News 2019

Life Sciences - Dec 9
Life Sciences
A research team with members from ETH Zurich has discovered a new method for turning nearly any object into a data storage unit. This makes it possible to save extensive data in, say, shirt buttons, water bottles or even the lenses of glasses, and then retrieve it years later. The technique also allows users to hide information and store it for later generations.
Astronomy - Dec 9
Astronomy

Some of the Earth's building material was stardust from red giants, researchers from ETH Zurich have established.

Social Sciences - Dec 6
Social Sciences

Becoming a Swiss citizen promotes immigrants' integration into Swiss society. After naturalizing, new citizens' annual earnings increased by an average of CHF 5,000 compared to their unnaturalized peers.

Physics - Dec 7
Physics

Researchers at EPFL have discovered that the viscosity of solutions of electrically charged polymers dissolved in water is influenced by a quantum effect.

Earth Sciences - Dec 6
Earth Sciences

Researchers at EPFL's Computational Solid Mechanics Laboratory and the Weizmann Institute of Science have modeled the onset of slip between two bodies in frictional contact.


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Life Sciences - 09.12.2019
Storing data in everyday objects
Storing data in everyday objects
A research team with members from ETH Zurich has discovered a new method for turning nearly any object into a data storage unit. This makes it possible to save extensive data in, say, shirt buttons, water bottles or even the lenses of glasses, and then retrieve it years later. The technique also allows users to hide information and store it for later generations.

Astronomy / Space Science - Chemistry - 09.12.2019
Stardust from red giants
Stardust from red giants
Some of the Earth's building material was stardust from red giants, researchers from ETH Zurich have established. They can also explain why the Earth contains more of this stardust than the asteroids or the planet Mars, which are farther from the sun. Around 4.5 million years ago, an interstellar molecular cloud collapsed.

Physics - Chemistry - 07.12.2019
Liquid flow is influenced by a quantum effect in water
Liquid flow is influenced by a quantum effect in water
Researchers at EPFL have discovered that the viscosity of solutions of electrically charged polymers dissolved in water is influenced by a quantum effect. This tiny quantum effect influences the way water molecules interact with one another. Yet, it can lead to drastic changes in large-scale observations.

Social Sciences - 06.12.2019
Better integration thanks to naturalization
Better integration thanks to naturalization
Becoming a Swiss citizen promotes immigrants' integration into Swiss society. After naturalizing, new citizens' annual earnings increased by an average of CHF 5,000 compared to their unnaturalized peers. This boost benefits the new citizens, the state, and society as a whole. What is the best way to further immigrant integration? This has long been a topic of discussion among specialists.

Earth Sciences - Materials Science - 06.12.2019
Gaining insight into the energy balance of earthquakes
Gaining insight into the energy balance of earthquakes
Researchers at EPFL's Computational Solid Mechanics Laboratory and the Weizmann Institute of Science have modeled the onset of slip between two bodies in frictional contact. Their work, a major step forward in the study of frictional rupture, could give us a better understanding of earthquakes - including how far and fast they travel.

Life Sciences - Health - 05.12.2019
NeuroRestore Center: aimed at restoring lost neurological function
NeuroRestore Center: aimed at restoring lost neurological function
The Defitech Foundation has teamed up with EPFL, CHUV and UNIL to widen access to the groundbreaking neurotechnology developed under the 2018 STIMO study, which allowed paraplegic patients to walk again. Their aim is also to develop new neurosurgical treatments for people suffering from Parkinson's disease or from neurological disorders following a head injury or stroke.

Chemistry - Physics - 05.12.2019
First field measurements of laughing gas isotopes
First field measurements of laughing gas isotopes
Thanks to a newly developed laser spectrometer, Empa researchers can for the first time show which processes in grassland lead to nitrous oxide emissions. The aim is to reduce emissions of this potent greenhouse gas by gaining a better understanding of the processes taking place in the soil. Nitrous oxide (N2O, also known as laughing gas) is one of the most important greenhouse gases.

Environment - Life Sciences - 05.12.2019
Hybrids increase fish biodiversity in lakes of East Africa
Hybrids increase fish biodiversity in lakes of East Africa
When two individuals from different species mate, the offspring is known as a hybrid. As a result of the genomes being mixed, sometimes phenotypes are produced that deal with new environmental conditions better than the two parent species. Very often, hybrids are not able to reproduce, but there are quite a number of exceptions to this, including the cichlids.

Life Sciences - Health - 04.12.2019
Failure of the molecular bodyguard in Parkinson's disease
Failure of the molecular bodyguard in Parkinson’s disease
Scientists from ETH Zurich and the University of Basel's Biozentrum have shown that chaperone proteins dynamically bind to the Parkinson protein -synuclein. If this interaction is disturbed, it leads to cell damage and the formation of aggregates typical for the disease. Parkinson's disease is characterised by the progressive death of nerve cells in the brain.

Life Sciences - Health - 04.12.2019
Big data toolkit to mine the dark genome for precision medicine
Big data toolkit to mine the dark genome for precision medicine
EPFL researchers have developed Big Data tools for identifying new gene functions. The work identifies millions of connections between genes and their functions, and can facilitate the development of precision medicine. Genes are the functional units of heredity, and the understanding of gene function is the major focus of biomedical research, serving as the basis of precision medicine.

Materials Science - Health - 03.12.2019
Paradoxical replacement tissue for medicine
Paradoxical replacement tissue for medicine
A material that thickens when you pull on it seems to contradict the laws of physics. However, the so-called auxetic effect, which also occurs in nature, is interesting for a number of applications. A new Empa study recently published in "Nature Communications" shows how this amazing behavior can be improved - and even used to treat injuries and tissue damage.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 02.12.2019
Designing and re-purposing cell receptors
Designing and re-purposing cell receptors
EPFL scientists have developed a computational method modeling and designing protein allostery that allows the accurate and rational engineering and even re-purposing of cell receptors. The method can be a significant tool for drug development. Called the "second secret of life", allostery is one of the most fundamental processes of biology and has been a central focus among scientists across the life sciences spectrum, from fundamental biology to drug development.

Health - Pharmacology - 02.12.2019
Big Data makes intensive care better
Big Data makes intensive care better
Patient safety in intensive care units could be significantly improved if false alarms could be greatly reduced and critical complications such as epileptic seizures could be predicted. This is where the "ICU Cockpit" project of the National Research Programme "Big Data" (NRP 75) comes in: The large amounts of data from intensive care medicine will be used to develop procedures for early warning systems and therapeutic recommendations.

Environment - Social Sciences - 02.12.2019
Improved health check for running waters
If one turns a stone over in a river or stream, it swarms with tiny animals: caddisflies, water beetles, freshwater shrimp, and snails. The invertebrates living on the beds of water bodies that can be seen with the naked eye, called macroinvertebrates, are rather unimposing, but for science and the protection of surface waters they are of great importance.

Environment - Politics - 02.12.2019
What's driving erosion worldwide?
What’s driving erosion worldwide?
ETH Zurich researchers are reexamining the causes of soil erosion around the world - and have found that countries themselves have a surprisingly strong influence on their soil. This country effect was previously undetected. Soil erosion is a global problem that threatens food security and the functioning of ecosystems.

Physics - Materials Science - 29.11.2019
Controlling the optical properties of solids with acoustic waves
Controlling the optical properties of solids with acoustic waves
Physicists from Switzerland, Germany, and France have found that large-amplitude acoustic waves, launched by ultrashort laser pulses, can dynamically manipulate the optical response of semiconductors. One of the main challenges in materials science research is to achieve high tunability of the optical properties of semiconductors at room temperature.

Life Sciences - Health - 27.11.2019
IRB investigates the disposal mechanisms of damaged proteins
Causal Effects of Brevity on Style and Success in Social Media Faculty of Informatics Open lecture of the course Argumentation in Conflict Resolution Visiting Alumni: Loredana Padurean, Associate Dean, Asia School of Business «Quel ramo del lago di Como...». Lettura dei «Promessi Sposi» Faculty of Communication Sciences Visiting Alumni: Elia Frapolli, Freelance Consultant Course schedules Academic calendar Humans cells select, through the endoplasmic reticulum, the damaged proteins that must be destroyed quickly to avoid their accumulation, which is toxic to our organism.

Life Sciences - Health - 25.11.2019
How our dreams prepare us to face our fears
How our dreams prepare us to face our fears
Researchers from UNIGE and HUG demonstrate how the fears we experience in our dreams prepare us to tackle anxiety-provoking situations once we're awake. Do bad dreams serve a real purpose? To answer this question, researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), Switzerland, - working in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin (USA) - analysed the dreams of a number of people and identified which areas of the brain were activated when they experienced fear in their dreams.

Transport - Computer Science / Telecom - 25.11.2019
Tracking the eye of the pilot
Tracking the eye of the pilot
In a collaboration with Swiss International Air Lines, NASA and other partners, researchers at ETH Zurich have developed eye-tracking software for use in pilot training. This allows instructors to analyse the gaze behaviour of student pilots in the cockpit. Anyone who has ever sat in a cockpit will know how mentally challenging it is to pilot an aircraft.

Agronomy / Food Science - Innovation - 22.11.2019
Engineering solutions for kitchen challenges
Engineering solutions for kitchen challenges
Crafty engineering can help solve many problems, including those we face in our own kitchens. At EPFL's Institute of Mechanical Engineering, students from three laboratories tackled some of the most common kitchen challenges as part of the first Kitchen-Inspired Engineering contest. Cooking the perfect poached egg is a lot trickier than it looks.
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