Making sense of science

Newsletter January 2017

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This month in science (January 2017)
digital article
Claire Voisin, Forms and Formulas
Mathematics Claire Voisin has just been awarded the prestigious Shaw Prize, also known as the 'Nobel of the East,' in mathematical sciences. She had received the 2016 CNRS Gold Medal, France’s highest scientific distinction, for her research in complex algebraic geometry.
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society article
Shakespeare: as Topical as Ever
Literature Terrorism, the rise of nationalism, migratory flows... Many of Shakespeare's plays directly address issues that would not be out of place in contemporary Europe. "New Faces," a research program entirely dedicated to drawing and understanding these parrallels was launched in 2016 for the 400th anniversary of the poet's death. Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin, a Shakespeare specialist who initiated the project, explains its scope.
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life article
Brainless Slime Can Share 'Learned' Knowledge
Biology Following up on earlier revelation that blobs of slime mold possess previously unsuspected learning capacities, researchers have shown that blobs also share what they learn with one another.
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Also this month
digital article
Simulation and Modeling: Less is More
Modeling To represent reality more accurately, is it better to simplify models and simulations or make them more complex? Specialist Frédéric Alexandre explains the latest developments and limits of current research in modeling and simulation.
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earth article
Methane Concentrations on the Rise
Environment For the first time, a complete report on methane emissions has been published. After stabilizing in the early 2000s, methane concentrations in the atmosphere began to increase again in 2007, rising sharply since 2014. An explanation by researcher Marielle Saunois, a specialist in atmospheric...
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society billet
Data Protection: Encryption is not Enough
Computer science When looking at data protection protocols, even the most robust encryption can be breached if the other elements of the protocol are weak.
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life billet
Why Do we Sleep?
Biology Sleep is a loss of time and—at least for wild animals—increases the risk of being attacked and eaten. So why has evolution perpetuated this function? According to the biologist Paul-Antoine Libourel, reptiles and amphibians hold the key to this mystery.
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life billet
Repairing Elastic Organs
Biology Breathing, running, eating, urinating, singing or giving birth are all actions that mobilize our elasticity. How can we preserve this essential capacity of organs and tissues to return to their original shape after being deformed? The biologist Pascal Sommer sheds light on this topic.
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society article
Are Digital Devices Robbing our Memories?
Neuroscience We are increasingly relying on digital devices to record information in our place. While such use of digital technologies might free up our brain to focus on other tasks, is there not a long-term risk of memory deterioration? We asked a specialist in the field.
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matter video
The physics of Champagne
Physics Apart from creating the pleasant feeling on our tongues, Champagne's effervescence plays a key role in the release of aromas into the air. A team of researchers in France have studied the physics of Champagne's tiny gas bubbles.
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society article
When Hate goes Viral
Communication How does hate spread online? A large-scale investigation of online violence and propaganda and their effect on young people is currently being led by Catherine Blaya, a professor of educational sciences and the president of the International Observatory of Violence in School (IOVS).
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