Newsletter April 2024
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ETH Domain News
April 18, 2024
(AI image generation: Studio HübnerBraun/Midjourney)
A potential shortcut
Today, machine learning and artificial intelligence are part of the toolkit for most researchers at PSI. In many cases these methods are fundamentally transforming the way we do science.

Robot head, digital brain, neural network © 2024 iStock
AI's new power of persuasion: it can change your mind
A new EPFL study has demonstrated the persuasive power of Large Language Models, finding that participants debating GPT-4 with access to their personal information were far more likely to change their opinion compared to those who debated with humans.

 View of the Koch site in Zurich-​Altstetten: a current example of a mixed-​use, co-​operative residential complex including green spaces. (Photo: Keystone/Christian Beutler)
What can cities do to promote acceptance of densification?
Swiss cities are more likely to accept densification when densification projects provide affordable housing and green spaces compared to densification that is implemented through reduced regulations for housing construction. By prioritizing a socio-ecological densification, extensive planning procedures and delays might be minimized.

Researchers collect a meteorite that provides information about the formation of the moon and other celestial bodies. (Photo: Steven Goderis, Université libre de Bruxelles)
Climate change is causing meteorites to disappear
More than 300.000 meteorites lie on the Antarctic ice. They contain an unprecedented wealth of information about our solar system. With every tenth of a degree of global warming, thousands of meteorites sink. Researchers from WSL and ETH Zurich recommend that their collection be promoted.

The Himalayan Balsam is a widespread invasive species in Switzerland that can also affect neighbouring aquatic ecosystems. (Photo: Florian Altermatt)
Impacts of invasive species transcend ecosystem boundaries
Invasive species influence biodiversity across larger spatial extents than previously thought. In a recently published study, researchers from Eawag and the University of Zurich show that the impacts of invasive species extend far beyond the ecosystems they invade. These findings are of great importance for the management of ecosystems.

Complexity and lightness: Empa researchers have developed a 3D printing process for biodegradable cellulose aerogel. Image: Empa
Airy cellulose from a 3D printer
Ultra-light, thermally insulating and biodegradable: Cellulose-based aerogels are versatile. Empa researchers have succeeded in 3D printing the natural material into complex shapes that could one day serve as precision insulation in microelectronics or as personalized medical implants.

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