Making sense of science

Newsletter December 2016

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This month in science (December 2016)
life billet
Why Do we Age?
Medicine We all know that our bodies deteriorate as we get older. By trying to understand why, scientists are hoping that they may eventually be able to slow down, or even stop, this process.
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matter article
At the Heart of Nuclear Matter with SPIRAL2
Physics A new heavy-ion accelerator was inaugurated a year ago at the GANIL facility in Caen (northwestern France). The first phase in the SPIRAL2 project, this new instrument will enable scientists to delve further into the mysteries of the atom and even create new elements.
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life matter article
Soft Chemistry: Naturally Creative
Chemistry An overview of the applications of an environmentally friendly chemistry, one that is inspired by natural processes and able to create new materials: soft chemistry.
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Also this month
society article
Understanding Radicalization
Interview A call for proposals launched by the CNRS in the wake of last year's terrorist attacks in Paris led to the submission of a number of projects that focus on radicalization. In September, the CNRS organized the first-ever international thematic workshop on this complex issue—the subject of much...
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earth article
Climate: Time for Solutions?
COP 22 A year on from the Paris Agreement, the COP22 was held in Marrakech November 7-18. Indigenous knowledge, scientific data and grassroots initiatives all play a role in researchers' assessments and recommendations for tackling climate change and its consequences.
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earth diaporama
History Down the Drain
Geochemistry While renovating a sand filter, a water purification device located in Orléans, researchers were able to access sediments that had accumulated since 1942 from particles transported in the wastewater and rainwater network. They hope to reconstruct over 70 years of local history through their...
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life billet
Astatine, an Ally against Cancer
Chemistry Astatine is one of the rarest chemical elements on Earth, and one of the most unstable. Nevertheless, it is of considerable interest to medical research as it could help destroy cancerous tumors that are difficult to treat.
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matter article
The New Challenges of Spintronics
Electronics Spintronics, which uses both the electrical and magnetic properties of electrons, has greatly increased the storage capacity of hard drives since the 1990s. Today it opens up new avenues for the future of information technology.
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life article
Finding Life in an Inferno
Evolution Last year, a group of scientists travelled to the hydrothermal site of Dallol in northern Ethiopia. In this extreme environment and against all odds, they discovered traces of life.
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society article
In the Days of Human Zoos
Anthropology Human beings on display in zoos: this was the public entertainment provided by certain late 19th century societies, at a time when racial stereotyping was not called into question.
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life article
Animals that Self-Medicate
Zoology What if chimpanzees, or even insects, could help us find new cures for malaria or cancer? Welcome to the fascinating world of zoopharmacognosy.
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