Important note: Journalists must register with the European Science Foundation by the 16th February 2007 in order to be able to enter the European Parliament under its security policy. To register please email firstname.lastname@example.org
On 26 February 2007, Europe formally launches its contribution to the largest and most ambitious internationally coordinated scientific effort for 50 years. The European launch of International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 is one of a series taking place around the world to celebrate this major international scientific effort.
The polar regions are sensitive barometers of environmental change, and polar science is crucial to understanding our planet and our impact on it. Involving around 50,000 people from more than 60 nations, IPY heralds a new era in polar science.
At a time when climate change is being debated at the highest political levels, and its social and economic effects are being felt in many European countries, polar research has never been more important – or more relevant – to Europe and its citizens. Europe is making a major contribution to IPY. More than two dozen European nations are taking part in IPY, between them investing around €200 million in IPY science, education and outreach projects.
To celebrate this major international scientific event, the European Polar Board is hosting a one-day event showcasing a range of exciting IPY science projects, together with presentations from key European policy makers.
Speakers include: Dr David Carlson, Director, IPY International Program Office; Dr Artur Chilingarov, Deputy Chairman, State Duma of the Russian Federation; Dr Einar-Arne Herland, Head of Science Strategy, Coordination and Planning Office, European Space Agency; Dr Elizabeth Lipiatou, Head of Climate Unit, European Commission; Dr. John Marks, Director of Science and Strategy, European Science Foundation; and Professor Carlo-Alberto Ricci, Chairman, European Polar Board.
IPY is co-sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Council for Science (ICSU).
Thomas Lau | alfa
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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