Science & Technology

The latest in science and technology.

In Switzerland, accelerator begins smashing protons at full speed

At 12:58 p.m. local time last Tuesday, the Large Hadron Collider, a mammoth particle accelerator buried 100 metres beneath Geneva, Switzerland, finally began smashing subatomic particles together at record-high speeds. Though the LHC’s first successful particle collisions occurred in November, on Tuesday physicists at the accelerator recorded the first collisions at the energy level – about seven trillion electron volts (TeV) – at which the collider will operate for about the next year and a half.

Up To Speed

The US National Cancer Institute team has found a way to manipulate immune cells in one’s own body to attack certain kinds of cancer. Two of 17 people treated have been declared clear of skin cancer after treatment using genetically modified versions of their own immune cells.

Something in the Air

In this age of greenhouse gasses and smog advisories, air pollution has gotten a pretty bad name, and rightly so. But it still looks pretty trippy. Air pollution is divided into four categories: criteria air contaminates (which create smog and acid rain), persistent organic pollutants (which travel well and bioaccumulate in body tissues), heavy metals (which enter the food and water supply) and toxins (which will, in one way or another, kill you).

Car-puccino

Many people drink coffee to wake themselves up in the morning or stay focussed throughout their day. But a team of scientists from BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory have taken the term “running on coffee” to another extreme: they have built a car that runs on coffee rather than gasoline.

Grants fund phthalate research

Researchers at McGill and affiliated institutions have received $5 million to study the effects of common synthetic substances on reproductive health. Awarded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), the five-year grants will fund two multidisciplinary teams of researchers from McGill University, the Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), and several other universities in Quebec and Ontario.

Toilet seats causing irritation

Research led by the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center confirms that diagnoses of “poop” dermatitis, formally known as allergic/irritant contact dermatitis, has recently made a comeback in pediatricians’ offices worldwide. This skin condition is characterized by skin irritations found on the buttocks and upper-thigh regions and is caused by substances found within the toilet seat.

HPV found in over 50% of young adults in new sexual relationships

Human papillomavirus has been found in more than half of young adults in new sexual relationships, a groundbreaking Montreal study has reported. Led by Dr. Eduardo Franco¬ – director of McGill University’s Cancer Epidemiology Unit – and a team of McGill and University of Montreal researchers, the study reported that 56 per cent of participants were infected with at least one type of HPV and 44 per cent of that group were infected with a high-risk type of the disease known to cause cervical cancer.