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Criminology / Forensics - 06.03.2024
Decomposition under the microscope
Decomposition under the microscope
Researchers at the University of Bern have investigated the process of decomposition on pig carcasses left in nature. The researchers discovered that the previous standard method for assessing decomposition in Switzerland needs to be adapted - with an impact on forensic analysis. The method presented by the researchers aims to better determine the post-mortem interval.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 06.03.2024
Facilitate lake delta renaturation projects
Facilitate lake delta renaturation projects
Engineers from EPFL and partner organizations have developed a method for classifying lacustrine deltas based on morphological parameters, in order to determine which of the deltas severely altered by human activity are best suited for restoration to their natural state. The Reuss delta on the edge of Lake Lucerne is once again a nature-lover's paradise, complete with gravel islands and stretches of shallow water where plants, animals and bathers coexist in harmony.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 06.03.2024
Quest for materials with defects
Quest for materials with defects
Is it possible to convert CO2 back to fuels or other useful chemicals? Absolutely - but not in a very targeted way just yet. Empa researcher Alessandro Senocrate is looking at defects in materials that will help us achieve this goal. Can we undo the burning of oil, gas and coal? With a renewable source of electricity, some water and a suitable catalyst, the excess CO2 in the atmosphere could become a resource, for example for the production of synthetic fuels, so-called synfuels.

Computer Science - 05.03.2024
How artificial intelligence learns from complex networks
How artificial intelligence learns from complex networks
Deep neural networks have achieved remarkable results across science and technology, but it remains largely unclear what makes them work so well. A new study sheds light on the inner workings of deep learning models that learn from relational datasets, such as those found in biological and social networks.

Environment - Pharmacology - 05.03.2024
More targeted treatment of industrial wastewater thanks to aquatic research
More targeted treatment of industrial wastewater thanks to aquatic research
In Switzerland, wastewater treatment has traditionally focused on domestic wastewater - in particular, removal of the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. Only more recently has attention also been focused on problematic residues of medicines, pesticides and other chemicals. A new Eawag study, commissioned by the federal authorities, now shows that there is also potential for improvement in the case of emissions from chemical and pharmaceutical plants - both at wastewater treatment plants and within the industrial facilities.

Physics - Chemistry - 05.03.2024
A new theoretical development clarifies water's electronic structure
A new theoretical development clarifies water's electronic structure
Scientists at EPFL have decoded the electronic structure of water, opening up new perspectives for technological and environmental applications. There is no doubt that water is significant. Without it, life would never have begun, let alone continue today - not to mention its role in the environment itself, with oceans covering over 70% of Earth.

Physics - 04.03.2024
DIY structured-illumination microscope
DIY structured-illumination microscope
Scientists at EPFL have published a guide to building an add-on that turns a standard optical microscope into an instrument capable of producing super resolution, 3D images of cells, organoids, and embryos. For hundreds of years, the optical microscope was the only tool available to scientists wanting to study the movement of cells, bacteria and yeast.

Life Sciences - Health - 04.03.2024
Dopamine production is not behind vulnerability to cocaine abuse
Dopamine production is not behind vulnerability to cocaine abuse
A team from the University of Geneva shows that our ability to produce dopamine - the 'happiness hormone' - is not correlated with increased vulnerability to drugs. Why do some people who try drugs struggle with substance abuse while others don't? This question has long puzzled scientists. A team from the University of Geneva explored the complex interplay between personality traits and brain chemistry.

Environment - Innovation - 04.03.2024
Cost of direct air carbon capture to remain higher than hoped
Cost of direct air carbon capture to remain higher than hoped
The cost of removing large quantities of CO2 from the air will fall in the medium term, but not as much as previously hoped. This is the conclusion reached by researchers on the basis of new calculations. Efforts to reduce carbon emissions should therefore continue at pace, says the research team. Switzerland plans to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by no later than 2050.

Environment - Life Sciences - 01.03.2024
Glacier shrinkage is causing a 'green transition'
Glacier shrinkage is causing a ’green transition’
Glacier-fed streams are undergoing a process of profound change, according to scientists in a paper appearing in Nature Geoscience. This conclusion is based on the expeditions to the world's major mountain ranges by members of the Vanishing Glaciers project. Microbial life will flourish in mountain streams because of ongoing glacier shrinkage.

Materials Science - Innovation - 01.03.2024
Turning waste into gold
Turning waste into gold
Researchers have recovered the precious metal from electronic waste. Their highly sustainable new method is based on a protein fibril sponge, which the scientists derive from whey, a food industry byproduct. Transforming base materials into gold was one of the elusive goals of the alchemists of yore.

Physics - Pharmacology - 29.02.2024
Cause of clogged hypodermic needles discovered
Cause of clogged hypodermic needles discovered
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and the ANAXAM technology transfer center have used neutron and synchrotron imaging to determine the conditions under which pre-filled syringes become blocked. In very rare cases, the needles of prefilled syringes may become blocked. This can have potentially detrimental consequences for patients if their medication does not enter the body or the dosage is too low.

Life Sciences - Health - 29.02.2024
The 'switch' that keeps the immune system from attacking the body
The ’switch’ that keeps the immune system from attacking the body
Scientists at EPFL uncover the mechanism by which cells mark the protein cGAS for degradation, which is critical in preventing the immune system from mistakenly attacking the body's own tissues. A microscopic battle rages in our bodies, as our cells constantly fend off invaders through our immune system, a complex system of cells and proteins designed to protect us from harmful pathogens.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 28.02.2024
Do we have cosmic dust to thank for life on Earth?
Do we have cosmic dust to thank for life on Earth?
It might be that what set prebiotic chemistry in motion and kept it going in the early days of the Earth was dust from outer space accumulating in holes melted into ice sheets. Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Cambridge have used a computer model to test this scenario. Before life existed on Earth, there had to be chemistry to form organic molecules from the chemical elements nitrogen, sulphur, carbon and phosphorus.

Environment - Social Sciences - 27.02.2024
Sustainability of cultural institutions: an initial analysis
Sustainability of cultural institutions: an initial analysis
Do museums, theaters and cultural institutions have a good record in terms of social and environmental sustainability - Researchers at the University of Lausanne have conducted an international survey of over 200 major institutions.

Health - Innovation - 27.02.2024
Finding and blocking infection routes in hospitals
During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals often became hubs of infection. Researchers from ETH Zurich, EPFL and the ISI Foundation are developing a wearable tracking system for healthcare facilities that can identify the risks of infections. Initial tests in Switzerland and Africa show its potential. Hospital-acquired infections are an immense problem.

Health - Physics - 27.02.2024
Nanotweezers accelerate phage therapy
Nanotweezers accelerate phage therapy
Scientists at EPFL have developed a game-changing technique that uses light to manipulate and identify individual bacteriophages without the need for chemical labels or bioreceptors, potentially accelerating and revolutionizing phage-based therapies that can treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 26.02.2024
Earth as a test object
Earth as a test object
Physicists at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich wanted to know whether the planned LIFE space mission could really detect traces of life on other planets. Yes, it can. The researchers reached this conclusion with the help of observations of our own planet. Life is indeed possible on Earth. This has been demonstrated in a study conducted by the Institute of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at ETH Zurich.

Health - Life Sciences - 26.02.2024
Arterial Connections Improve Treatment Outcomes Following Stroke
Arterial Connections Improve Treatment Outcomes Following Stroke
Blood vessels that cross-connect adjacent arterial trees regulate blood flow to the brain in stroke patients. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now shown that these vessels prevent brain hemorrhage following treatment to remove blood clots. They play a crucial role in the recovery of stroke patients.

Astronomy / Space - 26.02.2024
Impact of the DART space probe could have deformed an asteroid
Thanks to simulations with a software system developed at the University of Bern, an international team under Bernese leadership has provided important insights into the impact of NASA's DART space probe on the asteroid Dimorphos: it is very likely that not just a crater was created, but the entire asteroid was reshaped.
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