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Daniel Odermatt: An obituary
"We’ll sort that out", or "That’s a great idea, we’ll do that", or "What a brilliant university", or even just a happy laugh with a glass of good wine once work was done. This was the voice of Dr. Daniel Odermatt, the Administrative Director of the University of Bern, who sadly fell silent forever on July 6, 2018. We still can’t believe it and yet must accept it.
Self-worth of children and teenagers develops more positively than supposed
Contrary to previous assumptions, self-esteem already grows during childhood and doesn’t drop during adolescence. Furthermore, it increases considerably as a young adult until it reaches its peak at the age of roughly 60 to 70 years old. Our self-esteem only declines in old age. Researchers at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Bern have been able to show the development over the lifespan in a comprehensive study.
Blood Pressure Medication can be detrimental in Old Age
Old and frail patients have an increased mortality risk and increased memory problems when their blood pressure is lowered too much through medication. This is what has been discovered by researchers from the University of Bern and University of Leiden (Netherlands) in a large-scale study – thus relativising the official recommendations for antihypertensive medications. They were awarded with the 2018 research prize by the Kollegium für Hausartztmedizin [College of General Medicine] for their work.
How to find signs of life in space
Astrophysicists of the University of Bern, Switzerland, contributed to a series of NASA papers that lay out strategies to search for signs of life beyond our solar system. They assume that the detection of atmospheric signatures of a few potentially habitable planets may possibly come before 2030.
Where Medical Technology and Astrophysics Meet
At the University of Bern, astrophysicists of the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) teamed up with medical technology researchers to develop a new method to analyse spectra of atmospheres of planets beyond our solar system. The unusual collaboration applied an artificial intelligence tool to study the chemistry of exoplanetary atmospheres.
First international higher education program in sleep medicine
The first CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies) in "Sleep, Consciousness and Related Disorders" course is starting this autumn. The new higher education course in a growing field of medicine is a cooperation between the University of Bern and the Università della Svizzera italiana, as well as the Inselspital Bern and the Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale in Ticino.
New defense mechanism against oxygen radicals discovered
Oxygen radicals occur as a by-product when living beings burn carbohydrates or fat. They are suspected of accelerating the ageing process in humans and animals, and to be partly responsible for severe illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or certain types of cancer. Researchers at the University of Bern and the University of Stockholm have now discovered a so far unknown defense mechanism against oxygen radicals which could serve as a base for various medications.
Tracking down the mystery of entangled particles of light
Bernese researchers have taken an important step towards new measurement methods such as quantum spectroscopy. In an experiment, they succeeded in uncovering part of the mystery surrounding the so-called "entangled photons" and gaining fine control on the measured correlations.
One of 30 under 30: Jessica Lampe
"30 Under 30" – The famous Forbes Magazine list features 30 pioneers under the age of 30 from Germany, Austria and Switzerland every year. In 2018 there are no less than two young scientists from the University of Bern. For Jessica Lampe, appearing on the list is confirmation of her research’s social relevance.
One of 30 under 30: Marietta Angeli
"30 Under 30" – The famous Forbes Magazine list features 30 pioneers under the age of 30 from Germany, Austria and Switzerland every year. In 2018 there are no less than two young scientists from the University of Bern. For the political economist Marietta Angeli, the Forbes list is a great opportunity that calls for critical reflection.
Research-intensive universities call for a strengthening of European science and innovation
The Guild, of which the University of Bern is a member, calls on Horizon Europe and Erasmus to strengthen Europe's global position in science, education and innovation.
"Research on Religion must answer societal questions"
What does it mean to be "religious" in the modern pluralized world? This is just one of many questions which will be discussed from 17 to 21 June at the international "Multiple Religious Identities" conference at the University of Bern. Jens Schlieter, Professor for the Systematic Study of Religion at the University of Bern, is convinced that religion is neither a thing of the past nor of distant places.
New Drug target to combat prostate cancer
A study by an international team of researchers from University Children’s Hospital Bern and the Autonomous University of Barcelona has discovered how the production of specific human sex hormones known as androgens is interrupted. These findings can help in development of new therapeutic approaches, as the overproduction of androgens is associated with many diseases including prostate cancer in men and polycystic ovary syndrome in women.
The path to success in fish sperm
In many animals, males pursue alternative tactics when competing for the fertilization of eggs. Some cichlid fishes from Lake Tanganyika breed in empty snail shells, which may select for extremely divergent mating tactics. A recent study at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the University of Bern shows that different male types within a species produce divergent sperm, specializing either in speed or longevity.
Cosmic ravioli and spaetzle
The small inner moons of Saturn look like giant ravioli and spaetzle. Their spectacular shape has been revealed by the Cassini spacecraft. For the first time, researchers of the University of Bern show how these moons were formed. The peculiar shapes are a natural outcome of merging collisions among similar-sized little moons as computer simulations demonstrate.
Focus on space debris
The Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AIUB) has extended its observatory in Zimmerwald with two additional domed structures, and has renovated a dome. As a result, there are now six fully automated telescopes available for observation and specifically for detecting and cataloguing space debris. The research station is thus gaining even greater international significance under the name "Swiss Optical Ground Station and Geodynamics Observatory". On 2 June 2018 it's Open Day at the Observatory.
Spoilt for choice? How neuroscience can explain your attitude toward freedom of choice
Being spoilt for choice can be a burden or a blessing: People value their freedom of choice differently. Whereas some people happily let others make decisions for them, others might rebel against restrictions of their freedom of choice. Scientists from the University of Bern have now been able to explain the individual attitude toward freedom of choice based on brain activations.
The Humanities Start where the Hard Sciences Finish
It can be difficult for the humanities and cultural sciences to find their place in the fact-based political discourse. However, disciplines from this field offer the world of politics a considerable level of added value, as Markus Zürcher, Secretary General of the SAGW, explained on the "Humanities Research Day" at the University of Bern.
Low Self-Control Influences Smartphone Use
The wide use of smartphones in our working and private lives has led to an unprecedented level of networking between people. Aside from the possibilities that the smartphone offers, there are also side-effects such as distraction while driving or at work. Bern researchers now show that differences in personality in our capacity for self-control can explain whether people react immediately to smartphone signals.
Seven Marie Curie Fellowships for the University of Bern
Each year, the European Commission awards Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships to post-doctoral researchers. Seven Fellowships went to researchers of the University of Bern, making it one of the most successful host institutions in Switzerland.
Soils in Swiss nature reserves contain significant quantities of microplastics
It is one of the first research projects into the existence of microplastics in the soil: Scientists at the University of Bern investigated floodplain soils in Swiss nature reserves for microplastics – and made a find. They estimate, that there are around 53 tonnes of microplastics lying in the top five centimetres of the floodplain. Even many of the soils in remote, protected mountainous areas, are contaminated with microplastics.
University of Bern to be location of World Bank programme
For the very first time, the world’s leading training programme for evaluation will be taking place in Switzerland. The World Bank has chosen the University of Bern, together with the Centre for Evaluation in Saarbrücken (CEval), as the provider of the International Programme for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET).
Dicer is not rolling dice
Researchers keep discovering new functions of small RNAs. For instance, they can be used as a defense mechanism against viruses or self-replicating genome invaders. These tiny pieces of RNA are often produced by a cleavage of long precursors by so called Dicer proteins. To their surprise, researchers from the University of Bern have found that some Dicers acquired a unique and as yet unknown feature that allow them to cleave the RNA precursors in a very specific way, resulting in small RNAs that work much more efficiently.
Tobacco smoking – not long-term marijuana use – associated with build-up of plaques in heart arteries
Tobacco smoking, but not marijuana use over time, was associated with plaque build-up in heart arteries in a study that followed men and women for over 25 years, according to a study led by the University of Bern.
New weakness discovered in the sleeping sickness pathogen
Trypanosomes are single-celled parasites that cause diseases such as human African sleeping sickness and Nagana in animals. But they are also used in basic research as a model system to study fundamental biological questions. Researchers of the University of Bern have now investigated how trypanosomes equally distribute their “power plant” to the daughter cells during cell division. The discovered mechanism potentially opens new avenues for drug interventions.
Humidity switches molecular diode off and on
Molecular electronics is a growing research area where scientists study electrical properties of the molecules with a chemically programmed function. Molecules can function as diodes, switches and transistors, all with a typical length of few nanometers. An international group of scientists from University of Bern, Leiden University, Delft University of Technology, and Chuo University has developed the first switchable molecular diode.
Einstein Lectures 2017: Video Podcasts
Is there such a thing as absolute objectivity and truth? In the Einstein Lectures, the British philosopher Simon Blackburn addressed one of the oldest and most difficult questions in philosophy. His Einstein Lectures are now available as video podcasts.
Searching for distant worlds with a flying telescope
Researchers from the University of Bern, using an observatory on board a jumbo jet, have observed how the extrasolar Planet GJ 1214b is passing in front of its star, causing a kind of mini-eclipse. The first measurements of this kind with the observatory called SOFIA (short for Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy) prove that the flying observatory is well-suited to the observation of exoplanets.
Einstein Lectures 2016: Video Podcasts
The audience was enthralled by Martin Hairer’s lectures on how infinities can be tamed and the mathematics of randomness. His exciting Einstein Lectures are now available as video podcast.
Intensification of Land Use Leads to the Same Species Everywhere
Intensive use of grasslands by humans reduces species diversity and makes the landscape more monotonous, so that the same species end up everywhere. Nature is then no longer able to provide us with many essential ‘services’, which range from soil formation for food production to pest control. Led by the Technical University of Munich and the University of Bern, 300 scientists studied the consequences of land-use intensification for biodiversity at the landscape level and for the first time could do this for a wide range of species groups.
Humans and other Primates
The scientific view on human and animal behavior has changed over the past years. Not only humans, but other primates are now being depicted as political, cultural, even moral beings as well. In his guest lecture «Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?», the behavioral scientist Frans de Waal will focus on this topic. The event is part of the Collegium generale's new lecture series «Humans and other Primates» and will take place on Wednesday, September 28th at 18:15 in the Auditorium maximum (Room 110) in the main building of the University of Bern.
International conference KUNSTHALLEN
In contrast to collecting museums the model of the Kunsthalle is characterized by freedom and novelty. Due to its dynamic concept, this institutional format contributes to the formation of contemporary art in essential ways. The conference assembles international guests from diverse institutions and professional fields who will discuss the historical development, political implications as well as the societal positioning of the Kunsthalle. The institution’s role as curatorial field of experimentation, artistic material, and as a platform for transatlantic exchange will be examined as well. On September 2 and 3 at 9 a.m. in the main building and UniS. The Conference will be held in English.
When consumers sabotage brands
When consumers deliberately attack a brand with the objective of causing harm to it, this is known as «consumer brand sabotage». Marketing researchers of the University of Bern have examined this phenomenon in more detail, identified backgrounds and motives of brand sabotage and present initial countermeasures.
Predators drive social complexity
Variation in social organization and behavior of of highly social animals like cichlids is primarily explained by predation risk and related ecological factors. This stresses the significance of predation for social evolution.