Making sense of science

Newsletter February 2021

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This month in science (February 2021)
space video
SuperCam, our eyes and ears on Mars
Planetology In this animated video, discover the SuperCam instrument, developed by teams from the CNRS, the CNES and their French and international partners, and embarked on the Perseverance which landed on Mars on 18 February, 2021. 
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digital article
French research at the heart of the Quantum Plan
Quantum physics The new Quantum Plan announced by President Emmanuel Macron on 21 January 2021 will provide a framework for France's industrial and research forces to make the country a key player in quantum technology.
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society article
The sound of Palaeolithic music
Palaeoanthropology Although large conch-shaped shells still serve as musical instruments in various regions of the Pacific and Caribbean, their use in the Palaeolithic had never been established. For the first time, scientists have produced a sound from the oldest conch horn ever found in Europe. The object, which dates back 18,000 years, was discovered in the painted cave of Marsoulas in the French Pyrenees mountain range.
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Also this month
matter article
A CNRS collaboration achieves quantum supremacy
Computer science With an algorithm capable, in only a few seconds, to solve a problem that would take a supercomputer billions of years to work out, a team of scientists including members of the CNRS has reached quantum supremacy. Their research has successfully verified a quantum advantage in computing, such as...
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space article
Pernelle Bernardi has her eyes set on Mars
Portrait Meet systems engineer Pernelle Bernardi, in charge of the specifications and performance of SuperCam, one of the instruments on board the rover Perseverance.
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society article
Understanding how a group of people splits
Modeling Surprising collective behaviour can be observed within human groups. A research team in southwestern France has focused on segregation, and on the information necessary to trigger it. This study could shed light on the polarisation of opinion on social media.
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life article
Preventing insect decline means taking immediate action
Ecology In an official advice, the French academy of sciences sounds the alarm about the decline of insects. CNRS News talked to Philippe Grandcolas, head of the ISYEB, and co-author of the scientific report that prompted the appeal.
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society article
Are algorithms sensitive to humour, emotions and hate?
Computer science At a recent CNRS conference organised on the theme “Artificial intelligence: the computer overcomes the language barrier”, the researcher Farah Benamara spoke about advances in automatic processing of evaluative language, a term that refers to the expression of opinions and positive or negative...
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society billet
Are fans of TV series addicts or control freaks?
Communication Avid watchers of television and streaming series are often portrayed as hooked to their screens and completely passive. But is that a fair assessment? According to a new study, viewers actually control what they watch in a manner more akin to how people manage their reading habits than their...
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And the latest from the CNRS
Press Releases
Record breaking observations at a depth of 172 metres shed light on how hard coral survives without light
Heat islands and lack of running water promote dengue fever in Delhi, India
The quantum advantage: a novel demonstration
Recognizing liars from the sound of their voice?
Exoplanets: SPIRou carries out first ever measurement of a very young planet’s density
History of the Champagne vineyards revealed
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