Top Stories

Thought Antarctica's Biodiversity Was Doing Well? Think Again

Twenty-three experts involved in the study “Antarctica and the strategic plan for biodiversity,” recently published in PLoS Biology, debunked the popular view that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are in a better environmental shape than the rest of the world. In fact, the difference between the status of biodiversity in the region and planet Earth as a whole is negligible.

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Toronto's subways expose passengers to more air pollution than Montreal, Vancouver systems

Airborne particulates on subway platforms and trains are up to 10 times higher than outside air, around three times higher than levels in Montreal’s Metro

A new study co-authored by U of T Engineering Professor Greg Evans shows that subways increase our personal exposure to certain pollutants, even as they decrease overall emissions – and that Toronto has the highest levels in Canada.

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Drug created from malaria parasite shows promise as bladder cancer treatment

A drug created from a malaria protein stopped tumour growth of chemotherapy-resistant bladder cancer, offering hope for cancer patients not responding to standard treatments.

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Global Warming Making Oceans More Toxic, Research Shows

Ocean warming since the 1980s is linked to the spread of toxic algae, according to a newly published study led by Dr. Christopher Gobler, marine science professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University.

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New strategy produces stronger polymers

Plastic, rubber, and many other useful materials are made of polymers — long chains arranged in a cross-linked network. At the molecular level, these polymer networks contain structural flaws that weaken them.

Several years ago, MIT researchers were the first to measure certain types of these defects, called “loops,” which are caused when a chain in the polymer network binds to itself instead of another chain. Now, the same researchers have found a simple way to reduce the number of loops in a polymer network and thus strengthen materials made from polymers.

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Caterpillar found to eat shopping bags, suggesting biodegradable solution to plastic pollution

Scientists have found that a caterpillar commercially bred for fishing bait has the ability to biodegrade polyethylene: one of the toughest and most used plastics, frequently found clogging up landfill sites in the form of plastic shopping bags.

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Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst

Brown University researchers have developed a new composite catalyst that can perform four separate chemical reactions in sequential order and in one container to produce compounds useful in making a wide range of pharmaceutical products.

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New Approach to Improve Detection of Landfill-Related Pollution

Numerous hazardous substances seep from landfills into soil and groundwater, threatening human health and the environment. However, current methods for monitoring these substances are cumbersome and can create additional hazardous chemicals. 

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NASA's Fermi Catches Gamma-ray Flashes from Tropical Storms

About a thousand times a day, thunderstorms fire off fleeting bursts of some of the highest-energy light naturally found on Earth. These events, called terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs), last less than a millisecond and produce gamma rays with tens of millions of times the energy of visible light. Since its launch in 2008, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has recorded more than 4,000 TGFs, which scientists are studying to better understand how the phenomenon relates to lightning activity, storm strength and the life cycle of storms.

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First-ever direct observation of chiral currents in quantum Hall atomic simulation

Using an atomic quantum simulator, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have achieved the first-ever direct observation of chiral currents in the model topological insulator, the 2-D integer quantum Hall system.

Topological Insulators (TIs) are arguably the most promising class of materials discovered in recent years, with many potential applications theorized. That’s because TIs exhibit a special quality: the surface of the material conducts electricity, while the bulk acts as an insulator. Over the last decade, scientists have extensively probed the microscopic properties of TIs, to better understand the fundamental physics that govern their peculiar behavior.

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