Making sense of science

Newsletter September 2021

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This month in science (September 2021)
matter earth article
The mechanics of sea ice
Geophysics Major climate models are based on a series of more specific overlapping models that are in constant interaction with one another. However, those describing the behaviour of sea ice have proved to be obsolete. As a result, researchers are now developing new ones, using concepts derived from mechanics.
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life society article
Invasive species: an ecological and economic disaster
Ecology Biological invasions are the second most common cause of species extinction on Earth, and also take a heavy toll on our health and the economy. On the occasion of the World Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to be held in Marseille (southeastern France) from 3 to 11 September, CNRS News takes a closer look at this crucial issue.
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matter article
Dissecting the “spice” of Dune
Chemistry One of the central elements in the new sci-fi film Dune by Denis Villeneuve is a substance with extraordinary properties. Called “spice”, it bears a resemblance to certain molecules already in use in our own world! The CNRS chemist Fabrice Chemla explains.
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Also this month
earth article
Understanding urban heat islands
Meteorology The effects of urban heat islands, which can increase temperatures in cities by as much as 10 °C, are particularly noticeable in summer. For some twenty years Valéry Masson has been studying these localised phenomena, which often go undetected by conventional meteorological tools.
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society article
“Mein Kampf remains invaluable for understanding Nazism”
History Published last June, the study entitled Historiciser le Mal, une Édition Critique de Mein Kampf (“Historicising Evil, a Critical Edition of Mein Kampf”) is the fruit of five years of work by twelve specialists in Nazism. Historian Florent Brayard, co-director of the project, explains the impetus...
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digital article
Numbers that shape the world
Mathematics The study of numbers has driven mathematics since antiquity. The constantly evolving field of arithmetic connects numbers and geometry, and is used in everyday applications, particularly in cryptography.
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life diaporama
Keeping an eye on the forest
Ecology For the past 20 years, a scientific team has been monitoring the state of health of Barbeau Forest in the Seine-et-Marne region east of Paris. Researchers and engineers analyse the flux of carbon dioxide and water vapour between the forest and the atmosphere, with the goal of charting the impact...
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digital article
Van Eyck was a precursor of augmented reality
Art history Using digital technology, a researcher has unravelled the secrets of the use of perspective by the Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck, a technique previously believed to be specific to the Italian Renaissance artists.
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life diaporama
Landscapes of the microworld
Biology Progress in microscopy continues to expand our window onto the world of the infinitesimally small. Whether in chemistry, biology, engineering or digital simulation, these images paint a phantasmagoric and yet factual portrait of the world that we live in, that we build, and that lives within us.
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And the latest from the CNRS
Press Releases
Part of the Universe’s missing matter found thanks to the MUSE instrument
In northern Arabia, the monumental sculptures of the Camel Site date back to prehistoric times
Cyclones starve North Atlantic seabirds
COVID-19: Will telecommuting strategies stop the virus from circulating?
An artificial ionic neuron for tomorrow's electronic memories
MAGIC 2021: better understanding carbon sources and sinks in the boreal regions
Neanderthals indeed painted Andalusia’s Cueva de Ardales
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