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Environment - Life Sciences - 12.04.2016
City Moths Avoid the Light
City Moths Avoid the Light
Moths and other nocturnal insects are attracted by artificial light sources. Swiss zoologist study how this behavior differst in animals from areas with high and low light pollution (Image: A. Bieger). The globally increasing light pollution has negative effects on organisms and entire ecosystems.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 22.03.2016
Monitoring greenhouse gas emissions independently
Monitoring greenhouse gas emissions independently
Mistakes can happen when estimating emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Researchers funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation have developed a method to independently validate national statistics. The signatory countries of the Kyoto Protocol and the new Paris Agreement have committed to reduce global warming.

Computer Science - Environment - 21.03.2016
Human eyes assist drones, teach machines to see
Human eyes assist drones, teach machines to see
21. Drone images accumulate much faster than they can be analyzed. Researchers have developed a new approach that combines crowdsourcing and machine learning to speed up the process. Who would win in a real-life game of "Where's Waldo," humans or computers? A recent study suggests that when speed and accuracy are critical, an approach combing both human and machine intelligence would take the prize.

Environment - Materials Science - 17.03.2016
Perovskite solar cells hit 21.1% efficiency and record reproduciblity
Perovskite solar cells hit 21.1% efficiency and record reproduciblity
17. EPFL scientists achieve the highest yet reproducibility for perovskite solar cells combined with a boundary-pushing 21.1% efficiency at normal operating conditions.

Environment - Innovation - 07.03.2016
Everyone sees the world through their own prism
Everyone sees the world through their own prism
How can public opinion be influenced in favour of climate protection? ETH political scientist Thomas Bernauer explored the question in a recent study. His sobering answer is that there is no magic formula. Policy-makers have been charged with taking appropriate measures against the looming threat of climate change.

Environment - Health - 26.02.2016
Drinking water: how to deliver it chlorine-free?
Drinking water: how to deliver it chlorine-free?
26. Chlorinated tap water is the norm around the world, but the experiences of several European countries is that it doesn't have to be.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2016
Traces of life discovered in mantle rock
Traces of life discovered in mantle rock
An international expedition, led by ETH Professor Gretchen Bernasconi-Green, has discovered traces of life in a core sample. The geologist explains what this means. An international team of scientists returned last December from an IODP (International Ocean Discovery Program) expedition to the Atlantis Massif in the Atlantic Ocean.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 01.02.2016
Topography shapes biodiversity, and not only through temperature
Topography shapes biodiversity, and not only through temperature
A warming climate is likely to drive species to higher, cooler altitudes. A new study highlights a less obvious, yet crucial way in which their new habitat could differ from the one they leave behind. Mountains are home to many living species, with biodiversity typically peaking at mid-altitudes. Scientists have long struggled to explain why this is the case, invoking factors such as low temperatures at high elevations or human disturbance further down.

Environment - 21.01.2016
How two degrees may turn into four
How two degrees may turn into four
The world has decided to adopt measures to prevent average global warming from exceeding the two-degree mark. But what does this mean for temperature and the distribution of heavy precipitation on a regional level? Climate researchers have now calculated this. At the recent COP21 climate conference in Paris, delegates reached an agreement that plans to limit global warming to "well below" two degrees Celsius.

Materials Science - Environment - 18.01.2016
Cheaper solar cells with 20.2% efficiency
Cheaper solar cells with 20.2% efficiency
EPFL scientists have developed a solar-panel material that can cut down on photovoltaic costs while achieving competitive power-conversion efficiency of 20.

Environment - Chemistry - 07.01.2016
A super-fine solution to sponge up micropollutants
A super-fine solution to sponge up micropollutants
07. A super-fine form of powdered activated carbon captures micropollutants more rapidly than the conventional kind and could by used in Swiss wastewater treatment plants, say EPFL researchers in a new study. Even at extremely low concentrations, micropollutants - trace amounts of chemical compounds from pharmaceutical or agricultural chemicals - can pose a risk to aquatic ecosystems.

Environment - 04.01.2016
Meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet releasing faster
Meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet releasing faster
The firn layers of the Greenland ice sheet might store less meltwater than previously assumed. Researchers from the USA, Denmark and the University of Zurich fear that this could lead to increased release of the meltwater into the oceans. The near-surface layers of the Greenland ice sheet are made up of snow that is gradually being converted into glacier ice.

Environment - 26.11.2015
Tiny amoebas could play a big role in climate
Tiny amoebas could play a big role in climate
26. For the first time, researchers at EPFL and the WSL investigate how the fate of tiny algae-harboring amoebas that live in peatlands could reinforce global warming. The world's peatlands store tremendous amounts of carbon - up to 20 years' worth of human and natural emissions. While today they sequester more carbon than they release, research suggests that in a warmer world, they could decompose more quickly, reinforcing the vicious cycle of global warming by releasing additional CO2 into the atmosphere.

Environment - 18.11.2015
Plant roots shaped by river fluctuations
Plant roots shaped by river fluctuations
Changing flow rates in rivers can be disruptive to bushes and trees that grow on riverbanks. Now, researchers from EPFL have developed a way to predict how fluctuations in the water table impact the roots that nourish them.

Health - Environment - 11.11.2015
Tackling a neglected disease with math
Tackling a neglected disease with math
11. Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa. While humanitarian projects have successfully brought down the number of victims, researchers are developing a computer model to achieve a more ambitious aim: to completely eliminate the disease from the region.

Life Sciences - Environment - 05.11.2015
Faster digestion in kangaroos reduces methane emissions
Faster digestion in kangaroos reduces methane emissions
Why does a kangaroo expel less methane than a cow? Researchers from the University of Zurich and Australia decide to investigate - and discovered that the emission of this climate-damaging gas in kangaroos is linked to how long food is digested. Animals produce methane during the digestion process - some more than others.

Environment - Innovation - 26.10.2015
An innovative response to the challenge of storing renewable energy
An innovative response to the challenge of storing renewable energy
26. A system for managing and storing energy, developed by EPFL's Distributed Electrical Systems Laboratory, has been inaugurated on the school's campus.

Life Sciences - Environment - 16.10.2015
The future of farming depends on local breeds
The future of farming depends on local breeds
16. The dwindling genetic diversity of farm animals is increasingly becoming a threat to livestock production.

Environment - 04.09.2015
Adapting electricity demand to production. Not the other way around
04. Instead of aligning energy production with consumption, wouldn't it be possible to make consumption adapt to the intermittency of renewable energies? François Vuille, director of development at the Energy Center, shares his thoughts.

Environment - Materials Science - 29.07.2015
Yarn from slaughterhouse waste
Yarn from slaughterhouse waste
ETH researchers have developed a yarn from ordinary gelatine that has good qualities similar to those of merino wool fibres.
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