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Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 20.01.2020
The salt of the comet
The salt of the comet
Under the leadership of astrophysicist Kathrin Altwegg, Bernese researchers have found an explanation for why very little nitrogen could previously be accounted for in the nebulous covering of comets: the building block for life predominantly occurs in the form of ammonium salts, the occurrence of which could not previously be measured.

Physics - Chemistry - 20.01.2020
Platelets instead of spheres make screens more economical
Platelets instead of spheres make screens more economical
ETH scientists have further developed QLED technology for screens. They have produced light sources that for the first time emit high-intensity light in only one direction. This reduces scattering losses, which makes the technology extremely energy efficient. QLED screens have been on the market for a few years now.

Life Sciences - Health - 17.01.2020
Why we differ in our ability to fight off gut infections
Why we differ in our ability to fight off gut infections
Scientists at EPFL have published two papers showing how genetics affects the ability of different individuals to fight off gut infections. ?he ability of the immune system to fight off bacterial, viral and other invading agents in the gut differs between individuals. However, the biological mechanism by which this happens is not well understood, but at least part of this difference may be explained by genetic factors.

Life Sciences - 16.01.2020
No Difference for Beneficials between GM Plants with One or More Bt-Toxins
No Difference for Beneficials between GM Plants with One or More Bt-Toxins
The Biosafety Research Group at Agroscope has conducted a review of the literature on genetically modified plants that produce several insect-active Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins simultaneously. The experts were able to show that the toxins did not pose an increased risk for non-target organisms such as beneficials.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 16.01.2020
Predicting hydraulic fracture propagation more accurately
Predicting hydraulic fracture propagation more accurately
Researchers at EPFL have developed a new model to calculate hydraulic fracture propagation. Acclaimed for its accuracy by experts, the model better predicts fracture geometry and the energy cost of hydraulic fracturing - a widely used technique in areas such as CO2 storage, hydrocarbon extraction, dams and volcano hazard monitoring.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 15.01.2020
Interstellar journey of life's building block phosphorus unveiled
Interstellar journey of life’s building block phosphorus unveiled
Phosphorus, present in our DNA and cell membranes, is an essential element for life. But how it became available on the early Earth when life appeared here about 4 billion years ago is something of a mystery. For the first time, astronomers - among them researchers from the University of Bern - have now been able to show that molecules with phosphorus are formed in star-forming regions and probably came to Earth with comets.

Life Sciences - 15.01.2020
Zebra finches learn their courtship song efficiently
Zebra finches learn their courtship song efficiently
Zebra finches are very efficient at learning their courtship songs, as researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich have shown. In the morning, the birds remember the positive learning progress of the previous day, but forget the failures overnight. Some principles and mechanisms of learning are identical, for example, in both language acquisition and in learning different motor skills.

Environment - 15.01.2020
Irrigation alleviates hot extremes
Irrigation alleviates hot extremes
Researchers from ETH Zurich and other universities found evidence that expanding irrigation has dampened anthropogenic warming during hot days, with particularly strong effects over South Asia. Large-scale irrigation is one of the land management practices with the largest effect on climate conditions - and especially hot extremes - in various regions across the globe.

Music - Life Sciences - 15.01.2020
How Zebra Finches Learn to Sing
How Zebra Finches Learn to Sing
Complex learning processes like speaking or singing follow similar patterns. Using the example of zebra finches, researchers at UZH and ETH Zurich have investigated how young birds imitate the courtship songs of their fathers and practice them thousands of times. The study has revealed what aspects of the song are remembered overnight, and that sleep allows the bird to optimally build upon the progress made on the previous day.

Health - Life Sciences - 14.01.2020
Toxoplasmosis rids its host of all fear
Toxoplasmosis rids its host of all fear
Researchers at UNIGE show how the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis colonizes the mouse brain in the form of cysts to such an extent that it drastically modifies the rodent's behaviour. The parasite Toxoplasma gondii infects animals, including humans. Its objective is to reach the intestines of felids, the  definitive host in which it reproduces sexually.

Earth Sciences - 14.01.2020
No need to dig too deep to find gold!
No need to dig too deep to find gold!
A UNIGE researcher has discovered the particularities of porphyry copper and gold deposits, providing mining companies with a new tool to maximise the extraction of these two metals. Why are some porphyry deposits - formed by magmatic fluids in volcanic arcs - rich in copper while others primarily contain gold? In an attempt to answer this question, a researcher from the University of Geneva investigated how the metals are accumulated over the time duration of a mineralizing event, looking for a correlation between the amounts of copper and gold extracted from the deposits.

Astronomy / Space Science - 13.01.2020
Meteorite contains the oldest material on Earth
Meteorite contains the oldest material on Earth
Researchers determined the age of stardust from a meteorite to be seven billion years - the oldest solid material ever found on Earth. Stars have life cycles. They're born when bits of dust and gas floating through space find each other and collapse in on each other and heat up. They burn for millions to billions of years, and then they die.

Health - Life Sciences - 13.01.2020
Machine keeps human livers alive for one week outside of the body
Machine keeps human livers alive for one week outside of the body
A team of researchers has developed a machine that repairs injured human livers and keeps them alive outside the body for one week. This breakthrough may increase the number of available organs for transplantation saving many lives of patients with severe liver diseases or cancer. Until now, livers could be stored safely outside the body for only a few hours.

Health - Pharmacology - 13.01.2020
Reducing the risk of blood clots in artificial heart valves
Reducing the risk of blood clots in artificial heart valves
People with mechanical heart valves need blood thinners on a daily basis, because they have a higher risk of blood clots and stroke. Researchers at the ARTORG Center of the University of Bern, Switzerland, now identified the root cause of blood turbulence leading to clotting. Design optimization could greatly reduce the risk of clotting and enable these patients to live without life-long medication.
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