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Browsing: Science

Dr Liyang Yue from Bangor University’s School of Electronic Engineering has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2017 Newton Prize for his project based on building a super-resolution metamaterial 3D printing system. The Prize aims to encourage researchers to participate in the Newton Fund as partners with the UK and to work on the most crucial challenges facing Newton countries. This year these include: India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The concept has been developed to prove how UK partnerships with Newton countries are solving global challenges. It is an annual fund, which equals £1 million and is given to the best research…

A new display has recently gone on display in the foyer of Storiel. Entitled Scales and Tails, snakes, crocodiles and tortoises are just some of the specimens on display that are on loan from Brambell Natural History Museum which is part of the School of Biological Sciences at Bangor University. Several of the specimens are in jars of fluid and are still used for teaching. The display has been curated by Melissa Green, 34, a volunteer who is currently a 2nd year zoology and herpetology student at the university. She said: ‘It’s been a great opportunity to help educate people on…

Dr. Paul Cross is a senior lecturer at Bangor University and has studied a wide range of topics from illegal drug use to zoonotic disease. A few days ago I met with Paul to discuss the importance of British bees and how beekeeping might be beginning to alleviate poverty in sub-Saharan countries.  Why are British bees important? “Historically the British bee (Apis mellifera mellifera), was well adapted to conditions particularly in the UK (high winds, lots of rainfall, short summer, low temperatures etc…) and over millennia had adapted to the environmental conditions. However, beekeepers have been importing other races of…

Dr Catherine Duigan currently works for Natural Resources Wales, which was formed in 2013 by the merging of the Environment Agency Wales, the Forestry Commission and the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), where she was initially employed in 1992. A few days ago I met with Catherine in a moderately trendy café to discuss her journey from education to employment and whether she had any tips for recent graduates looking for a job within the environmental sector. What’s your role at Natural Resources Wales and how has it changed since you began? “My current role is leading a group of technical specialists, of about 30 people, who are…

In the Conservative’s 2015 manifesto, it was stated that a referendum on Britain’s EU membership would be held sometime before 2017. With this referendum looming it’s important to take note of the world leading scientific research being produced in the UK thanks to EU research monies, especially in Wales. On the ninth of February 2014, Switzerland held a referendum. The proposal “against mass immigration” planned to limit immigration by implementing quotas and allocating jobs preferentially to Swiss nationals over foreigners. Heavily supported by the Swiss People’s Party, the proposal would send Switzerland back to the days before its freedom-of-movement agreements…

“Destabilising and provocative” says the United States as reports from state-run North Korean TV claim that, at 9.09am on Sunday the 7th of Feburary, Kim Jong-un’s nation successfully launched a satellite into space despite sanctions banning ballistic missile technology. An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council is to be held in New York City after Japan, South Korea and the US have called for a discussion on a response to North Korea’s space oddity. Space, and the fragile satellites that hang in it, are of key military importance. Peter Singer from the New America Foundation explains that satellites are…

Briton Tim Peake and American Tim Kopra have just embarked on a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk. Although not the first Briton to carry out a spacewalk (the first was Michael Foale in 1995), Tim Peake is the first Briton to do so under the UK banner with Nasa. They will travel 50m (the same length as an olympic swimming pool) along the outside of the International Space Station hand-over-hand to replace a faulty component on the sequential shunt unit that has compromised a power channel. The failed electrical box regulates power from the solar panels. Watch Tim’s spacewalk live with this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDh4uK9PvJU

Light is a factor that influences marine organisms in a multitude of ways. A recent surge in LED lighting to be used at coastal residential sites and industrial areas (oil rigs) is illuminating marine ecosystems at night. Set to peak in 2020, it’s hoped that CO2 emissions and costs will be reduced as a result of their introduc-tion. Stuart Jenkins from the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University and his team measured the impacts of this lighting on sessile and mobile invertebrates. Their findings produced mixed results. For 12 weeks in July 2013, a floating raft was deployed in…

Nearly 30 years ago, reactor four of Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, sending vast amounts of radiation into the atmosphere. However, this disaster is rearing its ugly head once more. Soon after the explosion, a concrete shell was constructed over the decimated reactor to prevent any further radiation leakage, although, as you may expect it was made in a rather bit of a hurry. It was never going to last for ever. This old crumbling tomb is decaying more and more each day; a new solution is required. In 2007 work began on an enormous steel arch, or new…

Scientists have recently discovered the existence of flowing water on Mars. It’s been known for some time that flowing water did once occur on the red planet’s surface. A raft of geological evidence shows us that 4.1 billion years ago (only 0.4 billion years before the formation of Earth), liquid water flowed on the surface, eroding a network of river valleys, lakes, and oceans. Pictures of the planet taken by NASA in 1970 also show evidence of dried-up rivers and lakes etched into the Martian surface. A vast, one mile deep, ocean that once existed in the Northern hemisphere and…

Scientists have recently discovered a new species of human, Homo naledi, or at least they think they have. In September earlier this year, 15 partially complete skeletons of varying ages, ranging from infants and juveniles to one very old adult, were unearthed in the largest assemblage of fossil human remains ever discovered in Africa. Over 1,500 bones were found in Rising Star Cave, 50km from Johannesburg in an eight-inch-wide crevice called Dinaledi chamber. The chamber was so hard to access that six lightly built female researchers were brought in to excavate the bones. The remains were not encased in…

Physiology or Medicine: William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura. A new drug, Avermectin, has been developed. This drug is helping humanity to dramatically reduce the occurrences of some of the world’s deadliest parasitic diseases, including river blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis. Another revolutionary drug, Artemisinin, has also been created by Youyou Tu that is reducing the mortality rates of malaria. These newly discovered drugs are of course revolutionising the way major parasitic illnesses are being treated, especially in poor, developing countries with little or no access to effective treatment. Parasitic worms, or helminthes, are thought to afflict one third of the…

2015 has seen the largest movement of people in Europe since the Second World War. More than 500,000 refugees from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and many others, have entered the European Union from the start of this year alone. Making the dangerous passage into Europe across the Mediterranean in horrendously-cramped skiffs, the refugees, mostly from Syria, dream of reaching Germany. Angela Markel, Chancellor of Germany, decided earlier in the year to scrap the vetting of all asylum applications submitted by Syrians, making it the ultimate destination for all Syrian refugees. They are welcomed by rapturous clapping, cheering,…

Drones are an emerging technology within marine mammal research and are helping researchers to ID and assess the fitness of individuals in the field at a low cost. Quiet and highflying, the drones avoid scaring, or ‘flushing’ the seals away, allowing for quick and easy detailed analysis. A few days ago I met up with Dr Line Cordes and Dr Jan Hiddink from the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University to talk more about the subject. The harbor seal population in the UK has declined by up to 85% in recent years and no one seems to know why:…

Drones are an emerging technology within marine mammal research and are helping researchers to ID and assess fitness of individuals in the field at a low cost. Quiet and high flying, the drones avoid scaring, or ‘flushing’ the seals away, allowing for quick and easy detailed analysis. The UK’s Harbour Seal population has declined by 85% but no one seems to know why. The answers to this question, suggests Dr. Line Cordes, lies with drone technology. Listen to a discussion with Dr. Line Cordes and Dr. Jan Hiddink from the School of Ocean Sciences on the subject below:

Reports out of New York say that a robot has passed the classic King’s Wise Men puzzle, which serves as a test of self-awareness. The original puzzle goes: ‘The King called the three wisest men in the country to his court to decide who would become his new adviser. He placed a hat on each of their heads, such that each wise man could see all of the other hats, but none of them could see their own. Each hat was either white or blue. The king gave his word to the wise men that at least one of them…

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