This year, the Deep Carbon Observatory will be ten years old. Geologist Isabelle Daniel, a member of the coordinating team, reviews this active international project to study the carbon cycle under the surface of the earth and discover the abundant life that lives up to 5 km below the surface of the continents.

The international Xenon project is the most sensitive experiment in the world devoted to hunting WIMPs. Buried under the Italian Gran Sasso mountain, Xenon1T has just completed a 278-day measurement campaign. While nothing was detected, it did refine the contours of this massive but-as-yet-unknown particle.

Thanks to the development of new tracking techniques and behavioural data analysis, scientists have managed to reconstruct and model the social interactions between fish in a shoal. These interactions govern their collective movements.

A team of scientists has developed an artificial nanoneuron that mimics the behaviour of a brain neuron. Trained to recognise numbers spoken aloud, the component accomplished its task successfully. This cross-disciplinary work opens the way to a new architecture for the computers of the future.

The sun’s closest neighbour, Proxima Centauri is not a lone star. A century after its discovery, our team has just demonstrated that this red dwarf is actually bound by gravity to the pair of stars Alpha Centauri, around which it orbits every 550,000 years.

Astronomical observations are about to deliver the very first telescopic image of a giant black hole. The mass of data collected in one night, exceeding everything that has ever been done in any scientific field, should provide a recomposed image during 2018. All this, forty years after the first numerical simulations.

Barry Barish played a key role in detecting gravitational waves, mobilising the scientific community in the international Ligo project, which first observed the collision of two black holes in 2015. The American physicist talks about one of the greatest collaborations in contemporary science.

Some materials are insulators on the inside, but conductors at the extremities. These surprising properties are due to the topological characteristics of the quantum states of electrons. Initially theoretical, experimental work on these materials is growing rapidly.

In only fifteen years, China has come to the forefront in quantum information technologies. A motion marked this year with the first functional quantum internet backbone, and an experimental quantum satellite —coupled with a similar instrument aboard the Chinese space station. Meeting with one of the major artisans of this success

Shaking the world of cosmology is a debate between the proponents of cosmic inflation, in the large majority, and a handful of physicists thinking outside the box and highlighting unique solutions for describing the primordial Universe. For the moment, there is insufficient data to plump for either side, believes cosmologist Robert Brandenberger. Interview conducted by Philippe Pajot.

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Photo Bernard Martinez


Managing Editor


La Recherche, founded in 1970, is a major source of science information in France for science-interested citizens, leading universities and research institutions. The site publishes the English version of a series of articles about the most advanced achievements appearing in our printed French version.


November 11, 2018

November 11, 2018

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