news 2020

Environment - Jul 6
Environment
What makes ships mysteriously slow down or even stop as they travel, even though their engines are working properly? This was first observed in 1893 and was described experimentally in 1904 without all the secrets of this "dead water" being understood. An interdisciplinary team from the CNRS and the University of Poitiers has explained this phenomenon for the first time: the speed changes in ships trapped in dead water are due to waves that act like an undulating conveyor belt on which the boats move back and forth.
Astronomy - Jul 2
Astronomy

Several interacting exoplanets have already been spotted by satellites. But a new breakthrough has been achieved with, for the first time, the detection directly from the ground of an extrasolar system of this type.

Innovation - Jun 11
Innovation

In conventional ultrasounds, variations in soft tissue structure distort ultrasound wavefronts. They blur the image and can hence prove detrimental to medical diagnosis.

Astronomy - Jun 17
Astronomy

An international collaboration bringing together over 200 scientists from 13 countries has shown that the very high-energy gamma-ray emission from quasars, galaxies with a highly energetic nucleus, is not concentrated in the region close to their central black hole but in fact extends over several thousand light-years along jets of plasma.

Health - Jun 9

Two exceptional strains of tuberculosis, isolated from East African patients with multi-resistant forms of the disease, have been discovered thanks to the use of a new molecular test, Deeplex-MycTB 1.


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Environment - Mathematics - 06.07.2020
Behind the dead-water phenomenon
Behind the dead-water phenomenon
What makes ships mysteriously slow down or even stop as they travel, even though their engines are working properly? This was first observed in 1893 and was described experimentally in 1904 without all the secrets of this "dead water" being understood. An interdisciplinary team from the CNRS and the University of Poitiers has explained this phenomenon for the first time: the speed changes in ships trapped in dead water are due to waves that act like an undulating conveyor belt on which the boats move back and forth.

Astronomy / Space Science - 02.07.2020
Unprecedented ground-based discovery of two strongly interacting exoplanets
Unprecedented ground-based discovery of two strongly interacting exoplanets
Several interacting exoplanets have already been spotted by satellites. But a new breakthrough has been achieved with, for the first time, the detection directly from the ground of an extrasolar system of this type.  An international collaboration including CNRS researchers 1 has discovered an unusual planetary system, dubbed WASP-148, using the French instrument SOPHIE at the Observatoire de Haute-Provence (CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université) .

Astronomy / Space Science - 17.06.2020
Quasar jets are particle accelerators thousands of light-years long
Quasar jets are particle accelerators thousands of light-years long
An international collaboration bringing together over 200 scientists from 13 countries has shown that the very high-energy gamma-ray emission from quasars, galaxies with a highly energetic nucleus, is not concentrated in the region close to their central black hole but in fact extends over several thousand light-years along jets of plasma.

Innovation - Physics - 11.06.2020
Matrix imaging: an innovation for improving ultrasound resolution
Matrix imaging: an innovation for improving ultrasound resolution
In conventional ultrasounds, variations in soft tissue structure distort ultrasound wavefronts. They blur the image and can hence prove detrimental to medical diagnosis. Researchers at the Institut Langevin (CNRS/ESPCI Paris-PSL) 1 have developed a new non-invasive ultrasound method that avoids such aberrations.

Health - 09.06.2020
Tuberculosis: discovery of an ancestral lineage in the African Great Lakes region
Two exceptional strains of tuberculosis, isolated from East African patients with multi-resistant forms of the disease, have been discovered thanks to the use of a new molecular test, Deeplex-MycTB 1. These strains belong to a so far unknown bacterial lineage, apparently limited to the African Great Lakes region.

History / Archeology - 09.06.2020
Discovering the prehistoric monuments of Arabia
Discovering the prehistoric monuments of Arabia
In contrast to the prehistoric remains of the Near East, the megalithic monuments of Arabia remain largely unknown. These monumental structures, made of dry stone walls, still hold many secrets in terms of their construction, function and chronology. An international collaboration 1 of scientists from France, Saudi Arabia and Italy 2 , led by Olivia Munoz, a researcher at the CNRS, have discovered a 35-metre long triangular platform in the oasis of Dûmat al-Jandal (northern Saudi Arabia).

Health - 02.06.2020
Promising initial results for a COVID-19 diagnostic test in saliva
Promising initial results for a COVID-19 diagnostic test in saliva
Scientists in the Sys2diag Laboratory (CNRS/ALCEN) and doctors from University Hospital (CHU) of Montpellier have presented the first results of a clinical trial on the EasyCov SARS-CoV-2 detection test. This shows satisfactory performance for a field test that solves a problem in situations where the RT-PCR test cannot be used.

Life Sciences - 25.05.2020
7,000 years of demographic history in France
7,000 years of demographic history in France
A team led by scientists from the Institut Jacques Monod (CNRS/Université de Paris) 1 have shown that French prehistory was punctuated by two waves of migration: the first during the Neolithic period, about 6,300 years ago, the second during the Bronze Age, about 4,200 years ago.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 22.05.2020
Cell reproduction dogma challenged
Cell reproduction dogma challenged
Meiosis is essential to sexual reproduction. For almost 15 years, it has been commonly held that retinoic acid, a molecule derived from vitamin A, triggers meiosis in mammalian germ cells. Yet, in joint articles published in Science Advances ( 22 May 2020 ), researchers from the Institut de Biologie Valrose (CNRS / INSERM / Université Côte d'Azur) and the IGBMC (CNRS / INSERM / University of Strasbourg), with their colleagues, demonstrate that meiosis in mice begins and proceeds normally even in the absence of retinoic acid.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space Science - 18.05.2020
Mars: where mud flows like lava
Mars: where mud flows like lava
The surface of the planet Mars bears probable traces of -sedimentary volcanism-, a geological phenomenon that leads to the eruption of mud from underground. But how does a mixture of sediment and water behave in the open air on the Red Planet? Conditions there are extremely different from those on Earth - atmospheric pressure is 150 times lower and temperatures are generally negative.

Life Sciences - 14.05.2020
The dreaming brain tunes out the outside world
The dreaming brain tunes out the outside world
Scientists from the CNRS and the ENS-PSL in France 1 and Monash University in Australia have shown that the brain suppresses information from the outside world, such as the sound of a conversation, during the sleep phase linked to dreaming. This ability be one of the protective mechanisms of dreams.

Environment - 11.05.2020
A century of misunderstanding of a key tool in the economics of natural resources
In the past few weeks, oil prices have fallen to record lows. This development was not predicted by the Hotelling rule, an equation proposed in 1931 that remains central to the economics of natural resources today. In an article published on 11 May 2020 in the Canadian Journal of Economics , economists Roberto Ferreira da Cunha, of the Berkeley Research Group, and Antoine Missemer, of the CNRS, present the results of a groundbreaking historical survey of documents from Harold Hotelling's archives.

Health - Mechanical Engineering - 06.05.2020
COVID-19: in uncommon times, dark matter specialists have applied their skills to ventilators
COVID-19: in uncommon times, dark matter specialists have applied their skills to ventilators
The Mechanical Ventilator Milano (MVM), an open source ventilator to support patients severely ill with COVID-19, has moved from design to reality in six weeks, propelled by physicists specialised in dark matter who turned their attention away from unknown particles for this period. It has just been authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as within the scope of the emergency use authorization for ventilators in intensive care.

Health - 05.05.2020
Scientists observe bacteria tumble their way out of surface traps
Scientists observe bacteria tumble their way out of surface traps
While tracing the movement of Escherichia coli, a team of French researchers noticed that near solid surfaces, the bacteria run in circles. Loop after loop, the tracing almost looks like an Olympic figure skating rink before the Zamboni irons the sheet of ice smooth. Breaking down E. coli's routine step by step, the scientists identified a signature move-surface tumbling.

Health - Pharmacology - 04.05.2020
Six new research projects concerning Covid-19
On April 10, 2020, ANR announced the funding of 86 projects concerning Covid-19. Six are associated with ENS de Lyon laboratories. The SARS-CoV-2 infection is a global emergency for human health. The interferon response is the body's first barrier to defending viral infections. This host response is initiated by the recognition of viral elements by receptor and leads to the production of molecules, including interferon, that alert surrounding cells.

Astronomy / Space Science - 23.04.2020
New discovery: first asteroid population from outside our solar system
New discovery: first asteroid population from outside our solar system
Ka`epaoka`awela asteroid 1 surprised the world in 2018: it was the first object in the solar system that was demonstrated to be of extrasolar origin. But now those who discovered it have announced that it is not alone. Published in MNRAS on 23 April 2020, work by Fathi Namouni, a CNRS researcher in the Laboratoire Lagrange (CNRS/Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur/Université Côte d'Azur), and Helena Morais, researcher at UNESP in Brazil, proves that at least 19 other asteroids orbited another star before joining our system.

Earth Sciences - 15.04.2020
A new tool to predict volcanic eruptions
A new tool to predict volcanic eruptions
Earth's atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, a mixture that is unique in the Solar System 1 . The oxygen was produced by some of the first living organisms. But where did the nitrogen come from? Did it escape from Earth's mantle through volcanic activity? To try to answer these questions, Jabrane Labidi, a CNRS researcher at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (CNRS/IPGP/IGN) 2 and his colleagues collected samples of gas from several volcanic sites on our planet.

Physics - Astronomy / Space Science - 15.04.2020
Where did the antimatter go? Neutrinos shed promising new light
Where did the antimatter go? Neutrinos shed promising new light
We live in a world of matter - because matter overtook antimatter , though they were both created in equal amounts by the Big Bang when our universe began. As featured on the cover of Nature on 16 April 2020, neutrinos and the associated antimatter particles, antineutrinos, are reported to have a high likelihood of differing behaviour that offers a promising path to explaining the asymmetry between matter and antimatter.

Life Sciences - 09.04.2020
Risk aversion as a survival strategy in ants
Risk aversion as a survival strategy in ants
Ants are excellent navigators and always find their way back to the nest. But how do they react when an obstacle or a predator blocks their path? An international team including Antoine Wystrach, a CNRS researcher at the Research Centre on Animal Cognition (CNRS/Université Tou-louse III - Paul Sabatier), has shown that ants are capable of changing their familiar route to avoid traps thanks to an aversive learning mechanism: by associating visual cues with negative experiences, they can memorise potentially dangerous routes.

History / Archeology - Physics - 09.04.2020
Neanderthal cord weaver
Neanderthal cord weaver
Contrary to popular belief, Neanderthals were no less technologically advanced than Homo sapiens . An international team, including researchers from the CNRS, have discovered the first evidence of cord making, dating back more than 40,000 years 1 , on aflint fragment from the prehistoric site of Abri du Maras in the south of France 2 .

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