Making sense of science

Newsletter April 2016

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This month in science (April 2016)
society digital article
The Lost City of Akhenaten
04.11.2016
Archaeology Pharaoh Akhenaten imposed a single religion, based on the worship of the sun disk “Aten,” and built a new capital city, Amarna, using entirely new architectural techniques. For the first time, researchers were able to reproduce 3D models of some of its buildings.
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space article
Europe Heads to Mars
03.14.2016
Astronomy With its probe scheduled to land on Mars on October 19th, ExoMars 2016 is the first of two European missions to investigate the Red Planet’s atmosphere and find evidence of past life under its surface. Franck Montmessin, CNRS researcher and lead scientist on the mission’s key instruments, explains the high stakes of this historical campaign.
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life billet
Imagine Living in a Parallel World
03.31.2016
Biology Is the world we know only one of many possible alternatives? Pondering the numerous episodes that have repeated themselves during the history of life on Earth, biologist Virginie Orgogozo, CNRS senior researcher and Young Woman Scientist of the year 2014, explores the other paths that evolution might have taken.
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Also this month
digital article
Eating Local: An IT Challenge?
03.16.2016
Computer science Eating local is easier said than done. Farmers need to organize their production methods differently and remain cost-effective. Computer scientists are now trying to find better ways to manage these short supply chains to bring customers and producers together.
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matter article
On the Hot Trail of Cold Plasmas
03.25.2016
Physics Plasmas, the fourth state of matter, are usually found at temperatures of several million degrees. But there are also cold plasmas, which are already very much used in the semiconductor and lighting industries and are progressing quickly in the fields of medicine, air depollution, and space...
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society article
Terrorism: Testing our Connected Solidarity
03.30.2016
Sociology In modern Western societies, where individualism prevails, the outpouring of solidarity for victims of terrorist attacks may seem surprising. Sociologist GĂ©rĂ´me Truc sheds light on this paradox.
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society article
digital
Ramanujan: The Man Who Knew Infinity
04.08.2016
Mathematics The self-taught Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan remains today one of the field’s greatest enigmas. Number theorist and 2014 Fields Medalist Manjul Bhargava shares his insight on his legacy, the profound influence his work has had on him—and the upcoming biopic starring Dev Patel and Jeremy...
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digital article
Navigating the Crowd with SPENCER
04.12.2016
Robotics How do we lead a group of people through a crowd of thousands? Seemingly intuitive for humans, this task was just put to the test using a robot called SPENCER, whose objective is to help passengers make their connecting flights in one of the world’s busiest airports.
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earth article
Dust, Blowing in the Winds of Climate Change
03.23.2016
climatology Dust from the African deserts spreads across the globe, playing a complex, but important role on ecology and the planet’s climate. New findings by a French-US team shed light on the underlying mechanisms that carried this dust in the past, and how these may change in the coming decades.
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life video
Awakening Our Sixth Sense
03.18.2016
cognitive sciences If our five “classical” senses exist to help us sound our environment, our sixth sense has more to do with the inside of our body. In this video, discover the latest research on proprioception, the sense of balance, of relative position and of agility, which plays a fundamental role in all our...
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life diaporama
Planktonic Encounters
03.10.2016
Marine biology Plankton, which consists of microscopic organisms of plant or animal origin, comes in a wide variety of shapes—each more surprising than the next. Biologist John Dolan, who studies this fascinating diversity, shares a few specimens seen under his microscope in samples from the Mediterranean Sea and...
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