitable ended up leading to an unexpected discovery - a material that much reduces the Brillouin effect, an undesirable result of the interaction of the electric field of the light with the acoustic waves present in the fibers, allowing part of the light return to the generating source. The discovery was made by Paulo Dainese, who is studying for his doctorate at Unicamp's Physics Institute, under Fragnito's supervision. Presented in May at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (or Cleo) of the Optical Society of America, the work was awarded the prize for being one of the seven best studies, out of 5,000 competitors. Detail: the fiber, now patented, will probably be applied widely in the fields of optics and acoustics. In the meantime, a process for producing optical fibers doped with erbium, not yet mastered in Brazil, is being developed at Unicamp by Professor Carlos Kenichi Suzuki, a researcher linked to the Quartz Integrated Cycle Laboratory, of the School of Mechanical Engineering. With this innovation, in 2003 Suzuki founded a company called Sun Quartz, which is currently installed in Unicamp's Incubator. The project, supported by FAPESP's Small Business Innovation Research Program (PIPE), should result in a substantial increase in the level of erbium in the fibers, which will expand their communication capacity. This limit, today, goes so far as to hinder the amplification of the light signals. "Our work aims to control and manipulate nanostructures of particles of silicon and germanium, the fiber's raw materials", Suzuki says. "The results have indicated that the characteristics of these nanostructures are decisive elements for the concentration of the erbium." The production of the fibers is based on a technology called vapor-phase axial deposition (or VAD), much employed in Japan, which makes it possible, in five stages, to produce silicon with a high level of purity and a potential application in such diverse areas as the administration of medicines and the production of solar cells. The foreign market is also in the sights of a company from the city of Campinas called Padtec, the only manufacturer of equipment using WDM technology in the Southern Hemisphere. Dismembered from the CPqD at the end of 2001, Padtec offers products for corporate data storage networks and metropolitan and long distance communication networks. In Brazil, it is a supplier to the main operating companies, and it exports to Latin America, the United States, India, and Portugal. In 2003, it sold about R$ 7.5 million, of which R$ 4.5 million was set aside for research and development. According to the company's technical director, Jorge Salomão Pereira, of Padtec's 75 employees, 15 are engineers dedicated exclusively to research and development. "The challenge for Brazil now is to conquer more participation in the world market", says Bruno Vianna (the former superintendent of the Genius Institute), from Orion Consultadores Associados (Associated Consultants), specialized in innovation, telecommunications, and energy. A few conditions seem to be taking shape for the accumulated knowledge and the quality of the human resources to begin to generate a good volume of new projects and products, as well as hard currency. On its renewal, in 2001, the Law on Information Technology encouraged efforts in research and development amongst the manufacturers of equipment, with tax benefits that will probably be extended until 2019. The creation of Funttel in 2002 ensured funds for innovation. More recently, the federal government chose as one of its priorities the software area, the heart of telephone apparatuses. Furthermore, major international companies have been increasing their investments in research and development in the country, and Brazilian companies are beginning to be successful in export strategies. Voice packet The importance of the Law on Information Technology is also highlighted by Hélio Graciosa, the president of the CPqD, which in July 1998 became a private foundation. According to him, the CPqD has had four major conquests from then until now - competence in licensing products, ability in developing software for fixed and mobile telephony, and the capacity for providing technological services, besides offering studies, tests, and consultancies. The CPqD, which keeps itself closely connected to universities and research institutes - it has 30 partners in these areas –, is also working on the development of products in conjunction with small companies. With 1,500 employees, it is now focused on the new generation networks (NGNs), which transmit voice in packets, with a considerable improvement in the level of usage of the band. "The telecom companies are beginning to place orders", Graciosa reveals. With an office in Silicon Valley, California, since 2000, the CPqD is consolidating its work in the United States, which supplies support software for operations and business. In 2001, it started to establish a series of partnerships for distribution that took its products and services to Latin American countries, Portugal, Spain, Germany, and, more recently, Angola. At the moment, they are running 18 major research projects. Its income, which was R$ 185 million in 2002, reached R$ 205 million in 2003 and should grow 10% this year. To attend better to global customers, the major suppliers of telecommunications equipment are also beginning to invest in research and development in Brazil. In December 2003, Siemens, of Germany, created the Portal of Technologies, where universities, research institutes, technology-based companies, and even independent inventors can present proposals. "A team of 45 analysts assesses each project in detail", says Ronald Martin Dauscha, the director of corporate technological management. And there are already four proposal that seem to be very viable. Amongst its six research and development centers in Brazil, Siemens employs 315 persons. "Investments, which in 2003 were R$ 80 million, should rise to R$ 100 million", says Dauscha. In May, the company's factory in Curitiba became their world-wide export platform for PABX equipment. At Motorola Brazil, the research and development team, made up of 60 persons at the end of 1999, has today 150 professionals in the software area alone, explains Rosana Jamal Fernandes, the company's director for research and development. American in origin, the company has entered into agreements with 17 universities and several research institutes, like Eldorado, which, founded on her initiative in 1997, today provides services for various companies. And it encourages its partners to certify its processes and products - an essential condition for conquering the international market. From 1997 until now, its investments in research and development in the country have added up to US$ 135 million. "All the Motorola cell phones, regardless of where they are made, carry something Brazilian", she warrants. The projects 1. Amplifying Optical Fibers of Silicon Doped with Erbium (nº 03/01163-9); Modality Small Business Innovation Research Program (PIPE); Coordinator Carlos Kenichi Suzuki - Sun Quartz; Investment R$ 307,627.00 and US$ 12,700.00 2. Optics and Photonics Research Center (Cepof), at Unicamp; Modality Research, Innovation and Diffusion Centers (Cepids); Coordinator Hugo Fragnito - Physics Institute at Unicamp; Investment R$ 1 million a year [post_title] => Concentrated effort [post_excerpt] => Optical fibers bring a new stage for research into the Internet and telephony [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => concentrated-effort [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-04 17:29:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-04 20:29:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 115723 [post_author] => 6 [post_date] => 2004-06-01 10:20:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2004-06-01 13:20:23 [post_content] => New active ingredients, discovered by a group of researchers from São Paulo, have shown great pharmacological potential for alleviating pain and controlling blood pressure, as indicated by tests carried out with molecules synthesized from the venom of the rattlesnake (Crotalus terrificus) and of the jararaca (Bothrops jararaca). Other pure molecules extracted from a sponge are capable of reducing tumors, but cannot yet be revealed because they are at a stage of research that calls for secrecy. Since its creation, the Applied Toxinology Center (CAT), housed in the Butantan Institute, has already deposited six patent requests. The most recent deals with a substance obtained from rattlesnake venom, which, in a single dose, revealed an analgesic power 600 times more potent than morphine, an effect that is prolonged for up to five days without any side effects. The first patent, deposited in March 2001, derived from the study not only of the jararaca’s venom, but also in this snake’s brain, where 17 peptides were found that result from a chain of amino acids with antihypertensive properties baptized as Evasins (endogenous vasopeptidase inhibitors). The researches were carried out in partnership with the Brazilian pharmaceutical industry, represented by the Pharmaceutical Consortium (Coinfar), made up of the Laboratories Biolab-Sanus, União Química and Biosintética. The studies that resulted in isolating the molecules responsible for the analgesia have covered a long road. Vital Brazil, who founded the Butantan Institute and was a pioneer in the study of snakes in Brazil and the Brazilian precursor in the medical application of animal toxins, showed the analgesic effect of rattlesnake venom at the beginning of the 20th century. Professor Antonio Carlos Martins de Camargo, the coordinator of the CAT, which is one of the ten Research, Innovation and Diffusion Center (Cepids) created by FAPESP in 2000, recalls that the researcher used, effectively, diluted rattlesnake venom on patients with chronic pains. “The venom used was very much diluted, almost homeopathic, but the patients felt very well”, he says. It was following these observations that researchers from Butantan managed to carry out a pharmacological characterization of the substance contained in the rattlesnake venom, but not the active ingredient, that is, the molecule or the molecules responsible for this effect. This only became possible, according to Camargo, with the creation of the CAT, which made it possible to set up the infrastructure needed for isolating, chemically identifying, and synthesizing the active substance. Effects reproduced As these molecules are minority components in the venom, isolating them and characterizing them is a very complex task, which calls for specialists in the subject and specific instruments, such as the mass spectroscopy apparatus, fundamental for determining the molecular structure. “After several failures, we managed to make it, thanks to the work of the researchers from the Butantan Institute, like Yara Cury and her postgraduate pupil Gizele Picolo, and of a Japanese researcher, Katsuhiro Konno, a specialist in purification who worked with us for three years as the holder of a scholarship from FAPESP”, Camargo says. “At the end of last year, we managed to arrive at one of the molecules responsible for the analgesic effect.” The molecule was isolated, its structure identified, and then synthesized. Tests proved that the synthetic molecule isolated reproduced the analgesic effects. “It has an effect similar to morphine, but is far more potent and lasting, and without any side effects identified up to this moment. Furthermore, the product is administered orally”, he stresses. Morphine, on the other hand, which is standard for analgesia, acts for a short period of time. To get the same effect as the first dose administered the quantity taken has to be increased, which results in a cumulative effect on the organism and, in some cases, on dependency. The tests with the new analgesic were carried out on animals and still have to be confirmed in human beings, in the so-called phase 3 and 4 clinical tests. Right away in the preclinical tests carried out with the antihypertensives obtained from jararaca venom, new properties that are not to be found in the first patent were discovered and patented. Tests were carried out that showed important differences between these and the antihypertensives of this class that exist in the market. These differences may improve the quality of the treatment of hypertensive individuals. Yet another activity of these molecules not related to the one that was first identified is often discovered. This is the case of one of the Evasins that influences the permeability of ion channels and modifies the response of the stimuli, such as happens, for example, with the stimulus that leads to muscle contraction. This property may have another therapeutic application besides the hypertensive activity, such as in the treatment of diseases that affect the central nervous system. The new discoveries, as well as the paths followed by the synthesized molecule inside the organism, resulted in two other patents, filed in Brazil, in the United States, in the European Community, and in Japan. At the current stage of the research, the best Evasins, which have greater effectiveness and fewer side effects, are being picked to develop the antihypertensives. The Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) has been working along two lines. One of them deals with the search for formulations capable of making effective their administration orally, since the peptides are destroyed by the digestive tract. The other is assessing the antihypertensive action of four of the 17 new peptides found in the jararaca’s venom. Genetically modified rats with hypertension, bred in the laboratory, are given dosages of each one of them and are subject to full time monitoring. Promising results The results achieved up until now, both with the analgesic and with the hypertensive, have been very promising, as the partners from the industry attest. “We went far beyond where we imagined at the outset”, says Cleiton de Castro Marques, a vice-president of the Castro Marques Group, which includes Biolab-Sanus and União Química, two of the companies taking part in the consortium. The beginning of this partnership took place after a talk between Professor Camargo and physician Márcio Falci, the medical director of Biosintética, the other member of Coinfar. “When he talked to me about the kind of project he was developing, I glimpsed the possibility of having, at a single place in Brazil, new products being discovered in an intense and rapid manner”, says Falci. This was the beginning of the partnership between the pharmaceutical industry and the CAT. “We perceived the possibility of having a basis for developing a line of pharmaceutical products that could end up reaching the market”, says José Fernando Leme Magalhães, the Castro Marques Group’s corporate director for strategic affairs. The consortium was formed because it would be more difficult for each one of the companies individually to have the prowess to accompany the ramifications of the project. Within this scenario, the businessmen began to look with more attention at the details of the products in transformation. Up until now, each one of the three companies that make up the consortium has now put US$ 1 million of its own funds into the research, to a total of US$ 3 million. But from here onwards, the spending will be higher, with the certification of the tests and putting together the dossier that will be forwarded to the Brazilian and international regulatory agencies, for the product to be approved. This form of work and new investments should also serve for one of the most recent novelties to have left the CAT’s benches, with the support of Coinfar. The product, whose preliminary results are heartening, has anticarcinogenic properties and is obtained from sponges. “The tests with the pure molecule caused an extremely significant reduction in some kinds of tumors”, Camargo says. Sponges are very simple invertebrate animals that live stuck to rocks and other marine organisms. To feed themselves and to grow, they produce toxins that put their predators to flight from the places they inhabit. Knowing about this, the researchers went after these toxins to look for possible applications for them. This molecule was isolated and its structure determined by mass spectrometry. The next step is to get it in synthetic form. The studies are part of a program of the CAT for developing toxins from marine animals, with an application in many areas. “Just to mention one example, AZT, an antiviral used in the treatment of Aids, was produced from the toxin of a sponge”, Camargo says. With this broad range of research, Butantan’s Toxinology Center is described by Castro Marques as a molecule factory. With the good news from the CAT, Biolab and União Química are committed to investing in research and development, to improve their competitiveness. This year, the group set aside 5.3% of their sales in the pharmaceutical area, which in 2003 were R$ 419 million, for research. The money injected will therefore amount to R$ 22.2 million. The investment covers everything from innovative products to the development of new pharmaceutical forms, new concepts, and clinical studies. The partnership between the companies and research centers started nine years ago, with the Institute of Nuclear Energy and Research (Ipen), and resulted in Bandgel, a hydrogel for the treatment of burns. The product acts as a protective barrier, making possible a rapid recovery of the tissues at the place of the burn. Business philosophy “We have reached the point today at which we have received more proposals than our capacity for investing”, Castro Marques reports. For him, research is of prime important for the industry in Brazil. Since the Law on Patents came into force in Brazil in 1996, the domestic companies began to be concerned with the need for developing new products, as the major international companies do. “We have to invest and to create technology, because the market will be made up, on the one side, by innovative companies, and, on the other, by companies making generic and similar medicines and popular products”, he says. The same philosophy provides the bearings for Biosintética, which has been working in partnership with universities since 1993, to develop products. Every year, it invests 2% of its net sales of about R$ 260 million in research, which works out at R$ 5.2 million. According from Falci, who is from Biosintética, one of the results of the partnership with the CAT, besides the promising drugs, was the laying of the bases for defining a policy for the pharmaceutical industry. The first pillar was the creation of the Pharmaceutical Innovation Management Agency (Agif), which brings together specialists capable of making a well protected patent, and has the task of identifying bottlenecks in the route by which discoveries are transformed into products. For Magalhães, the objective of innovation is the market. And success is the greatest stimulus. “I am sure that when one of these innovative products reaches the market, many other companies are also going to want to invest.” The capacity for putting onto the market a new product, with a higher added value and commercial appeal motivates the competition. The Project Applied Toxinology Center (CAT) Modality Research, Innovation and Diffusion Centers (Cepids) Coordinator Antonio Carlos Martins de Camargo – Butantan Institute Investment US$ 1,300,000.00 [post_title] => Molecule factory [post_excerpt] => Partnership results in an analgesic that is more potent than morphine [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => molecule-factory-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-07-17 18:35:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-17 21:35:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 21931 [post_author] => 22 [post_date] => 2004-06-01 10:30:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2004-06-01 13:30:00 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_79970" align="alignright" width="160"] Shitake cultivated in the field, on eucalyptus trunks[/caption] Fleshy and soft to the touch, the Agaricus blazei fungus, the Murill Mushroom known popularly in Brazil as the mushroom of the Sun, stimulates the immune system and works like a powerful collaborator in the treatment of hepatitis C, to the extent that it improves the appetites of the patients, who usually lose a lot of weight. It also diminishes the side effects of the antiviral medicines, like fatigue and muscle pains. Furthermore, it is an excellent source of proteins and vitamins. Every 100 grams of the dehydrated mushroom contains 35 grams of proteins, besides iron, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamins of the B complex. These were some of the conclusions reached by the team of researchers coordinated by Professor Augusto Ferreira da Eira, from the Plant Production Department of the School of Agronomic Sciences of the São Paulo State University (Unesp) of Botucatu, after four and a half years of studies. They also found that many of the results publicized by the media for Agaricus blazei, like the reduction of tumors, are only achieved with the concentrated extract of the fungus, and not with pills and teas. The study of the medicinal properties of A. blazei, and also of Lentinula edodes, the mushroom known as shitake, was one of the objectives of the research. The growing demand from producers for techniques that guarantee better results in the cultivation of these mushrooms also served as an incentive. Funded by FAPESP, the project now has results for farming, mainly of the A. blazei, which are being passed on to the producers, who are concentrated in the São Paulo cities of Sorocaba and Piedade and in the western part of the state (Boituva, Conchas, Lençóis Paulista, Marília and others). Traditional consumption Like other mushrooms of the same genus, A. blazei looks like an umbrella. It originates from the mountain regions of the Atlantic Rain Forest in the south of the state of São Paulo. In the 1970's, it was taken to Japan, where its medicinal properties began to be studied. On the other hand, shitake took the opposite route. It was brought from Asia by the Japanese and Chinese, and was acclimatized to Brazilian conditions. Although it is the second most consumed mushroom in the world, with about 14% of the market, it is still far behind the unbeatable leader, Agaricus bisporus, the famous mushroom that originates from France, with over 50%. There are, in the world, about 10,000 known species of mushrooms, according to some specialists, of which 700 are edible, 50 toxic, and from 50 to 200 used in medicinal practices. Among the Asians, the tradition of the medical consumption of mushrooms goes back many years, as is attested by reports dated from almost 2,000 years ago. And they are the biggest consumers of the Brazilian product, according to data from the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade. In the first quarter of this year alone, of the 6,243 kilos (kg) of dry A. blazei exported, in the amount of US$ 557,901.00 (US$ 89.36 the kilo), almost the whole, or 6,223 kg, had Japan for a destination. In 2003, of the 20,072 kg sold, 19,368 went to the Japanese market. In the last few years, A. blazei has become very well known, because of popular reports about the benefits brought about by tea made with this mushroom, which is said to be responsible for the recovery and the improvement in the clinical conditions of patients with cancerous tumors, when administered together with the conventional treatments like radiotherapy and chemotherapy. "We went into the research to see what is the truth and what is a lie, in the reports spread abroad by the media", Augusto says. Taking part in the project were researchers linked to several areas, such as biotechnology, immunology, pathology, biochemistry, and agronomy, adding up, by the reckoning of the coordinator, to about 80 professionals, split into seven teams. The first task for the researchers involved in the project, which started in 1999, consisted of verifying whether the fungus that was to be studied was precisely the A. blazei. To do so, strains were chosen from the states of São Paulo, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, and Rio Grande do Sul. The analysis, carried out by Brazilian mycologists (experts in mushrooms), with others from Israel taking part, resulted in the proposition that the Brazilian strains should be identified as Agaricus blazei (Murr.) ss. Heinem, or as a new species, called Agaricus brasiliensis, because they are really different from the strains found in Florida, United States, and described by mycologist William Murrill in 1945. The study that identifies the Brazilian species, headed up by Solomon Wasser, from the University of Haifa, in Israel, was published in 2003 in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms and is awaiting the opinion of other mycologists. In parallel with this work, the mushrooms obtained in several situations of cultivation were sent to the other teams. The group responsible for the biochemical characterization, coordinated by Professor Edson Rodrigues Filho, from the Chemistry Department of the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), analyzed several substances in apolar extracts (fatty acids, which are present in mushrooms) and also in polar ones (which are soluble in water, like proteins and amino acids). "In the case of A. blazei's apolar extracts, several substances were detected, including linoleic acid, described in the scientific literature as having anticarcinogenic properties for animals", Augusto says. To find out at what stage of the mushroom linoleic acid is most present, several strains were looked into, picked in their young stage, characterized by the closed top of the mushroom, known as the cap, and at the stage at which it is now fully open. According to Augusto, the market prefers the whiter, closed mushroom for consumption. "But it is not always the young mushroom that contains more active ingredients", he adds. Cell protection Carried out by Ana Paula Terezan, a student for a master's degree at the Chemistry Department of UFSCar, the tests indicated that in some strains the linoleic acid, for example, is more concentrated in the open stage, while in others this happens in the young stage. The variations were related to the lineage and to the material used as covering, where they are cultivated, which can be turf, schist, or a mixture of earth and charcoal. Another team, coordinated by Lúcia Regina Ribeiro, from the Pathology Department of the School of Medicine at Unesp in Botucatu, assessed the efficiency of the aqueous extracts of A. blazei and shitake in rats, against tumors and other chemically induced cell damage. This study had the objective of assessing whether the much proclaimed medicinal properties of the mushroom taken in the form of juices or teas really had any foundation. The experiments showed that the aqueous extracts protect against genetic alterations in the cells. "When the mushrooms were ground and incorporated into the feed, the benefit was the nonappearance of tumors", Augusto says. The researches also threw new light on the form of extraction and the daily dosage indicated for the mushrooms. Some producers recommend the consumption, on a daily basis, of up to 40 grams of dehydrated A. blazei, in an aqueous infusion of 1 liter, at a temperature of 100°C and boiled during from one to two hours. Data obtained by the team coordinated by Ramon Kaneno, from the Microbiology and Immunology Department of UNESP's Biosciences Institute, run totally counter to these recommendations. "The tests showed that aqueous extracts of A. blazei obtained by boiling curtailed the survival of mice suffering from cancerous tumors, compared with treatment with juices, probably for their hepatotoxic effects", Augusto reports. As a result of these results, the researchers are studying far smaller doses than the 40 grams in powder form or in the form of juice. According to Augusto, almost everything that is said about reducing the progression of tumors, enhancing the survival of the patients, and even contributing towards a regression of the tumors was not corroborated with the taking of teas (hot infusions). These effects can only be observed when concentrated fraction of A. blazei are used, in which the active ingredients are to be found present in more strength. "In fractions soluble in ammonium oxalate (ATF extract), the researchers from the area of immunology observed that the tumors stopped proliferating. They did not regress, but they stagnated at a given point", he reports. "About 80% of the concentrated extracts (ATF) are made up of betaglycans (polysaccharides), which really do have an effect of controlling tumors. He stresses that the propaganda targeting the consumer uses scientific results that were obtained with concentrated extracts, which does not correspond to the products that are on sale, in the form of pills, for example. "In spite of the mushroom of the sun being known by this name for a long time, a businessman entered a request to register the brand", Augusto says. The case recalls the case of cupuassu, a typical fruit from the Amazon, the registration of which was canceled in Japan (please see Pesquisa Fapesp nº 98). Augusto reminds us that A. blazei has an effect in neutralizing free radicals (molecules linked to the process of cell degeneration) and works as an important assistant in some kinds of treatment, such as chemotherapy, because it eliminates, in part, the side effects. As to radiotherapy, tests by the team coordinated by Professor Alzira Teruio Yida-Satake, from the Dermatology and Radiotherapy Department of Unesp's School of Medicine in Botucatu, showed that the teas from some strains are modifiers of the radiation responses. If they are taken before radiation, they do not interfere with the treatment. However, the same tea administered after the radiation makes the individual resistant to radiotherapy. The radioprotective effect was also observed with the juices administered both before and after radiation. Accordingly, the treatment may not have the desired effect, if tea is taken after radiation, or juice before or after. When the thematic project was now in the final stage, Milena Costa Menezes, who is studying for a master's degree under the supervision of Carlos Antônio Caramori, from the School of Medicine at Unesp, in Botucatu, began to assess the influence of the dietary supplementation with the mushroom on the evolution of the nutritional state and of the treatment of hepatitis C in patients at the university outpatients department. During six months, a mixture of six different strains was administered, in powder form, to five sufferers from this disease. The study accompanied the patients at the beginning of the antiviral treatment, without the use of the mushroom, and after the administration of the new preparation. The control group was given the same antiviral treatment. The results indicated that the group in the experiment showed an improvement in all the reported side effects - in a comparison with the control group - after the first month of treatment with the medicine. Alternated temperatures The other part of the research, which deals with the technology for cultivation, has also made a lot of headway. Before the project started, the producers who cultivated A. blazei would employ the same technology used to grow French mushrooms. However, the mushroom that is native to Brazil needs alternation in the temperature to give fruit (ten to 14 days of heat, followed by three to five days of cold, and, once again, the same period of heat). To reach this conclusion, the conditions for cultivating them in the field were reproduced, in greenhouses adapted inside containers. All the variables were controlled by a computer program developed by the researchers. For A. blazei, besides choosing selected strains, the most favorable compost for cultivation has to be chosen. Grass, sugarcane bagasse, meal, dung, and other agro-industrial wastes are some of the substrates used to inoculate the "seed" of the fungus. At this stage, it remains in a humid atmosphere, which is reminiscent of a moldy room, which exhales a peculiar smell of sweet almond. Reproduction takes with tiny little filaments (hyphae) extracted from the cap of the mushroom. To start with, A. blazei used to be cultivated only in unprotected beds in the field, which is why is was known as the mushroom of the sun. But even in the open, it is cultivated with a covering of grass, and does not get any light. In the case of shitake, cultivation is done on tree trunks, an ancient and rustic method, but widely practiced for calling for a low investment. The results of the project suggest that there is still a large field for research into shitakes and A. blazei, even though several answers have already been found. The next stage, in the plans of Professor Augusto, is to turn the focus to the active ingredients concentrated in the extracts, and to correlate the intensity of the medicinal effects with the time they are picked, the substrate, and the climate. The project Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms: Technology for Cultivating, Biochemical Characterization, and Protective Effects of the Agaricus blazei Murrill (mushroom of the sun) and Lentinula edodes (Berk.) Pegler (shitake) mushrooms (nº 98/07726-5); Modality Thematic Project; Coordinator Augusto Ferreira da Eira - Unesp in Botucatu; Investment R$ 542,578.00 and US$ 261,003.00 [post_title] => Small and powerful [post_excerpt] => Researchers verify protective effects of a Brazilian mushroom [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => small-and-powerful [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-04 17:24:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-04 20:24:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 21932 [post_author] => 168 [post_date] => 2004-06-01 10:40:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2004-06-01 13:40:00 [post_content] => Two vaccines for veterinary use, one against ticks, the other anti-venom serum, which protects the cattle from rattlesnake venom, are the first two products with a patent deposited with the National Institute of Industrial Property (Inpi) licensed by the State of Minas Gerais Research Support Foundation (Fapemig). When they arrive on the market, they are going to earn royalties for the foundation and for research institutes that hold the patents. A third product with a patent filed, which is under negotiation, may follow the same path as the vaccines. It is a device installed in the inside of the inlet diffuser of catalytic converters, intended to improve the performance of the gas exhaust system in automobile engines and to reduce pollution as a consequence. The three patents are part of a group of 11 deposited.To organize the patents and to make them known, the foundation created the Technological Management Office (EGT), which patents the innovations with potential commercial interest. The experience is following the same path as FAPESP, which in May 2001 created the Nucleus for Patenting and Licensing Technology (Nuplitec), for protecting intellectual property and licensing the inventions resulting from the researches financed by the foundation. FAPESP has 75 patents deposited with INPI. "We try to transfer technology when we verify its possibilities for benefiting society and economic growth. That is why we look for interest from the market in each kind of technology, in perfecting it and in implementing it on an industrial scale", says Naftale Katz, Fapemig's scientific director until May, when he was transferred to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), in Rio de Janeiro. The vaccine for controlling ticks in cattle was the first product negotiated with a company, in this case Hertape, a laboratory from Minas Gerais. Developed at the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV), it was made up of 45 of the 650 amino acids that form the protein Bm86 from the intestine of Boophilus microplus, a common species of tick that attacks the herds of cattle in Brazil. The study was coordinated by researcher Joaquin Hernán Patarroyo, from the Veterinary Department of the Biotechnology Applied to Livestock Institute (Bioagro), at UFV, in cooperation with the Immunology Foundation of Colombia. The vaccine is the first of the synthetic kind made entirely in the laboratory and without the need for animal blood for its preparation, developed in Latin America, that is going to reach the market. It has also been patented in Australia, in Mexico, in the United States, and in the European Community. Applied subcutaneously in the cattle, the vaccine stimulates the production of antibodies in the blood of the animal against the protein produced by the tick's intestine. When swallowing the blood, these acarids (these ticks are classified in the Arachnida class, the same as spiders and scorpions, in the Acari subclass) cannot manage to process it and become debilitated, ceasing to lay eggs and to reproduce themselves. "The vaccine does not show any toxic effect on the cattle, nor does it accumulate in the animals' tissues. It acts only on the ticks. Tests carried out on animals isolated in stables have shown an efficiency of 85%", Patarroyo explains. Field tests done at the National Dairy Cattle Research Center of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), in the municipality of Coronel Pacheco (MG), attained 80% in effectiveness. Funded by Fapemig, the research was started by Patarroyo ten years ago, with the study of parasites that attack cattle in the pasture, causing a loss of weight and a reduction in the production of milk and of meat, besides the transmission of diseases that may lead to the death of the animals. According to the researcher, figures updated by Professor Laerte Grissi, from the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, indicate annual losses in cattle raising in the order of R$ 2 billion, caused by the action of the ticks. Unprecedented in the world and cheap, according to the researchers, the vaccine was transferred to the Hertape laboratory by a public tender, in order to guarantee equal conditions for the interested parties who presented proposals for its development. The winner signed a 20-year contract with Fapemig and UFV. During this period, the forecast of financial return for the foundation is 6% (split with the researchers and UFV) of the value of the net sales of the product. According to the laboratory's commercial director and partner, Caubi Carvalho, the interest in producing the vaccine on an industrial scale is due, in great measure, to the fact that Brazil exports beef to about 120 countries, and since 2003 has been featuring as the largest exporter of the product in the world. "The Hertape laboratory is one of the largest manufacturers of veterinary products in Latin America. We are going to develop the vaccine and market it on a large scale, with a forecast of good business, since we are talking about a technological leap in the control of this kind of pest, infestation with which is very great, inside and outside the country", he explains. The forecast is for producing 30 million doses right in the first year. Once mass vaccinations have started for Brazil's herds of cattle, the director calculates that it will be possible to bring about a sharp fall in the number of ticks from the pastures in five or six years. The laboratory is now looking for international suppliers of peptides (synthetic combinations of amino acids, isolated in the laboratory), not yet produced in Brazil. Carvalho has also given talks to cattle raisers in Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Goiás, where new field tests will be carried out, on a large scale. By August, the farms for the tests will be chosen, in a cycle that will comprise two summers and two winters. Only then will the vaccine be launched onto the market. "We have now done the registration with the Ministry of Agriculture. First, we are going to attend to the Brazilian farmers, and then put the product into Colombia, Venezuela, and South Africa." The second product patented by Fapemig is the anti-venom serum vaccine for veterinary use that stimulates the production of antibodies against the venom of the rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus terrificus), one of the most lethal. It was developed by researcher Thaís Viana de Freitas, from the Ezequiel Dias Foundation (Funed), linked to the Minas Gerais State Secretariat for Health. After carrying out researches at the Venoms and Antivenoms Control Center of the World Health Organization, in Liverpool, England, in 1986, the researcher started her studies to make an antiophidic vaccine using the venom of this snake, which is common in Brazil. Its development started off from lipossomes - spherical membranes produced in the laboratory - used as encapsulating vehicles for the active principles of the venom. These lipossomes stimulate the production of antibodies and have a composition similar to that of the cell membrane of the snake, and serve to carry therapeutic substances in their inside. The unprecedented composition of the vaccine shows a biodegradable and non-toxic nature, capable of inducing cell immunity. "We studied the encapsulation of the venoms of some Brazilian snakes in association with immunostimulants, for the production of antibodies", the researcher explains. These antibodies protect animals from large doses of venom, up to eight times what is regarded as lethal, according to tests carried out in the laboratory. "The vaccine is a preventive action, because about 1 million head of cattle a year are lost in Brazil as a result of snakebites, and serotherapy is not used in these cases due to the high cost of this treatment", says Thaís. The process of patenting is seen by her as a guarantee of protecting knowledge for technological innovation, as well as a financial return to be applied in new researches. The patent for the anti-venom serum vaccine was deposited by Fapemig in 2002, and to produce it on an industrial scale a company from Feira de Santana, Bahia, called Labovet Produtos Veterinários, was chosen, which will still have to carry out field tests before making it available on the market.The commercial application of the antiophidic vaccine is seen with good eyes by Fernando Falcão, a director of the laboratory. For him, with a herd of cattle of around 175 million head, Brazil alone is already an immense market in itself. "We intend to cover up to 50% of this total in the first few years with the vaccine on the market, with an annual production of between 80 million and 100 million doses", he says. To do so, in the next six months, tests will be carried out to assess the technology, besides technical and economic studies. After this period, and once the forecast potentialities have been confirmed, the laboratory will do the registration with the Ministry of Agriculture, also with a view to exporting the product to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela, countries of the Amazon region that have a high incidence of rattlesnakes. Rigorous checking The guarantee of the results obtained with production at an industrial level is one of Fapemig's objects of work with EGT. In the contract signed with the companies, there are preconditions that establish how the process will be managed, setting out, for example, everything from how much each party involved will receive in royalties, to how the relationship between them will be handled. "From the assessment to the transfer of technology, everything is done with funds from Fapemig", says Katz. It was by following this line of registering patents that Marcello Augusto Faraco de Medeiros and Eduardo Murilo Rosas Arantes, mechanical engineers and researchers at the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, discovered that automobile catalytic converters, made up of ceramic parts in the form of a honeycomb and metal, and used to reduce the concentrations of toxic gases that leave the engine (carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides), could have their performance improved with the application of screens in the inside of the equipment's inlet diffuser, to optimize this flow. After a search of international patents, they discovered that there was no news related to the use of screens in catalytic converters. Under the guidance of Medeiros, who today is lecturing in Aeronautics at the Aeronautical Engineering Department of the University of São Paulo (USP) in São Carlos, Arantes developed the device based on technology used in the aeronautical industry, in the so-called wind tunnels, which, like catalytic converters, have a brusque expansion of the exhaust area. "The gases emitted by automobile engines do not pass through the converter in a uniform manner, and are concentrated in the center of the piece", he explains. Installed in the inlet of the converter, the equipment improves its efficiency by making the gases pass uniformly at all the parts of the honeycomb. "Furthermore, the device may reduce the size of the part by some 30% and lower the costs of making it. It can be adapted to any automotive vehicle", the researcher says. Each type of catalytic converter needs one or more specific screens, but the component can be made both with a metallic material and with a non-metallic one, provided that it is heat-resistant. Another advantage is the improvement in the efficiency of the engine, with a consequent saving in fuel. Still without a commercial name, the device should attract the attention of auto part companies and automobile manufacturers. Tested in the Fluid Mechanics laboratories at PUC in Minas, the device proved to be very suitable for commercial use, including studies that point to the extremely low cost of manufacturing it. "The devices currently used are heavy, expensive, and they absorb a lot of heat. We have now patented the screen flow distributor and have started the process of selecting the companies for transferring the technology to the industry", he states. The choice should be announced in two months. Fapemig also requests the depositing of patents that have not been financed by it during the researches. "Besides the researchers linked to universities and research centers, independent inventors can also rely on support from the EGT. At the moment, there are two patents originating from private projects that are being applied for", says Katz. His expectation is that these figures will increase, above all in the areas of biotechnology, farming and cattle raising, mechanical engineering, tropical medicine and parasitology, as a result of the very profile of the state and the needs of its economy. [post_title] => Passing on knowledge [post_excerpt] => Projects reach industry and make a financial return possible for Fapemig [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => passing-on-knowledge [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-04 17:19:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-04 20:19:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 21933 [post_author] => 112 [post_date] => 2004-06-01 10:50:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2004-06-01 13:50:00 [post_content] => On the high seas, the movements caused by the action of the waves can become one of the great enemies of the platforms that extract oil at a depth of thousands of meters, in deep and ultradeep waters. This phenomenon can be seen in the Campos basin, Brazil’s largest oilfield, where the waves of the Atlantic Ocean are sufficient to rock the oil platforms, however large they are. This rocking movement is disagreeable, both for the stability of the system and for the safety of the workers who live on the high seas. The oceanographic peculiarities of the waters off the Brazilian coast, where some of the world’s largest oilfields at great depths lie, led the researchers from the Oceanic and Naval Engineering Department of the Polytechnic School (Poli) of the University of São Paulo (USP) to a project for an innovative platform. The surprising new design for sustaining an oil production plant is made up of a single column, and not by several, as in the semisubmersible platforms. “All the simulations done with the unprecedented monocolumn system showed that there are great gains in movement, stability and safety”, explains naval engineer Daniel Cueva, from the team of Professor Kazuo Nishimoto, of the Poli, the coordinator of the research carried out in partnership with Petrobras, in the ambit of the Naval and Oceanic Engineering Center of Excellence, made up by USP, the Technological Research Institute (IPT), the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and Petrobras’s Research and Development Center (Cenpes). According to the researcher, the project for building the platform with a single column has now resulted in a patent request, on the part of Petrobras, in the United States. In two years, the company invested R$ 1.2 million in the project. The technological development consists of the creation of a platform of the floating kind, without compartments for storing the oil. It is an option to the semisubmersible platforms, much used all over the world. In the category of floating units, Petrobras also has FPSO (floating, production, storage and offloading) ships. In another family, there are the so-called jacket platforms, fixed directly on the ocean bed. “The MonoBR (as the new platform project is being called) goes in the direction of Petrobras’s objectives of investing in consistent alternatives to large scale production floating hull units that have as their premiss greater safety and better operational characteristics”, explains Isaías Quaresma Masetti, an engineer from Cenpes who is responsible for the project. According to the technical team, the monocolumn platform has now undergone all the rigorous preliminary tests of technical and economic viability to which a project like this is submitted in Petrobras’s internal ambit. One of the fundamental problems that the MonoBR has managed to solve was lessening the breadth of the movements of the unit due to the action of the waves, which brings about a greater operational flexibility for the system. After all the assessments carried out during the development period, the new concept was validated, and is now on the list of available alternatives. When the new tender process is started, and the choices of the units determined on the basis of the needs for safety, operation, and costs, the monocolumn may now be one of those chosen. The winner of the tender does not have the power to veto or to alter the technological choice previously made by the company. “Extracting oil at a depth of 3,000 meters of water, is, in all its aspects, an innovative activity and one that calls for much technical boldness, as well as responsibility”, Masetti explains. The scientific line of thought for the monocolumn project arose from discussions that involved basic concepts of naval engineering, aligned with a few adaptations of structures used with frequency in the world oil industry, but in a different function. According to the engineers involved with the project, the location of these oilfields in the Atlantic Ocean, at a depth of over 1,500 meters, is one of the great difficulties in prospecting for oil. The impact of oscillations is not felt only at the level of the surface, but also in the ducts that carry the oil from the wellhead to the unit. “Today, for great depths, the use of rigid steel ducts, called steel catenary risers (SCRs), has come to be one of the great objectives”, explains Marcos Cueva, a cousin of Daniel, and also studying for a doctorate under Nishimoto. According to the engineer, flexible risers are being supplanted, due to some technological limitations for depths of more than 1,500 meters and to their higher cost, compared with the rigid ones. “The great problem with the rigid ducts is that they are subject not only to the effects of the currents on the bottom of the sea, but also to the oscillations of the floating unit. If the platform up there is swaying a lot, we begin to have problems related to the fatigue of the ducts, something that does not appear in the flexible ones, due to the nature of the materials used”, Daniel Cueva explains. To allow the system to stay within acceptable levels of movement, the designers decided to adapt a system known to the designers from the sector, but which had never been used for this purpose. “The ‘moon pool’, a sort of opening installed in the hull of the platform, is much used in vessels to allow drilling equipment to access the sea bottom”, Marcos explains. “We decided to use is as a way of reducing the amplitude of the vertical movements.” The work of researching and simulating projects like the one for this platform has come closer to reality since the so-called numerical test tank (NTT) was inaugurated at USP (see Pesquisa FAPESP nº 73). Besides the physical tanks, which is the case of those existing at the IPT and the Coordination of the Engineering Postgraduate and Research Programs (Coppe), in Rio de Janeiro, a set of 120 computers and a three-dimensional projection screen operate in fine tuning, to offer the scientists conditions very close to reality. The simulation done on the NTT allows the engineers to make observations of the platform from all angles. And even to descend to a depth of over 1,500 meters, to analyze whether the SCRs are swaying, or not, more than they are allowed to. “Fatigue in these materials is always a concern”, Daniel advises. Based on this and on other exclusive computer tools, developed as a result of the needs of the project for developing the platform, the scientists can say that the MonoBR, for example, has high levels of safety. “We did tests in which up to one quarter of the volume of the unit was flooded, and the platform did not sink”, Marcos said . The MonoBR was not born just from virtual tests. The prototype has already been in the IPT’s tank in São Paulo, and this June will make its debut in Coppe’s tank, in Rio de Janeiro. There will be four weeks of tests in which the MonoBR will be observed in Coppe’s tank, which is one of the largest in operation in the world. It measures 40 meters in length by 30 meters in width, and is 15 meters in depth. “If we use a prototype on the scale of 1/100, for example, we are going to be able to observe it at a depth of 1,500 meters”, Daniel explains. According to the researchers, the development process has great academic importance, for the manner it has evolved within the university, integrated with platform design companies. “We did something that can be called an advanced conceptual project”, Daniel explains. Academic projects like this usually stay merely at the conceptual stage. “They do not enter the so-called basic project stage, and much less get into the detailing, which only occurs close to the tender process.” In the case of the platform designed for Petrobras, the figures to be seen in the studies carried out at USP give the exact dimensions of the challenges of extracting oil from the depths of the ocean. “Our project provides for producing oil at a depth of 1,800 meters. The forecast weight of the MonoBR is 135,000 tons, and the width of the hull, for example, is 95 meters”, says Daniel. The estimated price of the monocolumn platform is from US$ 500 million to US$ 700 million, a far lower amount than for those on the market. Several small technological innovations are being planned for the final design. “For example, this platform has what we can call geometrical symmetries. This makes it much easier to construct and to inspect the critical points of the structure”, Marcos reports. The researchers explain that the dimensions of a platform of this size are not just related to the great depths. Because of the characteristics of Brazilian oil, which is highly viscous, the production plant has to be increased, to make room for the robust equipment for extracting and producing the oil. The deck, in this case, always has to withstand heavy loads. From the conceptual point of view, the hydrodynamic conditions (the movement of the waves and of the maritime currents) of the Brazilian sea can be regarded as having major responsibility for the development of the single column platform capable of supporting these conditions with more flexibility. The Brazilian researchers, accordingly, chose a unique path, due to the environmental differences of each region. In the North Sea, in Europe, for example, the conditions of the waves, current, wind, and depth are different. According to Daniel, the discussion on the single column is a recent one. “It all started at the beginning of the 1990′s. The Japanese, the Norwegians and the Americans are also thinking about it, but the only project really adapted to Brazil is ours.” [post_title] => Deep Stability [post_excerpt] => Researchers develop a project for a platform to extract oil on the high seas [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => deep-stability [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-04 17:14:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-04 20:14:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 ) ) [humanities] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 21917 [post_author] => 195 [post_date] => 2004-06-01 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2004-06-01 00:00:00 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_79975" align="alignright" width="174"] Detail of View of Itamaracá (1637)[/caption] Even though Frans Post (circa 1612-1680) has had to wait hundreds of years to be recognized as a great Dutch master, his golden century seems to have arrived. Exactly 400 years from the birth of Count Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, the governor-general who brought the painter in his entourage to the Dutch colony of Recife between 1637 and 1644, Post is back being discussed and reassessed world-wide. Closer and closer to the first line painters, he is little by little escaping from the neutral historical context of the traveler-painter of pictures of an irregular quality. Much is due to recent Brazilian researches. For September 2005, Pedro Corrêa do Lago, the president of the National Library and a former Brazilian representative of the art auction house, Sotheby's, a position he occupied for 18 years, and his wife, Bia Fonseca, are preparing a display at the Louvre museum, with seven canvasses from Post's first phase, the period when he lived in Brazil and produced 18 canvasses, commissioned by Nassau. In the following year, in 2006, it is the turn of Germany and Holland. The Haus der Kunst, in Munich, is organizing a great exhibition with about 50 pictures by the master. The curator is León Krempel and, at the Frans Hals museum, in Haarlem, in Holland, where the display will be following to this same year, it is Pieter Biesboer.At the exhibition at the Louvre, a catalogue raisonné is to be launched, with about 160 pictures and 40 drawings. In principle, there will be two different editions, one in Portuguese and another in English. "We have been researching all of Post's work for eight years, doing a complete survey. The canvasses that may be false are being analyzed by an international committee that we created", says Corrêa do Lago. On the committee, there are Corrêa do Lago, Bia Fonseca, and Frits Du Parc, a director of the Mauritshuis museum, in the Hague, one of the great specialists in the Dutch 17th century. From Sotheby's auction house, their world director George Watchner and their director in the United Kingdom George Gordon are taking part. Both are specialists in the "old masters". Amongst Gordon's feats, there is the discovery of the canvas by the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), The massacre of the innocents, sold by Sotheby's, in 2002, for almost US$ 80 million. The canvasses by Post go so far as to cost about US$ 200,000 and have been in prominence from some 15 years back. "This is because the study of his work, until then, had not distinguished between his four different phases", Corrêa do Lago says. "If viewed as one set, his work merely transforms him into an irregular painter." Reporter In the period in which he remained in Brazil, between 1637 and 1644, Post reproduced faithfully everything he saw, like a painter-reporter. Arriving in Brazil, at the age of 25, the great contrast to have been noted by him must have been the tropical light. And the themes. Post's gaze incorporated technique into the new information, probably influenced by prestigious Dutch landscapers like Salomon van Ruysdael (c.1602-1670) and Pieter Molijn (1595-1661), among others. "In spite of Post having constructed his whole career by painting Brazilian landscapes, it is important to locate him in the tradition of the idyllic landscape. He was influenced by the work of Cornelis Vroom (1591-1661), who was perhaps his master. His theme 'Brazil' is unique, but the interpretation is based on the tradition of the Dutch-Arcadian landscape of Vroom", says the Dutch curator Biesboer. According to him, the first Brazilian paintings are very documentary and show a very pure closeness to reality, but, in the last canvasses, painted in Recife, it is notorious how Post follows the idyllic landscape conventions of Vroom, probably because this was much appreciated in the circle of his customers."For the Haus der Kunst, Post's work has, without a doubt, a present-day importance. It talks to us directly though a utopia preserved with documentary precision versus a creative fantasy, which are the two poles through which art develops to this day", says Krempel, who says that his pictures reveal a veritable cosmos. But Post did not walk unaccompanied in this new universe. In Nassau's entourage, amongst scientists and artists, two other painters featured, keen to study and to document the Brazilian landscape: Albert Eckhout (1610-1666) and Georg Marcgraf (1610-1644). Eckhout, a painter born in the province of Groningen, probably had his first contact with painting through his uncle, Gheert Roeleffs, and, in Brazil, he painted several pictures of plants, fruits, and human races. "With the current exhibition of Albert Eckhout's work, the Mauritshuis shows him as a great artist. In the still lifes and in some busts of a black king, this works, because he can concentrate on artistic aspects and is not obliged to paint in a documentary manner. Eckhout did the best he could, not always successfully, while Post, with apparent facility, let sweet Brazilian landscapes flow from his brush", Biesboer says. A son of the stained-glass painter Jan Janszoon Post (?-1614), Frans Janszoon Post, born in Haarlem, was probably presented to Maurits van Nassau through his brother, the architect and painter Pieter Jansz Post (1608-1669). There is little evidence, according to Corrêa do Lago, that Pieter may have ever come to Brazil. Indicated by Pieter, Frans would have been charged with documenting Brazil, from its local topography, military and civil architecture to battle scenes at sea and on land. In canvasses like Ilha de Itamaracá [Island of Itamaracá] (1637), Paisagem do Porto Calvo [Landscape of Porto Calvo] (1639) or Forte Hendrik [Fort Hendrik] (1640) some of the characteristics that clearly mark Post's production can be seen: low horizon lines with large skies which open up high into a vast area, contrasting with the foreground, with meticulously painted vegetation or motifs. There is in these painting a certain homogeneous coloring in understated tones, closer to Dutch painting than to the color of the local landscape. These compositions from a low perspective were common to a kind of panoramic, spatial painting, developed in those days by the Dutch, in which the presence of the expansive sky is fundamental. Post adds to these canvasses the landscape of the new world. From this encounter, informative paintings arise of the social iconography present. At the same time, the landscapes are serene and reserved before the tropical exuberance. A characteristic of Post's work was to darken the foreground and to illuminate the more distant region, from which he redeems a diffuse atmospheric luminosity. He used simultaneously several techniques for getting light in his painting. Amongst them, chiaroscuro, an effect achieved by the contrast between the luminosity of the white clothes and the dark of the black slaves, always on their way, carrying white burdens on their heads. The 18 paintings done in Brazil went back with Nassau to Holland and, later on, in a quest for an alliance with the king of France, Louis France, they were exhibited for the court at Versailles in 1679. They ended up staying in France, distributed over a few royal collections. Today, there are only four canvasses in the Louvre. "Three more were found, respectively in 1880, in 1930 and in 1990. Which means that if every 50 or 60 years one of these paintings is found, we have plenty of time to gather together the remaining 11", jokes Corrêa do Lago, to observe afterwards, seriously, that the missing ones "may have been destroyed in catastrophes, in fires, and not all of them must have been signed". "Correio" A curious factor that may make it even more difficult to capture these 11 remaining pictures from the first phase is that in one of the four belonging to the Louvre, Post signs himself "Correio" ( which is the word for post, mail in Portuguese). "He enjoyed translating his surname into Portuguese. Now just imagine someone, in the hinterland of France, with a dusty picture in the basement and reading 'F. Correio'. He is never going to find this name in some art guide or dictionary", Corrêa do Lago says. Back from Brazil to the Netherlands, the Dutch artist carries with him several notebooks with sketches made in Brazil. Even after his return to Europe, Post does not cease to paint tropical views, specializing in Brazilian themes.According to Krempel, "specialized painting" was a characteristic of Dutch painting of the 17th century. This need for specializing ended up as an incentive too for the exoticism of Frans Post and of other Dutch painters. As an example, Krempel cites the school of the "Bamboccianti" (Dutch painters who portrayed daily life in Italy) or Allaert van Everdingen, a Dutchman who worked in Haarlem, like Post, and specialized in Scandinavian landscapes. During the first ten years back in Holland, according to Corrêa do Lago, Post supplies some very fine pictures, of an exceptional quality, taken from the sketches: "He basically 'colors' the drawings and does the 'landscaping caprices', that is, a rearrangement to the painter's taste where all the elements are true, but set out in isolation. This formula from the second phase, of "not lying in isolation, but lying in the whole" is transformed into the pinnacle of his career." In the same period, his drawings also serve as a basis for the engraved plates published in the volume Rerum per octennium in Brasília, by Gaspar Barleaus (1584-1648). He leaves Nassau, but continues to paint tropical landscapes for which he finds a market. This production, carried out distant from the motif, from the studies carried out in America, follows different courses. Until about 1659, the topographical landscapes have a documentary precision. However, it is common to find in the scenes painted in Europe a certain loss of serenity. Post gives a new emphasis to the tropical landscape by peopling the foreground of the picture with wild animals. Lizards, serpents, armadillos, or snakes eating rabbits appear. The diffuse light is also replaced, little by little, by the contrast of more intense colors. From 1660 to 1669, Post's phase of maturity, or the third phase, a growing mastery is to be seen of technique and of Brazilian themes, taking advantage to the utmost of the exotic elements. The paintings are no longer spontaneous, and the documentary concern ceases to exist. Post shows his great ability as a miniaturist and remakes his compositions, "enriching" the landscape, in a rearrangement of the plant and animal shapes, in a dialog with the imaginary topographical and architectural elements. The paint becomes thicker, and the atmospheric dimension is supported on a chromatic background in tones of green and blue, in the tradition of Flemish painting. In this phase of the commercial acme, the painter does not risk new compositions. They are always the same themes, "revisited": landscapes with sugar mills, with houses, or with views of Olinda. In the last few years of his life, Frans Post has a somber existence, a victim of alcoholism and with little capacity for creation. His artistic success as the greatest painter of Brazilian landscape of the 17th century, though, was marked by the homage paid by his friend Frans Hals (c.1581-1666) who, in mid-1655, did his portrait. Post probably died at the age of 68, 25 years later. [post_title] => Frans Post [post_excerpt] => Dutch painter at last wins his space together with the Flemish masters [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => frans-post [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-22 16:46:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-22 18:46:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 21918 [post_author] => 16 [post_date] => 2004-06-01 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2004-06-01 00:00:00 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_79977" align="alignright" width="176"] O atirador de arco (The bowman), by Vicente do Rego Monteiro[/caption] With their eyes turned on the war in the Middle East, the oil price, and the swings in the international markets, the United States probably do not realize. But a silent occupation is under way in the country, which should, at the least, expand the knowledge of the Americans about the cultures of the neighboring nations in the continent. Without arms or blood, the modern and contemporary artistic production of a Latin American origin is arriving, to reveal its wealth of colors, shapes and contents. In a pioneer venture, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, (the MAFH), Texas, joined institutions from nine Latin American countries, with the objective of putting right the dearth of information about the plastic arts of a Latin origin, for a public that has greater familiarity with European, Asian, and African art.Entered into in the first half of this year, this partnership provides for meeting at least two targets. The first is to recovery the main documents that present, interpret, and analyze the Latin American vanguard movements in the plastic arts - some of them out of circulation in their own countries, like the work of the Brazilian architecture Luís Saias about the African influence on the production of wooden ex-votos (paintings offered out of thankfulness), published in 1939 and out of the catalog since then. The second is to publish this reference material in the form of books in English, or in texts on the Internet in trilingual versions - Portuguese, English, and Spanish. Latinos Conceived by Peter Marzio, a director of the museum in Houston, this multi-institutional effort - which was given the title of Recovering the critical sources for Latin American art and Latino art (the latter referring to the production of Americans of a Latino origin) - should benefit a very broad public: researchers, artists, professors, and visitors to museums, in particular the members of the Latino community in the United States, which grows year by year. The team from the Houston museum - the fifth largest in the United States, with a collection of 45,000 works of art - also intends to insert the information recovered in the project or shown in new studies into the American basic and university schooling education and history of art programs. "In the United States, there are almost no books available in English and Spanish about Latin American art and the art of American of Latino descent produced in the course of the 20th century", explains the museum's director. "In a few years, teachers will no longer have any excuse for not teaching Latino art", says Marzio, who calculates that ten years will be needed to meet these targets and to expand the museum's Latino art collection, at a cost of US$ 50 million. More than disseminating the art produced to the south of the frontier with Mexico, Marzio hopes to create an on-going communication channel between American and Latino artists. "It is an ambitious venture, but one that is totally viable, because of the cooperation agreements that we are entering into", says Mari Carmén Ramirez, the MFAH's curator of Latin American art. In April, Peter Marzio and Mari Carmén were in Brazil, where they signed a five-year cooperation agreement with FAPESP, which will centralize the activities related to Brazilian art. Survey The collaboration between the museum and the Foundation provides for the implementation of joint research projects, the promotion of scientific events and exhibitions, the interchange of information and academic publications, besides the interchange of teaching staff, researchers, and students. The approval of the Brazilian studies will follow the procedure for the projects funded by FAPESP. That is, the Foundation will analyze each proposal presented and, when there is merit, it should meet the costs of the work. "This venture has plenty to do with FAPESP, in its role of stimulating the development of science, technology, and culture in the country", says Carlos Vogt, the president of the Foundation. Ana Maria Belluzzo, from the School of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of São Paulo (FAU-USP) and the coordinator of the Brazilian participation, points to what she regards as the principal gain: "Besides a selective survey of the documents from each period of modern and contemporary art, we will indicate the issues that need to be investigated, for a deeper comprehension of art on the continent". Peter Marzio began to imagine this project almost 20 years ago. Shortly after taking on the management of the MFAH, he traveled over the United States in the company of a specialist in Hispanic literature, Nicholas Kanellos, in search of the best works by American artists of a Latino origin, the so-called Latino art. Marzio found that the production was large, but little was known about this contemporary artistic movement. It was the indication that it would be necessary to invest in Latin American art in the following years. In 1986, Marzio set up a great exhibition of Latino art at the MFAH, but other priorities meant that the project would have to wait. Three years ago, the museum created the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), currently run by Mari Carmén, and brought together over three days 30 art curators and historians from the United States and Latin America - and amongst them was Ana Maria Belluzzo. From this encounter came the guidance about how to give an impulse to Latin American art and Latino art in the United States, the origin of the project for recovering and disseminating the critical material on the subject. Only this month, the 20-year dream is beginning to take shape with the exhibition Inverted utopias, which from June 20 to September 12 will exhibit at the MFAH about 250 works by 67 artists from Latin American countries - Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Venezuela. According to the team from the museum, this is the first large scale display of the Latin American vanguard movements, as distinct as they are distant from those that took place in Europe and the United States. Organized by Mari Carmén and Héctor Olea, the exhibition covers the period from 1920 to 1970 and brings the works together in six thematic groups: the universal and the vernacular, which contrasts national works with universal ones; the playful and the mournful, which rejects art for art's sake and sets out for the criticism of social and political injustices; progression and rupture, with abstract geometric works that incorporate the active participation of the spectator; the vibratory and the stationary, in which vibrant colors, contrasted or not, give the sensation of movement; the optic and the haptic, which plays with touch and sight; and the critical and the engaged, in which the works flee from the traditional means of expression, like painting and sculpture, to escape from the political oppression of the dictatorships of the 1960's and 1970's, in countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. "In the 50 years scrutinized by the display, Latin American artists kept up a simultaneous dialog with the modern art of Europe and of the United States", says Peter Marzio. "However, for many Americans, Inverted utopias offers the first look at the geniality of these artists." According to the curator of the display, Puerto Rican Mari Carmén, the objective of the exhibition is to bring to light what escapes the official history of the vanguards known over there. The visitors to the may be surprised when they come across the robustness of the canvas O Atirador de arcos [The Bowman], by Vicente do Rego Monteiro, a painter from Recife little known over here and probably unknown to the American public. As in a large part of his work, Monteiro uses in this painting the geometric traces typical of the cubism of Picasso, to exalt the Brazilian people of mixed blood, which gains body and volume colored in ocher. Also present in the work of several other Latinos, like that of the Uruguayan Torres-Garcia and the Argentinean Xul Solar, this subversion is the cry for the freedom of art on the continent, which, after centuries of European influence, becomes mature and autonomous. Brazil is well represented at the exhibition. The progression and rupture group is one of those that has the largest number of representatives, with works by Lygia Clark, Waldemar Cordeiro, and Hélio Oiticica, for example. Brazilian works, like those from Cildo Meirelles and Antonio Dias, also appear in weight under the critical and engaged theme. Ana Maria Belluzzo regards the Brazilian participation, both in the exhibition and in the recovery of the critical works, as an opportunity without any equal. "This is the chance for Latin American art to establish itself in the United States in a way that has not been seen before, with authority", she explains. Perhaps they now understand over there what the father of Latino constructivism wanted to say, when he designed a map of Latin America in which the South points to the top, claiming, almost six decades ago: "Our direction is the South". [post_title] => Going South [post_excerpt] => Cooperation will reveal to the United States texts about the vanguards [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => going-south [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-22 17:38:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-22 19:38:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 21919 [post_author] => 191 [post_date] => 2004-06-01 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2004-06-01 00:00:00 [post_content] => In 1929, Gilberto Freyre received a strange visit at the newsroom of A Província [The Province], one of Recife's most traditional newspapers. The old man, an aristocrat from the old generation of sugar mill owners from Pernambuco's woods (Zona da Mata), had come to ask the then young director of the paper to set the police after some ghosts that were perturbing his life. Startled by the request, Freyre dispatched his friend to a psychiatrist. And began to collect ghost stories for a book. It was a sign of the times. The city was no longer the same. Recife of the oil lamps was surrendering to the dazzling lights of modernity. And even Freyre, a great defender of the traditions of the northeast, could not manage to take these stories seriously. The space for stories by the stove, told by the nannies to the ill-behaved little masters, had been done away with. Automobiles, ice creams, airplanes, and American films were seducing a new generation, avid for the emotions of the century of speed. In the city that was making a point of hiding its past - changing the names of the streets, constructing modern buildings, opening up avenues –, a group of youngsters decided to make films like the American ones to exhibit them in the cinemas of the city. This was how one of the most important cycles of regional cinema began in the country, little known up to this day. The researcher in cinema from the Multimedia Postgraduate Program of the Campinas State University (Unicamp), Luciana Corrêa de Araújo, is now doing postgraduate research that is trying to analyze the Recife Cycle, identifying the social and cultural scenario in which these productions were carried out. "In this period", says Luciana, "ambitions for modernity and desire to preserve traditions live together with particular intensity, in a process that develops in various aspects and which has amongst its main manifestations the polemics involving the sociologist Gilberto Freyre, who was to write the 'Manifesto Regionalista' [Regionalist Manifesto], and journalist Joaquim Inojosa, lonked to the intellectuals of the Week of 22 (an exhibition that introduced Modernism in Brazil) and a great enthusiast and publicist of the modernist ideas of the Northeast." The polemics took hold of Recife and were to influence both the production of films and the criticism in the papers of the films exhibited in the city's cinemas. The sessions did not take place only in the famous and always remembered Cine Royal. "I insist on this point, because one usually talks only of the Royal, but researching the daily papers showed that the films were exhibited in other cinemas, and some films even followed a significant circuit for their exhibition, in cinemas in the center and in the districts." The Recife Cycle has as one of its main landmarks the return of goldsmith Edison Chagas to the city, coming from Rio de Janeiro, then capital of the Republic, with the idea of doing American cinema in Pernambuco. In Rio, Chagas had gone so far as to work in some small cinematographic productions, where he had learnt some techniques that were used by him for the productions of the Cycle. He soon joined engraver Gentil Roiz, who owned a second hand camera and was already writing screenplays for imaginary films. The two of them, along with engineering student Ary Severo, found Aurora-Film, the Cycle's first and most important producer. In 1924, they are already filming the first full length film. "In a short time, they manage to bring together about 30 youngsters from several occupations, including journalists, shop assistants, artists, public servants, who saw in Aurora an opportunity to go from fans of the cinema to actors and technicians", the researcher says. To start with, the productions were cheap and relied on the goodwill of the youngsters who orbited around the producer. With time, the production and distribution costs kept increasing, and the producer came to have serious financial problems. Aurora-Film went bankrupt twice, but its conceivers continued to make films in different manners. The Cycle's first film, Retribuição [Retribution], makes its debut in March 1925. Written and directed by Gentil Roiz and with photography by Edison Chagas, the film tells the story, typically Hollywoodian, of a couple that, in search of treasure, fights with a group of bandits. The cast included Barreto Junior and Almery Steves, who later on was to be recognized as the biggest star of the Recife Cycle. The film was a great success at the Cine Royal, a place that was to become the main shop window for Pernambuco's cinema produced in the period, thanks to the co-owner, a Portuguese called Joaquim Matos, whose work guaranteed the exhibition of the films, always in great style. In the period that runs from 1922 to 1931, 13 films with a plot were produced and several called natural films, "which is the nomenclature of those days for nonfiction films", according to Luciana Corrêa de Araújo. Soon after Retribuição comes Um ato de humanidade [An act of humanity] and Jurando vingar [Swearing vengeance], both in 1925. Even with the commercial success of Retribuição, the producer had to make a commercial film to balance the budget, and this was how Um ato de humanidade arose, as advertising for Garrafada do Sertão [Bottleful from the Backlands], from Laboratório Maciel. In this film, Jota Soares - who was to become an important name in the Recife Cycle - made his debut as an actor, playing a syphilitic youngster who was miraculously cured by the mentioned bottleful. "It is interesting to note that these advertising films help to professionalize the young filmmakers and also became a breadwinner for many after the Cycle ended –, the researchers says. Right after that, there was the debut of Jurando vingar, in which the young filmmakers try to repeat the scheme of the first film, with a strong influence of the American cinema. This time, the reaction of the public was not so enthusiastic. The three then decided to film the reality of Recife itself. With this in mind, Aitaré da praia [Aitaré from the beach] emerged, in 1926 (the film has been well preserved, and is available in DVD today). In it, the fisherman Aitaré courts Cora, an innocent girl from a small village. Several disagreements separate the heroes, until the expected happy ending. It is a film, in which actors like Almery Steves and Jota Soares take part, that shows both the beautiful beaches of the region and the sophisticated milieu of the aristocracy in Recife. The clash between tradition and modernity can been seen in an obvious way in the film, which has a duration of one hour. The film was an enormous success and went so far as to be exhibited in other cities. The news that there was a group committed to making films in Recife soon reached Rio de Janeiro, in the specialized criticisms of journalists like Adhemar Gonzaga and Pedro Lima. This awakened the interest of other entrepreneurs who wanted to do cinema. Four new producers arose, Vera Cruz-Film, Planeta-Film, Veneza-Film, and Olinda-Film. Still in 1925, Filho sem mãe [Motherless son], is produced by Planeta, a film that has been lost and which, so it is said, boasted the presence of backland bandits in the plot, indicating that typical personages of the region were made use of. Piquant The members of Aurora-Film, in spite of the financial difficulties resulting from Aitaré da praia, set off towards the Recife Cycle's most ambitious films, A filha do advogado [The lawyer's daughter], which made its debut in 1926 and had a duration of 92 minutes. With screenplay by Ary Severo and directed by Jota Soares, the film is a melodrama about a piquant story of seduction, which would make writer Nelson Rodrigues ( famous for his piquant stories) envious for not having created the story. The hero, Helvécio, is the son of one of the city's famous lawyers, Dr. Paulo, and leads a Bohemian life. His father has a lover and a daughter from this illicit relationship, Heloísa. Not knowing that the girl is his half-sister, Helvécio tries to take her by force. In the struggle that ensues, she kills him. Nobody accepts defending him in court, until a stranger appears, willing to help him. In the cast: Jota Soares, Guiomar Teixeira, Euclides Jardim, Norberto Teixeira, Olíria Salgado, Ferreira Castro, Jasmelina de Oliveira, and Severino Steves. The film was even exhibited in Rio, but the debts from its production were immense, and Aurora-Film went into bankruptcy for the second time. Bankruptcy did not mean that the filmmakers who created the production company stopped making films. Edison Chagas continued filming with Liberdade-Film, which launched Dança, amor e ventura [Dance, love and venture], in 1927, and No cenário da vida [In the scenario of life], in 1930, a romantic drama that followed the line of A filha do advogado. "In 1930, the Cycle's films with a plot came to an end, amidst the consolidation of the sound films, the difficulties in exhibiting local films, and the disturbed political and economical moment that the country was passing through." Films with a plot, though, account for only a part of the Recife Cycle's production. The documentaries are even less known, and show the city on special dates, like Pernambuco e sua exposição [Pernambuco and its exhibition] of 1924, by Ugo Falangola and J. Cambière, Carnaval pernambucano [Pernambuco carnival] of 1926, by Aurora-Film, and O progresso da ciência médica [The progress of medical science], made by Edison Chagas, in 1927. In Luciana Corrêa de Araújo's research project, the Recife Cycle is understood within a broader picture, which extrapolates the cinematographic field, to delve into the society and culture of Pernambuco of the 1920s. "One of the main issues that mark the period is the clash between tradition and modernity." One of the privileged place for perceiving this tension is the newspapers and magazines of those days. "The daily papers of Recife, the magazines, and the cinema columns from Rio de Janeiro bring a contemporary vision capable of enriching and problematizing the readings made afterwards", she adds. The last films of the Recife Cycle are exhibited in 1930, but movies production in the city continues over the following decades. A production that comprises, above all, newsreels and documentaries, which do not achieve the same repercussion as the films with a plot that were made in the days of the silent cinema. With Super-8, in the 1970s, the cinema in Pernambuco gains fresh strength, with filmmakers, who also wrote in the city's newspapers, like Fernando Spencer, Celso Marconi, and Geneton Moraes Neto. And, following the resumption of the 1990s, production goes back to affirming itself beyond the borders of the state. Films arise like Baile perfumado [Perfumed ball] (1987), O rap do pequeno príncipe contra as almas sebosas [The rap of the small prince against the greasy souls] (2000) and Amarelo manga [Mango yellow] (2004), which, just like the production of the Recife Cycle, find fertile ground in the dialog between the modern and the traditional. The project Recife Cycle, the Films, the Stories (nº 01/10071-5); Modality Postdoctoral Scholarship; Supervisor Lúcia Nagib - Multimedia Postgraduate Program/Unicamp; Researcher Luciana Sá Leitão Corrêa de Araújo - Multimedia Postgraduate Program/Unicamp [post_title] => Pernambuco's Hollywood [post_excerpt] => Thesis recalls the Recife Cycle [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => pernambucos-hollywood [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-22 16:53:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-22 18:53:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 21920 [post_author] => 200 [post_date] => 2004-06-01 00:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2004-06-01 00:00:00 [post_content] => Successful professionals, who do not spare any effort or time for ongoing education, with language courses, specializations, postgraduate studies, MBAs. The female emancipation of the 21st century is a direct reflection of the presence of women in formal education during the 20th century, when, in Brazil, a predominance of women was to be seen in the classes that finished college - in 2002, they accounted for 63% of those graduating, according to the Higher Education Census. This is a reality that, in little more than a century, has laid to rest an education aimed exclusively at the upbringing of mothers of families, with an emphasis on skills for dressmaking and embroidery, nourishing a society focused on domination by males, and it was these who were encouraged to learn more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. Until 1879, women were prohibited by law from attending higher education courses and, in elementary education, their knowledge was restricted to household economy, besides limiting the learning of arithmetic to the four basic operations, excluding even notions of geometry. One exception appeared in the heart of the Empire, with the preparation of Princess Isabel Cristina Leopoldina de Bragança (1846-1921) and her sister, Leopoldina Teresa (1847-1871), daughters of D. Pedro II. They were given a strict formal education, considered, for the standards of the day, masculine. From seven in the morning to half past nine at night, the lessons, given on the imperial premises, included scientific knowledge, of chemistry in particular. These are the findings of researcher Carlos Filgueiras, a chemist from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Based on documentation belonging to the Brazilian imperial family, kept in the Grão Pará Archives, in Petrópolis (RJ), his study was published recently in the Química Nova [New Chemistry] magazine, vol. 27, No. 2. Filgueiras shows that the concern with the princesses' scientific education was the fruit of the emperor's interest for science in general and for chemistry in particular. Besides corresponding with famous chemists, like Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) and Marcelin Pierre Eugène Berthelot (1827-1907), D. Pedro II used to carry out experiments in his laboratory in Quinta da Boa Vista and participated in the Paris Academy of Sciences. Decisions The emperor was also keen on photography and development processes, as was shown by the exhibition Back to the light, presented in São Paulo from June to October 2003. "There is a debate that says that the emperor aspired to being a scientist. I regard the discussion as being a false one, since I believe that he thought that a ruler ought to take an interest in many subjects and accompany the progress of the sciences and of their applications, which would facilitate the decision taking process", Filgueiras explains. Providing a rigid formal education for his daughters meant, for the emperor, guaranteeing that they were ready to rule in future. Of the four children he had with Empress Tereza Cristina, the two male heirs died prematurely, leaving Isabel, at the age of 14, with the responsibility of being her father's successor. Accordingly, in 1860, after an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the Empire before the Imperial Senate, D. Pedro II's elder daughter received the title of Imperial Princess. Four years before, though, the emperor was already concerned with the education of his heiresses. He hired the Countess of Barral, D. Luísa Margarida Portugal de Barros, to be the princesses' tutor. It was her mission to ensure the girls an education that was not differentiated from the one given to men from the elite, but that was combined with the one given to women. Barral also supervised the teaching of about 20 branches of knowledge, and could even, when necessary, inflict punishment. Countless high caliber professionals, some with a specialization in Europe, would divide themselves in the teaching of languages (Latin, Greek, Portuguese, French, English, German, and Italian), of the arts (literature, piano, drawing and painting), philosophy, history, algebra, chemistry, physics, zoology, botany, mineralogy, geology, geography, geometry, and cosmography. "The emperor himself would often take the place of the teachers, as he liked being present at his daughters' education very much", Filgueiras explains. There was also strictness at the time for assessment, carried out by means of exams and a detailed report, written in French. It was from this report that Filgueiras found out that Isabel was the more diligent of the two girls, standing out in chemistry, a discipline in which she also took an interest outside the classroom, because of photography, like her father. Outside the imperial premises, there was another reality, although, in the course of the 19th century, several voices of society cried out for improvement and access to education for women. "At the beginning of the Empire, what girls were offered was domestic schooling limited to the three Rs, manual skills, notions of music and dancing, embroidery, and homemade tidbits. Nothing more, but then nothing less than the society of the day needed", explains Eliane Marta Teixeira Lopes, a professor at the Faculty of Education of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). "However incredible it may appear, literacy was an impediment for parents to enroll their daughters in schools. Reading was seen as less dangerous - since it was possible to control the circulation of books –, but writing, as a form of expression, was seen as a danger to which girls could not be exposed", the professor points out. In the course of the century, the number of private establishments intended for the schooling of girls grew. "The schools, or simply the lessons, would work in the houses of their founders, and they would take in a limited number of girl pupils, to whom they would offer scant knowledge", Eliane says. Also at religious schools, the daughters of the elite would learn reading, writing, basic notions of mathematics, and, to round off, piano and French. "Skill with the needle, embroideries, laces, culinary skills, as well as the skills of authority over the maids and servants, were also part of a girl's education", explains Guacira Lopes Louro, a professor at the Education Department of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. Besides being good company for their husbands, these girls need to be prepared to represent them socially. The social and political transformations of the Empire and, later on, the proclamation of the Republic, led naturally to changes in the way how women had access to education in the 19th century. In the last few decades of the century, there was a concern with the modernization of society, the hygienization of the family, the construction of the citizenship of the young. Some voices, like that of Benjamin Constant, intended to put schooling at the service of the positivist mentality and of scientific studies. The concern for keeping away from the concept of work the whole load of degradation that was associated with it because of slavery and for linking it to order and progress brought those were leading society to regiment women from the popular classes", Guacira explains. "They should be diligent, honest, orderly, clean; it would be up to them to control their men and form the new male and female workers of the country", she goes on. In spite of this, the ample democratization of schooling for women took place only in the 20th century. Even though it made room for emancipation, the new vision of female education at the end of the 19th century did not mean a total break for the need for educating for the home. For many, Christian schooling was essential, and, for others, the study of the science would contribute towards the end of superstitions, which would result in women much better prepared for maternity. It was thus, between the vision of a woman with the maternal purity of Mary, in the Christian principles, and that of a woman qualified by scientific knowledge, that the teaching profession arose as the first field of work for Brazilian woman. "This phenomenon is not just a Brazilian one. In France as well, teaching was an important field of work for women in the 19th century", says Guacira Lopes. "Teaching was seen as an extension of motherhood, woman's primordial destiny." Accordingly, giving lessons would not subvert the fundamental female function, on the contrary, it could broaden it or exalt it. And the female teachers would serve as a model for their girl pupils, exercising a strict control over their language, postures, behaviors, and attitudes. The schooling standards for training these teachers on the "normal" courses, though, continued to be very similar to those of the days when education was aimed only at the home. Household economy, for example, remained, now no longer a simple transposition of the knowledge acquired at home, but as a more complex discipline, based on scientific concepts, adopting a scholastic and didactic guise. Upkeep Although it was the first step towards including women in the labor market, teaching did not yet interrupt the way that society was run by men. By occupying the classrooms, women relieved them of the role of teachers, releasing them for more profitable activities - for example, running the schools in which they, the women, were the teachers. At the same time, daughters from less privileged families found there a good alternative for their upkeep, often the only one. The total breakthrough only came later, in the 20th century, with the growing proliferation of women in different positions in the labor market, public posts, and administrative and political acts. Before that, however, the effectiveness of Princess Isabel's education was proven. She ruled the Empire three times and, in the absence of the emperor, replaced the ruler in the cabinets of Rio Branco (1871 to 1872), Caxias (1876 to 1877), Cotegipe and João Alfredo (1877 to 1888). She sanctioned the Law of the Free Womb, in 1871, and the Golden Law, which abolished slavery in the country, in 1888. [post_title] => No time for the enchanted prince [post_excerpt] => Schooling of D. 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