Events

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August

14/08/2018 - 2018–2022 expected to be abnormally hot years

This summer's world-wide heatwave makes 2018 a particularly hot year. As will be the next few years, according to a study led by Florian Sévellec, a CNRS researcher at the Laboratory for Ocean Physics and Remote Sensing (LOPS) (CNRS/IFREMER/IRD/University of Brest) and at the University of Southampton, and published in the 14 August 2018 edition of Nature Communications. Using a new method, the study shows that at the global level, 2018–2022 may be an even hotter period than expected based on current global warming. more...

10/08/2018 - Parker Solar Probe: French research takes off for the Sun

Parker Solar Probe will soon become the spacecraft to travel the closest to the Sun, by positioning itself a little over 6 million kilometers from our star's surface. During its journey within the solar corona, the NASA probe will notably have an on-board instrument developed by researchers from the CNRS, université d'Orléans, and the CNES. In total five French laboratories are involved in this mission seeking to lift the veil on phenomena observed in the Sun's atmosphere. The probe is planned to leave Earth on August 11, 2018. more...

06/08/2018 - Mice's individuality is influenced by their relations

Individuality exists in all animals, and a number of factors shape it over time. For mice, one of those factors is the social environment, as researchers at CNRS, INSERM and Sorbonne Université have just shown. In this species, some stable character traits may even be inscribed in an individual's neuron activity and change when the group's composition changes. These results are published on August 6, 2018 in Nature Communications. more...

06/08/2018 - The bark side of the force

What forces enable trees to stand upright? To grow straight, plants need a motor system that controls their posture by generating forces to offset gravity. Scientists have long thought that this motor force was controlled only by the internal forces induced in wood. In a study published on 4 August 2018 in New Phytologist, researchers from the CNRS and Cirad show that bark is also involved in the generation of mechanical stresses in several tree species. more...

01/08/2018 - CNRS congratulates Alessio Figalli, winner of the 2018 Fields Medal

The 2018 Fields Medal has been awarded to Alessio Figalli, a CNRS researcher since 2007 currently seconded to ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). This distinction, the most prestigious prize in the realm of mathematics, was bestowed in recognition of his work in calculus of variations, optimal control, optimization and partial differential equations. Caucher Birkar (born in Kurdistan, British citizen), professor at Cambridge University, Peter Scholze (Germany), professor at the Frédéric-Guillaume Rhineland University in Bonn and Akshay Venkatesh (born in India, Australian citizen), professor at Stanford University are also Fields 2018 medal winners. more...

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July

30/07/2018 - Largest king penguin colony has shrunk nearly 90%

The world's biggest colony of king penguins is found in the National Nature Reserve of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF). Using high-resolution satellite images, researchers from the Chizé Centre for Biological Studies (CNRS / University of La Rochelle)1 have detected a massive 88% reduction in the size of the penguin colony, located on Île aux Cochons, in the Îles Crozet archipelago. The causes of the colony's collapse remain a mystery but may be environmental. These findings are published in Antarctic Science (July 25). more...

26/07/2018 - GRAVITY confirms predictions of general relativity near the Galactic Centre Massive Black Hole

Observations made with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have, for the first time, detected the effects of general relativity predicted by Einstein, in the movement of a star passing into the intense gravitational field of Sagittarius A*, a massive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. These results were obtained by the GRAVITY consortium1, led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Germany and also involving the CNRS, the Paris Observatory (PSL), the Université Grenoble-Alpes and several French universities. These findings, the culmination of 26 years of observations using telescopes at the ESO in Chile, were published by the GRAVITY consortium on 26 July 2018 in Astronomy & Astrophysics. more...

18/07/2018 - Old Theban port of Chalcis: A medieval maritime crossroads in Greece

Showcased in museums the world over, Byzantine ceramics are the vestiges of an ancient empire that dominated the Mediterranean region for nearly ten centuries. One CNRS researcher1, in cooperation with Greek colleagues2, has focused her attention on a widely disseminated style of ceramics called the “main Middle Byzantine Production,” found in all four corners of the Mediterranean. Its origins had remained a mystery until these scientists traced it back to Chalcis (Khalkís), the former port of Thebes. They determined that the town had been a maritime hub from which goods were shipped to Marseille, Acre (in modern-day Israel), and beyond—as far as Chersonesus in Crimea. The team's findings have just been published online by the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. more...

17/07/2018 - Planck: final data from the mission lends strong support to the standard cosmological model

In 2013, ESA's Planck mission unveiled a new image of the cosmos: an all-sky survey of the microwave radiation produced at the beginning of the Universe. This first light emitted by the Universe provides a wealth of information about its content, its rate of expansion, and the primordial fluctuations in density that were the precursors of the galaxies. The Planck consortium publishes the full and final version of these data and associated articles on the ESA website on 17 July 20181. The corresponding articles have been submitted to the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. With its increased reliability and its data on the polarisation of relic radiation2, the Planck mission corroborates the standard cosmological model with unrivalled precision for these parameters, even if some anomalies still remain. For this work the Planck consortium called upon some three hundred researchers, in particular from CNRS, CNES (the French national space agency), CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and several universities in France. more...

13/07/2018 - CNRS' first overseas subsidiary: CNRS@CREATE, Singapore

The CNRS will be setting up CNRS@CREATE, its first overseas subsidiary, in Singapore. Its objective will be to manage Franco-Singaporean research activities as part of the Singaporean ecosystem. An agreement to establish CNRS@CREATE was formalised on 13 July 2018 by Karin Ong, Deputy Chief of mission at Singaporean Embassy in France, and Antoine Petit, CEO of the CNRS, in the presence of French Minister of Higher education, Research and Innovation Frédérique Vidal and Singaporean Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing. more...

05/07/2018 - A molecular label: traceability for medical implants

A team of researchers at CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université and Université Paris 13 has demonstrated effective molecular labelling to unequivocally identify biomedical implants, even after a prolonged period inside the living being. These results were published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition on July 5, 2018. more...

05/07/2018 - CNRS to play major part in ESOF 2018

Toulouse is to host the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), Europe's largest interdisciplinary gathering on science and innovation, from 9 to 14 July 2018. In parallel with this event for researchers, the city is organising the 'Science in the City' festival from 7 to 15 July, with over 120 events aimed at sharing science with the public. For around ten days, the pulse of Toulouse, European City of Science 2018, will beat to the rhythm of science. CNRS and its laboratories will be playing a major role in both the forum and the festival, two unprecedented events for Toulouse and France. more...

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June

29/06/2018 - Launch of a joint international laboratory between the CNRS and Hitachi High Technologies Corporation

French researchers and Japanese engineers have joined forces to develop a new electron microscope that can scan the properties of matter on very small scales of time and space. The Centre d'élaboration de matériaux et d'études structurales (CEMES) of the CNRS and the Hitachi High Technologies Corporation (HHT) will formalize the creation of a joint laboratory on July 2, 2018, the first between the CNRS and a foreign company. more...

28/06/2018 - A new twist on how parasites invade host cells

Researchers from CNRS, INSERM and the Université Grenoble Alpes have decoded the mechanisms used by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii to enter the cells of a host. Using high-resolution, high-speed imaging, they identified a unique process by which the parasite closes the 'entry door' it creates in order to enter and inhabit a host cell. The results of the study, at the crossroads between cell biology, parasitology and biophysics, appear in the 28 June 2018 edition of Cell Host & Microbe. more...

28/06/2018 - A molecule that can improve the efficiency of chemotherapy

A team of researchers from the CNRS and Université Nice Sophia Antipolis1 has just shown that a small molecule called methiothepin can inhibit the chemotherapy resistance of certain tumors. These results will be on the cover of the July 1, 2018 issue of International Journal of Cancer. more...

26/06/2018 - Towards an authentically human intelligent habitat

How can technology improve our housing conditions? How will we interact with “intelligent” housing? What information is it possible and desirable to share? What future legislative framework for these data is required? Organized by the CNRS, Montpellier University, and Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 University, the Human at Home (HUT ) project will look into these questions thanks to an “observatory apartment” that will be inhabited from October 2018. A member of the consortium, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole is supporting this project, which is part of its Intelligent City approach. The HUT experiment is inaugurated in Montpelier on June 26, 2018. more...

20/06/2018 - Asylum seekers are not a “burden” for European economies

Does the arrival of asylum seekers lead to a deterioration in the economic performance and public finances of the European countries that host them? The answer is no, according to economists from the CNRS, Clermont-Auvergne University, and Paris-Nanterre University,1 who have estimated a dynamic statistical model based on thirty years of data from fifteen countries in Western Europe. On the contrary, the economic impact tends to be positive as a proportion of the asylum seekers become permanent residents. This study is published in Science Advances on June 20, 2018. more...

15/06/2018 - Within 10 years, a high-luminosity LHC at CERN

A new site opened on Friday, June 15, 2018, at the LHC, the Large Hadron Collider. Begun in 2011, this project aims to commission a high-luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) by 2026 that will increase the number of proton-proton collisions and gather more data. France is contributing substantially to this project (to the tune of 180 million euros, including salaries). Teams at CNRS and CEA are participating in technological research and development specifically on superconducting magnets and on extending the lifespan of detectors and the accelerator. In France more than 400 scientists are involved with this renewal of the world's largest and most powerful particle collider. more...

14/06/2018 - Jacket for cardiorespiratory monitoring of laboratory animals

To meet their objective of offering connected devices for the physiological monitoring of laboratory animals without recourse to anesthesia or surgery, researchers from the TIMC-IMAG laboratory (CNRS / Université Grenoble Alpes / Grenoble INP / VetAgro Sup) have developed a jacket that measures rodent cardiac and respiratory activity. This patented tool soon to be released by Etisense, a TIMC-IMAG spin-off company, paves the way for enhancing the quality of research data and advancing animal welfare. more...

12/06/2018 - Alzheimer's disease: how amyloid aggregates alter neuronal function

The accumulation of amyloid peptides in the form of plaques in the brain is one of the primary indicators of Alzheimer's disease. While the harmful effects of amyloid peptide aggregates are well established, the mechanism through which they act on brain cells remains ill-defined. Researchers from CNRS and université de Bordeaux have just revealed that they alter the usual functioning of connections between neurons by interacting with a key enzyme of synaptic plasticity. The results will be published on June 12, 2018 in the journal Cell Reports. more...

11/06/2018 - Pandoravirus: giant viruses invent their own genes

Three new members have been isolated and added to the Pandoravirus family by researchers at the Structural and Genomic Information Laboratory (CNRS/Aix‐Marseille Université), working with partners at the Large Scale Biology Laboratory (CEA/Inserm/Université Grenoble‐Alpes) and at CEA-Genoscope. This strange family of viruses, with their giant genomes and many genes with no known equivalents, surprised the scientists when they were discovered a few years ago. In the 11 June 2018 edition of Nature Communications, researchers offer an explanation: pandoviruses appear to be factories for new genes – and therefore new functions. From freaks of nature to evolutionary innovators, giant viruses continue to shake branches on the tree of life! more...

07/06/2018 - Bees and the thought of naught

Honeybees can conceive and interpret zero. This has just been demonstrated by a scientist from the Research Centre on Animal Cognition (CNRS / Université Toulouse III—Paul Sabatier) and her Australian colleagues, proving for the first time ever that insects are capable of mathematical abstraction. As zero, designating nothingness, neutrality, or absence, is a relatively recent concept for humans, these findings—published in Science (June 8, 2018)—raise questions about its symbolic significance in the history of mathematics. more...

04/06/2018 - The search for the origin of mast cells

A team of researchers from CNRS, INSERM and Aix-Marseille Université (AMU) at the Centre of immunology (Marseille-Luminy (CIML), together with the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN)1, has proven that not all of the immune system's important mast cells are produced in bone marrow, as was previously thought. Scientists found embryonic mast cells in mice with functions that are likely to be different than the mast cells found in adults. The study appears in the June 2018 edition of Immunity. more...

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April

31/05/2018 - Bacteria ensure square meal for bloodsucking ticks

How do ticks live solely on blood? A study presented in Current Biology (May 31, 2018) has elucidated the crucial role played by symbiotic bacteria that synthesize B vitamins. These nutrients are scarcely found in the blood ticks ingest but are essential to their life cycle. Thus ticks cannot survive to adulthood or reproduce without their bacterial symbionts. The study conducted by CNRS and CIRAD researchers has also shown that the bacteria inherited their B vitamin synthesis pathways from a pathogenic ancestor whose genome underwent gradual degradation. more...

31/05/2018 - Aerial robot that can morph in flight

Marking a world first, researchers from the Étienne Jules Marey Institute of Movement Sciences (CNRS / Aix-Marseille Université) have drawn inspiration from birds to design an aerial robot capable of altering its profile during flight. To reduce its wingspan and navigate through tight spaces, it can reorient its arms, which are equipped with propellers that let it fly like a helicopter. The scientists' work is the subject of an article published in Soft Robotics (May 30, 2018). It paves the way for a new generation of large robots that can move through narrow passages, making them ideal for exploration as well as search and rescue missions. more...

28/05/2018 - First light for SPIRou, exoplanet hunter

SPIRou, the new planet-hunting spectropolarimeter developed for the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), has successfully recorded its first starlight. Ten years after it was first designed and following four intensive months of installation at CFHT, this international instrument in which France has played a leading role is on the point of initiating its scientific operations, namely the detection of exoplanets around nearby red dwarf stars and the study of newborn stars and planets. The design and construction of SPIRou involved a number of French laboratories. It was then integrated at IRAP1 (CNRS/CNES/Université de Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier) before being shipped to Hawaii. more...

24/05/2018 - A supergene to stay alive

Some butterflies rely mainly on colorful wing patterns for their survival. CNRS researchers from the Centre d'Écologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive (CNRS / University of Montpellier / Paul-Valéry University / EPHE-PSL / IRD), together with British and American teams, studied the genomes of dozens of tropical Heliconius numata butterflies to understand how such diversity in color motifs has come about. And they believe they have found the key to this variety: a supergene that arose two million years ago by hybridization and has been passed down through the generations. Their findings are published in Current Biology (May 24, 2018). more...

22/05/2018 - Discovery of the first body in the Solar System with an extrasolar origin

Asteroid 2015 BZ509 is the very first object in the Solar System shown to have an extrasolar origin. This remarkable discovery was made by CNRS researcher Fathi Namouni and her Brazilian colleague Helena Morais, and is published on 21 May 2018 in MNRAS. more...

16/05/2018 - The survival of sea birds affected by ocean cycles

In a general context of climate change, researchers at the Centre d'écologie fonctionnelle et évolutive (CNRS/Université de Montpellier/Université Paul Valery/EPHE-PSL) and their international partners revealed the impact of ocean cycles, such as the Pacific decadal oscillation and El Niño, on the survival of the Nazca booby, a species found on the Galapagos Islands. Their research, which shows for the first time that long cycles (spanning several decades) directly affect the survival of adult populations, appears in the May edition of Ecology, and may later be expanded to other sea birds. more...

15/05/2018 - A new gelling molecule for growing neurons in 3D

A multidisciplinary team of researchers from CNRS, INSERM and Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier has developed a hydrogel that can grow, develop and differentiate neural stem cells. This biomaterial could provide new paths for the development of in vitro cellular models of brain tissue or of in vivo tissue reconstruction. This work is published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces on May 14, 2018. more...

09/05/2018 - Fish in schools can take it easy

Using a new computer model, researchers at the Ecole Centrale de Marseille and CNRS have shown that a fish expends less energy when it swims in a school, because neighbouring fish produce a 'suction' effect. This work will be published on 11 May 2018 in Physical Review Letters. more...

09/05/2018 - The Big Bell Test: participatory science puts quantum physics to the test

Quantum chance is intrinsically different than classic chance. That is what the violations of Bell inequalities, a crucial step in understanding quantum mechanics, states. One drawback remains though: until now, testing these inequalities relied on experimental configurations that use parameters set from data generated by quantum systems. Effectively it was testing quantum physics using quantum physics. To overcome this problem, an international collaboration created by The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, including twelve laboratories on five continents, including Institut de Physique de Nice (CNRS/Université Nice Sophia Antipolis), conducted a unique participatory science experiment. By gathering about 100,000 people worldwide through a video game, the researchers circumvented the data generation problem and rigorously validated their experimental observations on the violation of Bell inequalities. The results were published in Nature on 10 May 2018. more...

02/05/2018 - Why plants are so sensitive to gravity: The lowdown

Plants can detect the slightest angle of inclination. Yet the mechanism by which they sense gravity relies on microscopic grains. In theory, such a system should hardly allow for precise detection of inclination. Researchers from the CNRS, the French National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA), and Université Clermont Auvergne have now explained this curious paradox. They observed that, within the plant cells, the grains are constantly being agitated. This endows them collectively with properties similar to those of a liquid so that they act in unison like a carpenter's level. These findings were published in PNAS April 30, 2018. more...

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April

30/04/2018 - The laws of star formation challenged

An international team led by researchers at CNRS, Université Grenoble Alpes and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) has challenged currently held ideas about star formation. The unprecedented resolution of the observations obtained using the Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array (ALMA) enabled them to measure the quantity of high-mass star-forming cores in a remote, very active region of our Galaxy, and show that there is a higher proportion of them there than expected. Published in Nature Astronomy, the findings could challenge the widespread assumption that the mass distribution of a population of star-forming cores is identical to that of the stars they spawn. more...

26/04/2018 - Double trouble for a coral reef

Upolu, one of the nine islands of Samoa, in the Pacific Ocean. Well-known among fans of diving, this isolated coral reef promised to be a site of rich biodiversity for the scientists on the Tara Pacific expedition, principally from the CNRS, the CEA1 and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Although some signs of bleaching had been observed on their route, the reefs of Upolu proved to be in a far more degraded state: coral cover is below 10% in over 80% of the 124 sites considered. According to the scientists, this situation can be explained by a combination of global and local factors. Their study is published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. more...

11/04/2018 - The dinosaur menu, as revealed by calcium

By studying calcium in fossil remains in deposits in Morocco and Niger, researchers have been able to reconstruct the food chains of the past, thus explaining how so many predators could coexist in the dinosaurs' time. This study, conducted by the Laboratoire de géologie de Lyon : Terre, planètes et environnement (CNRS/ENS de Lyon/Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University), in partnership with the Centre for Research on Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments (CNRS/French National Museum of Natural History/Sorbonne University), is published on April 11, 2018 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. more...

10/04/2018 - Cheaper, less toxic and recyclable light absorbers for hydrogen production

Mimicking photosynthesis in plants, using light to convert stable and abundant molecules like water and CO2 into a high energy fuel (hydrogen) or into chemicals of industrial interest, is a major research challenge today. However, achieving artificial photosynthesis in solution remains limited by the use of costly and toxic metal-based compounds to harvest light. Researchers at CNRS, CEA and the Université Grenoble Alpes propose an efficient alternative using semi-conductor nanocrystals (also called quantum dots) based on cheaper and less toxic elements, such as copper, indium and sulfur. Their work was published in Energy & Environmental Science on 10 April 2018. more...

09/04/2018 - ERC Advanced Grants: CNRS in the lead among European institutions

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the recipients of its 2017 Advanced Grants, awarded to experienced male and female researchers well known in their fields. In total, across all disciplines, 269 projects were selected, including 34 hosted in France. With its 15 winners, the CNRS leads the pack: 15% of the candidates it hosts were accepted, while the success rate for all European candidates combined was 12%. more...

09/04/2018 - The largest catalog ever published of very high energy gamma ray sources in the Galaxy

The HESS international collaboration, to which CNRS and CEA contribute, has published the results of fifteen years of gamma ray observations of the Milky Way. Its telescopes installed in Namibia have studied populations of pulsar wind nebulae and supernova remnants, as well as microquasars, never before detected in gamma rays. These studies are supplemented by precise measurements such as those of the diffuse emission at the center of our Galaxy. The entire set of data will henceforth serve as a reference for the international scientific community. Fourteen articles, making up the largest ever set of scientific results in this field, are published on April 9, 2018 in a special issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. more...

05/04/2018 - Eating less enables lemurs to live longer

Chronic caloric restriction strongly increases the lifespan of a small primate, the grey mouse lemur. This is one of the results of a ten-year experiment conducted by researchers at the CNRS and the French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), in partnership with other French teams.1 Chronic caloric restriction consists in eating a reduced but balanced diet from the outset of early adulthood. Its beneficial effect on lifespan had been established for many short-lived species (worms, flies, mice), but remained controversial for primates, including humans. Another observation is that the aging process is delayed among animals on a reduced diet. This research is published on April 5, 2018 in the journal Communications Biology. more...

05/04/2018 - Momentum: CNRS issues second call for proposals from young male and female researchers

The CNRS is issuing its second Momentum call for proposals from young male and female researchers around the world, to support their projects in emerging and innovative areas. Researchers in all fields may apply. Winners will receive funding for three years. more...

04/04/2018 - The great acceleration reaches new heights

An international team of researchers1, including a CNRS researcher at the department of Écologie et Dynamique des Systèmes Anthropisés (CNRS / Université de Picardie Jules Verne) has observed an acceleration in the increase of biodiversity on mountain peaks in Europe. This is a new indicator of the “great acceleration”: an increasingly rapid inflation of different parameters around the world (glacier retreat, coral bleaching, etc.) seen in recent years as a result of climate change. Mountain ecosystems could be seriously disturbed as a result. Their findings appear in the 4th April 2018 edition of Nature. more...

02/04/2018 - Artificial molecules that mimic DNA

Not only can synthetic molecules imitate the structures of their biological counterparts, they can also assume their functions and even outcompete them. This has recently been demonstrated by researchers from the CNRS, Inserm and Bordeaux University, who have developed an artificial sequence mimicking the surface features of DNA for the first time. This artificial molecule is able to inhibit the activity of several DNA-binding enzymes, including the one used by HIV to insert its genome into that of its host cell. These results, published on April 2, 2018 in Nature Chemistry, pave the way for new pharmacological tools based on inhibiting DNA–protein interactions. more...

29/04/2015 - Film: A Nero's folly

In 2009, in Rome, on the Palatine hill, an excavation carried out by a team of French and Italian archaeologists brought to light the remains of an outstanding building that could be the base of the revolving dining room of Nero's palace. Nero's palace was made famous by descriptions handed down by ancient authors, who emphasize its size and splendour. However, this "golden house", the Domus Aurea, is today still poorly known because the buildings erected by Nero's successors have largely covered it over. more...

24/04/2015 - The April issue of CNRS International Magazine is now available

Whether for refugees, displaced populations or migrants, camps are a new feature of global society. Renowned expert and author Michel Agier details the many complex facets of a phenomenon that affects some 20 million people worldwide. Also in this issue, a special report on permafrost and climate change; prototype robots for deep-sea archaeology; a survey of international regulations surrounding animal testing; 2014 Kavli Prize-winner Thomas Ebbesen; unraveling the Herculaneum scrolls; new ways to measure nanopollution; the future of voting is online; avoiding unnecessary chemotherapy; the LIMMS celebrates 20 years of excellence, and much more. more...

24/04/2015 - Close-up: A Good Pitch

“Brass instruments can be quite loud, and trombones are no exception. Musicians use various devices to dampen the emitted sound, the most common being the straight mute…” more...

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March

29/03/2018 - Polymers that mimic chameleon skin

Biological tissues have complex mechanical properties – soft-yet-strong, tough-yet-flexible – that are difficult to reproduce using synthetic materials. An international team has managed to produce a biocompatible synthetic material that replicates tissue mechanics and alters color when it changes shape, like chameleon skin. These results, to which researchers from CNRS, Université de Haute-Alsace1 and ESRF, the European Synchrotron, have contributed with colleagues in the US (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Akron), are published on March 30, 2018 in Science. They promise new materials for biomedical devices. more...

27/03/2018 - BIABooster: a more sensitive device for characterizing DNA in blood circulation

Developed and patented1 in 2012 and 2014 in the Laboratoire d'Analyse et d'Architecture des Systèmes (LAAS-CNRS) and implemented industrially by Picometrics-Technologies, BIABooster technology can characterize DNA with new precision and sensitivity. When used to analyze residual DNA circulating in the blood, it has identified promising signatures for monitoring patients with cancer. These signatures, presented in the March 20, 2018 issue of Analytical Chemistry, could be confirmed by a larger study led by teams at the Université Paris Descartes, INSERM, AP-HM and AP-HP (Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou). more...

26/03/2018 - How to make a good impression when saying hello

You can hear the perfect hello. And now you can see it too. Researchers from the CNRS, the ENS, and Aix-Marseille University1 have established an experimental method that unveils the filter—that is, mental representation—we use to judge people when hearing them say a word as simple as “hello”. What is the ideal intonation for coming across as determined or trustworthy? This method is already used by these researchers for clinical purposes, with stroke survivors, and it opens many new doors for the study of language perception. The team's findings are published in PNAS (March 26, 2018). more...

23/03/2018 - Artificial bio-inspired membranes for water filtration

Access to clean drinking water is considered to be one of the main challenges of the 21st Century, and scientists have just opened a path to new filtration processes. Inspired by cellular proteins, they have developed membranes with asymmetric artificial channels in the interior, from which they were able to observe “chiral” water1. Chirality is a property that favors the flow of materials that are indispensable to filtration. This work, conducted by CNRS researchers from the Institut Européen des Membranes (CNRS/ENSCM/Université de Montpellier) and the Laboratoire CNRS de Biochimie Théorique, in collaboration with US scientists, was published in Science Advances on March 23, 2018. more...

19/03/2018 - How allergens trigger asthma attacks

A team of Inserm and CNRS researchers from the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology—or IPBS (CNRS / Université Toulouse III—Paul Sabatier)—have identified a protein that acts like a sensor detecting various allergens in the respiratory tract responsible for asthma attacks. Their study, codirected by Corinne Cayrol and Jean-Philippe Girard, is published in Nature Immunology on 19 March 2018. These scientists' work offers hope for breakthroughs in the treatment of allergic diseases. more...

12/03/2018 - In the eye of the medulloblastoma

Can genes normally expressed only in the eye be activated in brain tumours? Such a phenomenon, though surprising, has been observed in certain types of medulloblastoma, paediatric tumours of the cerebellum. Researchers from the CNRS, Institut Curie, Inserm and Université Paris-Sud1, together with researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (Memphis, United States), have pinpointed the role of these genes in the tumour process, thus offering new therapeutic targets. Their findings appear in the 12 March 2018 edition of Cancel Cell. more...

12/03/2018 - Why is it so hot at night in some cities?

During the nighttime, it is hotter in the city than in nearby suburbs or the countryside. But just how much hotter differs between cities. Researchers from the MSE2 (CNRS / MIT) international joint research laboratory and the Centre Interdisciplinaire des Nanosciences de Marseille (CNRS / Aix-Marseille University)1 have shown that the determining factor is how cities are structured: more organized cities, like many in North America with straight and perpendicular streets, trap more heat. Conversely, cities that are less organized, like those founded long ago, shed heat easily. The team's findings, published in Physical Review Letters (March 9, 2018), suggest new directions to explore for optimal urban planning and energy management. more...

12/03/2018 - A new solution for chronic pain

Neuropathic pain is a chronic illness affecting 7-10% the population in France and for which there is no effective treatment. Researchers at the Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier (INSERM/Université de Montpellier) and the Laboratory for Therapeutic Innovation (CNRS/Université de Strasbourg) have uncovered the mechanism behind the appearance and continuation of pain. Based on their discovery, an innovative treatment was developed which produces, in animal subjects, an immediate, robust and long-lasting therapeutic effect on pain symptoms. This study appears on 12 March 2018 in Nature Communications. more...

05/03/2018 - Ancient Nubia (present-day Sudan): In the footsteps of the Napata and Meroe kingdoms

The archaeological site of Sedeinga is located in Sudan, a hundred kilometers to the north of the third cataract of the Nile, on the river's western shore. Known especially for being home to the ruins of the Egyptian temple of Queen Tiye, the royal wife of Amenhotep III, the site also includes a large necropolis containing sepulchers dating from the kingdoms of Napata and Mereo (seventh century BCE–fourth century CE), a civilization1 mixing local traditions and Egyptian influences. Tombs, steles, and lintels have just been unearthed by an international team led by researchers from the CNRS and Sorbonne Université as part of the French Section of Sudan's Directorate of Antiquities, co-funded by the CNRS and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.2 They represent one of the largest collections of Meroitic inscriptions, the oldest language of black Africa currently known. more...

05/03/2018 - Comet Chury formed by a catastrophic collision

Comets made up of two lobes, such as Chury, visited by the Rosetta spacecraft, are produced when the debris resulting from a destructive collision between two comets clumps together again. Such collisions could also explain some of the enigmatic structures observed on Chury. This discovery, made by an international team coordinated by Patrick Michel, CNRS researcher at the laboratoire Lagrange (CNRS/Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur/Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis1), was published on 5 March 2018 in Nature Astronomy. more...

01/03/2018 - Crowdlending: anatomy of a successful strategy

Risk taking, cooperation and competition are the ingredients for entrepreneurial success, which CNRS and ESCP Europe (http://www.escpeurope.eu/) researchers1 have been looking into. They have decoded the strategy for conquering a new market space – crowdlending – initiated between 2014 and 2016 by an entrepreneur, who created a competition-free niche while contributing to implementing long-term regulations on crowdlending in France. This two-tiered strategy could serve for other emerging sectors, such as cryptocurrencies. This work was published on March 1, 2018 in Gérer et Comprendre. more...

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February

22/02/2018 - Unsaddling old theory on origin of horses

Botai horses were tamed in Kazakhstan 5,500 years ago and thought to be the ancestors of today's domesticated horses . . . until a team led by researchers from the CNRS and Université Toulouse III–Paul Sabatier sequenced their genome. Their findings published on 22 February 2018 in Science are startling: these equids are the progenitors not of the modern domesticated horse, but rather of Przewalski's horses—previously presumed wild! more...

13/02/2018 - Rock art: Life-sized sculptures of dromedaries found in Saudi Arabia

At a remarkable site in northwest Saudi Arabia, a CNRS archaeologist1 and colleagues from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) have discovered camelid sculptures unlike any others in the region. They are thought to date back to the first centuries BC or AD.2 The find sheds new light on the evolution of rock art in the Arabian Peninsula and is the subject of an article published in Antiquity (February 2018). more...

05/02/2018 - Towards a better prediction of solar eruptions

Just one phenomenon may underlie all solar eruptions, according to researchers from the CNRS, École Polytechnique, CEA and INRIA1 in an article featured on the cover of the February 8 issue of Nature magazine. They have identified the presence of a confining 'cage' in which a magnetic rope2 forms, causing solar eruptions. It is the resistance of this cage to the attack of the rope that determines the power and type of the upcoming flare. This work has enabled the scientists to develop a model capable of predicting the maximum energy that can be released during a solar flare, which could have potentially devastating consequences for the Earth. more...

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January

25/01/2018 - Tara Oceans: discovery of over 100 million genes from the marine world.

The Tara Oceans expedition (2009-2013) has enabled the collection of plankton samples in all of the world's oceans on board the schooner Tara, and the creation of catalogues of species and genes on a scale never before undertaken. Continuing the analysis and exploitation of the biggest database compiled on the planktonic ecosystem, the teams from the CEA, CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research), EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory) and the French graduate school ENS, among others1, have just reached a new milestone by analysing the expression of over 100 million genes belonging to complex organisms, from microscopic algae to small planktonic animals. These teams have demonstrated that very different genes express themselves depending on the water temperature or the concentration in nutrients of the oceanic areas studied. Half of these genes are unknown, indicating that the ocean - which is already a marvellous breeding ground of biodiversity - harbours, at the same time, an enormous potential of genetic functions awaiting discovery. By using isolation and characterisation methods of isolated cells, the researchers have, more specifically, been able to explore the role of the genes present in a little-studied, uncultivated but very abundant compartment of the plankton - the first link in a long food chain. These results are the subject of two articles published in the journal Nature Communications on 22 and 25 January 2018. more...

24/01/2018 - Antoine Petit named Chairman and CEO of the CNRS

Antoine Petit has been named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CNRS. His appointment was confirmed on January 24, 2018, by French president Emmanuel Macron upon the recommendation of Frédérique Vidal, Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation. An exceptional grade professor, Antoine Petit was president of the French National Institute for Computer Science and Applied Mathematics (Inria) since October 2014. He acts as non-executive president of the IHEST (Institut des Hautes Etudes pour la Science et la Technologie) since April 2017. more...

18/01/2018 - A new mathematics museum is taking shape in Paris

An exhibition and mediation space coupled with a space in which researchers and academics will be able to meet players from the economic, cultural, industrial, and social spheres: this will be the hallmark of the future Maison des mathématiques, located in the heart of Paris, in an exceptional building belonging to Sorbonne Université, one with a rich history and dedicated to scientific teaching and research. The architecture firm Atelier Novembre was chosen to create this institution dedicated to mathematics and theoretical physics. Affiliated to the Institut Henri Poincaré (CNRS/Sorbonne Université), in spring 2020 it will settle into the former premises of the Laboratoire de chimie physique - matière et rayonnement (CNRS/Sorbonne Université), created by Jean Perrin, recipient of the Noble Prize in Physics in 1926 and founder of the CNRS. more...

15/01/2018 - Robots aid better understanding of phytoplankton blooms

Phytoplankton blooms are one of the most important factors contributing to the efficiency of the carbon pump in the North Atlantic Ocean. To better understand this phenomenon, the ERC remOcean1 project, led by researchers at the Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche (CNRS/UPMC), has developed a new class of robots: biogeochemical profiling floats, the first robots able to collect data in the ocean throughout the year. Using these unparalleled data, the researchers have identified the starting point for the explosive spring phytoplankton bloom. Their results are the subject of two articles published in Nature Geoscience and Nature Communications. more...

15/01/2018 - A call for projects to explore health, innovation and climate change from the standpoint of gender

The GENDER-NET Plus consortium, composed of 16 partners in 13 countries and coordinated by the CNRS, is calling for proposals for research to explore the gender factor in the fields of health, innovation and climate change. Pre-proposals, which must be submitted by 1 March 2018, must involve at least three countries in the consortium. There is a provisional budget of more than €10 million for projects. more...

15/01/2018 - Imperial College London and CNRS create joint laboratory to bring world's best mathematicians together

Imperial College London and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) are creating a joint laboratory to bring together some of the world's best mathematicians. The pioneering venture will integrate leading researchers and students from both institutions to significantly advance collaboration in mathematics between France and Britain. The International Joint Research Unit – Unité mixte internationale – will be named UMI Abraham de Moivre, after the great French mathematician, and will be based at Imperial's South Kensington campus in London. more...

10/01/2018 - A French nano satellite to unveil the mysteries of Beta Pictoris

PicSat will be launched into Earth orbit on 12 January 2018 to study the star Beta Pictoris, its exoplanet and its famous debris disk, thanks to a small telescope 5 cm in diameter. The nanosatellite has been designed and built in a record time of just three years by scientists and engineers at the Paris Observatory and the CNRS, with support from the Université PSL, the French space agency CNES, the European Research Council and the MERAC Foundation. more...

27/01/2015 - Film: Gérard Berry, A Programming Pioneer

This film draws the portrait of Gérard Berry, computer scientist, awarded the 2014 CNRS Gold Medal. Gérard Berry, holder of the first chair in computer science at the Collège de France since 2012. From the formal processing of programming languages to the computer-assisted design of integrated circuits and parallel real-time programming, Berry's achievements have led to major advances in information technology, finding myriad applications in the daily lives of computer users the world over. more...

27/01/2015 - The January issue of CNRS International Magazine is now available

Scientific fraud, long downplayed or even denied, is now taken very seriously and has prompted a global response at all levels of research. Our special report investigates the causes, extent, and consequences of this shameful dysfunction of science, as well as the measures being implemented to eradicate it. Also in this issue, Rosetta’s close encounter with a comet; a novel method to predict solar flares; how letter recognition repurposes neural circuitry used to detect threats; 2014 CNRS Gold Medalist Gérard Berry; philosopher Barbara Cassin emphasizes the importance of linguistic diversity; the 1000 start-ups generated by CNRS research; understanding Africa’s next challenges; 60 years of CERN; why mangroves are an asset to treasure, and much more. more...

27/01/2015 - Snapshot: Scanning a Temple

In 2013, researchers from the MAP1 laboratory were able to render a 3D model of the Tholos of Delphi, a one-of-its-kind Greek temple at the base of Mount Parnassus... more...

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