French birds love the smell of perfumed nests. In an article published this month in Ecology Letters, scientists from the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique report that a small cavity-nesting bird on the island of Corsica, the blue tit, adorns its nests with fragments of strongly perfumed plants, including lavender and mint. The chemical compounds of these plants are economically important as they are used for aromatic house cleaners and herbal medicines. The researchers also discovered that these birds use odour cues to determine the frequency with which they recharge the nest with fresh aromatic plant material. The study provides the first experimental demonstration that a free-ranging animal makes use of smell to maintain an aromatic environment for its offspring with plants. It is hypothesised that the fresh aromatic smell of home may be as important for this bird as it is for humans, with olfaction employed so as to maintain a disinfected environment.
Lynne Miller | AlphaGalileo
Methane vanishing on Mars: Danish researchers propose new mechanism as an explanation
08.07.2019 | Aarhus University
Modelling leads to the optimum size for platinum fuel cell catalysts: Activity of fuel cell catalysts doubled
03.07.2019 | Technische Universität München
Since their experimental discovery, magnetic skyrmions - tiny magnetic knots - have moved into the focus of research. Scientists from Hamburg and Kiel have now been able to show that individual magnetic skyrmions with a diameter of only a few nanometres can be stabilised in magnetic metal films even without an external magnetic field. They report on their discovery in the journal Nature Communications.
The existence of magnetic skyrmions as particle-like objects was predicted 30 years ago by theoretical physicists, but could only be proven experimentally in...
Theoretical physicists at Trinity College Dublin are among an international collaboration that has built the world's smallest engine - which, as a single calcium ion, is approximately ten billion times smaller than a car engine.
Work performed by Professor John Goold's QuSys group in Trinity's School of Physics describes the science behind this tiny motor.
Together with the University of Innsbruck, the ETH Zurich and Interactive Fully Electrical Vehicles SRL, Infineon Austria is researching specific questions on the commercial use of quantum computers. With new innovations in design and manufacturing, the partners from universities and industry want to develop affordable components for quantum computers.
Ion traps have proven to be a very successful technology for the control and manipulation of quantum particles. Today, they form the heart of the first...
Experimental progress towards engineering quantized gauge fields coupled to ultracold matter promises a versatile platform to tackle problems ranging from condensed-matter to high-energy physics
The interaction between fields and matter is a recurring theme throughout physics. Classical cases such as the trajectories of one celestial body moving in the...
Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.
Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...
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