Atomium Culture

Atomium Culture

The Permanent Platform of Atomium Culture brings together some of the most authoritative universities, newspapers and businesses in Europe to increase the movement of knowledge: across borders, across sectors and to the public at large.
La plataforma permanente Atomium Culture reúne a las universidades, periódicos y empresas más prestigiosos de Europa para promover el flujo del conocimiento más allá de fronteras, entre sectores y hacia el público en general.

About us

Leading young European researchers have been selected by European research universities and the Scientific and Editorial Committees of AC to write an article about their work and the potential impact of this.

Bomb Technology May Contain the Secret of Life

Por: | 31 de octubre de 2013

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By Dieter Braun, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich

The physics of life and death can be close neighbors. The same principle used to separate uranium to build an atomic bomb in Nazi Germany might be essential for the origin of life and is now widely used to measure the stability of biomolecule binding in medicine and biology.

Physics in Munich has a long tradition; the Golden Age of physics at the very beginning of the 20th century is especially well remembered. The rooms in which Sommerfeld and Laue worked still bear their names. Once they hosted breakthrough experiments on x-ray crystallography and held one of the top places for physics in the 1920s, but things took a sharp turn shortly after towards “German” Physics. A mere hundred meters away, the same institution helped arrest the group “Weiße Rose” which tried to defend humanism and liberal worldviews against all odds.

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Deep-Sea Bioluminiscence Blooms in the Mediterranean Sea

Por: | 30 de octubre de 2013

By Rosa Martínez, University of Barcelona Press

Image: The North-West Mediterranean Sea is the best region to study dense water formation. (Photo: José Luis Casamor, UB Research Group on Marine Geosciences)

Permanent deep-sea’s darkness is sometimes lightened by biogenic light blooms, a phenomenon so-called ‘deep-sea bioluminescence’. It is the ability of numerous marine organisms to emit light by chemical processes. But deep-sea bioluminescence blooms are connected with dense water formation, a process originated by the cooling of surface waters, which provides nutrients and oxygen to marine communities.

The discovery is based on an inter-disciplinary research carried out with ANTARES telescope, the first underwater equipment to detect high-energy neutrinos. From March to July in 2009 and 2010, the undersea telescope ANTARES, located close to Nice coast, detected a great increase of abyssal pelagic organism bioluminescence in the Gulf of Lion; it constitutes a unique data set, never recorded before.

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Searching for the Soul

Por: | 28 de octubre de 2013

By Ralf J. Jox, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Does brain imaging revolutionize our decisions about life and death for patients with disorders of consciousness?

This could happen to you any day: you carelessly cross a street, get hit by a suddenly approaching car and suffer a serious brain injury. Weeks later, you find yourself in a nursing home, unable to speak or move any part of your body, only faintly perceiving the world around you through a kind of cocoon, occasionally becoming aware of yourself and your tragic existence. Would you want to be kept alive by medical means, by the food and fluid flowing into your stomach through a feeding tube and by the antibiotics given to treat infections? How would you want your relatives and physicians to decide whether you live or die?

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Is There a Genetic Basis of Risk, Time and Social Preferences?

Por: | 24 de octubre de 2013

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By Thorsten Dickhaus, Humboldt-University Berlin

In a joint international collaboration, researchers from seven European universities are studying the extent to which a person's genetic makeup determines social, time and risk preferences.

Human beings are very diverse with respect to how many risks they take, how patient they are and how altruistically they behave towards others. These are characteristics of the human disposition which social scientists often refer to as social, risk and time preferences. This variation in preferences is related to a number of clearly definable factors, such as gender and age. But it is also related to differences in the general living environments people find themselves in and to their upbringing and personal histories. Their experiences, in particular those of early childhood, as well as their familial, social and cultural contexts profoundly shape their lives.

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A New Insight into Genetic Basis for Psychiatric Disorders

Por: | 23 de octubre de 2013

By Rosa Martínez, University of Barcelona Press

Image: From left to right, researchers Miquel Casas, Marta Ribasés, Josep Antoni Ramos-Quiroga and Cristina Sànchez-Mora (Vall d'Hebron Research Institute, VHIR) and Bru Cormand (University of Barcelona). (Photo: VHIR)

Schizophrenia, autism, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) share a significant genetic etiology. More than 300 experts from 250 worldwide institutions collaborate in the research, coordinated by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, the largest consortium in the history of psychiatry and the largest biological experiment in psychiatric disorders genetics.

Psychiatric disorders affect a third of population; their causes continue to be quite unknown. The study analyses the genotype of more than 75,000 individuals (patients and control) in order to determine which DNA variations are most commonly associated to five psychiatric disorders: autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and ADHD.

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Life as Art: Using Transformative Drama to Address Trauma

Por: | 21 de octubre de 2013

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By Kinga Anna Gajda, Jagiellonian University in Krakow

Transformative drama (also known as therapeutic drama) is based on the therapeutic creation of the subjective identity of the audience or reader. Active as well as passive, it can be applied during drama writing, when reading, and when using transformative drama as a screenplay during drama workshops. People who are excluded — such as prisoners, patients (for example cancer patients), and those disabled people who Gina Bujis, a lecturer in social anthropology at Rhodes University, calls the “mufflet group” — can all benefit. But transformative drama can be used preventatively as well, for example in schools where the development of violence or sexual problems can be averted. Transformative drama is closely linked with the issue of identity and can be helpful in overcoming an identity crisis.

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Interpreting History Through Changes in Herbal Landscape

Por: | 17 de octubre de 2013

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By Renata Sõukand and Raivo Kalle, University of Tartu

The practice of using wild plants for medicinal purposes is rare in Old Europe, but it is still present in Eastern Europe today. Interestingly, just over a century ago, when the rural population of Estonia had poor access to medical help, plants were an irreplaceable means of dealing with diseases. Estonians used about one-third of their locally growing plants for healing and disease prevention.

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The Antartic Worm that Eats Bones

Por: | 16 de octubre de 2013

By Bibiana Bonmatí, University of Barcelona Press

Image: Tube of Osedax deceptionensis. Pals can be seen against the light. January 2013 campaign. (Photo: Sergi Taboada, UB)

A group of researchers from the University of Barcelona and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) has discovered a new species of Osedax, a marine invertebrate who eats bones, named Osedax deceptionensis. This bone-eating worm, which dines on decaying whale skeletons, was found within the 2010 campaign of the Actiquim-II project, in an experiment carried out on Deception Island, at the Spanish Antarctic base Gabriel de Castilla.

The new species, together with Osedax antarcticus, found by a parallel research group led by the Natural History Museum in London, are the first two species of worms found on the icy-cold seafloor of the Southern Ocean.

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Simulating Discharge in Communication Satellites

Por: | 14 de octubre de 2013

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By Manuel Alfonseca, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Figure: Transition zone for stainless steel walls at a frequency of 500 MHz.

Communication satellites are complex instruments, whose systems and components must pass strict laboratory controls and tests. The enormous cost of developing and placing a satellite in orbit must be recovered during its useful life, providing the greatest possible range of services (television, telephony, Internet, etc.) with the greatest possible number of independent channels.

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By Krista Jaakson and Maaja Vadi, University of Tartu

In 1970, Lance Shotland and Wallace Berger made an experiment to link individual values to actual behaviour: they studied female line workers and hypothesised that those who return pencils after the completion of the questionnaire place higher importance on honesty compared to non-returners. Indeed, non-returners did not regard honesty as highly; they gave higher regard to helpfulness instead. This result indicates that honesty and some social practices may have an inconsistent relationship.

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