news from the lab 2011


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Microtechnics/Electroengineering
21.12.2011
Harmony on the homefront?
Harmony on the homefront?
Are robots welcome in our homes? A qualitative study has revealed some interesting possibilities. Only one out of three households thinks automatic vacuum cleaners are worth the investment. The opinions of the others will be used to develop the appliances of the future. Will there be lots of gadgets under the family Christmas tree this year? By the back door, robotic vacuums are bringing cyberstuff into daily life; they're among the first autonomous devices that can be easily used by ordinary households.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
19.12.2011
Starving cancer
Starving cancer
A research group has developed a new strategy to fight cancer. Blood vessels in the environment of tumours are killed with a new molecule which leads to the „starvation” of the tumour. Compared to currently applied treatments, this new strategy has a series of advantages. Modern cancer therapeutics produced by biotechnological methods, often are based on antibodies.
Physics/Materials Science
16.12.2011
Unscratchable gold
Unscratchable gold
Scientists have created 18-karat gold that's harder than tempered steel and virtually unscratchable.
Life Sciences
30.11.2011
The importance of wine swirling
The importance of wine swirling
Every wine aficionado knows that wine has to be swirled in a glass in order for it to release its aroma.
Business/Economics
29.11.2011
Gross median wage of CHF 5979
Gross median wage of CHF 5979
According to the first results from the Swiss Earnings Structure Survey conducted by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the gross median wage was CHF 5979 per month in 2010.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
28.11.2011
Finger malformation reveals surprise
Finger malformation reveals surprise
Explaining the diversity of leg shapes in the animal kingdom and hereditary defects in finger Scientists have discovered a genetic mechanism that defines the shape of our members in which, surprisingly, genes play only a secondary role.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
24.11.2011
Repairing UV damage in the skin
Repairing UV damage in the skin
Scientists have elucidated the mechanisms underlying the repair of UV-induced damage in DNA, which frequently causes skin cancer. The protein structures additionally determined by these researchers will improve our understanding of how the body protects itself against skin cancer. These studies lay the foundations for the development of a new class of anti cancer agents.
Mathematics - Physics/Materials Science
22.11.2011
Mapping a fixed point
Mapping a fixed point
For fifty years, mathematicians have grappled with the so-called “fixed point” theorem. A team has now found an elegant, one-page solution that opens up new perspectives in physics and economics. Take a map of the world. Now put it down on the ground in Central Park, against a rock on Mount Everest, or on your kitchen table; there will always be a point on the map that sits exactly on the actual physical place it represents.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Chemistry
17.11.2011
New dual-acting class of antimalarial compounds
New dual-acting class of antimalarial compounds
Researchers from Novartis have reported new dual-acting class of antimalarial compounds with potential to both prevent and treat malaria infections. A new class of antimalarial drug candidates inhibits malaria parasite liver-and blood-stages in malaria models. Most current malaria treatments target blood infections but researchers believe both liver and blood infections need to be treated to eliminate malaria.
Microtechnics/Electroengineering
16.11.2011
Touchscreen with texture
Touchscreen with texture
Researchers have invented a new generation of tactile surfaces with relief effects - users can feel actual raised keys under their fingers.
Microtechnics/Electroengineering
15.11.2011
Terahertz boost detection
Terahertz boost detection
A new system boosts the performance of detection systems and helps to create new antennas for mobile telephony and on-board satellite systems: An innovative transmission system takes advantage of a previously under-utilized wavelength: the terahertz.
Microtechnics/Electroengineering
14.11.2011
Packaging smarties and watches
Packaging smarties and watches
It's the story of a long dynasty of industrial robots. Delta's three arms began by packaging chocolates, before being used in watchmaking, tele-surgery and the processing of materials....
Medicine/Pharmacology
11.11.2011
New therapeutic avenues for obesity
New therapeutic avenues for obesity
Newly discovered mechanisms lay the foundation for a new therapeutic avenues that one day may be beneficial in treating diseases, ranging from muscle weakness and frailty to obesity and diabetes. Researchers from EPFL published a study which highlight on the roles of a nuclear receptor co-repressor, NCoR1.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
10.11.2011
A nano car with molecular 4-wheel drive
A nano car with molecular 4-wheel drive
Reduced to the max: the emission-free, noiseless 4-wheel drive ca represents lightweight construction at its most extreme. The nano car consists of just a single molecule and travels on four electrically-driven wheels in an almost straight line over a copper surface. A number of chemists aim to use similar principles and concepts to design molecular transport machines, which could then carry out specific tasks on the nano scale.
Chemistry
10.11.2011
Solar cells break a new record
Solar cells break a new record
Dye-sensitized Grätzel solar cells have just set a new efficiency benchmark. By changing the composition and color of the cells, an EPFL team has increased their efficiency to more than 12%.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
04.11.2011
Enzymatic complex revealed
Enzymatic complex revealed
Researchers have now completed the three-dimensional structure of the ribosome from a higher organism. Ribosomes are cellular machines responsible for protein synthesis. Their structure will facilitate the development of drugs against bacteria, fungi or viruses. The machinery that reads genetic information within a cell and translates it into corresponding proteins, the so-called ribosome, is among the most complex cellular enzymes known in biology.
Physics/Materials Science
31.10.2011
Successful LHC proton run
Successful LHC proton run
After some 180 days of running and four hundred trillion proton proton collisions, the LHC's 2011 proton run came to an end at 5.15pm yesterday evening. For the second year running, the LHC team has largely surpassed its operational objectives, steadily increasing the rate at which the LHC has delivered data to the experiments.
Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
04.10.2011
A guiding light for new directions in energy production
A guiding light for new directions in energy production
Advances in the field could help solve the energy challenge. The science of light and liquids has been intimately entwined since Léon Foucault discovered the speed of light in 1862, when he observed that light travels more slowly in water than in air.
Physics/Materials Science - Business/Economics
26.09.2011
A faster, cheaper method for making transistors and chips
A faster, cheaper method for making transistors and chips
It may soon be possible manufacture the miniscule structures that make up transistors and silicon chips rapidly and inexpensively. EPFL scientists are currently investigating the use of dynamic stencil lithography, a recent but not yet perfected method, for creating nanostructures. Faster, less expensive, and better.
Physics/Materials Science
23.09.2011
Are neutrinos faster than the speed of light?
Are neutrinos faster than the speed of light?
Researchers measured that the neutrinos travel at a velocity 20 parts per million above the speed of light, nature's cosmic speed limit. This is a result of t he OPERA experiment which observes neutrino beams from CERN 730 km away at a Laboratory near Rome. The OPERA result is based on the observation of over 15000 neutrino events measured at Gran Sasso, and appears to indicate that the neutrinos travel at a velocity 20 parts per million above the speed of light, nature's cosmic speed limit.
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