Events

Mois : October - September - August - July - June - April - April - March - February - January -

October

28/10/2014 - Saint-Gobain and the CNRS join forces in Japan

Saint-Gobain, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) have launched an international joint unit (UMI) in Tsukuba, Japan. The UMI, called Laboratory for Innovative Key Materials and Structures (LINK), was inaugurated in the presence of the French Ambassador to Japan, Thierry Dana. It seeks to develop new materials that may find applications in several of Saint-Gobain's industrial activities, in particular ceramics, grains and powders, crystals, glazing and abrasives. Housed at the NIMS, one of the world's leading materials research laboratories, the UMI associates Saint-Gobain and the CNRS, and is their first joint research unit abroad. more...

26/10/2014 - Gold nanoparticle chains confine light to the nanoscale

A multidisciplinary team at the Centre d'Elaboration de Matériaux et d'Etudes Structurales (CEMES, CNRS), working in collaboration with physicists in Singapore and chemists in Bristol (UK), have shown that crystalline gold nanoparticles aligned and then fused into long chains can be used to confine light energy down to the nanometer scale while allowing its long-range propagation. Their work was published online on the website of Nature Materials on 26 October. more...

24/10/2014 - Subwavelength optical fibers to diffuse light

Researchers at the Femto-ST Institute (CNRS/UFC/UTBM/ENSMM)1, working in collaboration with colleagues from the Charles Fabry Laboratory (CNRS/Institut d'Optique Graduate School), have just discovered a new type of light diffusion in tiny optical fibers 50 times thinner than a strand of hair! This phenomenon, which varies according to the fiber's environment, could be used to develop sensors that are innovative and highly sensitive. The work is published in the journal Nature Communications on October 24, 2014. more...

22/10/2014 - Understanding and predicting solar flares

Researchers from the Centre de Physique Théorique (CNRS/École polytechnique) and the Laboratoire Astrophysique, Interprétation - Modélisation (CNRS/CEA/Université Paris Diderot) have identified a key phenomenon in the triggering of solar flares. Using satellite data and models, the scientists were able to monitor the evolution of the solar magnetic field in a region with eruptive behavior. Their calculations reveal the formation of a magnetic rope1 that emerges from the interior of the Sun and is associated with the appearance of a sunspot. They show that this structure plays an important role in triggering the flare. By characterizing the transition to the flare, their work opens the way to forecasting the solar storms that impact the Earth, and makes the cover story of Nature dated October 23. more...

17/10/2014 - Large-scale stellar jet formation elucidated

Using a patented experimental device and supercomputer simulations, researchers have managed to explain the formation of jets emitted by young stars. In perfect agreement with astrophysical observations, the model, which involves the interstellar magnetic field, was developed by an international collaboration1 led by French teams at the Laboratoire pour l'Utilisation des Lasers Intenses (LULI, CNRS/École Polytechnique/UPMC/CEA), the Laboratoire d'Etudes du Rayonnement et de la Matière en Astrophysique et atmosphères (LERMA, Observatoire de Paris/CNRS/UPMC/Université de Cergy-Pontoise/ENS Paris) and the Laboratoire National des Champs Magnétiques Intenses (LNCMI, CNRS). Their work is published in the 17 October 2014 issue of the journal Science. more...

13/10/2014 - The October issue of the CNRS International Magazine is now available

Could gas, the least polluting fossil fuel, perform the transition between the forthcoming exhaustion of oil and the slow development of renewable energy? Our special report makes an inventory of world reserves and new techniques to extract them, and investigates the biogas alternative. Also in this issue, looking at diseases from a Darwinian point of view; how advances in imaging techniques help elucidate the functioning of the brain; attention, a new economic commodity; a portrait of chemist Clément Sanchez, recipient of the 2014 Eni Protection of the Environment Prize; using Raman spectroscopy to analyze ancient works of art; a successful French-Chinese collaboration on landscape dynamics; analysis of trace elements in the North Atlantic through the GEOVIDE mission; and much more… more...

13/10/2014 - Snapshot: Filling the Gap

It is in the early 2000s that the strange fossils sold to tourists by a Moroccan villager triggered the interest of a paleontologist. Originating from Zagora, these findings were to rewrite a chapter of the evolution of life on Earth... more...

13/10/2014 - CNRS congratulates Jean Tirole, laureate of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences1 for 2014 has been awarded to Jean Tirole for his analysis of market imperfections and regulation. Aged 61, this researcher at the GREMAQ2 (a joint research unit between Toulouse 1 University, the CNRS and INRA) is the third French economist to receive the discipline's highest distinction, after Gérard Debreu in 1983 and Maurice Allais in 1988. Basing his approach on game theory and information theory, Tirole has laid the foundations of a “New Industrial Economics”, in collaboration with his friend and colleague Jean-Jacques Laffont. Taking the strategies and behavior of individuals and groups into account, his research is anchored in the social sciences, drawing from political science, sociology and psychology. Under the impetus of Tirole and Laffont, the city of Toulouse has become one of Europe's most important centers for economic research. The prize is a towering achievement for Tirole, currently president of the Ecole d'Economie de Toulouse (TSE3), an institution that he helped found and where he served as director from 2006 to 2009. Recipient of the 2007 CNRS Gold Medal, France's highest scientific distinction, Tirole is an active participant in the public debate, helping to shape economic policy. more...

13/10/2014 - Key step in allergic reactions revealed

By studying the mode of action of the interleukin-33 protein, an alarmin for white blood cells, a team at the Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale (IPBS - CNRS/Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier) has been able to evidence truncated forms of the protein that act as potent activators of the cells responsible for triggering allergic reactions. This breakthrough in the understanding of the mechanisms underlying allergy could have important applications in the treatment of asthma and other allergic diseases such as eczema and allergic rhinitis. Co-directed by CNRS researcher Corinne Cayrol and INSERM senior researcher Jean-Philippe Girard, this work is published in PNAS on 13 October 2014. more...

09/10/2014 - Physics determined ammonite shell shape

Ammonites are a group of extinct cephalopod mollusks with ribbed spiral shells. They are exceptionally diverse and well known to fossil lovers. Régis Chirat, researcher at the Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon: Terre, Planètes et Environnement (CNRS/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1/ENS de Lyon), and two colleagues from the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford have developed the first biomechanical model explaining how these shells form and why they are so diverse. Their approach provides new paths for interpreting the evolution of ammonites and nautili, their smooth-shelled distant "cousins" that still populate the Indian and Pacific oceans. This work has just been published on the website of the Journal of Theoretical Biology. more...

03/10/2014 - The CNRS 2013 annual report is now available

A year at the CNRS presents a selection of scientific results of high-level research carried out within our organization's laboratories, often in collaboration with our partners. This report also pays tribute to research teams, researchers, engineers and technicians, as well as national and international award recipients. more...

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September

24/09/2014 - Computer scientist Gérard Berry is awarded the 2014 CNRS Gold Medal

This year's CNRS Gold Medal, France's most prestigious scientific distinction, has been awarded to Gérard Berry, holder of the first chair in computer science at the Collège de France since 2012. From the formal processing of programming languages to the computer-assisted design of integrated circuits and parallel real-time programming, Berry's achievements have led to major advances in information technology, finding myriad applications in the daily lives of computer users the world over. more...

18/09/2014 - The origin of Uranus and Neptune elucidated?

A team of French-American researchers led by the UTINAM Institute (CNRS/Université de Franche-Comté)1 has just proposed a solution to the problematic chemical composition of Uranus and Neptune, thus providing clues for understanding their formation. The researchers focused on the positioning of these two outermost planets of the Solar System, and propose a new model explaining how and where they formed. Their results have been published in The Astrophysical Journal on September 20. more...

11/09/2014 - Steroid hormone to fight age-related diseases

Through the study of the roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans, the team led by Hugo Aguilaniu has discovered a hormone that enhances longevity and reduces fertility, thus reproducing the effects of an extreme diet. The scientists, based at the Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire de la Cellule (CNRS/ENS de Lyon/ Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1), now intend to explore its mode of action in the hope of finding new ways to combat age-related diseases. Their work is published on 11 September in Nature Communications. more...

10/09/2014 - "Immortal" flatworms: a weapon against bacteria

A novel mode of defense against bacteria such as the causal agent of tuberculosis or Staphylococcus aureus has been identified in humans by studying a small, aquatic flatworm, the planarian. This discovery was made by scientists in the “Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes” (CNRS/IRD/Inserm/Aix-Marseille Université), working in collaboration with the “Centre Méditerranéen de Médecine Moléculaire” (Inserm/Université Nice Sophia Antipolis) and other national and international research groups1. Their work, published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe on 10 September 2014, highlights the importance of studying alternative model organisms, and opens the way towards new treatments against bacterial infections. more...

09/09/2014 - Real time in vitro evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of contaminants

The Genotrace project, combining targeted research and technology transfer1, aims to develop an innovative test to ensure that chemicals, drugs and food are safer for humans, animals and the environment. The project consortium is led by INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) and includes the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), the University Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier and the company Biopredic International. The Genotrace project has just received the support of the French National Research Agency (ANR) for three years. more...

02/09/2014 - First Neanderthal rock engraving found in Gibraltar

The first example of a rock engraving attributed to Neanderthals has been discovered in Gorham's Cave, Gibraltar, by an international team1 bringing together prehistorians from the French Laboratory 'De la Préhistoire à l'Actuel: Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie' (PACEA - CNRS/Université Bordeaux/Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication), and researchers from the UK and Spain. Dated at over 39 000 years old, it consists of a deeply impressed cross-hatching carved into rock. Its analysis calls into question the view that the production of representational and abstract depictions on cave walls was a cultural innovation introduced into Europe by modern humans. On the contrary, the findings, published in PNAS on September 1, support the hypothesis that Neanderthals had a symbolic material culture. more...

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August

27/08/2014 - Neutrinos provide direct evidence of energy production in the Sun's core

For the first time ever, solar energy has been directly measured at the very instant it is produced. A world-first experiment carried out with the Borexino detector has observed, almost in real time, the flux of low-energy neutrinos emitted by the Sun, and shown that solar activity has hardly changed at all for over a hundred thousand years. These results obtained by the Borexino collaboration1, which includes the Laboratoire AstroParticule et Cosmologie (CNRS/CEA/Université Paris Diderot/Observatoire de Paris), are published on 28 August 2014 in the journal Nature. more...

27/08/2014 - Learning to read: tricking the brain

While reading, children and adults alike must avoid confusing mirror-image letters (like b/d or p/q). Why is it difficult to differentiate these letters? When learning to read, our brain must be able to inhibit the mirror-generalization process, a mechanism that facilitates the recognition of identical objects regardless of their orientation, but also prevents the brain from differentiating letters that are different but symmetrical. A study conducted by the researchers of the Laboratoire de Psychologie du Développement et de l'Education de l'Enfant (CNRS / Université Paris Descartes / Université de Caen Basse-Normandie) is available on the website of the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (Online First Articles). more...

24/08/2014 - Cold snap in the tropics

Tropical glaciers have responded to episodes of cooling in Greenland and the Antarctic over the past 20,000 years, according to a study carried out mainly by researchers at the CNRS, Université Joseph Fourier, Aix-Marseille Université and the IRD, in collaboration with other French scientists1 and colleagues in the US, Colombia and the UK. Their work, which covers 21 Andean glaciers, is published on August 24th, 2014 in the journal Nature. more...

14/08/2014 - From rectal cells to neurons: keys to understanding transdifferentiation

How can a specialized cell change its identity? A team from the Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (CNRS/INSERM/Université de Strasbourg) investigated a 100% effective natural example of this phenomenon, which is called transdifferentiation. This process, by which some cells lose their characteristics and acquire a new identity, could be more generally involved in tissue or organ regeneration in vertebrates, and is a promising research avenue for regenerative medicine. This study identifies the role of epigenetic factors involved in this conversion, underlines the dynamic nature of the process, and shows the key mechanisms for effective transdifferentiation. This work, conducted in collaboration with the Institut Curie1, was published on August 15, 2014 in Science. more...

13/08/2014 - Fields Medal awarded to Artur Avila

The Fields Medal, the world's most prestigious distinction in mathematics, is being awarded today to Artur Avila, a CNRS senior researcher at the Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu-Paris Rive Gauche (CNRS/Université Paris Diderot/UPMC). The presentation is part of the program of the International Congress of Mathematicians, which is being held this year in Seoul, South Korea. The 35-year-old Franco-Brazilian mathematician, who also works at the National Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics in Rio de Janeiro, is being recognized for outstanding work in his specialty fields, primarily concerning dynamical systems and analysis. Three other mathematicians are receiving Fields Medals this year: Martin Hairer from Austria, the Canadian-American number theorist Manjul Bhargava and the prize's first female laureate, Maryam Mirzakhani from Iran. The 2014 awards strengthen France's position as number two in the world in mathematical research. more...

12/08/2014 - Ebullition causes methane emissions in tropical reservoirs

For the first time, methane emissions by ebullition from tropical reservoirs have been accurately quantified, revealing that this emission pathway depends on both the water level in the reservoir, which is dependent on the monsoon, and on daily variations in atmospheric pressure. Although tropical reservoirs probably emit over 10% of anthropogenic methane, their emissions are still poorly quantified. In this study, a new automatic system for the continuous measurement of methane fluxes was deployed on the reservoir of the largest hydroelectric dam in Southeast Asia. The results of this work, which was carried out by researchers at the Laboratoire d'Aérologie (CNRS/Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier) and the Laboratoire Géosciences Environnement Toulouse (CNRS/Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier/IRD), are published in the journal Biogeosciences dated 13 August 2014. more...

07/08/2014 - Lipids boost the brain

Consuming oils with high polyunsaturated fatty acid content, in particular those containing omega-3s, is beneficial for the health. But the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are poorly known. Researchers at the Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (CNRS/Université Nice Sophia Antipolis), the Unité Compartimentation et Dynamique Cellulaires (CNRS/Institut Curie/UPMC), the INSERM and the Université de Poitiers1 investigated the effect of lipids bearing polyunsaturated chains when they are integrated into cell membranes. Their work shows that the presence of these lipids makes the membranes more malleable and therefore more sensitive to deformation and fission by proteins. These results, published on August 8, 2014 in Science, could help explain the extraordinary efficacy of endocytosis2 in neuron cells. more...

03/08/2014 - Pharmacology : serotonin receptor structure revealed

The structure of a serotonin receptor has been completely deciphered for the first time using crystallography. This study, published online in Nature on August 3, 2014, opens the way towards the design of new drugs that might be able to control nausea, one of the main adverse effects of chemotherapy and anesthesia. This work was carried out by a team at the Institut de Biologie Structurale (CNRS/CEA/Université Joseph Fourier) and the Physical Chemistry of Polymers and Membranes Laboratory (EPFL, Switzerland), working in collaboration with scientists from the Architecture et Fonction des Macromolécules Biologiques (CNRS/Université Aix-Marseille) and Dynamique Structurale des Macromolécules (CNRS/Institut Pasteur) laboratories, and with the company, Théranyx. more...

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July

21/07/2014 - Satellite galaxies put astronomers in a spin

An international team of researchers, led by astronomers at the Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg (CNRS/Université de Strasbourg), has studied 380 galaxies and shown that their small satellite galaxies almost always move in rotating discs. However, such satellite galaxy discs are not predicted by current models of the formation of structures in the Universe. This discovery could cause modelers serious headaches in the years ahead. The results of the study are published in the 31 July 2014 issue of the journal Nature. more...

11/07/2014 - Ultrasound tracks odor representation in the brain

A new ultrasound imaging technique has provided the first ever in vivo visualization of activity in the piriform cortex of rats during odor perception. This deep-seated brain structure plays an important role in olfaction, and was inaccessible to functional imaging until now. This work also sheds new light on the still poorly known functioning of the olfactory system, and notably how information is processed in the brain. This study is the result of a collaboration between the team led by Mickael Tanter at the Institut Langevin (CNRS/INSERM/ESPCI ParisTech/UPMC/Université Paris Diderot) and that led by Hirac Gurden in the Laboratoire Imagerie et Modélisation en Neurobiologie et Cancérologie (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud/Université Paris Diderot). Their findings are published in NeuroImage dated July 15, 2014. more...

09/07/2014 - Film: For a few degrees more

The characteristics and quality of wine are closely linked to climate. Wine-growing areas may change as a result of present and future evolution. In the Val de Loire region, which has been a pilot site since 2007, Hervé Quénol and his team have set up a network of sensors and meteorological stations in vineyards. Their research aims to simulate future climate so as to provide wine growers with methods and grape varieties that are adapted to these changes… more...

09/07/2014 - Snapshot: Facsimile

"The artists in this cave had no qualms. They did not improvise and drew rapidly, which requires a lot of talent. The challenge therefore was to reflect this by recreating the gestures they had mastered..." more...

09/07/2014 - The July issue of the CNRS International Magazine is now available

2014 celebrates a science that has taken an important place in our daily lives in just 100 years: crystallography. How are crystal structures determined? How does this knowledge translate into applications? Our special report takes you to the amazing world of crystals, one of which, in particular, has magic properties: graphene. Other subjects include the presentation of the recipients of the 2014 CNRS Innovation Medal; the latest advances in tactile sensation through the screens of our tablets and smartphones; the manufacturing of tougher ceramics structured like mother-of-pearl; an expert view on the near future of HIV/AIDS therapy; a portrait of outstanding mathematician Laure Saint-Raymond; a guided tour in images of the Pierre Auger Observatory, a cosmic ray hunter based in the Argentine Pampas; an update on the plastic debris pollution that plague our seas and oceans; and much more… more...

04/07/2014 - Giant earthquakes help predict volcanic eruptions

Researchers at the Institut des Sciences de la Terre (CNRS/Université Joseph Fourier/Université de Savoie/IRD/IFSTTAR) and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (CNRS/Université Paris Diderot/IPGP), working in collaboration with Japanese researchers, have for the first time observed the response of Japanese volcanoes to seismic waves produced by the giant Tohoku-oki earthquake of 2011. Their conclusions, published in Science on July 4, 2014, reveal how earthquakes can impact volcanoes and should help to assess the risk of massive volcanic eruptions worldwide. more...

03/07/2014 - HESS-II detects its first pulsar

The HESS-II (High Energy Stereoscopic System) telescope in Namibia has detected gamma rays of only 30 Giga electron volts (GeV) from the Vela pulsar. This is the first pulsar to be detected by HESS and the second – after Crab in 2011– to be spotted by ground-based gamma ray telescopes. These results have been obtained by the HESS collaboration involving the CNRS and CEA. more...

01/07/2014 - Biodistribution of carbon nanotubes in the body

Having perfected an isotope labeling method allowing extremely sensitive detection of carbon nanotubes in living organisms1, CEA and CNRS researchers have looked at what happens to nanotubes after one year inside an animal. Studies in mice revealed that a very small percentage (0.75%) of the initial quantity of nanotubes inhaled crossed the pulmonary epithelial barrier and translocated to the liver, spleen, and bone marrow. Although these results cannot be extrapolated to humans, this work highlights the importance of developing ultrasensitive methods for assessing the behavior of nanoparticles in animals. It has been published in the journal ACSNano. more...

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June

30/06/2014 - A dominant hemisphere for handedness and language?

Through an innovative approach using a large psychometric and brain imaging database, researchers in the Groupe d'Imagerie Neurofonctionnelle (CNRS/CEA/Université de Bordeaux) have demonstrated that the location of language areas in the brain is independent of left- or right-handedness, except for a very small proportion of left-handed individuals whose right hemisphere is dominant for both manual work and language. This work was published in PLOS One on June 30, 2014. more...

24/06/2014 - Oldest biodiversity found in Gabonese marine ecosystem

Researchers from the CNRS and the Université de Poitiers, working in collaboration with teams from the Université de Lille 1, Université de Rennes 1, the French National History Museum and Ifremer, have discovered, in clay sediments from Gabon, fossils of the oldest multicellular organisms ever found (Nature, 2010). In total, more than 400 fossils dating back 2.1 billion years have been collected, including dozens of new types. The detailed analysis of these finds, published on June 25, 2014 in Plos One, reveals a broad biodiversity composed of micro and macroscopic organisms of highly varied size and shape that evolved in a marine ecosystem. more...

19/06/2014 - NEMO closes in on neutrino mass

The NEMO (Neutrino Ettore Majorana Observatory) experiment, whose goal was to elucidate the nature of neutrinos and measure their mass, yielded very positive results. The product of an extensive international collaboration including seven CNRS joint laboratories1, the detector, installed in the Modane Underground Laboratory (CNRS/CEA) in the Fréjus road tunnel, ran from 2003 to 2011. The observation, in seven different isotopes, of an extremely rare radioactive decay event, the so-called 'allowed' double-beta decay, helped improve our understanding of the atomic nucleus. In addition, the data collected during the search for the so-called 'forbidden' double-beta decay enabled the researchers to establish a range (0.3-0.9 eV) for the upper limit on the mass of the neutrino. These findings, just published in the journal Physical Review D shed new light on neutrino physics and cosmological models. The technology chosen for NEMO opens the way for the SuperNEMO detector, which will be 100 times as sensitive and may even be able to detect so-called 'forbidden' double-beta decay, which would usher in a new era in physics. more...

13/06/2014 - Anxiety in invertebrates opens research avenues

For the first time, CNRS researchers and the Université de Bordeaux have produced and observed anxiety-like behavior in crayfish, which disappears when a dose of anxiolytic is injected. This work, published in Science on June 13, 2014, shows that the neuronal mechanisms related to anxiety have been preserved throughout evolution. This analysis of ancestral behavior in a simple animal model opens up new avenues for studying the neuronal bases for this emotion. more...

04/06/2014 - First images from exoplanet hunter SPHERE

The European SPHERE instrument has been successfully installed on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) and has achieved first light. This powerful new facility can directly image gas-giant exoplanets and dust discs orbiting nearby stars (up to 300 light years away) with unparalleled precision and contrast. SPHERE (the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch) instrument was developed by a European consortium led by the Institut de Planétologie et Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG, CNRS/Université Joseph Fourier) with the French Aerospace Lab ONERA, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (CNRS/AMU), Laboratoire d'Etudes Spatiales et d'Instrumentation en Astrophysique (Observatoire de Paris/CNRS/UPMC/Université Paris Diderot), Laboratoire Lagrange (Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur/CNRS/Université Nice-Sophia Antipolis), together with institutes in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands, in partnership with ESO (European Southern Observatory). The instrument will be made available to the astronomical community in 2015. more...

02/06/2014 - Philippe Baptiste named CNRS Chief Research Officer

On June 2, 2014, CNRS president Alain Fuchs appointed Philippe Baptiste as new Chief Research Officer. His predecessor, Joël Bertrand, becomes special adviser to the president. A CNRS senior researcher, Philippe Baptiste had been head of research and innovation strategy at the Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research since April 2013. more...

02/06/2014 - CNRS steps up its presence in Singapore and Southeast Asia

The creation of two new International Joint Units (UMI) and the renewal of the CINTRA UMI were formalized at a signing ceremony on Friday 30 May 2014 in Singapore. A CNRS delegation and leading members of the local partner universities, the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University, were present. The two new UMIs—one in mechanobiology and the other in the physics of graphene and of quantum gases and information—strengthen the proactive scientific partnership between France and Singapore, bringing to four1 the number of UMIs run by both countries. This successful collaboration will also be reinforced by the transfer of the CNRS regional office for Southeast Asia from its current location in Vietnam to Singapore this summer. more...

01/06/2014 - Elucidating the pathogenic mechanism of meningococcal meningitis

Neisseria meningitidis, also called meningococcus, is a bacterium responsible for meningitis and septicemia1. Its most serious form, purpura fulminans, is often fatal. This bacterium, which is naturally present in humans in the nasopharynx, is pathogenic if it reaches the blood stream. Teams led by Dr. Sandrine Bourdoulous, CNRS senior researcher at the Institut Cochin (CNRS/INSERM/Université Paris Descartes), and Professor Xavier Nassif, Institut Necker Enfants Malades (CNRS/INSERM/Université Paris Descartes/Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris), have deciphered the molecular events through which meningococci target blood vessels and colonize them. This work opens a path to new therapeutic perspectives for treating vascular problems caused by this type of invasive infection. The study was published on June 1, 2014 in Nature Medicine. more...

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April

29/05/2014 - Ancient reefs preserved tropical marine biodiversity

Habitat refugia in which coral reefs have remained stable over time played a key role in preserving tropical marine fish biodiversity, a study highlights. Researchers at the Laboratoire Ecologie des Systèmes Marins Côtiers (CNRS/IRD/Universités Montpellier 1 and 2/IFREMER) and the Laboratoire CoRéUs 2 (IRD) have shown that the current distribution of tropical marine biodiversity is mainly due to the persistence of such refugia during glacial periods in the Quaternary. This imprint left by history thus has a greater impact on tropical fish biodiversity than contemporary environmental factors such as water temperature and reef area. The study, carried out in collaboration with several international teams, demonstrates the need to protect certain irreplaceable habitats that allow species to persist during periods of climate change. It is published in the journal Science dated 30 May 2014. more...

16/05/2014 - Planck reveals the magnetic fingerprint of our Galaxy

The Milky Way's magnetic field is revealed in a new map released by the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Planck mission. This image was obtained from the first all-sky observations of 'polarized' light emitted by interstellar dust in our Galaxy. Numerous researchers and engineers at the CNRS, CEA, CNES and various Universities are taking part in the Planck mission, which continues to provide a wealth of data. Four papers recently submitted to the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics analyze these results. more...

13/05/2014 - Mathematics to improve running

How can runners improve their performance, weight and fitness? Amandine Aftalion from the Mathematics Laboratory in Versailles (CNRS/University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines) and Frédéric Bonnans from the Center of Applied Mathematics (CNRS/Inria/École polytechnique)1 have produced a mathematical model to optimize running, which could lead to personal e-coaching customized to each individual's physiological state. It also confirms a well-known fact in the sports community: runners who vary their speed spend their energy better and thus run longer. Mathematics gives them the opportunity to switch from simple statistical tools2 to personalized sporting advice. This work, available on HAL, will be presented in Toulouse on May 16th, 2014, at the Futurapolis international meeting in which CNRS is a partner. It will also be published in the journal SIAM J.Applied Mathematics. more...

12/05/2014 - 2014 CNRS Medal of Innovation awarded to Barbara Demeneix, Claude Grison, Valentina Lazarova and Didier Roux

The 2014 CNRS Innovation Medalists are the biologist Barbara Demeneix, chemist Claude Grison, process engineering specialist Valentina Lazarova and physical chemist Didier Roux. This prestigious distinction has been granted annually since 2010 in recognition of outstanding research leading to significant innovations in technology, economics, therapeutics or the social sciences. Benoît Hamon, the French Minister of Education and Research and CNRS President, Alain Fuchs, will present the winners with their medals in a ceremony to be held on June 18. more...

09/05/2014 - New algorithm shakes up cryptography

Researchers at the Laboratoire Lorrain de Recherches en Informatique et ses Applications (CNRS/Université de Lorraine/Inria) and the Laboratoire d'Informatique de Paris 6 (CNRS/UPMC) have solved one aspect of the discrete logarithm problem. This is considered to be one of the 'holy grails' of algorithmic number theory, on which the security of many cryptographic systems used today is based. They have devised a new algorithm (1) that calls into question the security of one variant of this problem, which has been closely studied since 1976. This result, published on the site of the International Association of Cryptologic Research and on the HAL open access archive, was presented at the international conference Eurocrypt 2014 held in Copenhagen on 11-15 May 2014 and published in Advances in cryptology. It discredits several cryptographic systems that until now were assumed to provide sufficient security safeguards. Although this work is still theoretical, it is likely to have repercussions especially on the cryptographic applications of smart cards, RFID chips (2), etc. more...

07/05/2014 - A new type of heredity described in Paramecia

Considered as an obsolete theory for many years, the transmission of acquired traits has returned to the forefront of debate thanks to the development of epigenetic research1. In this context, a team from the Institut de biologie at the Ecole normale supérieure (CNRS/ENS/INSERM)2 has described how in Paramecia, mating types are transmitted from generation to generation through an unexpected mechanism. These types are not determined by the genome sequence but by small RNA sequences transmitted via the maternal cytoplasm, which specifically inactivate certain genes during development. A Paramecium can thus acquire a new mating type that will be inherited by its progeny without any genetic modification being involved. Published in Nature on May 7, 2014, this work highlights a novel mechanism that may be governed by natural selection, thus allowing the evolution of species. more...

07/05/2014 - Another company that grew from CNRS research and initiative goes public: Innoveox

French company Innoveox was listed on the stock exchange today. It develops and exploits breakthrough clean technology that permanently treats and processes toxic industrial waste. It exploits two CNRS patents. CNRS is one of the company's shareholders, through its knowledge-transfer subsidiary FIST SA. In only the last two months, this is the third company exploiting patents that have come from CNRS research to go public. more...

06/05/2014 - EuroVotePlus: test a new electoral system online during the European elections

The EuroVotePlus project offers Internet users the chance to test an electoral reform that would allow voters to vote for European Parliament candidates of any European nationality. As not all EU countries use the same voting methods, which one should be adopted for this new constituency? Is one voting system better than another? Do they have an impact on which candidates get elected in the end? To answer these questions, we must first understand how voters use different electoral systems. The EuroVotePlus project's North American1 and French CNRS2 researchers are therefore inviting European citizens to trial this electoral reform online at http://eurovoteplus.eu, open until May 25, 2014, using three different voting methods. more...

05/05/2014 - “Solar Energy”: A new CNRS/sagascience multimedia report

What is the current state of solar energy in France and around the world? What are the technologies that will drive its development? What are the obstacles involved? What are the latest scientific breakthroughs in this field? The 20th report in the CNRS/sagascience collection focuses on solar energy and its prospects for the future, in particular at a time when the energy transition is an important topic of debate in France. Conceived for the general public, this multimedia presentation sheds light on the key challenges in the use of solar power, which has the potential to meet most of our energy needs if solutions can be developed for converting sunlight efficiently and at low cost. more...

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April

29/04/2014 - What's new in graphene research?

International conference: Graphene 2014 6 - 9 May 2014 at the Centre des Congrès Pierre Baudis, Toulouse Flexible, light, ultrastrong and an excellent conductor: graphene, first isolated in 2004, has quickly established itself as a highly innovative material with a host of potential applications, especially in electronics. For the first time, France will host the fourth edition of Graphene 2014, the world's leading conference on this material, which will be held in Toulouse from 6-9 May. CNRS, the first European organization focusing on graphene, is coordinating France's contribution to the conference, which we invite you to discover. The French stand will include a presentation of key research on graphene and the results of a survey on its development potential at CNRS, providing ample opportunity to gain greater insight into this promising material. more...

22/04/2014 - Film: Insects, small-scale physics

At the Institut de Recherche de Biologie de l'Insecte (Insect Biology Research Institute), under the direction of Jérôme Casas, biologists, ecologists and mathematicians work on physical ecology. They’re interested in the solid and fluid mechanics of insect life. more...

22/04/2014 - Snapshot: Confocal Art. A picture seen in CNRS international magazine n°33

"These colorful shapes would not look out of place on the wall of a modern art museum. Yet they are actually fluorescence-labeled fission yeasts (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) observed under a confocal microscope..." more...

17/04/2014 - Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair

A significant breakthrough could revolutionize surgical practice and regenerative medicine. A team led by Ludwik Leibler from the Laboratoire Matière Molle et Chimie (CNRS/ESPCI Paris Tech) and Didier Letourneur from the Laboratoire Recherche Vasculaire Translationnelle (INSERM/Universités Paris Diderot and Paris 13), has just demonstrated that the principle of adhesion by aqueous solutions of nanoparticles can be used in vivo to repair soft-tissue organs and tissues. This easy-to-use gluing method has been tested on rats. When applied to skin, it closes deep wounds in a few seconds and provides aesthetic, high quality healing. It has also been shown to successfully repair organs that are difficult to suture, such as the liver. Finally, this solution has made it possible to attach a medical device to a beating heart, demonstrating the method's potential for delivering drugs and strengthening tissues. This work has just been published on the website of the journal Angewandte Chemie. more...

16/04/2014 - How do liquid foams block sound?

Liquid foams have a remarkable property: they completely block the transmission of sound over a wide range of frequencies. CNRS physicists working in collaboration with teams from Paris Diderot and Rennes Universities1 have studied how sound is attenuated in liquid foams. Their findings, published in Physical Review Letters, open the way to the development of tools called acoustic probes that could be used to monitor the quality of foams used in industry, especially in the mining and petroleum sectors. more...

15/04/2014 - Obesity: are lipids hard drugs for the brain?

Why can we get up for a piece of chocolate, but never because we fancy a carrot? Serge Luquet's team at the "Biologie Fonctionnelle et Adaptative" laboratory (CNRS/Université Paris Diderot) has demonstrated part of the answer: triglycerides, fatty substances from food, may act in our brains directly on the reward circuit, the same circuit that is involved in drug addiction. These results, published on April 15, 2014 in Molecular Psychiatry, show a strong link in mice between fluctuations in triglyceride concentration and brain reward development. Identifying the action of nutritional lipids on motivation and the search for pleasure in dietary intake will help us better understand the causes of some compulsive behaviors and obesity. more...

14/04/2014 - The April issue of the CNRS International Magazine is now avalable

When World War I broke out a century ago, no one expected it to last as long and kill so many. Our feature story describes the ongoing work by historians to try to understand its origins and consequences, and explains how, for the first time, scientists played an active role in the war effort. Other subjects include a highlight on black holes; a portrait of Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, the ERC's new president; new advances in cancer therapy; how nanoparticles could soon be used to glue biological tissues; an exploration of Australia's insect biodiversity; the major role that family farming, celebrated this year by the UN, plays in the global economy; a presentation of Beirut's Ifpo, an Institute devoted to ancient and modern history of the Middle-East; and much more… more...

10/04/2014 - Confirmation of the neurobiological origin of attention-deficit disorder

A study, carried out on mice, has just confirmed the neurobiological origin of attention-deficit disorder (ADD), a syndrome whose causes are poorly understood. Researchers from CNRS, the University of Strasbourg and INSERM1 have identified a cerebral structure, the superior colliculus, where hyperstimulation causes behavior modifications similar to those of some patients who suffer from ADD. Their work also shows noradrenaline accumulation in the affected area, shedding light on this chemical mediator having a role in attention disorders. These results are published in the journal Brain Structure and Function. more...

06/04/2014 - How did plate tectonics emerge on Earth?

Tectonic plates move relative to one another on the Earth's surface. But what caused this division into separate plates, which led to plate tectonics? In an article published on the website of the journal Nature dated 6 April 2014, Yanick Ricard, a CNRS researcher at the Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon: Terre, Planètes et Environnement (CNRS/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1/ENS de Lyon) and David Bercovici from Yale University propose the first model to explain how the Earth's surface divided into plates. This model accounts for the emergence of plate tectonics as we know it today, and also explains why this phenomenon did not occur on Earth's sister planet, Venus. more...

02/04/2014 - Mercury contamination threatens Antarctic birds

Mercury contamination in the Antarctic and Subantarctic affects bird populations, reveal researchers from the Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé and from the 'Littoral, Environnement et Sociétés' Laboratory (CNRS / Université de La Rochelle). The scientists monitored skuas in Adélie Land and the Kerguelen Islands for ten years and showed that, when these seabirds exhibit high mercury levels in their blood, their breeding success decreases. This is the first time that toxicological measurements have been combined with a population study carried out over such a long period in the Antarctic and Subantarctic. The results, published in the journal Ecology in April 2014, show that pollutants that accumulate at the Poles can indeed cause a decline in bird populations. more...

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March

27/03/2014 - Saliva: a new trail in obesity genetics

Salivary amylase is a gene present in humans. Yet its number of copies can vary from one to 20, depending on the individual. Having a low copy number of the gene, which digests complex sugars (starches), favors obesity, according to an international team led by Professor Philippe Froguel from the Genomique et Maladies Métaboliques laboratory (CNRS/Université Lille 2/Institut Pasteur de Lille) (1). The researchers showed that people with the smallest number of salivary amylase copies (and therefore low amylase levels in the blood) are ten times more at risk of becoming obese. With each unit drop in the number of copies of this gene, the risk of obesity increases by 20%. This work, published on March 30, 2014 in Nature Genetics, reveals for the first time a genetic link between complex carbohydrate digestion and obesity. more...

23/03/2014 - Mother-of-pearl inspires super-strong material

Whether traditional or derived from high technology, ceramics all have the same flaw: they are fragile. Yet this characteristic may soon be a thing of the past: a team of researchers led by the Laboratoire de Synthèse et Fonctionnalisation des Céramiques (CNRS/Saint-Gobain), in collaboration with the Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon: Terre, Planètes et Environnement (CNRS/ENS de Lyon/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1) and the Laboratoire Matériaux: Ingénierie et Science (CNRS/INSA Lyon/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1), has recently presented a new ceramic material inspired by mother-of-pearl from the small single-shelled marine mollusk abalone. This material, almost ten times stronger than a conventional ceramic, is the result of an innovative manufacturing process that includes a freezing step. This method appears to be compatible with large-scale industrialization and should not be much more expensive than the techniques already in use. The artificial mother-of-pearl, which retains its properties at temperatures of at least 600°C, could find a wealth of applications in industry and reduce the weight or size of ceramic elements in motors and energy generation devices. This work was published on March 23, 2014 on the website of the journal Nature Materials. more...

17/03/2014 - New French-Chilean UMI to study marine algae

To strengthen their collaboration in the fields of ecology and marine evolutionary biology, the CNRS, UPMC and two Chilean universities signed an agreement on 17 March 2014 for the creation of an International Joint Unit (UMI)1. Called EBEA, 'Evolutionary Biology and Ecology of Algae', the new structure focuses on the ecology, evolution and genomics of marine algae. more...

14/03/2014 - Film: The Antilion, Wave Propagation in Sand

At the French Institute of Research on Insect Biology (IRBI), a team of researchers headed by Jérôme Casas is studying the mechanics of solids that enables the antlion to use a trap to attract and kill its prey. This insect larva digs a cone-shaped trap in dry sand and lurks at the bottom waiting for a prey, usually an ant, to fall in. The antlion is capable of detecting the sand grain displacement caused by the prey's movement as it tries to escape. It then throws loose sand at it to disorient and smother it. The apparent simplicity of the antlion's trap is an excellent model for elucidating the physical properties of sand. more...

13/03/2014 - Snapshot: Organized Chaos. A picture seen in CNRS international magazine n°32

"This seemingly dishevelled mop of hair actually shows the collision between two herds of colloidal particles capable of selfpropulsion..." more...

11/03/2014 - Africa's pollution in the spotlight

Human activity in Africa significantly contributes to air pollution. However, no detailed data regarding country-by-country pollutant emissions in the continent was available until now. To remedy this, a joint French-Ivory Coast team headed by the Laboratoire d'Aérologie (CNRS / Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier)1 mapped these emissions in Africa for 2005, before estimating them for 2030, using three scenarios. The researchers showed that the climate change models used by the IPCC underestimate Africa's emissions, which could account for 20-55% of global anthropogenic emissions of gaseous and particulate pollutants by 2030. This work, published on 11 March 2014 in the journal Environment Research Letters, will help not only to improve existing climate models, but also to assess the health impacts of pollution in Africa's urban areas. more...

05/03/2014 - VLT: MUSE takes a look at the Universe

A unique new instrument dubbed MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) has been successfully installed on the European Southern Observatory (ESO)'s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Paranal, in the heart of the Atacama desert in northern Chile. MUSE is one of four second-generation instruments selected by ESO (1) to equip the VLT (2), the flagship facility of European astronomy for the beginning of the third millennium. Thanks to its exceptional performance, this wide field of view, 3D spectrograph will be able to explore the distant Universe. It was developed in particular by two French research laboratories, the Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon (CNRS/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1/ENS de Lyon), which headed the project, and the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (CNRS/Université Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier). During its highly successful 'first light' (test phase), MUSE observed distant galaxies, bright stars and many other celestial objects. more...

03/03/2014 - 30,000 year-old giant virus found in Siberia

A new type of giant virus called “Pithovirus” has been discovered in the frozen ground of extreme north-eastern Siberia by researchers from the Information Génomique et Structurale laboratory (CNRS/AMU), in association with teams from the Biologie à Grande Echelle laboratory (CEA/INSERM/Université Joseph Fourier), Génoscope (CEA/CNRS) and the Russian Academy of Sciences. Buried underground, this giant virus, which is harmless to humans and animals, has survived being frozen for more than 30,000 years. Although its size and amphora shape are reminiscent of Pandoravirus, analysis of its genome and replication mechanism proves that Pithovirus is very different. This work brings to three the number of distinct families of giant viruses. It is published on the website of the journal PNAS in the week of March 3, 2014. more...

03/03/2014 - Earth's mantle plasticity explained

The Earth's mantle is a solid layer that undergoes slow, continuous convective motion. But how do these rocks deform, thus making such motion possible, given that minerals such as olivine (the main constituent of the upper mantle) do not exhibit enough defects in their crystal lattice to explain the deformations observed in nature? A team led by the Unité Matériaux et Transformations (CNRS/Université Lille 1/Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Lille) has provided an unexpected answer to this question. It involves little known and hitherto neglected crystal defects, known as 'disclinations', which are located at the boundaries between the mineral grains that make up rocks. Focusing on olivine, the researchers have for the first time managed to observe such defects and model the behavior of grain boundaries when subjected to a mechanical stress. The findings, which have just been published in Nature, go well beyond the scope of the geosciences: they provide a new, extremely powerful tool for the study of the dynamics of solids and for the materials sciences in general. more...

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February

26/02/2014 - CNRS president Alain Fuchs reappointed

Alain Fuchs has been reappointed president of the CNRS for a four-year term by France's Council of Ministers on February 26, 2014, on the recommendation of the Minister for Higher Education and Research. more...

13/02/2014 - Culture influences young people's self-esteem

Regardless of our personal values, we base most of our self-esteem on the fulfilment of the dominant values of our culture, reveals a global survey supervised by Maja Becker, a social psychologist at the CLLE (Laboratoire Cognition, Langue, Langages, Ergonomie, CNRS / Université de Toulouse II-Le Mirail). The results of the study, involving more than 5,000 teenagers and young adults in 19 countries, were recently published online in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. more...

11/02/2014 - Are wind farms changing Europe's climate?

The development of wind farms in Europe only has an extremely limited impact on the climate at the continental scale, and this will remain true until at least 2020. These are the main conclusions of a study carried out by researchers from CNRS, CEA and UVSQ1, in collaboration with INERIS and ENEA, the Italian agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable development. These results were established using climate simulations that included the effect on the atmosphere of wind farms located in Europe, on the basis of a realistic scenario forecasting a two-fold increase in wind energy production by 2020, in accordance with European countries' commitments. Published on the website of the journal Nature Communications on 11 February 2014, the work highlights the importance of carrying out fresh studies to assess the impact of wind energy development by 2050. more...

05/02/2014 - Graphene ribbons highly conductive at room temperature

An international team including researchers from CNRS, Université de Lorraine, the SOLEIL synchrotron facility , Georgia Institute of technology, Oak Ridge National laboratory and Université de Leibniz have achieved a remarkable feat: they have produced graphene ribbons in which electrons move freely. The scientists have devised an entirely novel way of synthesizing such ribbons, and demonstrated their exceptional electrical conductivity at room temperature. The nanoribbons hold out great promise for cutting-edge electronics. The work is published in the 6 February 2014 issue of the journal Nature. more...

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January

31/01/2014 - Researchers develop first single-molecule LED

The ultimate challenge in the race to miniaturize light emitting diodes (LED) has now been met: a team led by the Institut de Physique et de Chimie des Matériaux de Strasbourg (IPCMS, CNRS/Université de Strasbourg), in collaboration with UPMC and CEA, has developed the first ever single-molecule LED. The device is formed from a single polythiophene wire placed between the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope and a gold surface. It emits light only when the current passes in a certain direction. This experimental tour de force sheds light on the interactions between electrons and photons at the smallest scales. Moreover, it represents yet another step towards creating components for a molecular computer in the future. This work has recently been published in the journal Physical Review Letters. more...

29/01/2014 - The Wood-Cricket, Wave Propagation in the Air

The wood-cricket lives in the leaf litter in our forests. It's just a few millimeters long, and moves by walking or jumping. On its own scale, the grass, leaves and dead branches in the undergrowth form an extremely complex three-dimensional universe. The cricket is often hunted by the Pardosa lugubris, or wolf spider, which attacks it by surprise, running on the ground. It's been discovered that the cricket can sense the faintest breath of air pushed by the spider during an attack. This sensitivity can sometimes save its life, an exploit that intrigues the scientists… more...

29/01/2014 - Using rare earths to interpret certain fossils

Until now, interpreting flattened fossils was a major challenge. Now, a new approach for the analysis of such fossils has been developed by a team bringing together researchers from the IPANEMA unit (CNRS / French Ministry of Culture and Communication), the Centre de Recherche sur la Paléobiodiversité et les Paléoenvironnements (CNRS / MNHN / UPMC) and the SOLEIL synchrotron. This non-destructive method makes use of chemical elements known as rare earths. By locating and quantifying such elements in trace amounts, it is possible to improve interpretation of fossil morphology. This enabled the researchers to describe not only the anatomy but also the environment of preservation of three fossils of Cretaceous age. Published on 29 January in the journal Plos One, the work should facilitate the interpretation of many flattened fossils, especially those that are exceptionally well conserved. more...

22/01/2014 - Water vapor discovered for the first time around an asteroid

An international team, including researchers from CNRS and the Paris Observatory at LESIA1 (Observatoire de Paris/CNRS/Université Pierre et Marie Curie/Université Paris-Diderot) and at IMCEE2 (Observatoire de Paris/CNRS/Université Pierre et Marie Curie/Université Lille 1), has discovered intermittent emissions of water vapor on Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, using the Herschel3 space telescope. These findings are published in the journal Nature dated 23 January 2014. more...

21/01/2014 - Gold Wires : a picture seen in CNRS international magazine n°31

"This is not a dazzling jeweller's creation, but it is gold nonetheless, in the form of nanoparticles encapsulated in a cholesteric liquid crystal..." more...

21/01/2014 - The January issue of the CNRS International Magazine is now avalable

Last September, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the first volume of its Fifth Assessment Report. How was it prepared? How do scientists conduct research on climate change? All you ever wanted to know on IPCC reports is featured in this issue's Focus. Other subjects include a stroll on Mars with the rover Curiosity ; the latestinventory of the Amazon rainforest ; a new program to study meningitis outbreaks in Africa ; a fruitful collaboration with Azerbaidjan on archaeology; an interview of Alain Tarrius on a phenomenon he calls transmigration ; and a lot more… more...

17/01/2014 - First infrared satellite monitoring of peak pollution episodes in China

Plumes of several anthropogenic pollutants (especially particulate matter and carbon monoxide) located near ground level over China have for the first time been detected from space. The work was carried out by a team at the Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales (CNRS / UPMC / UVSQ)1 in collaboration with Belgian researchers and with support from CNES, using measurements by the IASI2 infrared sounder launched on board the MetOp3 satellite. Their groundbreaking results are published online on the website of the journal Geophysical Research Letters dated 17 January 2014. They represent a crucial step towards improved monitoring of regional pollution and forecasting of local pollution episodes, especially in China. more...

09/01/2014 - How fiber prevents diabetes and obesity

Scientists have known for the past twenty years that a fiber-rich diet protects the organism against obesity and diabetes but the mechanisms involved have so far eluded them. A French-Swedish team including researchers from CNRS, Inserm and the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (Unité Inserm 855 “Nutrition et Cerveau”) has succeeded in elucidating this mechanism, which involves the intestinal flora and the ability of the intestine to produce glucose between meals. These results, published in the journal Cell on 9 January 2014, also clarify the role of the intestine and its associated microorganisms in maintaining glycaemia. They will give rise to new dietary recommendations to prevent diabetes and obesity. more...

05/01/2014 - Supervolcano triggers recreated in X-ray laboratory

Scientists have reproduced the conditions inside the magma chamber of a supervolcano to understand what it takes to trigger its explosion. These rare events represent the biggest natural catastrophes on Earth except for the impact of giant meteorites. Using synchrotron X-rays, the scientists established that supervolcano eruptions may occur spontaneously, driven only by magma pressure without the need for an external trigger. The results are published in Nature Geosciences. The team was led by Wim Malfait and Carmen Sanchez-Valle of ETH Zurich (Switzerland) and comprised scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen (Switzerland), Okayama University (Japan), the Laboratory of Geology of CNRS, Université Lyon 1 and ENS Lyon (France) and the European Synchrotron (ESRF) in Grenoble (France). more...

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