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Media - Computer Science - 15.09.2020
Giving computers a voice
Giving computers a voice
From Alexa and Siri to translation programs and computer-generated news, anything seems possible these days.The Media Technology Center is searching for applications that could lend a hand with day-to-day editorial work. Every time you talk to Siri on your phone and ask a question or give a command, you are communicating with artificial intelligence.

Life Sciences - 14.09.2020
Embryos taking shape via buckling
Embryos taking shape via buckling
Scientists have demonstrated that cellular tissues are deformed by buckling (or bending under the action of compression), a phenomenon that could lie behind embryo morphogenesis. The embryo of an animal first looks like a hollow sphere. Invaginations then appear at different stages of development, which will give rise to the body's structures (the brain, digestive tract, etc.).

Life Sciences - Health - 14.09.2020
Mechanism discovered how the coronavirus hijacks the cell
Mechanism discovered how the coronavirus hijacks the cell
Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Bern have discovered a mechanism by which the corona virus manipulates human cells to ensure its own replication. This knowledge will help to develop drugs and vaccines against the corona virus. Like a pirate hijacking a ship, a virus takes control of an infected cell because every virus depends on the resources and molecular machines of the cell to multiply.

Computer Science - Materials Science - 11.09.2020
Machine-learning helps sort out massive materials' databases
EPFL and MIT scientists have used machine-learning to organize the chemical diversity found in the ever-growing databases for the popular metal-organic framework materials. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a class of materials that contain nano-sized pores. These pores give MOFs record-breaking internal surface areas, which can measure up to 7,800 m2 in a single gram of material.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 11.09.2020
Worldwide loss of phosphorus due to soil erosion quantified for the first time
Worldwide loss of phosphorus due to soil erosion quantified for the first time
Phosphorus is essential for agriculture, yet this important plant nutrient is increasingly being lost from soils around the world. The primary cause is soil erosion, reports an international research team led by the University of Basel. The study Communications shows which continents and regions are most strongly affected.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 11.09.2020
Mapping the depths of the genome
Mapping the depths of the genome
Using algorithms to analyse the whole-genome sequence of a tumour can make treatment more successful - and can even help determine how cells become cancerous. Detailed genetic analysis of tumour tissue samples has become standard practice at a small number of the world's leading hospitals specialising in cancer treatment.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 11.09.2020
Let there be light and the process stops
Let there be light and the process stops
Researchers have discovered that they can use light-sensitive molecules to switch genetic networks on and off as required. Their finding gives rise to an easy method for dynamically controlling biotechnological substance production. Tetracycline (Tc), an antibiotic, and its derivative anhydrotetracycline (aTc) enjoy widespread use in biotechnology and synthetic biology.

Health - Life Sciences - 10.09.2020
Stronger bones thanks to heat and microbiota
Stronger bones thanks to heat and microbiota
UNIGE Scientists demonstrate that warmth exposure improves bone strength, and decipher the role of gut microbiota in this phenomenon. This gives rise to innovative perspectives in the treatment of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, a bone disease linked to ageing, is characterised by a loss of bone density, micro-architectural deterioration of the bones and an increased risk of fractures.

Electroengineering - Environment - 10.09.2020
Transistor-integrated cooling for a more powerful chip
Transistor-integrated cooling for a more powerful chip
Researchers have created a single chip that combines a transistor and micro-fluidic cooling system. Managing the heat generated in electronics is a huge problem, especially with the constant push to reduce the size and pack as many transistors as possible in the same chip. The whole problem is how to manage such high heat fluxes efficiently.

Environment - 10.09.2020
Amphipods: a miraculous increase in biodiversity
Amphipods: a miraculous increase in biodiversity
Until recently, researchers assumed that Switzerland had around 20 native species of amphipods. Now, a project by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and the University of Zurich has revealed that there are actually more than 40. It is always worth taking a closer look, because we can only protect the things that we know exist.

Life Sciences - Health - 10.09.2020
Restless nature of human spinal cord, non-invasive imaging reveals
Restless nature of human spinal cord, non-invasive imaging reveals
Scientists have developed a non-invasive technique for unraveling the complex dynamics generated by spinal cord circuits to unprecedented detail, a first in functional magnetic resonance imaging that may one day help diagnose spinal cord dysfunction or injury. The spinal cord roughly looks like a long tube, with a diameter of only 1.5 cm, and yet this crucial part of the nervous system is essential for controlling how our arms and legs move, for giving us our sense of touch as well as a notion of where our bodies are in space.

Computer Science - Physics - 09.09.2020
Artificial intelligence explains hydrogen's behavior on giant planets
Artificial intelligence explains hydrogen's behavior on giant planets
Using computer simulations powered by machine-learning algorithms EPFL scientists have made an important breakthrough in understanding how hydrogen behaves on Saturn and Jupiter. The giant planets in our solar system are made mainly of hydrogen, mostly in a liquid state. Near the planets- surface, hydrogen exists in an insulating, molecular form - H2 - but closer to the center, it takes on a metallic form where individual atoms can move around freely.

Life Sciences - 09.09.2020
Brain stimulation reduces dyslexia deficits
Brain stimulation reduces dyslexia deficits
Reading difficulties can be improved with non-invasive brain electrical stimulation, a hope for people suffering from dyslexia. Dyslexia is a frequent disorder of reading acquisition that affects up to 10% of the population, and is characterised by lifelong difficulties with written material. Although several possible causes have been proposed for dyslexia, the predominant one is a phonological deficit, a difficulty in processing language sounds.

Life Sciences - Health - 09.09.2020
Muscle aging: Stronger for longer
Muscle aging: Stronger for longer
With life expectancy increasing, age-related diseases are also on the rise, including sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass due to aging. Researchers from the University of Basel's Biozentrum have demonstrated that a well-known drug can delay the progression of age-related muscle weakness. The findings were recently published in -Nature Communications-.

Computer Science - 09.09.2020
A robot that controls highly flexible tools
A robot that controls highly flexible tools
How do you calculate the coordinated movements of two robot arms so they can accurately guide a highly flexible tool? ETH researchers have integrated all aspects of the optimisation calculations into an algorithm. The hot-wire cutter will be used, among other things, to develop building blocks for a mortar-free structure.

Health - 08.09.2020
A lack of oxygen in tumors promotes metastasis
A lack of oxygen in tumors promotes metastasis
Metastases are formed by cancer cells that break away from the primary tumor. A research group at the University of Basel has now identified lack of oxygen as the trigger for this process. The results reveal an important relationship between the oxygen supply to tumors and the formation of metastases.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 08.09.2020
Nationwide decline of threatened plant species in Switzerland
Nationwide decline of threatened plant species in Switzerland
The Swiss Flora is one of the richest and most diverse in Europe. However, more than 700 plant species are considered to be threatened. In a nationwide project over 400 volunteer botanists revisited known populations of all threatened and rare plant species in Switzerland and recorded their presence or absence.

Psychology - 08.09.2020
Romantic partners influence each other's goals
Romantic partners influence each other’s goals
Over the long-term, what one partner in a two-person relationship wishes to avoid, so too does the other partner - and what one wants to achieve, so does the other. These effects can be observed regardless of gender, age and length of the relationship, as researchers from the University of Basel report in a study of more than 450 couples.

Physics - Electroengineering - 07.09.2020
A tiny instrument to measure the faintest magnetic fields
A tiny instrument to measure the faintest magnetic fields
Physicists at the University of Basel have developed a minuscule instrument able to detect extremely faint magnetic fields. At the heart of the superconducting quantum interference device are two atomically thin layers of graphene, which the researchers combined with boron nitride. Instruments like this one have applications in areas such as medicine, besides being used to research new materials.

Physics - Electroengineering - 07.09.2020
Reconfiguring microwave photonic filters without an external device
Reconfiguring microwave photonic filters without an external device
Researchers from EPFL's Photonics Systems Lab have come up with a way of reconfiguring microwave photonic filters without the need for an external device. This paves the way for more compact, environmentally friendly filters that will be more practical and cheaper to use. Potential applications include detection and communications systems.