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Science and Nature Research Stories


A Noah for the 21st Century
Scientists predict that, in the next thirty years, a quarter of the World’s Mammal species will face extinction. Recent news reports have shown that this statistic is as bad or worse for fish species and it’s a pattern that is repeated throughout the animal kingdom. The Frozen Ark is a unique project. Designed as a research resource for future generations of scientists it will ensure access to stored material that can give them real insight into species for many generations to come. (more on this story)

Researchers Offer Breakthrough Flu Protection
Researchers have been working on what is known as an interfering or protecting virus; a natural anti-viral produced by the virus itself. The researchers have been able to show that the protecting virus can help to shield animals against various strains of flu and could offer protection against the full range of influenza A infections, including H5N1 and any new pandemic or epidemic strain infecting humans. Early tests show that the Protecting virus is also able to counter an actual influenza A infection and offer protection, if given up to 24 hours after first infection (more on this story)

Old News is of Growing Importance!
They’ve taken the by product of paper re-cycling, that would normally be discarded as landfill, and turned it into a peat substitute – with quite remarkable results.  Peat is used by many growers, both commercially and domestically, as a plant medium because it provides a clean, uniform material; but this cleanliness also makes it particularly susceptible to quickly spreading plant diseases, such as forms of root rot. Research shows that compost made from paper waste has similar disease suppressing effects as green compost from plant waste. (more on this story)

Follow that Fish!
400 million years ago, in a river that ran in the region that is now on the border between England and Wales, strange fish known as cephalaspids swam in a freshwater river running through a semi-desert landscape. Researchers at the University of the West of England in Bristol have discovered the oldest fossilised fish trails ever recorded at this site, offering a new perspective on one aspect of life from the very dawn of existence. (more on this story)

Showdown at Red River!
Scientists at the University of Teesside, in the northeast of England, are finding new ways to deal with polluted mine water that has become a major problem in the area, once a major iron and steel-producing region of the world. Now research from the Clean Environment Management Centre has found ways of extracting and recycling the pollutants for new uses in concrete manufacture, recordable tapes and discs, and even pottery glaze! (more on this story)

Taking the Lab to the Riverbank - A New Pollution Detection Device
Researchers at the University of Birmingham's School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences have discovered and developed a new method of detecting pollution in water within seconds. This method uses ultraviolet light to examine the fluorescence given off by different substances. (more on this story)

Men Are Definitely Not From Mars!
Is there life on other planets? And if so, are they the little green men of science fiction? Professor Ian Stewart, from the University of Warwick, thinks there is life on other planets and while it could be little and green, it is highly unlikely to be anything we would recognise as men. (more on this story)

Sex and Death in a British Orchard!
Codling Moths cost fruitgrowers millions of pounds in damaged crops each year. Spraying is the common way of dealing with this pest but the virus degrades in direct sunlight and orchards must be repeatedly treated to keep the moth in check. Now the University of Warwick's horticultura arm, Warwick HRI, has developed a device that allows growers to selectively target the pest with a virus that kills its larvae without killing other beneficial insects – an approach that can be adapted to target crop pests around the world. (more on this story)

Going Nuts in Africa!
Africa used to account for 10 percent of the world’s agriculture - now it represents a meagre four percent. African scientists have rarely looked to their native crops to provide solutions to their food needs or offer export possibilities, but a humble groundnut may be about to start an African agricultural revolution! (more on this story)

Dry Valleys of the Antarctic
Protected from the ice shelf by the trans-Antarctic mountains, the Dry Valleys of the Antarctic are cold deserts where scientists are able to gain access to volcanic rock in a way that isn’t possible anywhere else on earth. Can we expect another period of major volcanic activity? Perhaps the answer lies in the deserts of the Antarctic. (more on this story)

Learning to Live with Environment Change
Together with the UK's Environment Agency, the University of Gloucestershire is spearheading a project to involve local communities in the history and understanding of flooding in the lower reaches of the River Severn. And at Bournemouth University, researchers are involved in the nature verses nurture debate to find a more sustainable means of managing our coastlines. (more on this story)

Managed Flooding and Flood Management
Is extreme flooding the direct result of climate change? Or does the way we manage our rivers and other water sources also contribute to the problem? Scientists at the University of Nottingham are some of the international experts looking into solutions to this problem. (more on this story)

Predicting Landslides
At a time when we seem increasingly powerless before the ravages of nature, a team of researchers at Durham University has made great strides in understanding and predicting landslides. (more on this story)

E-Science - The Future of Research
Researchers from the UK's University of Nottingham are involved in an exciting project to widen the parameters of scientific research. By taking research out of the laboratory and into the public domain through the internet, E-Science could well change the ways in which we communicate, interact, work and play. This is the future – now! (more on this story)

Surviving an Earthquake
Southwest England might not be the first place you'd think of to look for advice on surviving an earthquake, but scientists at the University of Bristol, with complementary studies from the neighbouring University of the West of England, are at the cutting-edge of research that explores and develops the basic principles used to protect structures during earthquakes (more on this story)

Magnetic Levitation
At the UK's University of Nottingham physicists are levitating water! While that sounds entertaining, if not particularly practical, the applications of "Magnetic Levitation" could have huge impact on industries that are, literally, worlds apart. (more on this story)

Cow Heaven
The University of Nottingham's state of the art Dairy Centre has invested extensively in robotic systems designed to significantly improve both milk yields and animal welfare.  The most impressive of these are the robotic milking machines that allow the cows to decide exactly when and how often they want to be milked during the course of the day! (more on this story)

For Peat's Sake!
In the UK alone some 100,000 cubic metres of peat is used each year in commercial mushroom growing. Now the rapid depletion of the world's peat resources, home to a number of rare plant and animal species, could be significantly reduced, thanks to a new substitute product developed by scientists at the University of Warwick's horticultural research arm, Warwick HRI. (more on this story)

Astronomy for Today - and Tomorrow
Durham University is aiming to improve the quality of astronomical imaging. Using adaptive optics to correct the distortions caused by turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere, scientists are now able to obtain much sharper images which could have a huge impact on telecommunications. (more on this story)

An Electrifying Way to Stay Dry
With some gas and an electric current, you may never have to get wet again. Researchers at the University of Durham are developing super-repellent techniques, an area of plasma chemistry, that are opening up a wide range of uses, from simple liquidproof textiles through to new ways of screening genetic material for disease. (more on this story)

Polymers to Go
Researchers at Warwick University are driving new technology for building designer polymers. This new generation of polymers will have considerable potential in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. (more on this story)

Fuel of the Future
Engineers at the University of Birmingham are urgently working towards a sustainable alternative to the fossil-based fuels we use to heat our houses and drive our cars - and the answer is most likely to be hydrogen (more on this story)

Clean and Green Water
An environmentally-friendly technique that uses sunlight to destroy pollution has been developed by academics in the School of Chemical, Environmental and Mining Engineering at the University of Nottingham in the UK. The new technology could provide an important breakthrough for a sutainable way of cleaning up water supplies and industrial waste water. (more on this story)

Defusing the waste timebomb
Mankind is facing a waste timebomb as we run out of space in traditional landfills. Unless we can find a way to avoid the damaging and unsustainable disposal methods we have used for generations, it is only a matter of time before we are faced with an environmental disaster. (more on this story)

Risking the Mummy's Curse!
Canopic jars, part of the ancient Egyptian mummification process, were used to store the vital organs of a Mummy. The liver, lungs, intestine and stomach were removed, treated, wrapped in impregnated linen and stored in four canopic jars that were buried with the individual. Now, an ancient Egyptian canopic jar, which has kept its secrets under wraps since 1400 BC, is opened by scientists at the University of Birmingham in the UK. (more on this story)

From DNA Structure to Stem Cells - 50 years of Controversial Research
The most important photo ever taken, the X-ray diffraction photograph which led to the discovery of the structure of DNA, came about through a series of lucky coincidences at King's College London. With one of only two existing UK stem cell research licences, King's College research is as important to our future knowledge of human existence as they have been to mapping its past. (more on this story)

Cardiff University - Still Fighting the Cold War
The UK is losing between 20 and 25 million work (and school) days each year to one of nature's own biological weapons - the Common Cold! The densely populated cities of our modern world provide ideal breeding grounds for Common Cold viruses - and ideal conditions in which they can spread. (more on this story)

Page contact: Tom Abbott Last revised: Fri 24 Nov 2006
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