• Cells adapt ultra-rapidly to zero gravity

    Front plate of the experiment equipment. C. Thiel and Airbus DS)

    Mammalian cells fully adapt to zero gravity in less than a minute. Real-time readings on the International Space Station (ISS) reveal that cells compensate ultra-rapidly for changes in gravitational conditions. This new discovery was achieved by an international team headed by scientists at the University of Zurich.

    Mammalian cells are optimally adapted to gravity. But what happens in the microgravity environment of space if the earth’s pull disappears? Previously, many experiments exhibited cell changes – after hours or even days in zero gravity. Astronauts, however, returned to Earth without any severe health problems after long missions in space, which begs the question as to how capable cells are of adapting to changes in gravity.

  • Einstein@Home Discovers First Millisecond Pulsar Visible Only in Gamma Rays

    The entire Gamma-ray sky with the two new pulsars discovered by Einstein@Home. The flags in the insets show the nationalities of the volunteers whose computers found the pulsars. Knispel/Clark/Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics/NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration

    The distributed computing project Einstein@Home aggregates the computing power donated by tens of thousands of volunteers world wide. In a survey of the gamma-ray sky, this network has now discovered two previously unknown pulsarsd in data from the Fermi space telescope. While all other such millisecond pulsars have also been observed with radio telescopes, one of the two discoveries is the first detectable solely through its pulsed gamma-ray emission. The findings raise hopes of detecting other new millisecond pulsars, e.g., from a predicted population towards the Galactic centre. Scientists from the AEI in Hannover and the MPIfR in Bonn closely collaborated to enable the discoveries.

  • Gravitationswellen als Sensor für Dunkle Materie

    Falls der Dunkle-Materie-Halo einer Galaxie aus einem Bose-Einstein-Kondensat (BEK) sehr leichter Teilchen besteht, werden durchgehende Gravitationswellen (GW), nicht aber Lichtwellen (γ) gebremst. Grafik: MPIK

    Die mit der Entdeckung von Gravitationswellen entstandene neue Disziplin der Gravitationswellen-Astronomie bekommt eine weitere Aufgabe: die Suche nach Dunkler Materie. Diese könnte aus einem Bose-Einstein-Kondensat sehr leichter Teilchen bestehen. Wie Rechnungen zeigen, würden Gravitationswellen gebremst, wenn sie durch derartige Dunkle Materie laufen. Dies führt zu einer Verspätung von Gravitationswellen relativ zu Licht, die bereits mit den heutigen Detektoren messbar sein sollte. Im Universum muss es gut fünfmal mehr unsichtbare als sichtbare Materie geben. Woraus diese Dunkle Materie besteht, ist immer noch unbekannt. Die experimentelle Suche konnte bisher nur Teilchenarten bzw. Energiebereiche ausschließen; gelegentliche Erfolgsmeldungen und Vermutungen ließen sich nicht verifizieren. Es sind aber noch längst nicht alle theoretischen Vorschläge überprüft.

  • Producing Human Tissue in Space

    Space Tango CubeLab on board the International Space Station ISS. Space Tango

    The University of Zurich has sent adult human stem cells to the International Space Station (ISS). Researchers from UZH Space Hub will explore the production of human tissue in weightlessness. On 6 March at 11:50 PM EST, the International Space Station resupply mission Space X CRS-20 took off from Cape Canaveral (USA). On board: 250 test tubes from the University of Zurich containing adult human stem cells. These stem cells will develop into bone, cartilage and other organs during the month-long stay in space.


  • Second research flight into zero gravity

    The team of UZH in zero gravity. UZH

    Tomorrow, a parabolic flight is set to take off from Swiss soil for the second time. It will be carrying experiments from various Swiss universities on board to research the effects of zero gravity on biological and physical processes, and test technologies. With this flight, the second from the air force base in Dübendorf within one year, the Swiss Research Station for Zero Gravity initiated by the University of Zurich has got off to a flying start.