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Environment - 28.12.2022
Skiing over the Christmas holidays no longer guaranteed - even with snow guns
Skiing over the Christmas holidays no longer guaranteed - even with snow guns
For many people in Switzerland, holidays in the snow are as much a part of the end of the year as Christmas trees and fireworks. As global warming progresses, however, white slopes are becoming increasingly rare. Researchers at the University of Basel have calculated how well one of Switzerland's largest ski resorts will remain snow reliable with technical snowmaking by the year 2100, and how much water this snow will consume.

Physics - Electroengineering - 26.12.2022
Optomechanics simulates graphene lattices
Optomechanics simulates graphene lattices
Scientists at EPFL have overcome the scaling challenges of quantum optomechanical systems and realized the first superconducting circuit optomechanical graphene lattice. The precise control of micro-mechanical oscillators is fundamental to many contemporary technologies, from sensing and timing to radiofrequency filters in smartphones.

Life Sciences - 23.12.2022
How to turn a tentacle into a foot
How to turn a tentacle into a foot
By identifying a key regulator of cell identity, a team from the University of Geneva and the FMI has succeeded in modifying the structure and function of tentacle cells in hydra. Humans, animals, plants: all multicellular organisms are made up of specialized cells called differentiated cells. Thus, the cells that make up the epidermis do not have the same identity - nor the same function - as those that line the digestive system, for example.

Life Sciences - Health - 21.12.2022
The forgotten half of the brain to recover memory
The forgotten half of the brain to recover memory
A research team at the University of Lausanne has succeeded in preserving the memory of Alzheimer's mice by boosting the metabolic functions of glial cells rather than neurons, a striking shift in treatment strategies. The results can be found in the journal "Glia". Alzheimer's disease progressively affects the memory until the loss of autonomy of individuals.

Health - Environment - 21.12.2022
Acids help against airborne viruses
Acids help against airborne viruses
A new study by various Swiss universities shows that aerosols in indoor air can vary in acidity. This acidity determines how long viruses remain infectious in the air - with profound implications for virus transmission and strategies to contain it. Viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, influenza virus and others travel from person to person essentially by hitchhiking on aerosols.

Health - Pharmacology - 20.12.2022
Antimalarial Drug Proves Ineffective at Saving Children's Lives
Antimalarial Drug Proves Ineffective at Saving Children’s Lives
Rectal artesunate, a promising antimalarial drug, has no beneficial effect on the survival of young children with severe malaria when used as an emergency treatment in resource-constrained settings. These are the results of a large-scale study conducted by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and local partners in three African countries.

Paleontology - Earth Sciences - 20.12.2022
Giant arthropods dominated the seas 470 million years ago
Giant arthropods dominated the seas 470 million years ago
An international team of scientists has made a groundbreaking discovery at a major new fossil site in Morocco: giant arthropods - relatives of modern animals such as shrimps, insects and spiders - would have dominated the seas 470 million years ago. The excavations were carried out in Taichoute, in Morocco, on a site formerly underwater but today desert.

Life Sciences - Environment - 20.12.2022
Polarity proteins shape efficient 'breathing' pores in grasses
Polarity proteins shape efficient ’breathing’ pores in grasses
A research group at the University of Bern is studying how plants "breathe". They have gained new insights into how grasses develop efficient "breathing pores" on their leaves. If important landmark components in this development process are missing, the gas exchange between plant and atmosphere is impaired.

Health - Pharmacology - 20.12.2022
Promising Antimalarial Drug Proves Ineffective at Saving Children's Lives
Promising Antimalarial Drug Proves Ineffective at Saving Children’s Lives
A large-scale study by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and partners has found that rectal artesunate (RAS) has no beneficial effect on the survival of young children with severe malaria when used as an emergency treatment in resource-constrained settings. The study, which took place under real-world conditions in three African countries, concludes that the use of RAS is unlikely to reduce malaria deaths unless underlying health system weaknesses are addressed.

Materials Science - Civil Engineering - 20.12.2022
Brittle concrete walls: researchers find the cause
Brittle concrete walls: researchers find the cause
After extensive analyses, researchers found the cause of the concrete scandal in County Donegal, Ireland, where structural damage has been causing red faces and protests for years: Concrete walls of thousands of houses are riddled with cracks, necessitating expensive repairs or even demolition. For the longest time, an excessively high mica content in the concrete was thought to be the reason.

Life Sciences - 19.12.2022
The clever glue keeping the cell's moving parts connected
The clever glue keeping the cell’s moving parts connected
Researchers from Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have discovered how proteins in the cell can form tiny liquid droplets that act as a smart molecular glue. Clinging to the ends of filaments called microtubules, the glue they discovered ensures the nucleus is correctly positioned for cell division.

Agronomy / Food Science - Environment - 19.12.2022
Producing fertiliser without carbon emissions
Producing fertiliser without carbon emissions
Researchers at ETH Zurich and the Carnegie Institution for Science have shown how nitrogen fertiliser could be produced more sustainably. This is necessary not only to protect the climate, but also to reduce dependence on imported natural gas and to increase food security. Intensive agriculture is possible only if the soil is fertilised with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Microtechnics - Environment - 19.12.2022
Winged robot that can land like a bird
Winged robot that can land like a bird
Researchers have developed a method that allows a flapping-wing robot to land autonomously on a horizontal perch using a claw-like mechanism. The innovation could significantly expand the scope of robot-assisted tasks. A bird landing on a branch makes the maneuver look like the easiest thing in the world, but in fact, the act of perching involves an extremely delicate balance of timing, high-impact forces, speed, and precision.

Innovation - Health - 19.12.2022
Aliper Therapeutics, a spinoff of the IOR, wins the Boldbrain Startup Challenge
The national jury of the fifth edition of the Boldbrain Startup Challenge awarded first prize to Aliper Therapeutics, a spin-off of the USI-affiliated Institute of Oncology Research (IOR) in Bellinzona. We talked about it with Nicoḷ Pernigoni, postdoc at the IOR. This is, together with BigOmics Analytics SA and MV BioTherapeutics, the third start-up from the IOR and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) to be awarded a prize by Boldbrain, demonstrating the quality and potential of the research conducted in the two affiliated institutes.

Environment - Innovation - 18.12.2022
UrbanTwin: seeing double for sustainability
A consortium of Swiss research institutes has begun working on UrbanTwin to make an AI driven, ecologically sensitive model of the energy, water and waste systems the town of Aigle to help boost sustainability. Twins are a fascinating phenomenon: observing how identical twins, even those separated at birth, can resemble each other in appearance, character, ability, and personal taste is astounding.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 16.12.2022
From molecules to organisms
From molecules to organisms
How did life on Earth first emerge? And how was it able to prosper and evolve? researchers are involved in the quest to find answers to these fundamental questions. Since time immemorial, humanity has pondered the question of how life on Earth first began. Ancient cultures declared the creation of the world and the origin of life to be the work of gods and other divine beings.

Environment - Life Sciences - 15.12.2022
Early green, early brown - climate change leads to earlier senescence in alpine plants
Early green, early brown - climate change leads to earlier senescence in alpine plants
Global warming is leading to longer growing seasons worldwide, with many plants growing earlier in spring and continuing longer in autumn thanks to warmer temperatures-so the general opinion. Now, however, plant ecologists at the University of Basel have been able to show that this is not the case for the most common type of alpine grassland in the European Alps, where an earlier start leads to earlier aging and leaves the grassland brown for months.

Politics - 15.12.2022
Beneficial arrangements in parliament - How vested interests shape Swiss politics
Beneficial arrangements in parliament - How vested interests shape Swiss politics
Directors, trustees, Executive Board members: members of Switzerland's Federal Parliament often have other duties in addition to their political office and occupation. Researchers in political science at the University of Basel have investigated how these alliances affect political developments. The interest group ties of politicians are a popular topic for discussion.

Media - Health - 14.12.2022
Majority of Swiss Trust Science, Some Remain Skeptical
Majority of Swiss Trust Science, Some Remain Skeptical
Swiss people's interest and confidence in science increased during the pandemic but has now returned to pre-Covid levels, the 2022 edition of the Science Barometer Switzerland has shown.

Materials Science - Environment - 14.12.2022
New process boosts efficiency of bifacial CIGS thin film solar cell
New process boosts efficiency of bifacial CIGS thin film solar cell
Bifacial thin film solar cells based on copper indium gallium diselenide or CIGS can collect solar energy from both their front and their rear side - and thus potentially yield more solar electricity than their conventional counterparts. So far, however, their fabrication has led to only modest energy conversion efficiencies.
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