Newsletter December 2021
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ETH Domain News
December 23, 2021

The Sciena newsletter is taking an end of year break. We will be back on Thursday 13 January 2022. Season's Greetings to all our readers !

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After the National Council during the autumn session of Parliament, it was the turn of the Council of States to discuss the GMO moratorium. (©Swiss Parliament)
Surprise on the genetic engineering moratorium
What no one expected – genetically modified organisms in which no foreign DNA has been inserted are to be exempted from the moratorium on genetic engineering. The fact that Parliament does not want to double the cohesion contribution, on the other hand, was more predictable.

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Núria Casacuberta Arola studies water circulation using radionuclides. (Photography: Daniel Rihs)
"Oceans are one of the main driving forces of the Earth’s climate"
Núria Casacuberta Arola studies water circulation using radionuclides to understand the role of the oceans in mitigating climate change.

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Bird's eye view of the Zurich Hardbrücke: With roads, routes, buildings and much more, the Swiss structure is a complex task. Image: istockphoto
Rethinking Switzerland's built infrastructure
Buildings, roads, railways, supply and disposal networks and much more: The entire Swiss built environment is as complex as its challenges for the future – due to climate change, natural hazards, population growth and other factors. Where to start? What are the priorities?

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© Marie Sorribas / PSL
"A university must be multidisciplinary to make a name for itself"
Alain Fuchs, an EPFL graduate in chemical engineering, is a leading figure in France’s research landscape. He served as president of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) from 2010 until 2017, when he was named president of Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres). We spoke with Fuchs about his remarkable career path and his views on Europe’s educational and research systems.

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Hidden at the bottom of Lake Maggiore, a rare cagnetta (Salaria fluviatilis). In order to better understand the diversity of the fish and their dynamics, researchers in the Projet Lac have begun to observe the fish directly in their environment. (Photo: Eawag, Ole Seehausen)
Fish inventory in 35 lakes completed
In the "Projet Lac" research project, 35 lakes in the Alpine region have been, for the first time, systematically examined for their fish populations: In Switzerland alone, 106 fish species have been detected. With almost 20% of all known fish species in Europe, Switzerland is one of the hotspots for fish species diversity.

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Plastic not only causes problems in form of waste – greenhouse gases and air pollutants also occur during production. (Image: Blende-​8/Adobe Stock)
Saving infants' lives with iron
ETH pharmaceutical sciences graduate Nicole Stoffel has shown that iron deficiency reduces vaccine efficacy. Her research is now helping to improve the health of children in developing countries – yet becoming a researcher was not originally part of her plans.

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