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Plants & Poisons: Assessing Contamination in Our Environment

When a poison contaminates our environment, not only can it pollute the soil and water, it can also be taken up by plants, rendering them—or specific parts of them—toxic. Natalia Ospina-Alvarez is shedding light on this situation with regard to the toxic metal thallium: What does it mean for the environment, for agriculture and could plants even be part of the solution?

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The Public is Thirsty: Cédric Villani on the Many Reasons to Popularize Your Research

My colleague remembers one and only one lecture from her undergrad studies ten years ago. It is surely no accident that this class was given by Cédric Villani, the renowned mathematician and research communicator. Through stories from his own life and experience leading the Institut Henri Poincaré, Villani makes it clear how communicating with the public about your research can bring many benefits to any researcher.

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The first PeerJ Computer Science articles have arrived

In February, PeerJ announced that it would bring its innovative business model for scientific publishing to a new discipline: computer science. Today, PeerJ Computer Science publishes its first seven articles, representing a diverse selection of topics, just like the field itself and just as the publishers intended. Read on to learn what this effort has yielded so far, and the publisher's hope for its role in the future.

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Science Pops Open, Ep. 16: From Childhood Illness to Innovative Antibiotics

When Agata was eight years old, she spent more than half a year in the hospital, fighting off a bacterial disease that the standard antibiotics couldn’t beat. Today, Dr. Agata Starosta is determined to tackle the increasingly serious threat to society that is antibiotic resistance. New strategies are desperately needed, so she has departed from the usual tactic of disrupting basic bacterial functions. Instead, she aims to block the ability of the harmful ones to invade our bodies.

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PubMed Commons: An Interaction Catalyst for Science

These days, what scientist can stay on top of all of the latest journal articles, innovative methods, and interesting projects? It’s a challenge, but science is increasingly a team sport, says Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, and it’s important to provide scientists with as many avenues as possible through which to interact. This includes commenting on each other’s work, which is why the NIH created PubMed Commons. You already use PubMed; now you can contribute to its online community discussions.

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Research institutions need visibility. Luckily, there’s POLARIS!

Research institutions everywhere have common needs in terms of getting their work out there, making it accessible (= useable and citable) and getting it noticed by the world. How true it is! That’s why we are delighted to announce the arrival of our new offer, POLARIS: tailor-made, online platforms for enhanced dissemination and communication of research. Take a look!

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Science Pops Open, Ep. 15: Foretelling a Complex Future for our Complex Ecosystems

Have you thanked your local ecosystem today? Through the intricate web of interactions that exist within a community of many species, ecosystems provide services that humans depend on. Remove one link in the chain – if a given species goes extinct, for instance – and vital natural processes could fall apart. As human activities alter ecosystems, the ability to predict the consequences, and in a dependable way, becomes crucial. And that's where Phillip Staniczenko comes in. He is a physicist applying math to the study of ecology, in order to paint a more complete picture of ecosystem interactions, leading to more reliable predictions.

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Satellites & Our Water Challenges

Space-based oceanography revolutionized our knowledge of the oceans. Nothing of the kind has yet been undertaken for fresh water, a fundamental resource for humankind. Now, with the planned 2020 launch of the observation satellite, SWOT, the result of a partnership between the CNES and NASA, the space sector promises significant progress in this domain. The space missions Sentinel-1, 2 and 3 of the Copernicus program, and the Pleiades missions, are on it, too. Space hydrology is, thus, on the verge of considerably increasing our knowledge of the continental resources of our planet.

To understand better the role of space in the serious challenges facing us in terms of water, the CNES invites you to discuss with two of their experts, Selma Cherchali and Jean-François Crétaux. Join us next Tuesday, May 19th, at the café du Pont-Neuf in Paris, or on Twitter via #CNESTweetup.

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