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Life Sciences - 10.07.2020
How Venus Flytraps Snap
How Venus Flytraps Snap
Venus flytraps catch spiders and insects by snapping their trap leaves. This mechanism is activated when unsuspecting prey touch highly sensitive trigger hairs twice within 30 seconds. A study led by researchers at the University of Zurich has now shown that a single slow touch also triggers trap closure - probably to catch slow-moving larvae and snails.

Physics - Chemistry - 08.07.2020
Porous nitrogen-doped graphene ribbons for future electronics
Porous nitrogen-doped graphene ribbons for future electronics
A team of physicists and chemists has produced the first porous graphene ribbons in which specific carbon atoms in the crystal lattice are replaced with nitrogen atoms. These ribbons have semiconducting properties that make them attractive for applications in electronics and quantum computing, as reported by researchers from the Universities of Basel, Bern, Lancaster and Warwick in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Life Sciences - Health - 08.07.2020
The IRB discovers the activation mechanism of the "police patrol" cells of our immune system
Nearly 200 billion naïve T cells continuously patrol the human body in a dormant state, prepared to respond to potential threats. An international group of researchers, led by Dr. Roger Geiger of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB, affiliated to USI), demonstrated how these cells sustain a constant state of preparedness.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.07.2020
1.5 Billion People Will Depend on Water from Mountains
1.5 Billion People Will Depend on Water from Mountains
Global water consumption has increased almost fourfold in the past 100 years, and many regions can only meet their water demand thanks to essential contributions from mountain regions.

Environment - Life Sciences - 07.07.2020
Evolutionary physiology and adaptation in the moor frog
Evolutionary physiology and adaptation in the moor frog
Organisms exposed to challenging environments face evolutionary pressure to adapt, which could lead to modifications in a variety of traits, such as morphology, physiology and behaviour. Katja Räsänen from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology Eawag holds a deep interest in mechanisms of adaptation in natural populations.

Health - Life Sciences - 06.07.2020
Age-related impairments reversed in animal model
Age-related impairments reversed in animal model
Frailty and immune decline are two main features of old age. Researchers from the University of Bern and the University Hospital Bern now demonstrate in an animal model that these two age-related impairments can be halted and even partially reversed using a novel cell-based therapeutic approach. Elderly people are more prone to infectious diseases as the function of their immune system continuously declines with progression of age.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 06.07.2020
Structural insights into Fe-S protein biogenesis
Structural insights into Fe-S protein biogenesis
The cytosolic iron sulfur assembly (CIA) pathway is required for the insertion of Fe-S clusters into proteins, including many DNA replication and repair factors. Despite its essential cellular function, this pathway remains enigmatic. A new integrative structural and biochemical study from the Thomä group now provides detailed insights into the mechanisms of Fe-S protein biogenesis.

Materials Science - 06.07.2020
Outsmarting self-organization
Outsmarting self-organization
Researchers at ETH Zurich have coaxed tiny spheres made of polymer gels into forming complex patterns by themselves through a two-step process. Surfaces with tailor-made optical and mechanical properties could be realized in this way. When retiling the bathroom or the terrace using, for instance, square, rectangular or hexagonal tiles, the result will be a simple and regular pattern - assuming one doesn't make any mistakes.

Electroengineering - 03.07.2020
A completely new plasmonic chip for ultrafast data transmission using light
A completely new plasmonic chip for ultrafast data transmission using light
Researchers have built an ultrafast chip that can speed up data transmission in fibre optic networks. The chip combines several innovations at the same time and, given the growing demand for streaming and online services, represents a significant development.

Health - Life Sciences - 02.07.2020
How the body fights off urinary tract infections
How the body fights off urinary tract infections
Some people are better protected than others against urinary tract infections. This may be because their bodies produce more of a protein called uromodulin. An interdisciplinary research team has now found out how this helper protein brings relief when nature calls and how this knowledge might benefit the treatment and prevention of these painful inflammations.

Materials Science - Electroengineering - 02.07.2020
The lightest shielding material in the world
The lightest shielding material in the world
Researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range - and they are unrivalled in terms of weight. Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic components or the transmission of signals.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 01.07.2020
First exposed planetary core discovered
First exposed planetary core discovered
Researchers led by the University of Warwick have discovered the first exposed core of an exoplanet, which provides an unprecedented glimpse inside the interior of a planet. Christoph Mordasini from the University of Bern is leading the theoretical interpretation of this discovery. The newly discovered exoplanet TOI 849 b offers the unique opportunity to peer inside the interior of a planet and learn about its composition.

Environment - Life Sciences - 01.07.2020
Alarming long-term effects of insecticides weaken ant colonies
Alarming long-term effects of insecticides weaken ant colonies
This week, scientists of the Institute of Bee Health of the University of Bern have published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Communications Biology, which shows how even low doses of neonicotinoid insecticides, as they may realistically occur in contaminated soils, adversely affect the development of black garden ants (Lasius niger).

Earth Sciences - Environment - 01.07.2020
Making geothermal energy safer through simulation
Making geothermal energy safer through simulation
Researchers from the Swiss Seismological Service SED and ETH Zurich are working with the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre CSCS to develop a way of utilising geothermal energy safely with the help of supercomputers. According to Switzerland's Energy Strategy 2050, the plan is for deep geothermal energy to contribute to the expansion of renewable energies in the country.

Psychology - Social Sciences - 30.06.2020
From age 8 we spontaneously link vocal to facial emotion
From age 8 we spontaneously link vocal to facial emotion
Scientists have tracked the eye movements of children to show how they make the link - spontaneously and without instructions - between vocal emotion (happiness or anger) followed by a natural or virtual face. Do children have to wait until age 8 to recognise - spontaneously and without instructions - the same emotion of happiness or anger depending on whether it is expressed by a voice or on a face? A team of scientists from the University of Geneva and the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences (CISA) has provided an initial response to this question.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 30.06.2020
Climate change is altering terrestrial water availability
Climate change is altering terrestrial water availability
The amount and location of available terrestrial water is changing worldwide. An international research team led by ETH Zurich has now proved for the first time that human-induced climate change is responsible for the changes observed in available terrestrial water. Water is the lifeblood of ecosystems and one of the most important natural resources for human beings.

Politics - 30.06.2020
Ethnolinguistic diversity slows down urban growth
Ethnolinguistic diversity slows down urban growth
Where various ethnic groups live together, cities grow at a slower rate. That is the conclusion reached by a researcher from the University of Basel and his colleagues based on worldwide data that shows how the diversity of language groups in 1975 has influenced urban growth 40 years later. The scientists have reported their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Physics - Electroengineering - 29.06.2020
A new theory for Semiconductors made of nanocrystals
A new theory for Semiconductors made of nanocrystals
Researchers have provided the first theoretical explanation for how electrical current is conducted in semiconductors made of nanocrystals. In the future, this could lead to the development of new sensors, lasers or LEDs for TV screens. A few years ago, we were introduced to TV screens featuring QLED technology that produces brilliant colours.

Computer Science - 26.06.2020
EPFL lab develops method for designing lower-power circuits
EPFL lab develops method for designing lower-power circuits
An EPFL lab, has come up with a new type of logic diagram and related optimization methods, that can be used to design computer chips with a nearly 20% gain in energy efficiency, speed or size. The lab has just entered into a license agreement with Synopsys, a global leader in electronic design automation and chip fabrication software.

Environment - Economics / Business - 26.06.2020
Warning on affluence
Lorenz Keysser believes that in order to overcome ecological crises, we must recognise affluence as a main driver and fundamentally reconsider our economy and lifestyle. A new mobile phone here, a new dress there, heading on holiday by SUV or further afield by plane, and - for those who can afford it - a big house.
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