Making sense of science

Newsletter November 2019

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This month in science (November 2019)
society article
The CNRS at 80: Emmanuel Macron pays tribute to “A model for freedom of research”
Policy The CNRS celebrated is 80th anniversary on 26 November in Paris, with an international symposium and an extraordinary ceremony for the 2019 Gold Medal—awarded to the physical chemist Thomas Ebbesen—in the presence of the French President, several ministers, as well as French and international research representatives.
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matter space video
Bouncing Lasers off the Moon
Physics Fifty years after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's historic moonwalk, scientific instruments deployed on the Moon's surface continue to supply valuable data to scientists. Using these reflectors still in place on the Moon's surface, a team of researchers and engineers in France measure the Earth-Moon distance with millimetric precision.
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matter digital article
A Digital Twin for Notre-Dame
Modeling Creating a Google Earth of sorts for the cathedral of Paris, that is the ambitious project of a team of researchers. Their objective is clear: to gather all past and future knowledge about the structure within a collaborative platform.
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Also this month
matter billet
Can we Create Environmentally-Friendly Plastics?
Environment This year, the world will produce 360 million tons of plastics. From their disposal in the environment to implications on human health, this has become a major societal issue. The chemists and polymer scientists Sophie Guillaume and Jean-François Gérard explain how research is trying to find...
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matter article
Thomas Ebbesen: "I Feel like an Explorer"
Physics chemistry On Tuesday November 26, Thomas Ebbesen was awarded the CNRS Gold Medal, one of France's highest scientific distinctions. The author of several groundbreaking discoveries, the French-Norwegian physical-chemist discusses his current research into uncovering the secrets of matter.
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earth article
What Makes our Continents Dance?
Geophysics What forces move the tectonic plates of the Earth's surface? A team of geophysicists drawn primarily from two CNRS laboratories used a 3D simulation of our planet to answer this 50-year-old question.
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society article
Tracing Back the Potters of Pompeii
Archaeology In the year 79 CE, the eruption of Vesuvius froze the life of Pompeii in one brief instant. Nearly two thousand years later, archaeologists are trying to reconstruct the city’s history and activity. One of them is Laetitia Cavassa, who is conducting a study on Pompeii’s potters. She recounts her...
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matter video
Faster and Greener Data Storage
nanoscience About 90% of the digital information that exists today was created in the past two years. Finding new materials able to capture this expanding digital world—and that are less energy-hungry—has become a priority for many research laboratories around the world. The Jean Lamour Institute in the East...
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society billet
Why Virtual Assistants Need a Body
Robotics Alexa and Google Home Assistant are just a first step. Since voice is not enough on its own, scientists are working to create virtual beings that can communicate through gestures and facial expressions as well. This is far from an easy task, as Justine Cassell and Catherine Pelachaud explain.
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matter video
Will Metal Powder be the Fuel of the Future?
Chemistry What if we could power our vehicles with metal powder? Aluminium and magnesium have the same energy density as fossil fuels and the waste—metal oxydes—can be recycled with concentrated solar energy.
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earth diaporama
Monitoring Glaciers at the Top of the world
Glaciology What impact does climate change have on Himalayan glaciers? Over the last ten years, an international team of scientists has studied the gradual evolution of glaciers in Nepal, a phenomenon that could threaten local populations. This year, part of the team will once again be on site to continue...
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And the latest from the CNRS
Press Releases
First detection of very high energy gamma-ray bursts
The Tara Oceans mission reveals variations in plankton biodiversity and activity from the equator to the poles
World’s oldest glue used from prehistoric times till the days of the Gauls
What future do emperor penguins face?
SDHI pesticides are toxic for human cells
TONGA Project: Studying the impact of submarine volcanoes on biological activity at the ocean surface
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