News 2019

Materials Science - Nov 13
Materials Science
In autumn 2017, the archaeological service of the Canton of Berne was amazed when two private individuals delivered a crusted lump of metal. The bronze hand of Pręles, decorated with a ribbon of gold, turned out to be the oldest bronze sculpture of a human body part in Central Europe. But where did the metals of the sensational find come from? Empa researchers were involved in the investigation.
Life Sciences - Nov 13
Life Sciences

The University of Geneva awards its 3R Prize to research that reduces the number of animals in experimentation through better selection of the compounds to be tested.

Materials Science - Nov 12
Materials Science

Chemical engineers at EPFL have developed a new method for atomic layer deposition, a technique commonly used in high-quality microelectronics.

Life Sciences - Nov 13
Life Sciences

"The people who live around the Eqaluit River in the south-west of Greenland do know that there are char living in the river and its lakes", explains the evolutionary and fish biologist Carmela Dönz.

Materials Science - Nov 12
Materials Science

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have improved a method for small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to such an extent that it can now be used in the development or quality control of novel fibre-reinforced composites.


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Materials Science - History / Archeology - 13.11.2019
Finest handwork
Finest handwork
In autumn 2017, the archaeological service of the Canton of Berne was amazed when two private individuals delivered a crusted lump of metal. The bronze hand of Pręles, decorated with a ribbon of gold, turned out to be the oldest bronze sculpture of a human body part in Central Europe. But where did the metals of the sensational find come from? Empa researchers were involved in the investigation.

Life Sciences - Health - 13.11.2019
Amoebas to replace laboratory mice
Amoebas to replace laboratory mice
The University of Geneva awards its 3R Prize to research that reduces the number of animals in experimentation through better selection of the compounds to be tested. Minimize the number of anti-infective compounds to be tested in an animal model by first selecting them on infected amoebas to retain only the most effective ones.

Life Sciences - Environment - 13.11.2019
Opportunity makes species
Opportunity makes species
"The people who live around the Eqaluit River in the south-west of Greenland do know that there are char living in the river and its lakes", explains the evolutionary and fish biologist Carmela Dönz. "But they prefer to eat sea fish and take very little notice of the fish stocks in fresh water - which is one of the reasons why the fish appear to have little fear of people." Outside the region, the rivers and lakes along the coastline created by the retreating Greenland glaciers after the last ice age remain largely unknown.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 12.11.2019
A cheaper way to scale up atomic layer deposition
A cheaper way to scale up atomic layer deposition
Chemical engineers at EPFL have developed a new method for atomic layer deposition, a technique commonly used in high-quality microelectronics. The new method can be used in materials with larger surfaces much more cheaply than current approaches, while preserving quality and efficiency. Atomic layer deposition (ALD) involves stacking layers of atoms on top of each other like pancakes.

Materials Science - 12.11.2019
A fast and precise look into fibre-reinforced composites
A fast and precise look into fibre-reinforced composites
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have improved a method for small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to such an extent that it can now be used in the development or quality control of novel fibre-reinforced composites. This means that in the future, such materials can be investigated not only with X-rays from especially powerful sources such as the Swiss Light Source SLS, but also with those from conventional X-ray tubes.

Environment - Chemistry - 11.11.2019
Nitrous oxide emissions set to rise in the Pacific Ocean
Nitrous oxide emissions set to rise in the Pacific Ocean
The acidification of the Pacific Ocean in northern Japan is increasing the natural production rate of N2O, an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas. That's the finding of a study carried out jointly by scientists at EPFL, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and appearing recently.

Life Sciences - Environment - 11.11.2019
"Without Bacteria and Fungi, the Earth Would Look Like Mars"
Our soils filter drinking water and produces food. Soils only carry out these services, because they harbour thousands fungal and bacteria species which work together like the wheels in a clock mechanism. These are the conclusions reached by a study published in the renowned by researchers from Agroscope and the University of Zurich.

Social Sciences - Health - 11.11.2019
Aging in good health: the inequalities are widening
Aging in good health: the inequalities are widening
UNIGE researchers have been analysing the rise in healthy life expectancy in Switzerland since 1990 and measuring the differences based on an individual's level of education. Life expectancy in Switzerland has been growing steadily for decades. But have these additional years been spent in good health or, on the contrary, do they only prolong the ills of an aging population?

Physics - 11.11.2019
Magnets for the second dimension
Magnets for the second dimension
ETH scientists have developed cube-shaped magnetic building blocks that can be assembled into two-dimensional shapes and controlled by an external magnetic field. They can be used for soft robotics applications. If you've ever tried to put several really strong, small cube magnets right next to each other on a magnetic board, you'll know that you just can't do it.

Computer Science / Telecom - Earth Sciences - 08.11.2019
Using AI to predict where and when lightning will strike
Using AI to predict where and when lightning will strike
Researchers at EPFL have developed a novel way of predicting lightning strikes to the nearest 10 to 30 minutes and within a radius of 30 kilometers. The system uses a combination of standard data from weather stations and artificial intelligence. Lightning is one of the most unpredictable phenomena in nature.

Health - Pharmacology - 06.11.2019
"Super-grafts" that could treat diabetes
By successfully strengthening pancreatic islets before transplantation, researchers at UNIGE and HUG are hoping for a significant improvement in the success of cell transplants in patients with severe diabetes. To save patients with a severe form of type 1 diabetes (characterized by the absence of functional insulin-producing cells), pancreatic cell transplantation is sometimes the last resort.

Media - 06.11.2019
Science Barometer Switzerland: Trust in Science and Research Remains High
Science Barometer Switzerland: Trust in Science and Research Remains High
The Swiss population's trust in science and research is high to very high. As the Science Barometer Switzerland 2019 study shows, people in Switzerland have a positive attitude towards science and are keen to receive information about research, with climate and energy considered the most important topics.

Microtechnics - Physics - 06.11.2019
On the way to intelligent microrobots
On the way to intelligent microrobots
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have developed a micromachine that can perform different actions. First nanomagnets in the components of the microrobots are magnetically programmed and then the various movements are controlled by magnetic fields. Such machines, which are only a few tens of micrometres across, could be used, for example, in the human body to perform small operations.

Health - Life Sciences - 04.11.2019
Synthetic phages with programmable specificity
Synthetic phages with programmable specificity
ETH researchers are using synthetic biology to reprogram bacterial viruses - commonly known as bacteriophages - to expand their natural host range. This technology paves the way for the therapeutic use of standardized, synthetic bacteriophages to treat bacterial infections. Bacteriophages ("phages" for short) are viruses that infect bacteria.

Health - Pharmacology - 31.10.2019
Removing liver tumors safely, noninvasively and efficiently
Removing liver tumors safely, noninvasively and efficiently
Many liver tumors have long been difficult or impossible to remove. Since 2015, however, it has been possible to treat these tumors by combining noninvasive surgical techniques, radiological imaging and a navigation system. For the first time, a new study by University of Bern and Inselspital, Berne University Hospital has impressively demonstrated the success of this technique.

Life Sciences - Health - 31.10.2019
Milk from Teeth: Dental Stem Cells Can Generate Milk-Producing Cells
Milk from Teeth: Dental Stem Cells Can Generate Milk-Producing Cells
Stem cells of the teeth can contribute to the regeneration of non-dental organs, namely mammary glands. According to a new study from researchers at the University of Zurich, dental epithelial stem cells from mice can generate mammary ducts and even milk-producing cells when transplanted into mammary glands.

Life Sciences - Health - 31.10.2019
Analyzing gut bacteria more accurately
The microorganisms in our intestines could be linked to certain diseases such as Alzheimer's and diabetes. Researchers from the AD-gut consortium have developed a novel method - combining optical DNA mapping and statistics - for accurately distinguishing and rapidly identifying the various species in the microbiota.

Life Sciences - Health - 31.10.2019
With a new Artificial Intelligence method, humans and machines can analyse complex biomedical data
An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the USI Institute of Computational Sciences (ICS), and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), affiliated to USI, have developed a new Artificial Intelligence method that enables the analysis of complex biomedical data. The results of the research have been published in the renowned scientific journal Science advances .

Life Sciences - Health - 31.10.2019
Analyzing gut bacteria more accurately to make diagnosis
The microorganisms in our intestines could be linked to certain diseases such as Alzheimer's and diabetes. Researchers from the AD-gut consortium have developed a novel method - combining optical DNA mapping and statistics - for accurately distinguishing and rapidly identifying the various species in the microbiota.

Life Sciences - Physics - 29.10.2019
Turning a dangerous toxin into a biosensor
Turning a dangerous toxin into a biosensor
Some bacteria release a toxin that forms pores on other cells. EPFL scientists have studied the pore-forming toxin aerolysin and genetically engineered it to be used as a high-resolution sensor for biological molecules like DNA and proteins. Image: Molecular simulation of an engineered aerolysin pore (light blue color) embedded into a membrane bilayer (cream color) and translocating DNA (red color).
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