news from the lab 2017


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Physics/Materials Science - Chemistry
14.02.2017
Measuring entropy
Measuring entropy
A scanning-tunneling microscope (STM), used to study changes in the shape of a single molecule at the atomic scale, impacts the ability of that molecule to make these changes - the entropy of the molecule is changed and, in turn, can be measured.
Physics/Materials Science - Computer Science/Telecom
14.02.2017
Success by deception
Success by deception
Theoretical physicists from ETH Zurich deliberately misled intelligent machines, and thus refined the process of machine learning. They created a new method that allows computers to categorise data - even when humans have no idea what this categorisation might look like. When computers independently identify bodies of water and their outlines in satellite images, or beat the world's best professional players at the board game Go, then adaptive algorithms are working in the background.
Civil Engineering/Traffic Engineering - Environment/Sustainable Development
13.02.2017
Tapping into underground urban heat islands
Tapping into underground urban heat islands
Cities are heat islands - not only above ground but below ground too, and therein lies the enormous potential to better harness this energy through geothermal heat exchangers.
Life Sciences - Environment/Sustainable Development
10.02.2017
Explosion in species diversity due to hybridization
Explosion in species diversity due to hybridization
No less than 500 new species of cichlids, brightly coloured perch-like fish, evolved in Lake Victoria (East Africa) over the past 15,000 years - a record in the animal and plant world.
Physics/Materials Science - Mathematics
10.02.2017
Taming complexity
Taming complexity
Quantum systems consisting of many particles are a major challenge for physicists, since their behaviour can be determined only with immense computational power. ETH physicists have now discovered an elegant way to simplify the problem. Classical physics offers a relatively easy approach to describing how objects move in our everyday world.
Physics/Materials Science
08.02.2017
Measuring time without a clock
Measuring time without a clock
EPFL scientists have been able to measure the ultrashort time delay in electron photoemission without using a clock. The discovery has important implications for fundamental research and cutting-edge technology.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
07.02.2017
Genetic defects in tooth enamel conducive to development of caries
Why do some people develop caries even though they always brush their teeth carefully while others are less stringent regarding dental hygiene yet do not have any holes' Ultimately, both have bacteria on the surface of their teeth which can attack the enamel. Enamel forms via the mineralization of specific enamel proteins.
Computer Science/Telecom
30.01.2017
With or without a driver, vehicles are able to cooperate
With or without a driver, vehicles are able to cooperate
EPFL researchers have developed an algorithm for automated vehicles to operate in traffic alongside manually-driven vehicles.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
30.01.2017
Not necessarily harmful: Protein aggregates in the brain
Not necessarily harmful: Protein aggregates in the brain
Protein aggregates in neurons are characteristic for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Life Sciences - Medicine/Pharmacology
27.01.2017
New study into leukemia offers clearer understanding of its biology
New study into leukemia offers clearer understanding of its biology
EPFL scientists have made an extensive study in the cause of leukemia that could greatly improve the way we treat the disease. Leukemia affects 350,000 people worldwide. It is a cancer of the white blood cells, which are the cells of the immune system and are produced by stem cells in the bone marrow. There are two types of chronic and two types of acute leukemia.
Life Sciences
26.01.2017
Switching between Freezing and Flight
Switching between Freezing and Flight
Researchers from the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) and the University of Basel have identified two types of neurons in the amygdala, each of which generates a distinct fear response - freezing or flight.
Microtechnics/Electroengineering - Computer Science/Telecom
26.01.2017
Reptilian Robots are Spies in the Wild
Reptilian Robots are Spies in the Wild
EPFL scientists designed, built and remote-controlled the robotic structures of a crocodile and a lizard for a field experiment, in the depths of Africa, in collaboration with the BBC. The robots are featured in today's episode of ‘Spy in the Wild'. What happens when you combine EPFL's first-class robotic engineering with the BBC‘s first-class special effects' You get reptilian robots that look and move (almost) like the real thing, and as a bonus, a scientific tool for studying biology and for improving search and rescue robotics.
Life Sciences - Environment/Sustainable Development
25.01.2017
Early onset of winter triggers evolution towards smaller snow voles in Graubünden
Early onset of winter triggers evolution towards smaller snow voles in Graubünden
Adaptive evolution, i.e. genetic change via natural selection, plays a central role in how plant and animal populations guarantee their long-term survival. Although this process is well understood in breeding conditions and in the lab, it is still largely unclear how often and how rapidly it takes place under natural conditions.
Agronomy/Food Science - Medicine/Pharmacology
25.01.2017
Deprivation: a decisive factor in obesity
Deprivation: a decisive factor in obesity
A joint study involving Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) shows that people with a genetic predisposition to obesity are more likely to develop the condition if they find themselves in a situation of deprivation. The city of Lausanne was used as a test site by the researchers.
Chemistry - Life Sciences
24.01.2017
New discovery: nanometric imprinting on fiber
New discovery: nanometric imprinting on fiber
Researchers at EPFL have come up with a way of imprinting nanometric patterns on the inside and outside of polymer fibers. These fibers could prove useful in guiding nerve regeneration and producing optical effects, for example, as well as in eventually creating artificial tissue and smart bandages.
Environment/Sustainable Development - Life Sciences
20.01.2017
Around Antarctica: ACE expedition completed its first leg
Around Antarctica: ACE expedition completed its first leg
The Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE) arrived yesterday in Australia after 30 days at sea.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Physics/Materials Science
19.01.2017
Added value for cancer patients
Added value for cancer patients
For more than 30 years, cancer patients have been coming to the small locality of Villigen on the Aare River.
History/Archeology - Literature/Linguistics
19.01.2017
School curricula are a reflection of society's expectations
School curricula are a reflection of society’s expectations
In a pioneering project, researchers studied the development of school curricula in Switzerland's three main language regions.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
18.01.2017
Unveiling the biology behind nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Unveiling the biology behind nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
EPFL scientists have discovered a new biological mechanism behind nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease covers a range of diseases that result from fat accumulation in the liver, but not as a result of alcohol abuse. Fat buildup can lead to liver inflammation, scarring and irreversible damage, such as cirrhosis and liver failure.
Medicine/Pharmacology - Life Sciences
17.01.2017
On track to heal leukaemia
On track to heal leukaemia
Media releases, information for representatives of the media Media Relations (E) The first clinical studies for a new type of immunotherapy for leukaemia are beginning at Bern's University Hospital and the Department of Clinical Research (DCR) of the University of Bern. Antibodies discovered in the laboratory should inhibit the growth of tumour cells.
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