How did the plague reshape Bronze Age Europe?

In the early Bronze Age, there was an infusion of a different genetic makeup in Europe whose origin ancient DNA experts are trying to explain. Image credit - geograph/David Dixon, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Europe changed dramatically during the Bronze Age, with huge population shifts generally ascribed to the rise of new metal technologies, trading and climate change. But scientists believe that there may have been another reason for this social upheaval – the plague, possibly transported by, or on the back of, newly domesticated horses. Plague is forever … Read more

Nobel prize winner: Oxygen regulation discoveries are starting to lead to new anaemia, cancer drugs

Basic research into hypoxia is helping to find mechanisms that would starve cancer of the oxygen it needs to grow. Image credit - Nephron, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

by Vittoria D’Alessio Drugs that activate or block the body’s oxygen-sensing machinery to treat conditions such as anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease and cancer are being made possible because we now understand the way that cells respond to oxygen deprivation, according to Sir Peter Ratcliffe, one of three winners of this year’s Nobel … Read more

Why bogs may be key to fighting climate change

Peatlands occupy roughly 2% or 3% of the land’s surface but we don’t know how deep they go. Image credit - Marisa04/ Pixabay

by Caleb Davies There are, arguably, only two interesting facts about bogs. The first is that some people have a jolly good time swimming through them, notably at the World Bog Snorkelling Championships held each year in central Wales, UK. The second is that they could help save the world. Bogs, more properly known as … Read more

Levitation, touch and sound – how you’ll be able to feel videogames in the future

When ultrasound waves from different emitters meet in mid-air, it creates the sensation of a solid object which could enhance people's videogaming experience. Image credit - Maurizio Pesce, licensed under CC BY 2.0 (brands blurred out)

by Kelly Oakes Despite advances in both virtual and augmented reality technology in the last few years, there’s one area that remains neglected: touch. With your VR headset on, you might be able to explore the sights of a vast forest and hear birdsong all around you, but you won’t feel the dampness of the … Read more

Zeroing in on baby exoplanets could reveal how they form

The way that a young exoplanet interacts with its star's disc of dust and gas determines the type of exoplanet that will ultimately form. Image credit - NASA/JPL-Caltech/D. Berry

Twenty-four years ago, Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz discovered the first planet orbiting a sun-like star outside our solar system – a milestone recognised by this year’s Nobel prize in physics. Today we know of thousands more ‘exoplanets’, and researchers are now trying to understand when and how they form. The known exoplanets … Read more

How digital ‘twins’ are guiding the future of maintenance and manufacturing

Digital replicas of infrastructure such as oil platforms could help prevent accidents by spotting potential ruptures before they happen. Image credit - Akselos

by Tom Cassauwers As our world becomes more digitalised and connected, we can actually make a virtual copy of it. And such replicas are now being used to improve real world scenarios, from making aircraft production more accurate to preventing oil spills. A digital twin is a virtual replica of a real life entity, such … Read more