A Tale of Two Sexes

This year, for the first time ever, two of the largest neuroscience societies are led by a female scientist: the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), with nearly 42,000 members, and the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), which represents more than 22,000 neuroscientists in 42 member societies across Europe. While the SfN has a history of female presidents, 9 out of 45, FENS welcomed its first female president only recently. Why do women move so slowly through the ranks of the system and why is it important that they do so? More urgently, what can be done to change this and by whom? Here we address current challenges and recommend concrete actions.

Read through Neuron (click on thumbnail)

Marian Joëls, Carol Mason

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.05.021

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A telescope is born

It may look like just dots on a page, but an image of distant galaxies taken last week represents a huge step forward for CSIRO’s Australia SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope in Western Australia.


We’ve never had a telescope like this before. We can see that the novel aspects of its design really do work, and that it will outperform a conventional telescope.

-Dr David McConnell


Ένα τηλεσκόπιο γεννιέται

Μπορεί να μοιάζουν με κουκίδες πάνω σε χαρτί αλλά η εικόνα των μακρινών γαλαξιών η οποία λήφθηκε την προηγούμενη εβδομάδα συμβολίζει ένα τεράστιο βήμα προόδου για το ραδιοτηλεσκόπιο ASKAP στην δυτική Αυστραλία.



News release June 11, 2014 CSIRO


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Scientists wipe out malaria-carrying mosquitoes

Scientists wipe out malaria-carrying mosquitoes in lab with male-only offspring

Scientists have modified mosquitoes to produce sperm that will only create males, pioneering a fresh approach to eradicating malaria.

 Με τροποποίηση στον γενετικό τους κώδικα κουνούπια φορείς ελονοσίας αποκτούν στο εργαστήριο, σπέρμα το οποίο παράγει μόνο αρσενικούς γόνους, με αποτέλεσμα να διαφαίνεται ένα νέο όπλο στα χέρια της ανθρωπότητας εναντίον της νόσου.

What is most promising about our results is that they are self-sustaining. Once modified mosquitoes are introduced, males will start to produce mainly sons, and their sons will do the same, so essentially the mosquitoes carry out the work for us

– Dr Nikolai Windbichler, Department of Life Sciences



Study results June 10, 2014 by Gail Wilson Imperial College London



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Towards mitigating seismic hazard


A Europe-wide consortium has published the first harmonised reference model on seismic hazard in Europe and Turkey – the European Seismic Hazard Map 2013. It will be used to elaborate European and national building provisions for earthquake-proof construction. Public authorities, insurances and, last but not least, schools will likewise have the opportunity to use the map.


Research June 2, 2014 by Peter Rüegg ETH Zurich




Πανευρωπαϊκή κοινοπραξία δημοσίευσε το πρώτο εναρμονισμένο πρότυπο αναφοράς για την σεισμική επικινδυνότητα στην Ευρώπη και την Τουρκία. O ευρωπαϊκός σεισμικός χάρτης κινδύνου, θα χρησιμοποιηθεί για την ανάπτυξη ευρωπαϊκών και εθνικών διατάξεων οι οποίες θα αφορούν κατασκευές αντισεισμικών κτιρίων. Επίσης θα έχουν την ευκαιρία να χρησιμοποιήσουν τα δεδομένα του χάρτη, οι δημόσιες αρχές, οι ασφαλιστικές εταιρίες και τα σχολεία.

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Mycotoxin protects against nematodes

Researchers at ETH Zurich have isolated a protein from a fungus of the spruce which combats nematodes. The scientists hope that toxins of this kind will become the basis for the vaccination of livestock or domestic animals against zooparasitic nematodes.

Ερευνητές στο ETH Zurich απομόνωσαν πρωτεΐνη η οποία πυροδοτεί τον αμυντικό μηχανισμό των μυκήτων ( όπως είναι τα μανιτάρια ) και φαίνεται να καταπολεμά νηματώδεις σκώληκες. Παράγεται κυρίως στον πίλο (καπέλο) των μανιταριών. Οι επιστήμονες ελπίζουν ότι οι τοξίνες αυτού του είδους θα αποτελέσουν τη βάση για τον εμβολιασμό των ζώων ή κατοικίδιων ζώων κατά των παρασιτικών νηματωδών.

Research news May 27, 2014 By Peter Rüegg ETH Zurich


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How contagious pathogens could lead to nuke-level casualties

What if nuclear bombs could reproduce? Get your hands on one today, and in a week’s time you’ve got a few dozen.

Of course, nukes don’t double on their own. But contagious, one-celled pathogens do. Properly packaged as a bioweapon, they could kill as many people as a hydrogen bomb would, or more.

News release May 19, 2014 By Bruce Goldman Stanford School of Medicine



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Study finds hazardous flame retardants in preschool, child care settings

A new study of preschools and day care centers finds that flame retardants are prevalent indoors, potentially exposing young children to chemicals known to be hazardous.



News release May 15, 2014  Sarah Yang UC Berkeley




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Birth of a star in double-quick time

Scientists observe the nurseries of massive stars in our galaxy


Astronomers have undertaken a new survey of the plane of our Milky Way and discovered a large quantity of cold, dense clumps of gas and dust, apparently the cradles of massive stars. A team headed by Timea Csengeri from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn has now used the map, which was obtained by the APEX telescope at a wavelength of 0.87 millimetres, to estimate the time scale for the formation of stars.

The result: the process seems to proceed very rapidly, with massive stars taking only 75,000 years to form on average, a significantly shorter time than less massive stars.




Research news May 14, 2014 MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT



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A new quantum memory on the horizon

Sensitive measurements can be used to detect signals from an individual ion in a crystal




Research news May 13, 2014 MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT


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Can you tell me the full moon names?




Some almanacs like to give each month a special full moon name. Other almanacs like to reference full moons relative to seasonal markers, as defined by equinoxes and solstices. Is one way better than the other? No. Both have their roots in folklore.

Of course, both the monthly names and the seasonal names necessarily favor either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. That’s because the moon has different characteristics in the two hemispheres, at opposite times of year.

For example, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. So it falls in September or October for the Northern Hemisphere, and it falls in March or April for the Southern Hemisphere.


Here we list common full moon names – first by month (Northern and Southern Hemisphere) – and then by season (works for both hemispheres).


Astronomy essentials May 16, 2014 EarthSky

Full moon via EarthSky Facebook friend Lee Capps

Full moon via EarthSky Facebook friend Lee Capps



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PDF Can you tell me the full moon names_ _ Astronomy Essentials _ EarthSky


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Giant Efimov States Now Observed

A larger form of the three-body entity called an Efimov state has been experimentally observed, confirming the discrete scaling factor predicted by theory.



Viewpoint Published May 12, 2014 Physics 7, 51 (2014) DOI: 10.1103/Physics.7.51


Giovanni ModugnoEuropean Laboratory for Nonlinear Spectroscopy and Physics Department, University of Florence, Via Nello Carrara, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy











APS/Giovanni Modugno Figure 1: Researchers have finally observed large three-particle states (right) forming in an ultracold sample of Cs bosonic atoms (red), while previous studies could detect only much smaller ones (left, not to scale).

APS/Giovanni Modugno
Figure 1: Researchers have finally observed large three-particle states (right) forming in an ultracold sample of Cs bosonic atoms (red), while previous studies could detect only much smaller ones (left, not to scale).




The bound states of three identical bosons with resonant pairwise interactions have fascinated physicists since they were proposed by Vitaly Efimov in the 1970s. When such states occur, three particles can form a bound quantum state even if two particles alone cannot form a pair. Like the famed Borromean rings (often used to visualize Efimov states), breaking any one bond would thus destabilize the entire threesome.


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PDF Physics – Giant Efimov States Now Observed



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Radiation from Early Universe Found Key to Answer Major Questions in Physics

Astrophysicists at UC San Diego have measured the minute gravitational distortions in polarized radiation from the early universe and discovered that these ancient microwaves can provide an important cosmological test of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

These measurements have the potential to narrow down the estimates for the mass of ghostly subatomic particles known as neutrinos.



News release May 13, 2014 By Kim McDonald UCSanDiego



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