Image showing a family trees of stars in our solar system, including the Sun

Mapping the family tree of stars

20 Feb 2017

Astronomers are borrowing principles applied in biology and archaeology to build a family tree of the stars in the galaxy. By studying chemical signatures found in the stars, they are piecing together these evolutionary trees looking at how the stars formed and how they are connected to each other. The signatures act as a proxy for DNA sequences. It’s akin to chemical tagging of stars and forms the basis of a discipline astronomers refer to as Galactic archaeology.

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A bridge of stars connects two dwarf galaxies

08 Feb 2017

The Magellanic Clouds, the two largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, appear to be connected by a bridge stretching across 43,000 light years, according to an international team of astronomers led by researchers from the University of Cambridge. The discovery is reported in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS) and is based on the Galactic stellar census being conducted by the European Space Observatory, Gaia.

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Keeping the lights on in Ghana

07 Feb 2017

When Ghanaian Abu Yaya wondered why his country imports all of its electroporcelain – a small but crucial component for electrical power transmission – it led to a collaboration with Cambridge materials scientist Kevin Knowles that might one day result in Ghana being able to reduce its frequent blackouts.

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Cambridge and Africa

01 Feb 2017

Cambridge is one of the world’s leading universities in its engagement with, and support for, African research. This month we begin a month-long focus on some of these partnerships, introduced here by Professor Eilís Ferran, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional and International Relations.

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Fossilised tree and ice cores help date huge volcanic eruption 1,000 years ago to within three months

24 Jan 2017

An international team of researchers has managed to pinpoint, to within three months, a medieval volcanic eruption in east Asia the precise date of which has puzzled historians for decades. They have also shown that the so-called “Millennium eruption” of Changbaishan volcano, one of the largest in history, cannot have brought about the downfall of an important 10th century kingdom, as was previously thought.

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Opinion: How dangerous is burnt toast?

23 Jan 2017

A new campaign is warning people that burning some food, such as toast, is a potential cancer risk. Here, the evidence for this claim is explored by David Spiegelhalter, Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the new Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication. 

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