Silent witnesses: how an ice age was written in the trees

27 Feb 2018

What connects a series of volcanic eruptions and severe summer cooling with a century of pandemics, human migration and the rise and fall of civilisations? Tree rings, says Ulf Büntgen, who leads Cambridge’s first dedicated tree-ring laboratory in the Department of Geography.

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Illuminating the hidden kingdom of the truffle

12 Feb 2018

Truffles are one of the world’s most expensive ingredients, and also one of the most mysterious. Now, with the help of a 170-year-old ‘living laboratory’, and a dog called Lucy, researchers hope to unearth new understanding of the secret life of these underground delicacies.

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Astronomers detect ‘whirlpool’ movement in earliest galaxies

10 Jan 2018

Astronomers have looked back to a time soon after the Big Bang, and have discovered swirling gas in some of the earliest galaxies to have formed in the Universe. These ‘newborns’ – observed as they appeared nearly 13 billion years ago – spun like a whirlpool, similar to our own Milky Way. This is the first time that it has been possible to detect movement in galaxies at such an early point in the Universe’s history. 

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Researchers chart the ‘secret’ movement of quantum particles

22 Dec 2017

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have taken a peek into the secretive domain of quantum mechanics. In a theoretical paper published in the journal Physical Review A, they have shown that the way that particles interact with their environment can be used to track quantum particles when they’re not being observed, which had been thought to be impossible. 

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Habitable planets could exist around pulsars

19 Dec 2017

It is theoretically possible that habitable planets exist around pulsars - spinning neutron stars that emit short, quick pulses of radiation. According to new research, such planets must have an enormous atmosphere that converts the deadly x-rays and high energy particles of the pulsar into heat. The results, from astronomers at the University of Cambridge and Leiden University, are reported in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

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