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Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 28.07.2020
A dead star emits a unique mixture of radiations
A dead star emits a unique mixture of radiations
An international collaboration between ground-based and orbiting telescopes is shedding light on one of the mysteries of the universe. The alert was issued by ESA's Integral Space Observatory, whose scientific data are processed at the University of Geneva. An international network of telescopes, of which Integral, the high-energy space observatory of ESA (European Space Agency), is a part, has detected a unique mixture of radiation from a dead star in our galaxy.

Social Sciences - 27.07.2020
Hedonism Leads to Happiness
Hedonism Leads to Happiness
Relaxing on the sofa or savoring a delicious meal: Enjoying short-term pleasurable activities that don't lead to long-term goals contributes at least as much to a happy life as self-control, according to new research from the University of Zurich and Radboud University in the Netherlands. The researchers therefore argue for a greater appreciation of hedonism in psychology.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 27.07.2020
The amazing travels of small RNAs
Biologists have known for some time that RNA interference can silence genes in far-off cells. They suspected that a messenger substance "transmits" RNA interference. Now, ETH researchers have definitively shown that these messengers in plants are short double-stranded RNA fragments. In most organisms, small bits of RNA play a key role in gene regulation by silencing gene expression.

Life Sciences - 24.07.2020
Big Brains and Dexterous Hands
Big Brains and Dexterous Hands
Primates with large brains can master more complex hand movements than those with smaller brains. However, fine motor skills such as using tools can take time to learn, and humans take the longest of all. Large-brained species such as humans and great apes do not actually learn more slowly than other primates but instead start later, researchers at the University of Zurich have shown.

Earth Sciences - 24.07.2020
Lockdown reduces seismic noise worldwide
Lockdown reduces seismic noise worldwide
Research recently published in the journal "Science" has shown that lockdown measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 lead to a 50% reduction in seismic noise observed around the world in early to mid-2020. By analysing month-to-years long datasets from over 300 seismic stations around the world, the study, led by Thomas Lecocq from the Royal Observatory of Belgium, was able to show how the seismic noise decreased in many countries and regions since the start of the lockdown measures.

Computer Science - Materials Science - 23.07.2020
Technology that makes it feel like you're touching virtual objects
Adding to the richness of virtual reality, EPFL researchers have created soft actuators that can simulate the feeling of touching a virtual object with your fingers.  In the virtual world, the objects you pick up do not exist: you can see that cup or pen, but it does not feel like you're touching them.

Health - Pharmacology - 23.07.2020
Iron deficiency during infancy reduces vaccine efficacy
About 40 percent of children around the globe suffer from anaemia because they do not consume enough iron. Now, studies by ETH researchers show that iron deficiency also reduces the protection provided by vaccinations. Despite the fact that global immunisation programmes are now reaching more people than ever, about 1.5 million children still die every year from diseases that vaccination could have prevented.

Health - Pharmacology - 22.07.2020
Primary care physicians during the COVID Epidemic-19
With a study covering 1,500 ambulatory patients, a team from the University of Geneva is highlighting the crucial role that general practitioners could play in the control of COVID-19. The global crisis triggered by COVID-19 has led governments to rely on the expertise of specialists in defining health emergency policies.

Life Sciences - 21.07.2020
A developmental clock with a checkpoint function
A developmental clock with a checkpoint function
The group of Helge Grosshans characterized the " C. elegans oscillator", over 3,700 genes that are rhythmically expressed during the larval development of C. elegans . They demonstrated the coupling of the oscillator with molting and got insights into how it is wired. Their findings suggest that the oscillator functions as a developmental clock with a developmental checkpoint function.

Economics / Business - 21.07.2020
International trade, a threat to jobs?
International trade, a threat to jobs?
The growth of trade generates economic expansion, but can also result in an increase in long-term unemployment depending on the sectors of activity that are developing, stress UNIGE economists. What is the impact of increasing international trade on the labour market? This question is at the heart of many political debates, but it has long been absent from international economics textbooks.

Life Sciences - Health - 20.07.2020
Restoring mobility by identifying the neurons that make it possible
Restoring mobility by identifying the neurons that make it possible
Partial mobility can be restored in rodents with impaired spinal cords. Using AI, scientists can now determine the ­cellular mechanisms responsible - a technique that may be applicable to many biomedical problems. Researchers at EPFL are able to get paralyzed rodents walking again by stimulating the animals' damaged spinal cords.

Earth Sciences - 20.07.2020
The Venus 'ring of fire'
The Venus ’ring of fire’
Researchers used computer simulations to classify the current activity of corona structures on the surface of Venus. To their surprise, they found a previously undiscovered ring of fire on our neighbouring planet. Years ago, planetary researchers discovered unusual circular structures on the surface of Venus when observing high-resolution images from NASA's Magellan mission.

Astronomy / Space Science - 20.07.2020
Astrophysicists fill gaps in the history of the Universe
An international consortium of scientists has analyzed, as part of a vast program of cosmological surveys, several million galaxies and quasars, thus retracing a more continuous history of the Universe and offering a better understanding of the mechanisms of its expansion. The latest 6 year-long survey called eBOSS was initiated, and led in part, by EPFL astrophysicist Jean-Paul Kneib.

Health - Philosophy - 20.07.2020
Blueprint for the perfect coronavirus app
Blueprint for the perfect coronavirus app
Many countries are turning to digital aids to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic. ETH researchers are now pointing out the ethical challenges, that need to be taken into account and the issues that need careful consideration when planning, developing and implementing such tools. Handwashing, social distancing and mask wearing: all these measures have proven effective in the current COVID-19 pandemic - just as they were 100 years ago when the Spanish flu was raging throughout the world.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.07.2020
Predicting the Biodiversity of Rivers
Predicting the Biodiversity of Rivers
Biodiversity and thus the state of river ecosystems can now be predicted by combining environmental DNA with hydrological methods, researchers from the University of Zurich and Eawag have found. Using the river Thur as an example, the approach allows areas requiring conservation to be identified in order to initiate protective measures.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 17.07.2020
Using brain imaging to pierce the mystery of human behavior
Using brain imaging to pierce the mystery of human behavior
In the Medical Image Processing Lab, Dimitri Van De Ville and Thomas Bolton have studied the impact that computational imaging has on cognitive and clinical neuroscience by reviewing more than one hundred articles. How are human behavior and brain activity linked? That question has been eating away at Thomas Bolton ever since he started his PhD.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 16.07.2020
New map for radioactive soil contamination in Western Europe
New map for radioactive soil contamination in Western Europe
An international consortium of scientists has refined the map of caesium and plutonium radionuclide concentrations in soils in Switzerland and several neighbouring countries. Using an archive of European soil samples, the team led by Katrin Meusburger from the University of Basel, now at the WSL research institute, was able to trace the sources of radioactive fallout between 1960 and 2009.

Criminology / Forensics - 16.07.2020
Uncovering crime patterns using location data
The way people move around in cities gives us clues as to when many crimes are committed and in which hotspots, as ETH researchers have demonstrated using anonymised data from  location technology plattforms. When and where does crime arise in cities? To answer this question, criminologists have previously relied on rather static models.

Computer Science - 16.07.2020
Using artificial intelligence to enhance complex systems
Researchers have invented a way of automatically working out what data needs to be put into a complex system - such as a fiber optic network - in order to get the desired result. Their solution could prove especially useful in robotics, medicine and image projection. In any system, you need some kind of input and output, with an action taking place in between.

Pharmacology - Health - 15.07.2020
Blueprint of Oxytocin Receptor Facilitates Development of New Autism Drugs
Blueprint of Oxytocin Receptor Facilitates Development of New Autism Drugs
Oxytocin plays a role in various mental health and sexual reproduction disorders. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now determined the three-dimensional structure of the oxytocin receptor to which the hormone binds. This knowledge could promote the development of novel drugs to treat a variety of diseases.
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