Sci & Tech


Beating breast cancer

Although mammograms remain the leading tool for breast cancer screening, doctors in Switzerland are exploring other ways of finding tumours at an early stage. An ultrasound bath that may be able to do the job without radiation or compression is one of them.  

Tool-using animals

Dolphins in Western Australia using marine sponges as a foraging tool have managed to find a new niche food, according to Swiss researchers. The sponge-using bottlenose dolphins pass on the skill from mother to daughter.  

The future of the internet

Brazil is playing host this week to the “World Cup of internet governance”, as technology magazine Wired put it. States, hi-tech firms and civil society players will compete over how the net is managed. A Swiss negotiator gives his insights.  

Smoking warning

Medical pressure groups have come out against a liberalisation of electronic cigarettes, saying more needs to be known about the benefits and risks of the device. The sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is banned in Switzerland.  

Sovereignty for seeds

What farmer wouldn’t want an insect-resistant pepper? Yet opposition is growing to a pepper patent granted to Swiss agrochemical giant Syngenta. A coalition has stepped up the fight against patents and the threat they pose to farmers everywhere.  

Building a revolution

Among the Gantenbein vineyards near Fläsch in eastern Switzerland stands a striking piece of architecture – what looks from a distance like an enormous basket filled with grapes is a brick facade built entirely by robots. It could be the future of architecture.  

Opinion

Greenpeace, the global environmental NGO, typically leads protests. Last month, it became the target.  

Horizon 2020

Switzerland is no longer part of the “Champions League” of European research. Scientists tell swissinfo.ch their future is uncertain following the European Union’s decision to exclude Swiss institutes from funding within its flagship research programme.  

CO2

Carbon dioxide is often considered the big bad wolf of greenhouse gases, a major cause of climate change and global warming according to specialists. But what if it could be used to produce energy and mitigate some of its impact?  

Tissue engineering

Scientists at the University of Basel have reported the first ever successful nose reconstruction surgery using cartilage grown in the laboratory. They used a method called tissue engineering, where cartilage is grown from patients’ own cells.  

Greenhouse gas emissions

Switzerland was able between 2008 and 2012 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 9% – slightly above its Kyoto Protocol target of 8%. Despite this, environmental organisation WWF reckons the government is still “flying blind” when it comes to climate politics.