Cosmic ‘dustpedias’ could reveal new types of galaxy

Cosmic dust is too cold to be captured by optical telescopes, so visual images of galaxies don't give the full story of conditions.

by Gareth Willmer Measuring the vast quantities of cosmic dust in interstellar space may be a key to unlocking various mysteries of the cosmos, including how the grains form and whether new types of galaxy are obscured by the particle clouds. Cosmic dust grains, which are born in stars, are the building blocks for other stars … Read more

Refining intergalactic measurements could alter our whole understanding of physics

At the centre of the image is an important star called the RS Puppis, a Cepheid variable star which is a class of stars whose luminosity is used to estimate distances to nearby galaxies. This one is 15,000 times brighter than our sun.

by Ethan Bilby New efforts to figure out just how fast the universe has expanded since the Big Bang, a speed known as the Hubble constant, could upend current theories of physics, according to some scientists. Professor Grzegorz Pietrzyński at the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw is one … Read more

Memory-jogging robot to keep people sharp in ‘smart’ retirement homes

Sensors placed throughout a retirement home helped the ENRICHME robot to keep track of the movements and activities of residents taking part in the project’s trial.

A robot that reminds older people where they have put things and helps them exercise has been used by residents in three retirement homes in a trial to combat cognitive decline in later age. Almost a fifth of the European population are over 65 years old, but while quality of life for this age bracket is … Read more

Recharging soils with carbon could make farms more productive

Agriculture should be a good example of a circular economy, but modern farming practices and international markets have changed that.

Turning crop waste and discarded paper into a material called biochar could help to capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil while also helping to enrich farmland. Agriculture has historically been a circular industry where crops use nutrients in the soil to grow which are then replaced through compost or manure. But globalisation … Read more

Worms, water fleas and bacteria could bring clean water to remote areas

Earthworms and tiny water fleas could help deliver clean water to billions of people living in remote areas of the world by eating up sewage and other pollution. An estimated 2.3 billion people around the globe are without basic sanitation, while 844 million do not have access to clean water, despite both being considered as key human rights. … Read more

Shock-activated protective sports gear wins EU young scientist award

A sister and brother who created shock-activated protective gear featuring a starch liquid for people who in-line skate, motorcycle and do other risky sports, won one of the three first prizes at this year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS). Anna Amelie Fleck, 16, and her brother Adrian, 20, from Fulda, in central Germany, … Read more