Aarhus University’s new research vessel – the <em>Aurora</em> – will look like this by summer 2014, when it is ready to embark on expeditions. (Illustration: Aarhus University)

2013.02.27 |

Aarhus University’s new research vessel to be called Aurora

The keel has been laid, the course has been set and the Aurora is taking shape at the shipyard. The new ultra-modern research vessel will be ready to embark on expeditions by summer 2014.

Illustration showing the circular molecule – ciRS-7 (circular RNA sponge for miR-7) – which has captured microRNAs and thereby inactivated them.

2013.02.28 |

New knowledge about the human genome

Danish researchers have discovered a completely new function in human cells. In the long term, this could be very significant for understanding and treating a considerable number of human diseases. The results have been described in the international journal Nature.

Some palms are small bushes, while others are 60-metre-tall trees. In this photo alone from a rainforest in Brazil, there are four different species of palms. Researchers have now shown that palms only manage to adapt slowly to climate change. This is bleak news because palms play an enormous role in the ecosystem. In addition, humans use almost half of the total of 2440 species found – for purposes such as building material and food resources. Photo: Dennis Pedersen and Henrik Balslev. 
Section of a rainforest in Madre de Dios, Peru, where a single palm species – <em>Mauritia flexuosa</em> – dominates the swamp areas. Its fruit – called <em>aguaje</em> – provides food for both humans and animals . Photo: Dennis Pedersen and Henrik Balslev.

2013.02.27 |

Conservative palms in a climate on the move

New research shows that palms spend millions of years adapting to temperature changes, and that they move to new habitats quite slowly. Rapid and violent climate changes can therefore be a challenge for a plant group that is extremely important for humans and animals in hot regions of the world.

2013.02.22 |

From pregnant women to zebrafish

The protein PAPP-A is normally associated with pregnancy, where the concentration in the blood is reduced if the woman carries a child with Down’s syndrome. But even though the measurement of PAPP-A in early pregnancy is widespread for diagnostic use, there are large gaps in our knowledge of PAPP-A. By using zebrafish as a model organism, Danish…

NASA’s Kepler satellite has discovered a new planetary system that is home to the smallest planet known in the universe to date. An artist created this illustration based on the research team’s measurements of the planet called Kepler-37b. The astronomers do not believe the planet has an atmosphere, nor that it can sustain life as we know it. The planet is the size of our moon, but is presumably not a rocky planet. (Illustration: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

2013.02.23 |

The smallest planet in the universe – to date – has been found!

An international research team has analysed measurements from the Kepler satellite and found the smallest planet ever registered in the universe. The Stellar Astrophysics Centre at Aarhus University took part in the work to find and characterise the small planet, which is the size of our moon.

The palm species <em>Satranala decussilvae</em> lives exclusively in the rainforest area on the Masoala Peninsula in north-east Madagascar. It presumably covered larger areas in former times, but a drier climate during the last Ice Age meant that it retracted, and is still only found in its Ice Age refuge. Photo: J. Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
The map shows the location of the rainforest climate in Madagascar today (shaded), and where it was wet enough for the rainforest during the last Ice Age (dark-blue). 
It also shows the number of palm species per area. The palms are concentrated where the rainforests best survived the Ice Age climate.
<em>Beccariophoenix alfredii</em> on the plateau along one of the Manias River’s tributaries in western Madagascar. There are two species of <em>Beccariophoenix</em> in Madagascar. One is found in the rainforest and the other has adapted to drier environments such as this one on the plateau. Only a few palm species have managed to adapt to the drier areas. Photo: Mijoro Rakotoarinivo, Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre/Palmweb 2013. Palms of the World Online. Published on the Internet []. Accessed on 19 February 2013.

2013.02.24 |

Today’s palms still live in their wet Ice Age refuges

Rainfall during the last Ice Age played a particular role in determining the location of palms on the island of Madagascar today, according to new research. If the rainforest gets smaller and drier, there are no prospects for a rapid comeback.

2013.02.20 |

New SARS virus puts scientists on alert

A new SARS-like virus has been found in the Middle East, and an international team of researchers with Danish participation has found that the new virus is growing just as fast as a cold virus, and the disease is more severe. The disease could potentially be cured with a treatment that stimulates the immune system.

Since the early 1980s, Centre Director Jan Heinemeier has been involved in developing the accelerator method for carbon-14 dating at Aarhus University. (Photo: Rasmus Rørbæk, AU Communication)

2013.02.18 |

New accelerator facility on its way to Aarhus

Aarhus University has signed a contract for a new tandem accelerator at the AMS 14C Dating Centre. This will be the most advanced facility in its category in the world.

2013.02.14 |

This is why it takes so long to get over tendon injuries

Getting over damage to tendons can be a long and painful process. By combining the nuclear tests of the 1950s with tissue samples and modern technology, a research collaboration between Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen now reveals why the healing process is so slow.

Denmark produces more than 30 million tons of pig manure per year. Detailed new knowledge on a microscale about bacterial processes in manure could help reduce unwanted odours. (Photo: Colourbox)
Biologist Rikke Markfoged has spent the last four years at close quarters with manure to study how microorganisms convert nitrogen and sulphur. (Photo: Peter Bondo Christensen)

2013.02.13 |

Bacteria can control greenhouse gases from manure

Denmark produces more than 30 million tons of pig manure per year. Detailed new knowledge on a microscale about bacterial processes in manure could help reduce unwanted odours.

Heat. Cold. Drought. Humidity. Spanish slugs are not killed by the Danish climate. (Photo: Stine Slotsbo)

2013.02.08 |

Spanish slugs survive the cold

Spanish slugs, better known in Denmark as ‘killer slugs’, do not die due to Danish weather conditions. They survive cold winters and dry summers, so there are just as many in cold and dry years as in temperate and wet seasons. Read more (in Danish only) here.

It is possible to use new theories and smart equations to make computer calculations of molecular properties and dynamics.
Associate Professor Ove Christiansen, Department of Chemistry, has been awarded an Elite Researcher Prize.

2013.02.08 |

Large equations of small things

More and more chemistry experiments can be carried out without test tubes – or laboratories for that matter. Considerable advancements in theoretical chemistry are transferring the experiments to computers.

Professor Hannestad’s work at the Department of Physics and Astronomy is concerned with gaining an understanding of the forces that created the universe. His methods include simulations of the structure of the universe – known as cosmic webs. Every spot of light in this image represents a galaxy. (illustration: IFA)
Professor Steen Hannestad is receiving an Elite Researcher Prize valued at DKK 1.2 million today. (Photo: AU)

2013.02.06 |

Dark matters!

On 7 February 2013, the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education is awarding an Elite Researcher Prize to Professor Steen Hannestad, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University. The prize is valued at DKK 1.2 million and is being awarded for his major contribution to research.

It’s the thought – not the smell – that counts. Although pig manure cannot be poured directly into a car’s fuel tank, it can quickly and easily be converted to diesel. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU Communication

2013.02.06 |

Drive on manure – fly on grass

Green fuel for cars, planes and ships has advanced one step closer since Danish researchers developed an efficient and competitive technique for making oil out of all kinds of biomass.

2013.02.05 |

Space trip to Mars

During the Danish winter holiday for schools, you can go on a space trip to Mars. There are departures from the Steno Museum throughout the week, and you can experience exciting astronomy and learn lots about space travel.