news 2021


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Results 61 - 80 of 115.


Chemistry - Environment - 29.01.2021
Replacing toxic chlorine and bromine
Replacing toxic chlorine and bromine
Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Mainz developed a new method to replace molecular chlorine and bromine in chemical synthesis with less toxic molecules. The technology helps to make chemical processes safer and more sustainable and to remediate contaminated soils. Chlorine and bromine in their molecular form (as Cl2 and Br2 molecules) are notoriously toxic and corrosive chemicals.

Earth Sciences - 29.01.2021
Witnesses to Earth's early history
Witnesses to Earth’s early history
Determining the composition of rock in the deepest layer of the Earth's mantle is impossible to do directly. But thanks to isotope measurements of volcanic rocks, ETH researchers are now able to show that the mantle is still home to material from the planet's earliest days. What exactly are the deepest parts of the Earth made of? Geoscientists apply highly sophisticated techniques in pursuit of this question.

Environment - Innovation - 29.01.2021
Testing the Blue Diversion Autarky toilet in situ
Testing the Blue Diversion Autarky toilet in situ
For three months, an extended family in South Africa tested the standalone Autarky toilet cubicle. Everyone was very happy with the quiet hideout. "I am really proud of our technology and can see huge potential in it", says Eva Reynaert, who was involved in the project and was one of the advisors during the field testing.

Health - Mathematics - 29.01.2021
On the trail of Sars-CoV-2 in cable cars
On the trail of Sars-CoV-2 in cable cars
Where do the greatest risks of infection lurk? How can you protect yourself and others even better? Scientists all over the world are working to expand knowledge about Covid-19 - including at Empa. Researchers are now using measurements and simulations to take a close look at cable cars and cabins in ski resorts.

Pharmacology - Health - 28.01.2021
New treatment helps patients with a spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injuries disrupt the mechanism by which our bodies regulate blood pressure. A team of Swiss and Canadian scientists have developed a treatment that allows patients to regain control of their blood pressure, using targeted electrical spinal-cord stimulation. No medication is required. The team's findings were published today in Nature.

Transport - 28.01.2021
Cucumber with twin
Cucumber with twin
Vegetables and fruits often have a long way to go on the supermarket shelf. How can quality be intelligently maintained on long journeys and possible spoilage prevented? In cooperation with Coop, Empa experts are developing a system that keeps an eye on freshness during transport - and at the same time allows optimization.

Life Sciences - Health - 28.01.2021
Risk-Taking Linked to Particular Brain Features
Risk-Taking Linked to Particular Brain Features
There is a common genetic and neurobiological basis for risky behavior - the genetic disposition for risk-taking is mapped in several areas of the brain, a UZH study shows. The study combines genetic information and brain scans from more than 25,000 people for the first time. Risky behaviors such as smoking, alcohol and drug use, speeding, or frequently changing sexual partners result in enormous health and economic consequences and lead to associated costs of an estimated 600 billion dollars a year in the US alone.

Physics - 28.01.2021
Physicists develop record-breaking source for single photons
Physicists develop record-breaking source for single photons
Researchers at the University of Basel and Ruhr University Bochum have developed a source of single photons that can produce billions of these quantum particles per second. With its record-breaking efficiency, the photon source represents a new and powerful building-block for quantum technologies. Quantum cryptography promises absolutely secure communications.

Life Sciences - Mathematics - 27.01.2021
A NEAT reduction of complex neuronal models accelerates brain research
A NEAT reduction of complex neuronal models accelerates brain research
Unlike their simple counterparts in artificial intelligence (AI) applications, neurons in the brain use dendrites - their intricate tree-like branches - to find relevant chunks of information. Now, neuroscientists from the University of Bern have discovered a new computational method to make complex dendrite models much simpler.

Environment - Life Sciences - 27.01.2021
Major discovery helps explain coral bleaching
Major discovery helps explain coral bleaching
An EPFL scientist has made a major breakthrough in the understanding of coral bleaching - a process that causes corals to lose their color and eventually leads to their death. The process is triggered by warmer ocean temperatures, and, according to the study, it begins much earlier than previously thought.

Physics - Chemistry - 27.01.2021
Size of helium nucleus measured more precisely than ever before
In experiments at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, an international research collaboration with ETH Zurich involvement has measured the radius of the atomic nucleus of helium five times more precisely than ever before. With the aid of the new value, fundamental physical theories can be tested. After hydrogen, helium is the second most abundant element in the universe.

Physics - 26.01.2021
Physics challenges the optimal size of parliaments
Physics challenges the optimal size of parliaments
Analyzing a classic paper that has influenced the size of parliaments for almost half a century, an EPFL physicist discovers major flaws with its methodology, challenges its fundamental assumptions, and calls for a complete and careful re-think of its government-governing rule. What is the best size of a parliament? That is a question at the center of many countries today, including the 2020 referendum in Italy where almost 70% of voters selected to slash the number of members of parliament by about a third.

Life Sciences - Health - 25.01.2021
Repairing synapses to combat multiple sclerosis
Repairing synapses to combat multiple sclerosis
A team from UNIGE, the University of Munich and the Technical Institute of Munich has discovered that the destruction of synapses in the brain's grey matter reduces the activity of neurons in the cerebral cortex and is a major factor in the progression of multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system, in which nerve cells are attacked by the patient's own immune system.

Astronomy / Space Science - 25.01.2021
CHEOPS finds unique planetary system
CHEOPS finds unique planetary system
The CHEOPS space telescope detects six planets orbiting the star TOI-178. Five of the planets are in a harmonic rhythm despite very different compositions. This result challenges our understanding of the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Musical notes that sound pleasant together can form a harmony.

Environment - History / Archeology - 25.01.2021
Climate change in antiquity: mass emigration due to water scarcity
Climate change in antiquity: mass emigration due to water scarcity
The absence of monsoon rains at the source of the Nile was the cause of migrations and the demise of entire settlements in the late Roman province of Egypt. This demographic development has been compared with environmental data for the first time by professor of ancient history, Sabine Huebner of the University of Basel - leading to a discovery of climate change and its consequences.

Physics - Computer Science - 25.01.2021
Lasers and virtual reality to revolutionize watch-crystal engraving
Lasers and virtual reality to revolutionize watch-crystal engraving
EPFL engineers teamed up with luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin to develop an innovative system that uses lasers to create 3D sculptures within sapphire watch crystals.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 22.01.2021
Solar System formation in two steps
Solar System formation in two steps
Why are the planets of the inner Solar System dry and rocky, but the outer ones are not? An international team of researchers with participation of the University of Zurich discovered that a two-step formation process of the planets can explain the chronology and split in volatiles like water and isotope content of the inner and outer Solar System.

Health - 22.01.2021
MRI helps unravel the mysteries of sleep
MRI helps unravel the mysteries of sleep
Scientists at EPFL and the Universities of Geneva, Cape Town and Bochum have joined forces to investigate brain activity during sleep with the help of MRI scans. It turns out our brains are much more active than we thought. Our state of consciousness changes significantly during stages of deep sleep, just as it does in a coma or under general anesthesia.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 22.01.2021
TRAPPIST-1's 7 Rocky Planets May Be Made of Similar Stuff
TRAPPIST-1’s 7 Rocky Planets May Be Made of Similar Stuff
The TRAPPIST-1 star is home to the largest batch of roughly Earth-size planets ever found outside our solar system. An international study involving researchers from the Universities of Bern, Geneva and Zurich now shows that the exoplanets have remarkably similar densities, which provides clues about their composition.

Life Sciences - 21.01.2021
Size of Connections between Nerve Cells Determines Signaling Strength
Size of Connections between Nerve Cells Determines Signaling Strength
Nerve cells communicate with one another via synapses. Neuroscientists at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have now found that these connections seem to be much more powerful than previously thought. The larger the synapse, the stronger the signal it transmits. These findings will enable a better understanding of how the brain functions and how neurological disorders arise.