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Latest European Science Foundation Stories

2008-11-23 14:21:05

Europe's shape is in a constant change: The Mediterranean basin is shrinking, the Alps are rising and pushing North, and Scandinavia is still rebounding after having been crushed by the weight of a thick and huge ice sheet in the ice ages. But what did Europe look like in the past, what are the processes controlling all these changes and what has the future in store for us? And how does the topography influence the climate of Europe on geological time scales?The EUROCORES programme...

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2008-11-18 10:39:41

Marginal plants, particularly trees, play a crucial role in sustaining the biodiversity of Europe's big river systems, according to a recently held workshop organized by the European Science Foundation (ESF). This finding provides important clues for protecting Europe's rivers against a combined onslaught from human development and climate change, which are tampering with existing ecosystems and changing both the physical and biological forces acting upon them. Both aquatic plants (living in...

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2008-11-17 10:10:00

Scientists have long known that life can exist in some very extreme environments. But Earth continues to surprise us. At a European Science Foundation and COST (European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research) 'Frontiers of Science' meeting in Sicily in October, scientists described apparently productive ecosystems in two places where life was not known before, under the Antarctic ice sheet, and above concentrated salt lakes beneath the Mediterranean. In both cases,...

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2008-11-05 10:17:10

Could life have started in a lump of ice? The universe is full of water, mostly in the form of very cold ice films deposited on interstellar dust particles, but until recently little was known about the detailed small scale structure. Now the latest quick freezing techniques coupled with sophisticated scanning electron microscopy techniques, are allowing physicists to create ice films in cold conditions similar to outer space and observe the detailed molecular organization, yielding clues to...

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2008-11-03 16:40:00

The Greenland ice cap has been a focal point of recent climate change research because it is much more exposed to immediate global warming than the larger Antarctic ice sheet. Yet while the southern Greenland ice cap has been melting, it is still not clear how much this is contributing to rising sea levels, and much further research is needed. A framework for such research was defined at a recent workshop organized by the European Science Foundation (ESF). "The main objectives were to...

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2008-10-20 10:25:00

A map of where proteins are located in tissues and cells could help scientists understand the molecular basis of diseases such as cancerResearchers in Sweden are compiling a remarkable 'atlas' that pinpoints the location of thousands of individual proteins in the body's tissues and cells which will give scientists important insights into the function of different proteins and how changes in the distribution of proteins could be reflected in diseases such as cancer. Professor Mathias...

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2008-10-17 09:13:47

For centuries man has had a uniquely close relationship with dogs "“ as a working animal, for security and, perhaps most importantly, for companionship. Now, dogs are taking on a new role "“ they are helping in the hunt for genetic mutations that lead to diseases in humans. "Dogs get very similar diseases to humans," said Kerstin Lindblad-Toh of Uppsala University in Sweden and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts. "If you ask a dog owner what sort of...

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2008-09-03 11:27:16

Nature inspires new highly specific drugs and organic products The best place to seek novel compounds for pharmaceutical drugs, alternative energy sources, and a host of industrial applications, is within natural systems that have evolved over millions of years. Scientists now realize that the precise molecular arrangements within natural pathways in organisms have been highly tuned for specific processes and provide both compounds that can be exploited directly and vital information over how...

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2008-07-31 10:45:00

The field of robotics could be poised for a breakthrough, leading to a new generation of intelligent machines capable of taking on multiple tasks and moving out of the factory into the home and general workplace. The great success of robots so far has been in automating repetitive tasks in process control and assembly, yielding dramatic cuts in production, but the next step towards cognition and more human-like behavior has proved elusive. It has been difficult to make robots that can truly...

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2008-06-27 06:38:39

Predicting climate change depends on many factors not properly included in current forecasting models, such as how the major polar ice caps will move in the event of melting around their edges. This in turn requires greater understanding of the processes at work when ice is under stress, influencing how it flows and moves. The immediate objective is to model the flow of ice sheets and glaciers more accurately, leading in turn to better future predictions of global ice cover for use in climate...


Word of the Day
pungle
  • To take pains; labor assiduously with little progress.
This word comes from the Spanish 'pongale,' put it.
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