Making sense of science

Newsletter December 2021

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This month in science (December 2021)
life digital article
Data storage: the DNA revolution
Computer science Two seminal revolutionary declarations, now stored and encapsulated in DNA, are joining the French national archives (Archives nationales). Behind this project is the DNA Drive technology developed by the researchers Stéphane Lemaire and Pierre Crozet.
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matter article
SPIRAL2, the atom factory
Physics In the French city of Caen, GANIL's new heavy ion accelerator, SPIRAL2, has completed commissioning. The custom-built linear accelerator is even more powerful than its predecessor and will pave the way for the exploration, with unparalleled precision, of different scenarios for the formation of matter. CNRS News takes a look at the technical, technological and human prowess that enabled this unique project to be brought to completion.
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life earth article
Sea monsters at the time of the dinosaurs
Palaeontology Over 60 million years ago, superpredators such as ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and mosasaurs roamed the seas. But what exactly were these reptiles, which are often incorrectly referred to as “marine dinosaurs”? CNRS News asked three of the authors of “La Mer au Temps des Dinosaures” (“The Oceans at the Time of the Dinosaurs”) to tell us more about these “sea monsters”.
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Also this month
life video
Urban birds, stressed birds
Ethology Birds are an increasingly rare sight in our cities. In this report, researchers from the Centre for Biological Studies of Chizé (CEBC) investigate the problems – noise, light, lack of food – that affect various species of birds in urban areas, and seek solutions to save them from extinction....
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digital article
Athénan, a multi-champion AI
Computer science Close-up on a French system that won the jackpot at the recent 24th Computer Olympiad, a global multi-game competition for artificial intelligence.
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digital article
Ransomware: research strikes back
Computer science All it takes is one click for your computer to be taken hostage by a malware program that will relinquish control only for a ransom. Upon the launch of Cybermallix, a CNRS joint laboratory with the software publisher Wallix, Jean-Yves Marion, director of the LORIA, explains how these attacks work,...
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society article
Writers know no frontiers
Literature In solidarity with the people of Ukraine, PEN International, the largest worldwide writers’ organisation, has published an open letter signed by more than 1,000 authors to condemn the Russian invasion. On this occasion, we invite you to (re)read our interview with Laetitia Zecchini, co-author of a...
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life diaporama
Sea urchins under threat
Marine biology Over the past few years, populations of purple sea urchins off the coasts of France have been declining. In Corsica, researchers at the Stella Mare lab, headed by Antoine Aiello, winner of the CNRS 2021 innovation medal, are taking action by monitoring natural populations and restoring stocks.
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life article
Natural radioactivity sustains unsuspected subsurface life
Geochemistry At the bottom of mines or beneath the ocean floor, drillings reveal the presence of vast communities of microorganisms in the subsurface of our planet. Scientists believe this could be due to natural radioactivity in rocks, which may offset the lack of sunlight and organic matter.
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And the latest from the CNRS
Press Releases
Election campaigns and platforms do have an impact on public policy
Cracking the mystery of nitrogen ice dynamics on Pluto
Einstein wins in the end (once again)
Experiment gives rise to social conventions between baboons
10.12.2021, an audiovisual broadcasting platform for mathematics
A new French-Italian Mathematics Laboratory
Cybermallix counter-attack against viruses and malware
When variations in Earth's orbit drive biological evolution
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