Making sense of science

Newsletter February 2016

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This month in science (February 2016)
space article
A Nobel for Gravitational Waves
astrophysics The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 has just been awarded to Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne for their contribution to the first direct gravitational wave detection as part of the LIGO-Virgo collaboration. Rediscover our article on this historical discovery.
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society billet
Testing the Limits of Human Obedience
Social psychology Fifteen? Sixty? Four hundred volts? How many electric shocks would you have administered to an innocent test subject if you had been ordered to? Social psychologist Sophie Richardot looks back at Stanley Milgram's famous experiment, the subject of a film called "Experimenter."
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life article
Life Has its Dark Matter
Biology Revealed by metagenomics, previously unknown biodiversity brings our biological understanding into question. “Biological dark matter” may provide clues to a fourth domain of life.
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Also this month
space billet
The Ninth Planet
Astronomy The scientific world is in turmoil, our Solar System could have a new ninth planet. Historian of science at the CNRS, Denis Guthleben revisits this announcement in light of the recent, and not so recent, history of astronomy.
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digital article
Putting Humanoid Robots to Work
Robotics A French-Japanese program brings together researchers and aviation giant Airbus Group to deploy humanoid robots in airplane assembly lines.
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society article
A Rare Pre-Roman Tomb Surfaces in Pompeii
Interview Pompeii still holds many secrets. While excavating an area where craftsmen had their workshops, the archaeologist Lætitia Cavassa and her team uncovered a Samnite tomb. This Italic people lived in Pompeii from the 5th to the 1st century BC, before the town became a Roman colony.
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life video
Finding the Perfect Hornet Trap
Biology Since 2004, the yellow-legged hornet—also known as Asian hornet—has been spreading throughout Europe at an alarming rate. How can we get rid of this invasive species without killing other insects? The key is in finding the perfect trap...
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earth article
Drones for Research
innovation Building a 3D reconstruction of an abbey, modeling clouds, or monitoring the life of a bird colony: drones open up a whole range of new possibilities to researchers. CNRS News unveils some of these innovative projects.
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society video
An Architectural Puzzle Made of Stones
Archaeology Discovered in the 19th century when the city of Bordeaux's fortifications were dismantled, a collection of 400 architectural pieces that date back to the Roman empire have stumped researchers for years. A team of scientists think that they may have finally discovered which monuments some of these...
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matter article
Turning CO2 into a Valuable Resource
Environment To curb the amount of CO2 present in the atmosphere, researchers would like to use it to produce polymers, fuel, or even construction materials. Game on!
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matter article
The Dawn of Flexible Electronics?
Electronics OLED or flexible displays, rollable photovoltaic cells, smart sensors integrated into inks...Do organic electronics show promise of a technological revolution or are they just simple gadgets?
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