Viviane Richter

Viviane Richter

Viviane Richter is a freelance science writer based in Melbourne.

Viviane Richter is a freelance science writer based in Melbourne. She has a background in structural biology, with a PhD from La Trobe University.​

  • Celebrate Ada Lovelace Day on Tuesday

    NYPL / Science Source / Getty ImagesThis Tuesday, celebrate a computer science visionary and join one of many events ...

    October 9, 2016
  • Self-weeding crops produce own herbicides

    Canola that fends off invaders could be a solution to sprays.

    Certain canola varieties can slow ryegrass growth. Credit: Carolyn Hebbard / getty images A crop that does its own w...

    September 19, 2016
  • Physicists help deliver precision to paddocks

    Farming is on the cusp of a new scientific revolution.

    University of New England physicist David Lamb says precision agriculture is transforming the industry. Credit: Simon...

    September 5, 2016
  • Feather map reveals secrets of waterbirds

    Enlisting the help of citizens to track bird movements.

    Feathers create a record of what the birds have been eating and drinking, which is specific to where they are in the ...

    August 29, 2016
  • African farming trials create food for thought

    Maize-growing techniques to help boost production.

    In the field trials, farmers plant maize in rows marked with material wrapped around sticks to indicate different con...

    August 29, 2016
  • Surface of Mercury formed within the planet

    The mystery of the strange chemistry of Mercury’s plains.

    An enhanced colour image showing the chemical, mineralogical, and physical differences between the rocks that make up...

    June 30, 2016
  • A new tool to study neutron stars

    A leap forward in gravitational wave detection.

    Even the faintest gravitational ripple heading for Earth could soon be observable.  A team of US and Australian rese...

    June 23, 2016
  • China smashes supercomputer speed record

    With its latest all-homegrown lightning-fast machine, China has pulled ahead of the US in the glo...

    Chinese scientists have created the fastest supercomputer in the world, smashing the previous record by a factor of t...

    June 22, 2016
  • Are bacteria the secret to a great wine vintage?

    A wine’s terroir is defined by a complex formula.

    You wouldn’t think of bacteria and fungi as serving up cherry undertones or silky textures. But that’s exactly where...

    June 14, 2016
  • Success for new cancer treatment

    Promising data on immunotherapy unveiled.

    An illustration shows T lymphocytes attached to a cancer cell. Immunotherapy involves retraining the body's own defen...

    June 12, 2016
  • How electric eels leap to attack land animals

    Study shows an old story long thought to be a myth.

    Electrifying cells make up 80% of an electric eel's body. Credit: MARK NEWMAN/GETTY IMAGES Slimy eels leaping from m...

    June 7, 2016
  • Flesh-eating disease sweeps Syria

    Leishmaniasis is far from new to the Middle East.

    A Syrian refugee is treated for leishmaniasis in Kilis, Turkey. Credit: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION T...

    June 1, 2016
  • Computer cracks 200-terabyte maths proof

    The Boolean Pythagorean triples problem took 800 processors.

    Ever struggled writing proofs in algebra class? Here’s one you wouldn’t even hope to read. While solving a decade-ol...

    May 31, 2016
  • Germans claim new data Wi-Fi transmission record

    A lightning fast performance outside lab conditions gives hopes of better internet connections to...

    View through the position finder from the transmitter at Uni-Center Cologne to the Fraunhofer institute in Wachtberg ...

    May 26, 2016
  • The way we were before Google Maps

    Australian maps that give insight into a time before GPS.

    Google maps may have left the modern atlas gathering dust, but this collection breathes new life into the maps that g...

    May 17, 2016
  • A new way to explore the mathematical universe

    New online resource shows how mathematical objects relate.

    An international team of scientists has just launched an online tool for exploring the mathematical universe. A larg...

    May 11, 2016
  • For stronger condoms, spike them with spinifex

    It’s the bane of outback explorers and campers, but spinifex nanocellulose bestows extra strength...

    It's prickly and tough but compounds from spinifex grass can reinforce other materials.STEVE WATERS / GETTY IMAGESRou...

    May 10, 2016
  • Venus flytraps ‘sniff’ prey for better digestion

    A defence system turned into a key part of its lifestyle.

    The Venus flytrap may be named after the Roman goddess of love, but its bite is unforgiving. Now, German and Saudi Ar...

    May 5, 2016
  • Why Labradors are obsessed with food

    Labradors with a genetic mutation beg for food more often.

    If you own a Labrador Retriever, you know they’ll do just about anything for food. But that relentless appetite could...

    May 4, 2016
  • Microscopic secrets of your immune system

    Celebrate the International Day of Immunology.

    Short of cursing it when we catch a cold, most of us don't give much thought to our immune system. But now, the molec...

    April 28, 2016
  • Dirty mice give insight into human disease

    In an effort to mimic the human immune system.

    Living with a dirty cousin may make the sheltered lab mouse a better model for studying humans. That’s according to ...

    April 21, 2016
  • What is CRISPR?

    The tool that could usher in a golden age of gene editing.

    Who would have thought our most advanced gene-editing tool would be carbon-copied from one of the most primitive life...

    April 18, 2016
  • Four nano cancer-killing weapons

    Engineered drugs and delivery systems to target cancers.

    Sometimes big problems call for tiny solutions. And one solution that gives hope to the 14 million patients facing a ...

    April 13, 2016
  • The missing molecule of life’s building blocks

    Discovery brings us closer to discovering the origins of life.

    Our genetic blueprint could have brewed up in space, an international team of scientists has discovered. While exposi...

    April 8, 2016
  • The super-steel for next gen body armour

    New crystalline material is strong enough for any superhero. Viviane Richter reports.

    An officer in the US Army's 172nd Brigade Combat Team dons his body armour before a patrol in 2009 in Musayyib, Iraq....

    April 7, 2016
  • Stem cell therapy repair spinal damage?

    Scientists say they could be ready for human trials next year.

    Stem cell therapy may soon repair human spinal damage, much like salamanders regrow their limbs. This claim is made ...

    April 6, 2016
  • Synchrotron helps clear up cold case file

    Sophisticated X-ray laser analysis has been used to determine the scene of a murder in a case tha...

    Subatomic particles travelling at near the speed of light is the last thing you’d expect to find use in a forensic sc...

    April 6, 2016
  • Viruses can be used to track our travel

    Strains are linked to specific locations.

    We all know catching a virus can ruin a holiday. But criminals now have another reason not to pick one up. A team of...

    April 4, 2016
  • Volcanoes nudged the Moon off its axis

    Our cold, grey Moon was once vibrant and volcanic. Now scientists believe its fiery youth jostled...

    The Moon's violent, volcanic youth may have knocked the satellite right off its axis. That’s according to a group of...

    March 24, 2016
  • Missing link that led T-rex to top of food chain

    Brains, not brawn, delivered Tyrannosaurus the crown.

    Cunning Tyrannosaurus rex giants may have once ruled on land, but how they climbed to the throne has puzzled scientis...

    March 15, 2016
  • Can you inherit a weight problem?

    Mice pass on the effects of their bad diet to their offspring.

    Stay away from fast food if you’re planning on having kids. A parent’s bad diet impacts their offspring’s health – ev...

    March 15, 2016
  • Trails of ghosts

    The quest for subatomic particles.

    The ancient Greeks thought the fundamental particle was the atom. But when the electron was discovered in 1897, we re...

    March 9, 2016
  • What killed off the vicious ichthyosaur?

    The culprits that forced the ichthyosaurs demise.

    The dolphin-like ichthyosaur was king of the ocean, reigning at the top of the food chain. But some 90 million years ...

    March 9, 2016
  • Fossilised leaves are forced to tell their story

    Could provide insights into plant evolution.

    Plant fossils gathering dust in museums around the world may have more stories to tell yet. An international team of ...

    March 8, 2016
  • Older people slower but smarter than young’uns

    Retirees might take longer to fill out a crossword than their kids, but they'll leave fewer b...

    Shestock / Getty images Human intelligence is wired to peak at different stages of life – and it turns out ...

    March 6, 2016
  • Stress remodels lymphatic system to help cancer spread

    The body's drainage system is 'remodeled' when stressed out, and gives spreading canc...

    Stress can help cancer metastasise ... but a common blood pressure medication seems to offset it, a new study shows. ...

    March 2, 2016
  • Paving the way for quantum encryption

    Scientists put three photons in a 3-D twist.

    Just when you thought they couldn’t be more cryptic, physicists have designed a method for further encrypting quantum...

    March 1, 2016
  • The tarantula’s bite that could stop pain

    Spider venom is the key for new chronic pain medication.

    Neither a tarantula’s painful bite nor a sea snail’s lethal sting sound all that pleasant – or useful – for humans. ...

    February 29, 2016
  • Why bees don’t buy the flashiest flowers

    Balance between attracting pollinators and confusing them.

    The more glitz, the better. That’s the animal kingdom’s motto when it comes to attracting a mate – think flamboyant p...

    February 29, 2016
  • Blind patients may soon see again

    A light-sensitive protein might be the key.

    Next month, surgeons in Texas hope to restore sightto a blind patient using a neuroscience technique called “optogene...

    February 25, 2016
  • Bats’ boosted immunity may help battle bugs

    Bats can carry deadly diseases but stay healthy.

    Where Ebola has killed more than 10,000 people, bats can happily carry diseases without so much as a slight temperatu...

    February 23, 2016
  • Is this the link between sleep and depression?

    Discovery of genetic link may lead to treatments for depression.

    Ask any new parent – trudging through weeks or months on too little sleep can have them in a foul mood. But science m...

    February 23, 2016
  • Fish farms cause genetic change in a generation

    A fish hatchery creates natural selection pressures.

    Domesticating animals does not always mean we enhance their survival skills – just think of the Chihuahua – but that ...

    February 23, 2016
  • Cardio or weights: what is best for your brain?

    Working up a sweat doesn’t just shape and tone your muscles.

    Whether you bounce out of bed pumped for a Saturday morning run or begrudgingly drag yourself to the gym, we all know...

    February 22, 2016
  • Ebola survivor’s antibodies boost hope

    Priming the immune system for better protection.

    The blood of a single survivor of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Zaire has produced more antibodies against Ebola than re...

    February 19, 2016
  • Could a 5-D black hole break Einstein’s theory?

    A black hole that defies the theory of general relativity.

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    February 19, 2016
  • Watch a sea butterfly’s ‘flight’ through the ocean

    Uses same physics through water as a fruit fly does through air.

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    February 18, 2016
  • Sex-changing mosquitoes fight Zika

    Revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technique.

    Sex-changed mosquitoes might be the secret to defeating Zika, two Virginia Tech scientists propose. Using gene editi...

    February 18, 2016
  • Link between lead and violent crime

    Lead exposure in children increases aggressive behaviour.

    Young adults exposed to high levels of lead as children are more likely to become aggressive and commit violent crime...

    February 18, 2016
  • How to preserve data to last 13.8 billion years

    Scientists have discovered what maybe the ultimate in data storage devices, a laser-etched 'f...

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    February 17, 2016
  • Your reaction to cannabis ‘is hardwired’

    Genetics may determine whether THC becomes a problem or not.

    Your likelihood of getting stoned may be etched in your DNA. That’s according to a group of UK scientists who have id...

    February 17, 2016
  • New bioprinter produces life-sized, living tissue

    New technique made parts that became vascularised with blood vessels and innervated with nerves i...

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    February 16, 2016
  • Anti-cancer T-cells pass trials with flying colours

    Therapy using modified immune cells is showing promise.

    Attacking blood cancer with engineered immune cells has had “extraordinary” success in a new series of clinical trial...

    February 16, 2016
  • Can virtual reality help treat depression?

    Study lets patients' avatars give them a good talking-to, but the jury is out on whether it a...

    The virtual reality headset allowed patients to see from the perspective of their life-size “avatars” or virtual bodi...

    February 15, 2016
  • Simulating life on a deep space mission

    The HERA mission is an exercise in living and working in the isolation and confined spaces necess...

    Thirty years ago, the world was glued to televisions, witnessing the Space Shuttle Challenger blast off from Cape Can...

    February 15, 2016
  • Scientists discover a new kind of frozen water

    Low density ice that could aid carbon sequestration.

    Ice – whether you’re scraping it off your car windscreen or dropping it in your gin and tonic, you probably think it’...

    February 15, 2016
  • Depressed? Blame it on the Neanderthals

    Genes that helped our ancestors are not a blessing today.

    It turns out our Neanderthal ancestors passed on some genetic shortcomings that are responsible for a  range of moder...

    February 15, 2016
  • UCL sets new digital data speed record

    Optical transmission system is 50,000 times faster than today's superfast internet. Viviane R...

    Science Photo Library/Getty Images Imagine downloading Game of Thrones – all seasons, in HD – within a sing...

    February 11, 2016
  • SpaceX ramps up production of Falcon 9 rockets

    The company is gearing up for a busy launch schedule this year, Viviane Richter reports.

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    February 11, 2016
  • Parkinson’s patients respond to placebos

    Doctors may be able to keep treatments effective for longer.

    The next big thing in Parkinson’s therapy could be … nothing. Italian scientists have shown it’s possible to train th...

    February 10, 2016
  • How the animal kingdom plays the dating game

    Across the animal kingdom, every species has its own version of the dating game.

    Be it peacock feathers or butterfly wings, we can thank hard market competition for the animal kingdom’s brilliant va...

    February 10, 2016
  • The smell of death that may help save the living

    Odour of decaying bodies linked to speed of rescue teams.

    If you’ve ever caught whiff of festering roadkill, you’ll know death stinks. Turns out, that stench consists of trac...

    February 10, 2016
  • Heart stem cell patches not as strong as ‘real’

    Unfortunately repairing damage after cardiac arrest isn’t easy.

    Once flagged as a miracle treatment, stem cell transplants have successfully patched up damaged heart tissue. But it'...

    February 9, 2016
  • A bionic spinal cord for paralysis patients

    Electrode could help steer bionic limbs or exoskeletons.

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    February 9, 2016
  • Salamanders inspire new breed of robot

    Built to study how the nervous system coordinates movement in vertebrates, the Pleurobot could he...

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    February 8, 2016
  • How microbes help bears to hibernate

    And what that tells us about treating human obesity.

    Gorging all summer and sleeping all winter – hibernating bears do it every year yet somehow manage to stay healthy. N...

    February 5, 2016
  • Being a ‘morning person’ linked to genes

    You may have no control over you wake up and go to bed early.

    Fighting with your alarm every morning? You might be fighting what’s programmed into your genes. That’s what a 89,000...

    February 4, 2016
  • Parasite slavedriver ants use cunning rather than force

    Use of scent is the key to these ants tactical genius, writes Viviane Richter.

    Raiding workers of Polyergus breviceps ants capture and carry away pupae from a nest of Formica gnava ants. – Gregory...

    February 4, 2016
  • How growing grey matter folds up

    A developing foetal brain … in a jar.

    Where wrinkly skin gets a bad rap, a wrinkly brain gives you supercomputer abilities. But how those furrows in our gr...

    February 3, 2016
  • Britain approves genetic modification of embryos

    Stem cell scientist will use gene editing to monitor development.

    Francis Crick Institute stem cell scientist Kathy Niakan. Credit: Francis Crick Institute British scientists have be...

    February 2, 2016
  • The sweat of your brow is your new medical monitor

    Vivian Richter investigates the latest in wearable data devices designed to keep track of your he...

    Stacy Pearsall / Getty Images Bracelet, watch ... diagnostic lab? University of California Berkeley scienti...

    February 1, 2016
  • Fungi survive Martian conditions in Space Station experiment

    Survival in hostile environment adds to hope we might still find life, or signs of it, on the Red...

    Growth of Cryomyces antarcticus on agar plate. Tiny fungi native to Antarctica have survived more than 18 ...

    January 29, 2016
  • 3-D printing delivers smash-proof ceramics

    Ceramics are hard and heat-resistant, but they are also brittle and difficult to forge into intri...

    The 3-D printed ceramic excels at handling heat, just like regular ceramics. – HRL Laboratories / Dan Little Photogra...

    January 25, 2016
  • Could this make poo transplants obsolete?

    We have more control over gut microbes than we thought.

    Who’s in charge – you or your gut microbes? With recent research showing gut bacteria release neurotransmitters that ...

    January 25, 2016
  • Machine vision peers around corners

    Forget mirrors on sticks. Bounce some super-fast light particles if you want to see what's ar...

    Disturbances in the ripple pattern produced when a high speed laser is shone at a point beyond a corner can reveal if...

    January 15, 2016
  • Corpse-eating bacteria a forensic tool

    Measuring the microbes that feed on the dead.

    The number of blowflies feasting on a corpse can be the crucial detail that leads to a murderer’s conviction. But the...

    January 15, 2016
  • NASA prepares for Mars missions

    Spacecraft and their cargo are rigorously tested before leaving for the red planet. Viviane Richt...

    While Curiosity explores Mars to see if it could once have harboured life, NASA is preparing a more sophisticated rov...

    January 13, 2016
  • Batteries – a guide to the future

    Batteries that store renewable energy are essential for the Paris climate agreement to work. Vivi...

    Turning solar and wind electricity into a 24/7 power source as reliable as coal. Eliminating the “range anxiety” that...

    December 14, 2015
  • Cleaning oil spills with blotting paper

    A nano-material able to mop up giant oil spills.

    When BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in 2010 it dumped more than 300 Olympic swimming pools of oil into the G...

    December 14, 2015
  • Built-in compass helps birds find way home

    This mechanism is closer to being understood.

    In late summer, the swallows of northern Europe get restless. They gather in twos and threes, then clusters of a doze...

    December 7, 2015
  • Sea creature with 100 eyes

    The multi-eyed chiton could provide a model for robots.

    If you spot a West Indian fuzzy chiton, it has most likely spotted you too. Chitons may lack a brain, head and eyes ...

    November 30, 2015
  • Surgery with sound waves?

    Using loudspeakers to manipulate objects in mid-air could lead to scalpel-free surgery. Viviane R...

    A levitating polystyrene bead held in place by sound waves (which are depicted in a computer-generated overlay). – Im...

    November 23, 2015
  • Dinosaur’s temperature sheds light on evolution

    Dinosaurs were neither warm nor cold-blooded.

    Were dinosaurs cold or warm-blooded? For 150 years, palaeontologists have argued the point. Now a new piece of eviden...

    November 16, 2015
  • The earliest life on Earth?

    Life emerged 300 million years after the planet formed.

    When did life first emerge on Earth? Mark Harrison and colleagues from the University of California Los Angeles belie...

    November 9, 2015
  • How electric eels double their zapping power

    Use of electricity in sophisticated hunting methods.

    Slippery, slimy and beady-eyed, the electric eel looks like a remnant from the age of the dinosaurs. But its hunting ...

    November 9, 2015
  • Artificial skin returns a sense of touch

    New plastic skin could one day provide feedback to the brain from prosthetic limbs. Viviane Richt...

    Artificial pressure-sensing 'skin' can send signals to brain cells. – Bao Research Group, Stanford University ...

    November 2, 2015
  • Nobel for identifying the DNA repair kit

    How damaged DNA is fixed won the chemistry Nobel.

    Your DNA is under constant attack. Ultra-violet light, tobacco smoke – even everyday cell replication – can dent our ...

    October 26, 2015
  • New hope for cancer medicine

    Treatments that use patient’s own immune system.

    Reprogramming the body’s immune cells to fight cancer tumours saves lives, but it can backfire. The treatment, called...

    October 19, 2015
  • What came first, cells or viruses?

    A biological enigma that goes to the heart of the origin of life.

    Do humans really mark the pinnacle of evolution, or do viruses? While we’ve evolved along a pathway of ever-increasin...

    October 19, 2015
  • Looking for life in salty Martian streams

    Microbes in Chile’s Atacama Desert might hold clues about life on Mars. Viviane Richter reports.

    Dark, narrow, finger-like streaks, visible against the white background of the lower slopes in this image, are believ...

    October 12, 2015
  • The virus that could help stop HIV

    The secrets of a virus that can help you fight off other diseases.

    We've all heard of friendly bacteria, but a friendly virus? Called the pegivirus, catching it doesn’t make you sick. ...

    October 5, 2015
  • A self-healing plastic for astronauts

    NASA’s latest invention could make life safer for space travellers. Viviane Richter reports

    Future versions of NASA's Orion crew module, designed to carry astronauts to Mars, might feature a self-healing skin ...

    September 28, 2015
  • How to stop cancer patients wasting away

    A separate, treatable condition.

    Cancer patients often fade away, their own body consumed by the voracious demands of their growing tumour. At least t...

    September 28, 2015
  • What does an electron cloud really look like?

    A new microscopy technique allows us to see the glue that holds molecules together. Viviane Richt...

    Chemists in Europe can now snap images of single molecules that are so sharp you can not only see the individual atom...

    September 21, 2015
  • Carbon capture that could turn a profit

    A catalyst that turns CO2 into carbon monoxide could curb greenhouse emissions while also providi...

    Carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants is the greenhouse gas most responsible for climate change. – livecal / ge...

    September 21, 2015
  • A fish lift saves native species

    Scientists are going to great lengths to improve fish diversity in the Shoalhaven River. Viviane ...

    The Tallowa Dam fish lift provides a mechanical shuttle to carry fish over the dam wall. – Chris Walsh Next...

    September 7, 2015
  • Filming living cells in close-up

    Physicists have upgraded super-resolution microscopes.

    Inside every cell, billions of molecules continually writhe in an endless, carefully choreographed dance. Each step a...

    September 7, 2015
  • Saving the world’s crops with a bee vaccine

    Beekeepers to exploit trick to protect their hives.

    Could vaccinating baby bees reverse the global decline in bee numbers? Dalial Freitak at the University of Helsinki a...

    August 31, 2015
  • Fighting superbugs with supercomputers

    Helping scientists design more effective anti-microbials.

    We’re losing the arms race against superbugs. Now with the aid of a supercomputer, Alan Grossfield at the University ...

    August 31, 2015
  • Atoms in close-up

    Electron microscopes take us to unseen places.

    “Nothing exists except atoms and empty space,” said Democritus (460-370 BC). Perhaps it was the whiff of baking bread...

    August 31, 2015
  • Could buckyballs make any metal into a magnet?

    A layer of carbon can bestow the powers of magnetism. Viviane Richter explains.

    A magnetic field: Magnets have become crucially important in the computer age, so researchers are seeking to learn ho...

    August 24, 2015
  • Can fish oil prevent schizophrenia?

    Omega-3 fatty acids could stop the onset of full-blown psychosis.

    Could schizophrenia be nipped in the bud? Yes, according to a seven-year study by Paul Amminger and colleagues at the...

    August 24, 2015
  • How to date a Russian cave lion

    The oldest bone sample to be reliably carbon dated is 61,000 years old. Viviane Richter reports.

    A reproduction of the now extinct Russian cave lion, Panthera leo spelaea. – Markus Matzel / ullstein bild via Getty ...

    August 17, 2015
  • A way for solar cells to capture more sunlight

    Researchers find a more efficient method of converting solar rays into electricity. By Viviane Ri...

    Solar panels cannot convert all of the sunlight they are exposed to into electricity. Researchers have found a way to...

    August 17, 2015
  • A new underwater glue inspired by mussels

    Molecule could be used to repair ships and broken bones.

    Superglue needs clean, dry surfaces to work.  Yet mussels can hold fast to wet rocks treacherously slicked with sea s...

    August 17, 2015
  • Why building blocks in our cells turned left

    Amino acids could have become “left-handed” through space.

    Deep down, all right handers are lefties – at least when it comes to their amino acids. These are the building blocks...

    August 10, 2015
  • Scientific instruments on your mobile phone

    We bring you up to date with mobile phone clip-ons that bring the laboratory to your pocket with ...

    Jeffrey Phillips The smartphone in your pocket connects you to the world wherever you stand. The potential ...

    August 10, 2015
  • Ancient forest microbes live 2.5 km under the sea

    Life in 20 million year old coal buried beneath a sea bed.

    Scientists drilling off the coast of Japan have awoken an ancient creature from its long slumber. But don’t worry – t...

    August 3, 2015
  • Glowing corals deep in the sea

    Fluorescing corals 50 metres deep in the Red Sea uncovered.

    The dark depths of the Red Sea have been concealing an array of rainbow corals that put on a vibrant show under torch...

    August 3, 2015
  • Growing a 3-D heart chamber in the lab

    Skins cells may one day make organs for transplant.

    Stem-cell scientistshave grown a tiny beating human heart chamber in the laboratory. The little bundle of pulsating c...

    July 27, 2015
  • How carbon reached the Earth from the stars

    Carbon could have travelled to the Earth by way of buckyballs.

    Buckyballs, a carbon molecule shaped like a sphere, have long fascinated scientists. Researchers now believe these mo...

    July 27, 2015
  • A gravity machine on a spaceship to Mars

    A human-sized centrifuge may help astronauts counteract muscle wasting and bone loss in space. Vi...

    The mobile centrifuge machine, which creates gravity, in motion in a classroom. It is tilted on one side to counterac...

    July 20, 2015
  • Single cell eyeball creature

    What could it tell us about the eye’s evolution?

    Scientists studying microscopic organisms in a seawater sample found a creature that appeared to be a tiny floating e...

    July 20, 2015
  • How a flu jab triggered narcolepsy

    Should we be worried about our next flu shot?

    You might feel a bit sleepy in the day or two after a flu jab – after all, drowsiness is a common side effect. But th...

    July 13, 2015
  • The obesity fighting mushroom

    Chinese medicine counters diabetes and weight gain.

    As any gardener knows, plants need the right mix of fertilisers to flourish – and the same seems to be true for your ...

    July 6, 2015
  • The big five mass extinctions

    Mass extinctions where more than 75% of the species disappear!

    Biologists suspect we’re living through the sixth major mass extinction. Earth has witnessed five mass extinctions wh...

    July 6, 2015
  • A dying cell’s last act

    Do infected immune cells shout a warning to their neighbours?

    When immune cells get sick, they will often self-destruct to protect the rest of the body from harm. New research sug...

    June 29, 2015
  • Finding traces of life in dinosaur bones

    Scientists uncover how dinosaurs evolved into birds.

    Until now, dinosaur fossils imprinted with soft tissue remains have been rare and highly prized. But a new study sugg...

    June 22, 2015
  • The lymphatic drain inside your brain

    Discovery could inspire new treatments for Alzheimer’s.

    Has the human brain been hiding a dirty secret? While studying the membranes around a mouse brain, neuroscientist Ant...

    June 15, 2015
  • Lighting up the brain

    Techniques reveal insights into the way the brain is wired.

    Delicate ascension Neuroscientist Andreas Zembrzycki uses dyes and fluorescent genes to light up neurons in the br...

    June 8, 2015
  • Concrete buildings that heal themselves

    Bacteria spores are part of a new concrete mix. Viviane Richter reports.

    Workers apply self-healing repair mortar in an underground parking garage. The mortar is mixed with bacterial spores ...

    June 1, 2015
  • The germ at the scene of the crime

    Tracing criminals through microbes – the next big thing.

    The germs you pick up at a crime scene may one day land you in jail. Microbiologist Jack Gilbert and his team at the ...

    May 25, 2015
  • One blood type for all looks within reach

    The key to making blood type irrelevant in transfusions.

    You have a one-in-three chance of needing a blood transfusion at some point in your life. But not all blood types mix...

    May 18, 2015
  • Space radiation might affect how astronauts think

    Tests on mice don't bode well for travellers to Mars. Viviane Richter reports.

    Tempted by a trip to the red planet? You need to be “curious” and “creative” says the Mars One recruitment form. Alas...

    May 11, 2015
  • A kinder, more personal cancer treatment

    Two new devices to improve chemotherapy responses.

    Anti-cancer chemotherapy drugs are notoriously hit-or-miss. A drug that wipes out a cancer in one patient can be inef...

    May 4, 2015
  • Why do we have a chin?

    The chin serves no obvious purpose.

    Big, small and sometimes dimpled, everyone has a chin – and we’d look pretty odd without one. But why is it there? Th...

    April 27, 2015
  • Gut bacteria influencing your mood?

    Intestinal bacteria can boost the body’s production of serotonin.

    Microbes in the gut do more than aid our digestion – they may also alter our mood. Elaine Hsiao and her team at Calte...

    April 20, 2015
  • Invisible mending for the human body

    Silicon sheets covered with nanoneedles.

    A person with severe burns could one day be wrapped in bandages lined with invisible needles say researchers at Imper...

    April 20, 2015
  • Nanorobots made from DNA

    A way to engineer DNA into nanoscale machines.

    It carries the code for life, but that’s not all DNA is useful for. Researchers at Munich Technical University have b...

    April 13, 2015
  • How a dottyback catches his damsel

    It changes colour to look like its favourite prey, the damsel fish.

    A tiny predator on the Great Barrier Reef has been found playing dress-ups to sneakily attack its prey. Fabio Cortesi...

    April 6, 2015
  • A better way to capture carbon

    A cheaper and more efficient way to take CO2 out of the atmosphere has been found. Viviane Richte...

    In this carbon-capturing sponge, carbon dioxide molecules don't simply fill the material's pores - they become part o...

    March 30, 2015
  • A gold Trojan nano-horse that fights cancer

    Gold nanoparticles designed to kill cancer cells.

    The Trojan horse is a legend often trotted out to describe new cancer therapies. Natalie Artzi and colleagues at Harv...

    March 16, 2015
  • Electric currents help the mind dream and wander

    Daydreaming is an essential brain function.

    We don’t normally associate daydreaming with productivity. But by boosting your brain with an electric current, it’s ...

    March 9, 2015
  • Cracking the codes of human disease

    The Epigenomics Roadmap Program sheds insight.

    Be they brain or bone, all the cells of our body carry the same DNA code or genome. Each cell type develops different...

    March 2, 2015
  • Printed solar cells poised for a breakthrough

    Research into alternatives to silicon solar cells is making rapid progress. Viviane Richter reports.

    In one hour the Sun sends enough energy to the Earth to power civilisation for a year – if only we could capture it. ...

    February 23, 2015
  • Space travel is bad for your health

    If we want humans to thrive on Mars, we need to take better care of their immune system while the...

    NASA flight engineer Steve Swanson works out on an exercise bike on the International Space Station. Even frequent ex...

    February 23, 2015
  • Rotten egg gas lead to longer life?

    Hydrogen sulfide in the body the cause of a longer life.

    Calorie-restricted diets have long been known to extend lifespan and delay the diseases of ageing, but nobody has kno...

    January 27, 2015
  • Getting the measure of bacterial defences

    A snapshot of how bacteria design their armour.

    With superbugs on the rise, scientists are racing to find new ways to fight back. Now microbiologist Chris Whitfield ...

    January 19, 2015
  • Bats – the sonar saboteurs

    Bats jam each other’s signals in airborne battles over prey.

    Mexican free-tailed bats use sonar to navigate, hunt and communicate. It turns out they also use it for sabotage, acc...

    December 1, 2014

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