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Environment - 02.08.2021
Manganese could make luminescent materials and the conversion of sunlight more sustainable
Manganese could make luminescent materials and the conversion of sunlight more sustainable
University of Basel researchers have reached an important milestone in their quest to produce more sustainable luminescent materials and catalysts for converting sunlight into other forms of energy. Based on the cheap metal manganese, they have developed a new class of compounds with promising properties that until now have primarily been found in noble metal compounds.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 29.07.2021
Small force, big effect: How the planets could influence the sun
Small force, big effect: How the planets could influence the sun
A new theory supports the controversial hypothesis that the planets affect solar activity. It puts forward a mechanism by which the very small influence of the planets could exert its rhythm on such a large system as the Sun. If the theory is confirmed, it could possibly be used to predict solar activity more accurately.

Environment - Innovation - 28.07.2021
Towards a more affordable analysis of air pollution
Towards a more affordable analysis of air pollution
Scientists have developed a new method for chemical analysis of fine particles that they plan to extend on a large scale - including in developing countries - through an Innosuisse innovation grant award and a new startup. Satoshi Takahama and Nikunj Dudani, two scientists at EPFL's Laboratory of Atmospheric Processes and their Impacts (LAPI), have developed an innovative system that could replace the array of instruments typically used to measure air quality by a single device small enough to fit in a carry-on bag.

Environment - Politics - 23.07.2021
Water resources: defusing conflict, promoting cooperation
Water resources: defusing conflict, promoting cooperation
The EU funded project DAFNE has developed a methodology for avoiding conflicts of use in transboundary rivers. The model-based procedure allows for participatory planning and cooperative management of water resources. The aim is now for the DAFNE methodology to be implemented in other regions of the world.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 19.07.2021
1,200 new glacial lakes discovered
1,200 new glacial lakes discovered
A comprehensive inventory of Swiss glacial lakes shows how the lake landscape in the high mountains has changed since the end of the Little Ice Age. Due to climate change, the glaciers of the Alps are melting. When the sometimes huge ice fields retreat, they often leave behind depressions and natural dams in the exposed landscape.

Environment - Research Management - 15.07.2021
Open access to Eawag's research results
Open access to Eawag’s research results
Open Science is an important development in science - open access to the results of research. Eawag supports these and makes a growing part of its research data, including descriptions, images and even software, available publicly and free of charge on the Eawag platform ERIC or, in special cases, on discipline-specific, international databases.

Environment - 14.07.2021
Planting oats to study the effects of air pollution
Planting oats to study the effects of air pollution
A team of scientists turned Bois-Chamblard park in Buchillon, on Lake Geneva, into a temporary research station for collecting experimental data. Their goal is to better understand how anthropogenic air pollution affects plant growth. What role does air pollution play in plant growth? That's the question a cross-disciplinary team of scientists has set out to answer.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 08.07.2021
Reforestation may help mitigate droughts
Reforestation may help mitigate droughts
Based on observational data from Europe, climate researchers from ETH Zurich have shown for the first time that forests lead to a rise in precipitation. Their analyses also revealed that if the available agricultural land were reforested, the amount of precipitation in Europe could increase by more than 7 percent.

Civil Engineering - Environment - 02.07.2021
Better planning can reduce the urban heat island effect
Better planning can reduce the urban heat island effect
In his PhD thesis, EPFL researcher Martí Bosch proposes a method for spatially quantifying the impact of mitigation measures - planting green spaces and using different building materials - on the urban heat island effect. During hot weather, cities are warmer than the surrounding rural areas. This well-known phenomenon - known as the urban heat island effect - is particularly acute at night when concrete and asphalt release the heat stored up during the day.

Environment - Life Sciences - 29.06.2021
Aquatic life underground
Aquatic life underground
Groundwater is also an ecosystem, but little is known about the biodiversity underground. researchers have now documented the diversity of life in Swiss groundwater in a pilot study - and discovered previously unknown species of amphipods in the process. Here they relied on a citizen science approach.

Environment - 28.06.2021
New model simulates the tsunamis caused by iceberg calving
New model simulates the tsunamis caused by iceberg calving
A team of scientists has developed a new model for simulating both iceberg calving and the tsunamis that are triggered as a result. Their method can help improve hazard assessment in coastal areas and refine the empirical calving models used to evaluate rising sea levels. Johan Gaume, an EPFL expert in avalanches and geomechanics, has turned his attention to ice.

Environment - Materials Science - 25.06.2021
Crown ethers improve perovskite solar cell stability
Crown ethers improve perovskite solar cell stability
Scientists have used an unprecedented method with multimodal host-guest complexation to greatly improve the stability of perovskite solar cells while also reducing the release of lead into the environment. Perovskites are hybrid compounds made from metal halides and organic constituents, and show great potential in a range of applications, e.g. LED lights, lasers, and photodetectors.

Life Sciences - Environment - 24.06.2021
Eawag test with fish cells replaces animal experiments
Eawag test with fish cells replaces animal experiments
The OECD gives the green light to the fish cell line assay developed at Eawag. This paves the way for companies and authorities around the world to determine the environmental toxicology of chemicals without having to resort to animal testing. A large number of chemicals are used in everyday products, in agriculture or in industry.

Agronomy / Food Science - Environment - 24.06.2021
Mixed cultures for a greater yield
Mixed cultures for a greater yield
What holds true for meadows would seem to apply to arable land, too: mixed cultures are more fruitful than monocultures. This was the outcome of an ETH Zurich research project led by Christian Schöb. Monocultures dominate arable land today, with vast areas given over to single elite varieties that promise a high yield.

Environment - Materials Science - 23.06.2021
Harvesting drinking water from humidity around the clock
Harvesting drinking water from humidity around the clock
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a condenser for countries where water is in short supply. Theirs is the first zero-energy solution for harvesting water from the atmosphere throughout the 24-hour daily cycle. It relies on a self-cooling surface and a special radiation shield. Fresh water is scarce in many parts of the world and must be obtained at great expense.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 22.06.2021
Analysing volcanoes to predict their awakening
Analysing volcanoes to predict their awakening
Geologists have reviewed the internal and external mechanisms that trigger volcanic eruptions to better anticipate the potential signs of a future eruption. What causes an eruption? Why do some volcanoes erupt regularly, while others remain dormant for thousands of years? A team of geologists and geophysicists, led by the University of Geneva , Switzerland, has reviewed the literature on the internal and external mechanisms that lead to a volcanic eruption.

Chemistry - Environment - 22.06.2021
Worrying insights into the chemicals in plastics
Researchers examined chemicals in plastics worldwide. They found an unexpectedly high number of substances of potential concern intentionally used in everyday plastic products. A lack of transparency limits management of these chemicals. Plastic is practical, cheap and incredibly popular. Every year, more than 350 million tonnes are produced worldwide.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 18.06.2021
Scientists detect signatures of life remotely
Scientists detect signatures of life remotely
It could be a milestone on the path to detecting life on other planets: Scientists under the leadership of the University of Bern and of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS detect a key molecular property of all living organisms from a helicopter flying several kilometers above ground.

Life Sciences - Environment - 18.06.2021
Silent witnesses
Silent witnesses
Once of interest only to enthusiasts, ETH Zurich's Entomological Collection now offers researchers a treasure trove of hidden knowledge.   Four tightly closed doors protect the Entomological Collection of ETH Zurich from heat and daylight. The cold, dry air is the perfect environment for the two million insects that call these specimen drawers home - although it's not particularly comfortable for their human keepers.

Life Sciences - Environment - 17.06.2021
Detoxifiers from the landfill
Detoxifiers from the landfill
Bacteria from an Indian landfill could help eliminate contaminated chemicals. The focus is on pesticides such as lindane or brominated flame retardants, which accumulate in nature and in food chains. Researchers at Empa and Eawag used these bacteria to generate enzymes that can break down these dangerous chemicals.
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