Latest News

Interstellar searchlights catch star factories in their beams

Jets of particles from newly formed stars are acting like searchlights, piercing the gloom of dark interstellar clouds to pick out clumps of gas that may become future stars. Astronomers at University College London (UCL) and the University of Barcelona have discovered how these interstellar beams mark the clumps with a distinctive chemical signature, which makes them detectable with radio telescopes. These new developments in understanding how and where new stars are created will be discussed by Dr

Astronomers weigh neutrinos with the universe

Neutrinos, the lightest of the known elementary particles, weigh a billionth (one part in a thousand million) of a hydrogen atom at most, and can account for no more than one-fifth of the dark matter in the Universe, according to findings by astronomers in Cambridge, who used data from the Anglo-Australian telescope 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey (2dFGRS). The results will be presented by Dr Ofer Lahav of Cambridge University at the UK National Astronomy Meeting in Bristol on Wednesday 10 April.

Environmental pollutants may benefit human health

Industrial pollutants such as alkylphenols and PCBs have controversially been linked with hormone-dependent cancers, whilst plant chemicals known as phytoestrogens have been marketed as health supplements. But scientists are now suggesting that the story is not quite so simple.

Dr Chris Kirk and colleagues from the University of Birmingham haves been studying industrial oestrogens such as PCBs, insecticides and alkylphenols and a group of chemicals termed ‘phytoestrogens’, commonly found in

Love calls from the bottom

Some men send flowers, others send chocolates. But one species of fish has a rather unusual method of seducing the opposite sex. Researchers at the Centre of Marine Science, University of Algarve, Portugal, have been studying how the peacock blenny fish secretes pheromones – chemical ‘love’ signals – from an anal gland.

Dr Eduardo Barata observed peacock blenny over the breeding season, when males occupy holes and crevices in the bottom of the sea which they use as nesting sites where female

Pneumonia in transplant patients can be avoided

Life-threatening pneumonia in bone marrow transplant (BMT) patients can be controlled using a strategy called pre-emptive therapy, scientists heard today (Wednesday 10 April 2002) at the spring meeting of the Society for General Microbiology at the University of Warwick.

“We have found that early diagnosis and treatment of colds and flu in transplant and immunocompromised patients can reduce the risk of pneumonia. But pre-emptive therapy is not just a question of providing drugs to patients.

Epilepsy drugs in pregnancy can triple risk of major malformation or developmental delay in children born

Epilepsy drugs given to women during pregnancy can treble the risk of congenital malformation or developmental delay in their children, finds research in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

Stopping treatment for epilepsy during pregnancy is not an option, but there is an urgent need to develop safer drugs, conclude the researchers. Six in every 1000 pregnancies will be to a woman treated with epilepsy drugs.

One hundred and forty nine mothers being treated with antiepileptic drugs in

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Physics and Astronomy

Practical 3D tracking at record-breaking speeds

With speeds over 200 times faster than traditional methods, new technology could benefit autonomous driving, industrial inspection and security applications. Researchers have developed a new 3D method that can be…

Astronomers see a massive black hole awaken in real time

In late 2019 the previously unremarkable galaxy SDSS1335+0728 suddenly started shining brighter than ever before. To understand why, astronomers have used data from several space and ground-based observatories, including the…

Cosmic blast hunter SVOM to launch with optimal optics from Leicester

Mission to find gamma ray bursts is latest to use technology from University of Leicester in X-ray optics. A satellite telescope designed to rapidly hunt down the universe’s biggest explosions…

Life Sciences and Chemistry

‘Invisible’ protein keeps cancer at bay

Scientists in Germany have revealed how an unstructured protein traps cancer-promoting molecules. Each second of our lives, cells in our body grow and divide to ensure we stay healthy. However,…

Hidden partners: Symbiodolus bacteria found in various insect orders

The endosymbiont Symbiodolus clandestinus, living inside insect cells, has remained undiscovered until now. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology report its discovery in at least six insect…

A Railroad of Cells – Computer simulations explain cell movement

Looking under the microscope, a group of cells slowly moves forward in a line, like a train on the tracks. The cells navigate through complex environments. A new approach by…

Materials Sciences

Electrifying insights into how catalysts work at the atomic level

An approach developed by materials scientists is already yielding discoveries that could improve the efficiency and durability of metallic catalysts used in a variety of processes. A team led by…

Watching energy materials as they form

Eyes glued to a live transmission from inside a reaction vessel, LMU researchers watch chemical reactions at work. Their results will improve the manufacture of the next generation of energy…

New class of materials called ‘glassy gels’

Researchers have created a new class of materials called “glassy gels” that are very hard and difficult to break despite containing more than 50% liquid. Coupled with the fact that…

Information Technology

Breakthrough may clear major hurdle for quantum computers

The potential of quantum computers is currently thwarted by a trade-off problem. Quantum systems that can carry out complex operations are less tolerant to errors and noise, while systems that…

Researchers leverage shadows to model 3D scenes

…including objects blocked from view. This technique could lead to safer autonomous vehicles, more efficient AR/VR headsets, or faster warehouse robots. Imagine driving through a tunnel in an autonomous vehicle,…

LIST launches pioneering nanosatellite experiment

…to demonstrate energy harvesting innovation in space. The mission entails sending technologies developed at LIST into space for testing with an aim to achieve flight heritage. The Luxembourg Institute of…