2 decades of Penicillin development

September 3rd 1928 – Culture shock

When Alexander Fleming returned to his laboratory after his summer holiday, he noticed that one of his bacterial culture plates was contaminated with a fungus. He observed that the Streptococcus cells in vicinity of the fungus had died, while those growing further away remained unaffected, famously remarking: “That’s funny!”.

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Immunotherapy tackles lung cancer

Immunotherapy has achieved its first success against lung cancer. The approach, that consists in activating the patient’s immune system to assist in the fight against cancer cells, had failed so far when designed against this most commonly occurring cancer  (contributing 13% of the total number of newly diagnosed cancers worldwide in 2012. WCRF). The discovery was important enough to earn it a slot in the keynote session of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting held in Chicago this week.

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Algorithm allows robots to recover from damage

A broken leg. Such was the damage that was inflicted to a mobile robot to test its ability to continue walking. This robot however had a remarkable advantage with respect to any other robot previously constructed; its movement was under the control of an algorithm designed by collaborators from French and American universities that enabled it to select the best performing alternative to the initial leg movement sequence.

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“Philae” pod touchdown on a comet carves the Rosetta mission a place in History

Over a decade ago, the autonomous Rosetta spacecraft left Earth on a mission to collect data and offer insight into the primitive composition and early events of our solar system. This ambitious project was approved in 1993 as part of the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Horizons 2000 Science Programme. Since then, scientists and engineers  have been combining their talents to build an orbiter and a lander for this unique expedition to unravel the secrets of a mysterious ice world – a comet.

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