Welcome back to a new year of science!

Photographer: Jeremy Segrott

By Tanya Harrington and Pakinee Pooprasert

Welcome (or welcome back) to Cardiff University! Whether you’re a fresher, or a seasoned student coming back after a long summer away, we think that the best way to get you up to speed with all of the most relevant science news is to create a quick list of things that have happened recently, and developments to look forward to in the science sphere.

Cardiff University consistently produces high quality research, many of which have made headlines in major newspapers. This year is no different, and the University has been a part of several key pieces of research and academic developments prior to and over the Summer, as detailed in this issue. Our researchers have helped lead the way to a potential blood test for Alzheimer’s disease, and perhaps, even the path to a new treatment for cocaine addiction. Two very relevant healthcare problems faced by both physicians and patients alike. Furthermore, our iGEM team, consisting of students now going into their third year, has spent the summer creating their entry for a global genetic and biological engineering competition, in which they will be the first Welsh team to compete. The final stage of this competition will take place in Boston in October, so stay tuned for more information about the contents of their entry.

On a more general scale, many scientific developments have been occurring globally, which are sure to provide us with more stories to come. For example, following the decision by the UK government to ban all microbeads used in cosmetic and cleaning products by 2017, we may be looking forward to new developments in the science of skincare products, as companies and dermatologists conduct research in attempts to stay ahead of the curve. In America, programmers are currently looking into teaching computers to recognise sarcasm in text, which could lead to huge developments in the field of computer science and artificial intelligence.

In addition to these refreshing news headlines, 2016 has been an exciting year for all things involving space. Following the discovery of a new planet in our solar system in January, researchers are conducting further activities in space in the hopes of learning more about the planets that surround us. In October, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter will land on Mars in the hopes of better understanding and conducting further analysis of the gases that are present in its atmosphere, perhaps even looking for signs of life. Later this year we’ll also hopefully see the Advanced Virgo Detector begin its search for signs of gravitational waves, a topic in which scientists from Cardiff University have played key roles in.

Keep an eye out for articles on these events in the upcoming issues of Gair Rhydd and have a great year!

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