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Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 01.07.2020
First exposed planetary core discovered
First exposed planetary core discovered
Researchers led by the University of Warwick have discovered the first exposed core of an exoplanet, which provides an unprecedented glimpse inside the interior of a planet. Christoph Mordasini from the University of Bern is leading the theoretical interpretation of this discovery. The newly discovered exoplanet TOI 849 b offers the unique opportunity to peer inside the interior of a planet and learn about its composition.

Environment - Life Sciences - 01.07.2020
Alarming long-term effects of insecticides weaken ant colonies
Alarming long-term effects of insecticides weaken ant colonies
This week, scientists of the Institute of Bee Health of the University of Bern have published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Communications Biology, which shows how even low doses of neonicotinoid insecticides, as they may realistically occur in contaminated soils, adversely affect the development of black garden ants (Lasius niger).

Earth Sciences - Environment - 01.07.2020
Making geothermal energy safer through simulation
Making geothermal energy safer through simulation
Researchers from the Swiss Seismological Service SED and ETH Zurich are working with the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre CSCS to develop a way of utilising geothermal energy safely with the help of supercomputers. According to Switzerland's Energy Strategy 2050, the plan is for deep geothermal energy to contribute to the expansion of renewable energies in the country.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 30.06.2020
Climate change is altering terrestrial water availability
Climate change is altering terrestrial water availability
The amount and location of available terrestrial water is changing worldwide. An international research team led by ETH Zurich has now proved for the first time that human-induced climate change is responsible for the changes observed in available terrestrial water. Water is the lifeblood of ecosystems and one of the most important natural resources for human beings.

Environment - Economics / Business - 26.06.2020
Warning on affluence
Lorenz Keysser believes that in order to overcome ecological crises, we must recognise affluence as a main driver and fundamentally reconsider our economy and lifestyle. A new mobile phone here, a new dress there, heading on holiday by SUV or further afield by plane, and - for those who can afford it - a big house.

Environment - Health - 25.06.2020
Towards a Swiss Food Strategy for 2050
Towards a Swiss Food Strategy for 2050
NRP 69 recommends that the government develop a Swiss Food Strategy for 2050. This strategy should enable the entire population to eat healthy food sourced from a sustainable production and distribution system. Is it possible to follow a healthy diet that includes more vegetables, fruit and nuts while still reducing the environmental impact that consumption has both in Switzerland and abroad? Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the National Research Programme "Healthy Eating and Sustainable Food Production" (NRP 69) believes it is.

Environment - 23.06.2020
Unravelling complex relationships between humans and nature
Unravelling complex relationships between humans and nature
Environmental problems are generally complex, and the ecological processes and actors involved are often closely interlinked. Social-ecological networks make it possible to untangle such complex relationships. In these networks, social and ecological components and the interactions between them are represented as nodes and links.

Environment - 17.06.2020
Arctic Ocean acidification worse than previously expected
Arctic Ocean acidification worse than previously expected
The Arctic Ocean will take up more CO2 over the 21st century than predicted by most climate models. This additional CO2 causes a distinctly stronger ocean acidification. These results were published in a study by climate scientists from the University of Bern and École normale supérieure in Paris. Ocean acidification threatens the life of calcifying organisms - such as mussels and "sea butterflies" - and can have serious consequences for the entire food chain.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.06.2020
Aquascope: shedding light on underwater life
Aquascope: shedding light on underwater life
The live images from the Aquascope reveal an amazing underwater world. Lake Greifen is home to a smorgasbord of wonderful creatures - star-shaped, cylindrical, horned or extravagantly coiffed. But as well as stimulating the imagination, the phytoand zooplankton floating in water serves as an indicator of the ecological status of surface waters.

Environment - 10.06.2020
Mobile system measures water quality in real time
Mobile system measures water quality in real time
Rain enables crops to grow, but it also causes the run-off of pesticides to rivers and streams. Concentrations of these substances in surface waters can be monitored by means of regular sampling. However, with the traditional approach - grab sampling and determination of mean values - it is rarely, if ever, possible to measure the peak concentrations associated with heavy rainfall.

Environment - Materials Science - 04.06.2020
A recipe for eco-concrete
A recipe for eco-concrete
Cement production has to drastically reduce its environmental footprint. Empa researchers are, therefore working on alternative cement recipes that cause significantly fewer emissions or can even bind the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. It is the most widely used product in the world. Cement is indispensable yet its reputation has become quite tainted in the course of the ongoing climate debate.

Environment - 03.06.2020
The health of ecosystems based on the ground beetle
The health of ecosystems based on the ground beetle
EPFL scientists just published an open tool for predicting the dynamics of ground beetle populations - important bioindicators for sustainable park management and for monitoring ecosystems - in Italy's Gran Paradiso National Park. The tool incorporates satellite and other remote sensing data. Ground beetles may be creepy, but their presence is usually a sign of a healthy ecosystem and is appreciated for pest control in agriculture.

Materials Science - Environment - 29.05.2020
Caught in flight
Caught in flight
Humans are exposed to numerous harmful environmental influences, and it is an international concern to quantify these emissions as accurately as possible in order to be able to take measures to contain them. Empa is also part of these efforts and has, among other things, developed a drone equipped with state-of-the-art measuring instruments which can detect methane leaks.

Materials Science - Environment - 29.05.2020
Platinum keeps Fruit fresh
Platinum keeps Fruit fresh
If different types of vegetables and fruits are stored together, they influence each other in the ripening process. This is due to ethylene, which is emitted by some plant-based foodstuff and accelerates ripening. To prevent excessive food waste due to accelerated ripening Empa and ETH Zurich researchers are developing a new catalyst that degrades ethylene into water and carbon dioxide.

Environment - 28.05.2020
A tightrope walk for fresh air
A tightrope walk for fresh air
At 3500 meters above sea level, research is sometimes quite adventurous. In order to be able to supply Empa's air analysis station on the Jungfraujoch with "clean" samples, a team of researchers and professional climbers installed a new air intake - 50 meters outside the station on a narrow ridge above the abyss.

Environment - 22.05.2020
Bumblebees speed up flowering
Bumblebees speed up flowering
When pollen is in short supply, bumblebees damage plant leaves in a way that accelerates flower production, as an ETH research team headed up by Consuelo De Moraes and Mark Mescher has demonstrated. Spring has sprung earlier than ever before this year, accompanied by temperatures more typical of early summertime.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 21.05.2020
Millions of people drink groundwater contaminated with arsenic
Millions of people drink groundwater contaminated with arsenic
Today, one third of the world's population obtains its drinking water and water for irrigation from groundwater reserves. Global population growth and water scarcity due to climate change mean that the pressure on this resource is continually increasing. However, many wells are contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic.

Environment - Health - 19.05.2020
How does an increase in nitrogen application affect grasslands?
How does an increase in nitrogen application affect grasslands?
The "PaNDiv" experiment, established by researchers of the University of Bern on a 3000 m2 field site, is the largest biodiversity-ecosystem functioning experiment in Switzerland and aims to better understand how increases in nitrogen affect grasslands. The first article from this experiment has just been published in the scientific journal Functional Ecology after more than four years of work.

Environment - Life Sciences - 18.05.2020
Environmental disturbances affect large species the most
Environmental disturbances affect large species the most
A fundamental characteristic of ecological communities is that small animals are more abundant than large ones. These "ecological pyramids" are found in both terrestrial and aquatic systems. Depending on the position of the organisms in the pyramid, their ecological functions differ and they react differently to human impact.

Environment - Transport - 15.05.2020
Life cycle assessment of cars - new web tool helps consumers and researchers
Life cycle assessment of cars - new web tool helps consumers and researchers
Decision support for car buyers: Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute have developed a web tool called the Carculator that can be used to compare the environmental performance of passenger cars in detail. The program determines the environmental balance of vehicles with different size classes and powertrains, and presents the results in comparative graphics.
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