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Physics - Materials Science - 12.02.2019
Next-generation optics in just two minutes of cooking time
Next-generation optics in just two minutes of cooking time
One of the key building blocks of flexible photonic circuits and ultra-thin optics are metasurfaces. And EPFL engineers have now discovered a simple way of making these surfaces in just a few minutes - without needing a clean room - using a method already employed in manufacturing. Their findings have just been published.

Life Sciences - Physics - 12.02.2019
The physical forces of cells in action
The physical forces of cells in action
Swiss scientists have developed probes designed to reveal the physical forces inside living cells. A world first. The detection of physical forces is one of the most complex challenges facing science. Although Newton's apple has long solved the problem of gravity, imaging the physical forces that act in living cells remains one of the main mysteries of current biology.

Chemistry - 12.02.2019
New device simplifies measurement of fluoride contamination in water
New device simplifies measurement of fluoride contamination in water
Seeking to address fluoride contamination in drinking water, chemical engineers at EPFL have developed a portable and user-friendly device that can measure fluoride concentration accurately and reliably. Adding fluoride to water has been common practice in a number of countries, including the US, Australia, Brazil, Malaysia, India and Vietnam.

Health - 11.02.2019
Human enhancement: is it good for society?
Human enhancement: is it good for society?
A team of international scientists has been investigating new technologies that enhance the physical and cognitive skills of human beings, as well as their development and distribution in society. The need to put an appropriate framework in place is becoming increasingly urgent. Human enhancement technologies are opening up tremendous new possibilities.

Environment - Life Sciences - 11.02.2019
The search for Selenium: Traces in the high Alps
The search for Selenium: Traces in the high Alps
Up to a billion people around the world are deficient in selenium and do not get sufficient amounts in their diets. This is detrimental to health, as selenium plays an important role in the immune system and is involved in the formation of countless proteins in the body. Animal products and, most of all, grains contain a lot of selenium.

Physics - Materials Science - 08.02.2019
Cryo-force spectroscopy reveals the mechanical properties of DNA components
Cryo-force spectroscopy reveals the mechanical properties of DNA components
Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a new method to examine the elasticity and binding properties of DNA molecules on a surface at extremely low temperatures. With a combination of cryo-force spectroscopy and computer simulations, they were able to show that DNA molecules behave like a chain of small coil springs.

Environment - 08.02.2019
Targeting restoration measures to maximise ecological benefits
Today, very few Swiss rivers or streams still flow in a natural bed. Since the eighteenth century, around 15,000 kilometres of watercourses have been modified, engineered or channelised. The degradation of aquatic habitats has had a severe impact on biodiversity. To tackle this problem, the federal government has requested the cantons to restore around 4,000 kilometres of rivers and streams by 2090.

Health - Pharmacology - 08.02.2019
Drug-resistant tuberculosis: high mortality rate due to inaccurate tests
Drug-resistant tuberculosis: high mortality rate due to inaccurate tests
Inaccurate tests carried out on tuberculosis patients in developing countries often fail to reliably detect resistance to drugs, leading to incorrect treatment and a higher mortality rate. These are the results of study by an international group of researchers led by a team at the University of Bern published today.

Health - Mechanical Engineering - 08.02.2019
Gummy-like robots could help prevent disease
Gummy-like robots could help prevent disease
EPFL scientists have developed microscopic, hydrogel-based muscles that can manipulate and mechanically stimulate biological tissue. These soft, biocompatible robots could be used for targeted therapy and to help diagnose and prevent disease. Human tissues experience a variety of mechanical stimuli that can affect their ability to carry out their physiological functions, such as protecting organs from injury.

Materials Science - Health - 07.02.2019
How safe is graphene?
How safe is graphene?
Graphene is considered one of the most interesting and versatile materials of our time. The application possibilities inspire both research and industry. But are products containing graphene also safe for humans and the environment? A comprehensive review, developed as part of the European graphene flagship project with the participation of Empa researchers, investigated this question.

Health - Social Sciences - 07.02.2019
Dying in Switzerland - a review of current developments
All of us die - but the question is how? Today we have a greater say in the way our lives end than ever before. Nevertheless, most people do not die where they would like to. The book "Das Lebensende in der Schweiz" (End of life in Switzerland) reflects on what is currently known about dying in Switzerland.

Health - 06.02.2019
Escort service: The role of immune cells in the formation of metastases
Tumor cells use a certain type of immune cells, the so-called neutrophils, to enhance their ability to form metastases. Scientists have deciphered the mechanisms of this collaboration and found strategies for blocking them. This is reported by researchers from the University of Basel and the University Hospital of Basel in the scientific journal "Nature".

Life Sciences - 06.02.2019
Morals versus Money: How We Make Social Decisions
Our actions are guided by moral values. However, monetary incentives can get in the way of our good intentions. Neuroeconomists at the University of Zurich have now investigated in which area of the brain conflicts between moral and material motives are resolved. Their findings reveal that our actions are more social when these deliberations are inhibited.

Life Sciences - 05.02.2019
Fine-tuning gene regulation by CG dinucleotides
Fine-tuning gene regulation by CG dinucleotides
Transcription of our genes mostly begins in regions of the genome called CpG islands. These are rich in the dinucleotide CpG (thus the name), critical for gene activity and devoid of DNA methylation. Despite the relevance of CpG islands, it is unclear if the CpG dinucleotide itself contributes to their activity.

Health - Pharmacology - 05.02.2019
Even psychological placebos have an effect
Even psychological placebos have an effect
Placebo effects do not only occur in medical treatment - placebos can also work when psychological effects are attributed to them. Psychologists from the University of Basel reported these findings in the journal Scientific Reports, based on three studies with over 400 participants. Psychotherapy and placebos are both psychological interventions that not only have comparable effects, but that are also based on very similar mechanisms.

Environment - 04.02.2019
Precious metal tracks nanoplastics
Precious metal tracks nanoplastics
Tiny plastic particles measuring about 100 nanometres (millionths of a millimetre) are used in many products, for example to encapsulate dye or aromatic substances or as additives to shampoos and cosmetics. Many of them land directly in sewage as soon as the products are used. Together with other plastics, for example from tyre rubber in road run-off, they end up in the water-treatment plants.

Business / Economics - 04.02.2019
Monthly wages are an important step towards economic development
Across developing economies, most workers and agricultural producers are paid are paid on a daily basis. This has a negative impact on their ability to generate savings for large expenses. Researchers from UZH show dairy farmers and agricultural workers prefer to be paid once at the end of the month, rather then daily, because monthly payments schemes are an efficient tool to increase saving.

Innovation / Technology - 04.02.2019
Bringing technologies from the laboratory to industry
Innovations are the driving force behind the Swiss economy. But how does an idea become an innovation, a real market success' Too many ideas from research laboratories fall by the wayside on their path to industrial implementation. They are caught in the so-called "Valley of Death" of the innovation process.

Physics - 01.02.2019
Virtual lens improves X-ray microscopy
Virtual lens improves X-ray microscopy
PSI researchers are first to transfer state-of-the-art microscopy method to X-ray imaging X-rays provide unique insights into the interior of materials, tissues, and cells. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have developed a new method that makes X-ray images even better: The resolution is higher and allows more precise inferences about the properties of materials.

Chemistry - Pharmacology - 01.02.2019
Intuition and failure are valuable ingredients in chemistry
Intuition and failure are valuable ingredients in chemistry
When researchers make a new discovery, they tend to only publish the results of their successful experiments. But just as informative are all the experiments that didn't work - the failed trials and incorrect hypotheses, which can offer important information. A team of EPFL chemists has developed a methodology for collecting those lessons and, crucially, sharing them with other researchers.
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