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News releases

Dec 1, 2015 Making backup plans can be a self-fulfilling prophecy


Is having a Plan B always a good idea? Or can these “safety nets” actually make you less likely to achieve your goals? Psychologists from the University of Zurich propose a new theoretical framework for studying the effects of backup plans. According to their model, the more effort people put into making backup plans, the more distracting and harmful those backup plans can become.

Nov 30, 2015 Worldwide glacier information system to go


A new «wgms Glacier App» of the World Glacier Monitoring Service shows how glaciers have evolved around the globe. Users find out about nearby glaciers and get information about their size, elevation range, and ice loss. Glaciologists of the University of Zurich developed the new app and launched it jointly with UNESCO in the forefront of the UN Climate Conference in Paris. The app is available free of charge for Apple and Android devices.

Nov 24, 2015 Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

Nov 18, 2015 Why mice have longer sperm than elephants

Abstrat Elefant

In the animal world, if several males mate with the same female, their sperm compete to fertilize her limited supply of eggs. Longer sperm often seem to have a competitive advantage. However, a study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Zurich and Stockholm now reveals that the size of the animals also matters. The larger the animal, the more important the number of sperm is relative to sperm length. That’s why elephants have smaller sperm than mice. 

Nov 5, 2015 Faster digestion in kangaroos reduces methane emissions


Why does a kangaroo expel less methane than a cow? Researchers from the University of Zurich and Australia decide to investigate – and discovered that the emission of this climate-damaging gas in kangaroos is linked to how long food is digested.

Oct 29, 2015 Personal interests pivotal for identification with Europe


What is the decisive factor for identification with Europe? Contact with people from European countries plays a more minor role, as a study conducted by the Institute of Sociology at the University of Zurich reveals. Personal interests are far more important: EU citizens living in Switzerland feel more closely linked to Europe than their Swiss counterparts because they benefit from EU citizenship.

Oct 26, 2015 Siberian jays can recognize unfamiliar, distant relatives


Can animals recognize distantly related, unfamiliar individuals of the same species? Siberian jays possess this ability as evolutionary biologists from the University of Zurich recently could demonstrate for the first time. This bird species belongs to the crow family and is able to accurately assess the degree of kinship to unfamiliar individuals. This ability provides advantages when sharing food and other forms of cooperation.