Making sense of science

Newsletter March 2021

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This month in science (March 2021)
life article
Covid-19 variants are a game-changer
Virology More contagious and sometimes resistant to antibodies, some SARS-CoV-2 variants are gradually replacing the original strains. While this virus, which appeared recently in humans, is adapting to its new host, scientists from numerous disciplines are relentlessly monitoring its evolution.
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matter digital article
Reinventing computer science for quantum computing
Computer science To revolutionise computing, as the very first quantum computers have raised hopes of doing, researchers must meet exciting challenges, such as writing new informatics, and limiting the many errors still made by these ultra-powerful machines.
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society article
"The pandemic has shown that not all lives are equal"
Anthropology In the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 2.6 million people. The restrictive measures imposed by government authorities to limit the propagation of the virus raise the question of the price are we willing to pay to save a human life. Didier Fassin, a sociologist, anthropologist and physician who divides his time between France and the US, shares his views.
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Also this month
society article
Child survivors told of the Rwandan genocide
History Based on the testimonies of orphans who escaped the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, the historian Hélène Dumas offers a unique perspective on this key event of the 20th century.
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life article
The extraordinary fate of cells
Biology Is detecting Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers at an earlier stage, or testing the efficacy of treatments before they are prescribed the stuff of science fiction? Maybe not. To understand why a disease sets in and mimic its course in vitro, scientists are now examining the life and fate of...
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society video
Lalibela: a city dug in a rock
Archaeology Eleven churches carved from a rock, centuries of history and a mystery that remains. An ambitious research programme tries to unveil the complex past of Lalibela, the largest christian site in Africa, located in Ethiopia. The ongoing research will also help preserve this fragile heritage for future...
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matter article
Learning from the Fukushima decontamination
Environment After the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011, the Japanese authorities decided to clean up the region impacted by the radioactive plume. Olivier Evrard, a researcher in environmental science, visited the area regularly to conduct measurements. He explains what the decontamination...
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society article
The Middle Ages brought Epicurus out of the underworld
Philosophy Heretic and a slave to desire or radical ascetic and paragon of virtue: who was the real Epicurus? Retracing the history of representations of Epicureanism, the CNRS philosopher Aurélien Robert shows that the Middle Ages played an important role in rehabilitating a Greek philosopher who had been...
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society article
“Perpetrators of incest lead otherwise normal lives”
Anthropology The recent accusations levied against French constitutional lawyer Olivier Duhamel illustrate how, despite being taboo, incest is actually quite common in our society. The anthropologist Dorothée Dussy has looked into the issue for years and reveals how perpetrators lead otherwise ordinary lives,...
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And the latest from the CNRS
Press Releases
Discovery of a ‘winged’ shark in the Cretaceous seas
First images of the cosmic web reveal a myriad of unsuspected dwarf galaxies
Astronomers Image Magnetic Fields at the Edge of M87’s Black Hole
The CNRS to provide scientific steering for the first global seaweed coalition
Bacteria and viruses: a network of intestinal relationships
Charcot-Marie Tooth disease: A 100% French RNA-based therapeutic innovation
COVID-19 Screening: A New Model for Assessing the Efficiency of Group Testing
CNRS: A New Director at the Institute of Ecology and Environment
A Franco-Australian laboratory working towards better collaboration between humans and artificial intelligence
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