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Physics - Mathematics - 30.09.2022
Computational shortcut for neural networks
Computational shortcut for neural networks
Neural networks are learning algorithms that approximate the solution to a task by training with available data. However, it is usually unclear how exactly they accomplish this. Two young Basel physicists have now derived mathematical expressions that allow one to calculate the optimal solution without training a network.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 29.09.2022
Turtle studies help trace evolutionary changes
Turtle studies help trace evolutionary changes
Since Darwin, we have known that evolutionary adaptation is reflected in the appearance and function of species' bodies under environmental changes. One of the questions commonly asked by evolutionary biologists is how body shape relates to a specific ecological feature, such as diet. In a recent study published in the journal Evolution , Guilherme Hermanson and his team at the University of Freiburg looked at the environmental factors that affect the shape of turtle skulls.

Environment - 28.09.2022
Emperor penguins still free of microplastics
Emperor penguins still free of microplastics
Good news from Antarctica: researchers have examined emperor penguins and found no evidence of microplastics in their stomachs. The study, conducted by the University of Basel and the Alfred-Wegener Institute, is an important assessment of environmental pollution at the South Pole. The researchers studied a colony of emperor penguins in Atka Bay, a remote area on the northeastern edge of the Ekström Ice Shelf.

Life Sciences - Mathematics - 28.09.2022
Better understanding of cellular metabolism with the help of AI
Better understanding of cellular metabolism with the help of AI
Metabolism is essential to all living organisms, and modeling the chemical reactions that sustain life is no easy task. Now, scientists have released REKINDLE, paving the way for more efficient and accurate modeling of metabolic processes thanks to deep-learning. The way an organism metabolizes nutrients is a complex process.

Materials Science - 27.09.2022
'Cushions' against rail noise and vibrations
’Cushions’ against rail noise and vibrations
To reduce rail noise for residents, noise barriers or quieter wheel systems and brakes are not the only options. An inconspicuous component under the railway tracks is a beacon of hope for quieter rail traffic for a team of researchers with Empa involvement - and first tests on passing trains show a positive effect.

Life Sciences - Health - 26.09.2022
Genetic Defects Lead to Enamel Malformations
Genetic Defects Lead to Enamel Malformations
Mutations in a certain molecule result in severe damage in the structure and mineral composition of tooth enamel in mice, according to a study conducted at the UZH Center of Dental Medicine. The researchers combined genetic, molecular and imaging techniques. Enamel is the hardest organic tissue found in nature.

Environment - Life Sciences - 26.09.2022
Alpine plants respond to climate change
Alpine plants respond to climate change
Researchers from ETH Zurich are studying how alpine vegetation is responding to a warming climate - and how some plant communities are continuing to stand firm against newcomers from lower elevations. A glance down the vertiginous slope is enough to create a dizzying sensation of being airborne. Far below is the city of Chur, with tiny cars beetling among toy houses.

Environment - Life Sciences - 23.09.2022
Aquatic insects are less likely to be invasive
Aquatic insects are less likely to be invasive
Insects that live entirely or partly in freshwater have a much lower proportion of invasive species than insects that live on land. This is shown in a study by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology Eawag and an international team of researchers.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 22.09.2022
How global warming affects astronomical observations
How global warming affects astronomical observations
Astronomical observations from ground-based telescopes are sensitive to local atmospheric conditions. Anthropogenic climate change will negatively affect some of these conditions at observation sites around the globe, as a team of researchers led by the University of Bern and the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS report.

Physics - Electroengineering - 22.09.2022
Ultracold circuits
Ultracold circuits
Cooling materials to extremely low temperatures is important for basic physics research as well as for technological applications. By improving a special refrigerator and a low-temperature thermometer, Basel scientists have now managed to cool an electric circuit on a chip down to 220 microkelvin - close to absolute zero.

Life Sciences - Health - 22.09.2022
Protein scissors for more effective cancer treatment
Biologist Daniel Richter has developed a method that enables proteins to be linked to a drug molecule or biomarker with a high level of stability. He plans to use this method in the future to identify tumor cells and open the door to more effective cancer drugs. White surfaces, brightly colored liquids in glass containers and appliances that wouldn't look out of place in the average kitchen.

Environment - Life Sciences - 22.09.2022
How nanoplastics enter the aquatic food web
How nanoplastics enter the aquatic food web
The smallest of all plastic particles have remained largely unexplored until now, because they could not be detected in the environment. Now researchers at Eawag show: Nanoplastics stick to slimy biofilms, which can for example be found on stones in streams or rivers. When freshwater snails feed on the slime, the nanoplastics are taken up.

Health - Chemistry - 22.09.2022
Fighting fungal infections with metals
Fighting fungal infections with metals
An international collaboration led by researchers from the University of Bern and the University of Queensland in Australia has demonstrated that chemical compounds containing special metals are highly effective in fighting dangerous fungal infections. These results could be used to develop innovative drugs which are effective against resistant bacteria and fungi.

Health - Life Sciences - 21.09.2022
Researchers turn cancer cells into less harmful cell types
Researchers turn cancer cells into less harmful cell types
Cancer cells resemble stem cells in being extremely adaptable. University of Basel researchers have identified compounds that artificially mature breast cancer cells of the highly aggressive triple negative subtype and convert them to a state that resembles normal cells. Cancer occurs when cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other organs in the body.

Physics - Innovation - 21.09.2022
Time-reversal methods can make power transformers more reliable
Time-reversal methods can make power transformers more reliable
Engineers at EPFL's Electromagnetic Compatibility Laboratory have developed a revolutionary method for detecting and locating partial discharges, which disrupt the functioning of power transformers. Transformers play a central role in power distribution systems, making it possible to carry electric power over long distances with minimal risk and losses.

Innovation - Microtechnics - 21.09.2022
A swarm of 3D printing drones for construction and repair
A swarm of 3D printing drones for construction and repair
An international research team led by drone expert Mirko Kovac of Empa and Imperial College London has taken bees as a model to develop a swarm of cooperative, 3D-printing drones. Under human control, these flying robots work as a team to print 3D materials for building or repairing structures while flying, as the scientists report in the cover story of the latest issue of Nature.

Life Sciences - Health - 20.09.2022
Genetics and diet influence bile acid homeostasis
Genetics and diet influence bile acid homeostasis
Scientists have used a systems genetics approach to unravel novel genetic and environmental modulators of bile acid homeostasis. Their findings provide new insights into the regulatory mechanisms of bile acid homeostasis and may have implications for the treatment of metabolic diseases. Image: Circos plot summarizing the bile acid species quantified in different biological compartments, their changes, correlation and associations with quantitative trait loci in two different diets.

Economics / Business - 20.09.2022
Home ownership leads to less happiness than expected
Home ownership leads to less happiness than expected
We aren't very good at predicting what will make us happy. That is one finding from a study by Basel economists.

Life Sciences - 19.09.2022
Cilia in 3D: Miniature train station discovered
Cilia in 3D: Miniature train station discovered
Cilia are small hair-like organelles that extend from cells and perform many functions, including motility and signaling. Researchers have now revealed that cilia have a specialized transport hub at their base, where trains and cargos are assembled for transport throughout the cilia. Since defects in this cilia transport system can lead to e.g. cystic kidneys or blindness, the results published in Science also provide new insights into molecular basis for a variety of diseases.

Health - 19.09.2022
Diabetes: when circadian lipid rhythms go wrong
Diabetes: when circadian lipid rhythms go wrong
A team from Geneva, Switzerland, shows that the disruption of lipid temporal profiles in type 2 diabetes stiffens the membrane of pancreatic endocrine cells, which could alter their function. Like all living beings, human physiological processes are influenced by circadian rhythms. The disruption of our internal clocks due to an increasingly unbalanced lifestyle is directly linked to the explosion in cases of type 2 diabetes.
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