news from the lab 2011
Phylogenetic trees map the evolution and ancestral relationships of organisms. At least that is the theory. Researchers at the University of Basel have now revealed that for many bacteria this theory is based on mistaken assumptions. These phylogenies are not a reliable indicator of common ancestry but rather reflect how extensively different bacteria have exchanged genes with each other. This finding implies that the theories of how bacterial genomes evolve need to be completely reconsidered.
Hearing sounds that are linked to positive experiences from the past can considerably increase well-being, reduce depressive moods and alleviate behavioral problems in people with memory loss, a study by the University of Zurich in cooperation with clinical partners has found. The work with music and memories also benefits the nursing staff and carers involved.
One thousand newly-minted microrobots created in EPFL labs will soon be deployed at two large-scale telescopes in Chile and the United States. These high-precision instruments, capable of positioning optical fibers to within a micron, will vastly increase the quantity of astrophysics data that can be gathered - and expand our understanding of the Universe.
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Are robots welcome in our homes? A qualitative study has revealed some interesting possibilities. Only one out of three households thinks automatic vacuum cleaners are worth the investment. The opinions of the others will be used to develop the appliances of the future. Will there be lots of gadgets under the family Christmas tree this year? By the back door, robotic vacuums are bringing cyberstuff into daily life; they're among the first autonomous devices that can be easily used by ordinary households.
A research group has developed a new strategy to fight cancer. Blood vessels in the environment of tumours are killed with a new molecule which leads to the ?starvation? of the tumour. Compared to currently applied treatments, this new strategy has a series of advantages. Modern cancer therapeutics produced by biotechnological methods, often are based on antibodies.
Scientists have created 18-karat gold that's harder than tempered steel and virtually unscratchable.
Every wine aficionado knows that wine has to be swirled in a glass in order for it to release its aroma.
According to the first results from the Swiss Earnings Structure Survey conducted by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the gross median wage was CHF 5979 per month in 2010.
Explaining the diversity of leg shapes in the animal kingdom and hereditary defects in finger Scientists have discovered a genetic mechanism that defines the shape of our members in which, surprisingly, genes play only a secondary role.
Scientists have elucidated the mechanisms underlying the repair of UV-induced damage in DNA, which frequently causes skin cancer. The protein structures additionally determined by these researchers will improve our understanding of how the body protects itself against skin cancer. These studies lay the foundations for the development of a new class of anti cancer agents.
For fifty years, mathematicians have grappled with the so-called “fixed point? theorem. A team has now found an elegant, one-page solution that opens up new perspectives in physics and economics. Take a map of the world. Now put it down on the ground in Central Park, against a rock on Mount Everest, or on your kitchen table; there will always be a point on the map that sits exactly on the actual physical place it represents.
Researchers from Novartis have reported new dual-acting class of antimalarial compounds with potential to both prevent and treat malaria infections. A new class of antimalarial drug candidates inhibits malaria parasite liver-and blood-stages in malaria models. Most current malaria treatments target blood infections but researchers believe both liver and blood infections need to be treated to eliminate malaria.
Researchers have invented a new generation of tactile surfaces with relief effects - users can feel actual raised keys under their fingers.
A new system boosts the performance of detection systems and helps to create new antennas for mobile telephony and on-board satellite systems: An innovative transmission system takes advantage of a previously under-utilized wavelength: the terahertz.
It's the story of a long dynasty of industrial robots. Delta's three arms began by packaging chocolates, before being used in watchmaking, tele-surgery and the processing of materials....
Newly discovered mechanisms lay the foundation for a new therapeutic avenues that one day may be beneficial in treating diseases, ranging from muscle weakness and frailty to obesity and diabetes. Researchers from EPFL published a study which highlight on the roles of a nuclear receptor co-repressor, NCoR1.
Reduced to the max: the emission-free, noiseless 4-wheel drive ca represents lightweight construction at its most extreme. The nano car consists of just a single molecule and travels on four electrically-driven wheels in an almost straight line over a copper surface. A number of chemists aim to use similar principles and concepts to design molecular transport machines, which could then carry out specific tasks on the nano scale.
Dye-sensitized Grätzel solar cells have just set a new efficiency benchmark. By changing the composition and color of the cells, an EPFL team has increased their efficiency to more than 12%.
Researchers have now completed the three-dimensional structure of the ribosome from a higher organism. Ribosomes are cellular machines responsible for protein synthesis. Their structure will facilitate the development of drugs against bacteria, fungi or viruses. The machinery that reads genetic information within a cell and translates it into corresponding proteins, the so-called ribosome, is among the most complex cellular enzymes known in biology.
After some 180 days of running and four hundred trillion proton proton collisions, the LHC's 2011 proton run came to an end at 5.15pm yesterday evening. For the second year running, the LHC team has largely surpassed its operational objectives, steadily increasing the rate at which the LHC has delivered data to the experiments.
Advances in the field could help solve the energy challenge. The science of light and liquids has been intimately entwined since Léon Foucault discovered the speed of light in 1862, when he observed that light travels more slowly in water than in air.
It may soon be possible manufacture the miniscule structures that make up transistors and silicon chips rapidly and inexpensively. EPFL scientists are currently investigating the use of dynamic stencil lithography, a recent but not yet perfected method, for creating nanostructures. Faster, less expensive, and better.
Researchers measured that the neutrinos travel at a velocity 20 parts per million above the speed of light, nature's cosmic speed limit. This is a result of t he OPERA experiment which observes neutrino beams from CERN 730 km away at a Laboratory near Rome. The OPERA result is based on the observation of over 15000 neutrino events measured at Gran Sasso, and appears to indicate that the neutrinos travel at a velocity 20 parts per million above the speed of light, nature's cosmic speed limit.