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What causes the violent explosions on the Sun's surface and our communication systems to occasionally go down? How do the Sun's mysterious magnetic fields behave? To this day, researchers remain puzzled by the Sun's complex physics. Even the biggest terrestrial solar telescopes, like the one on the Canary Islands, are simply not powerful enough to understand our star's moody behaviour. So European astrophysicists have a dream.
Published: 7 January 2014
At a training ground for firefighters near Barcelona, scientists and rescue workers from all over Europe are working together on an unusual research project.
Published: 26 August 2013
Sponges seem an unlikely source for innovation, yet they may hold the key to new nanotechnologies, innovative optical devices and new ways of regrowing human bone and preventing bone disease. Difficult to believe? Not for Werner E.G. Müller. In the BIOSILICA project, he and his team are developing ways to adapt the complex processes that natural glassy sponges use to build their wondrous biosilica structures for use in biodegradable implants that would facilitate bone healing after surgery or fractures.
Published: 22 August 2013
Survival of the fittest, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, is a slow biological process that takes place in a species over many generations. But Spanish researcher Marta López Darias and colleagues had a different idea. Her EU-funded research contributes to the growing body of evidence pointing to "rapid evolution in action".
Published: 27 March 2013
Published: 21 March 2013
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) & cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) are parasitic diseases transmitted to humans by the bite of sand flies. In VL, the parasite migrates to the internal organs such as liver, spleen and bone marrow. Signs and symptoms include fever, weight loss, mucosal ulcers, fatigue, anaemia and substantial swelling of the liver and spleen. VL if left untreated will almost always result in the death of the host. Meanwhile, CL is the most common form of leishmaniasis. It is a skin infection caused by a single-celled parasite that is also transmitted by sand fly bites and can cause facial disfigurement.
Published: 22 February 2013
Tomato ketchup may have been commonly used in low-budget movies to simulate blood, but the two substances actually have more in common than might first appear. Both are fundamentally affected in the way they behave by the actions of complex sugar molecules. That link may seem technical and obscure, but it points the way to a potentially vast range of benefits for human society - if only science could better understand and harness the capabilities of these molecules.
Published: 7 February 2013
Young French astronomer Johan Richard was able to fulfil many young boys' dreams to explore the Universe through the eye of a telescope, and discovered that the first galaxies may have formed much earlier than thought just 200 million years or so after the Universe's explosive birth. And his bold journey continues...
Published: 30 January 2013
August 2013 will see the launch of Gaia, a five-year space mission packed with scientific ambition that is quite literally astronomical. The European Space Agency (ESA) aims to chart about one billion stars, or roughly 1% of the Milky Way. It is expected to discover thousands of new celestial objects, from extra-solar planets to failed stars called brown dwarfs. It is an extraordinary endeavour, taking astrometry to a new level of complexity and precision, but it will mean little if Europe's science community cannot handle the volume of data that Gaia space mission is expected to send back to Earth. And this is where ELSA comes in.
Published: 10 January 2013
Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter on a molecular scale, brings together different sciences. It is not just about the physics of atomic arrangements, but also about the chemistry of each element involved. The mix becomes yet more complex when living organisms interact with the tiny structures. But by embracing this complexity - bringing together chemists, physicists, biologists and engineers - a research project has provided new insights into nanotechnology.
Published: 18 December 2012