Research News: October 2019

Botswana is humanity's ancestral home, claims major study – well, actually …

A study claims the first humans lived in a wetland around what is now northern Botswana. 

A recent paper in the prestigious journal Nature claims to show that modern humans originated about 200,000 years ago in the region around northern Botswana. For a scientist like myself who studies human origins, this is exciting news. If correct, this paper would suggest that we finally know where our species comes from.

But there are actually several reasons why I and some of my colleagues are not entirely convinced. In fact, there’s good reason to believe that our species doesn’t even have a single origin.

This article by Isabelle Catherine Winder, Lecturer in Zoology, is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 31 October 2019

Lab-grown mini brains: we can't dismiss the possibility that they could one day outsmart us

The cutting-edge method of growing clusters of cells that organise themselves into mini versions of human brains in the lab is gathering more and more attention. These “brain organoids”, made from stem cells, offer unparalleled insights into the human brain, which is notoriously difficult to study.

This article by Guillaume Thierry, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the School of Psychology is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 25 October 2019

£4m boost for 5G research in Wales

Wales is set to become a global leader in 5G technology following the announcement of a new Digital Centre of Excellence, supported by nearly £4m EU funds.

The Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Centre of Excellence at Bangor University will provide highly specialised research into digital communication systems like mobile phones, WiFi hubs and modern manufacturing lines. Improvements in DSP are a cost-effective way of speeding up networks, dramatically improving the way that mobile phones, devices and network architecture work.

Publication date: 17 October 2019

Wales could save billions of pounds a year through investing in a healthier workforce

A new report by the Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation (CHEME), Bangor University has brought together evidence of the economic arguments for investing in the health and wellbeing of the workforce in Wales.

Publication date: 17 October 2019

Researchers invent device that generates light from the cold night sky – here's what it means for millions living off grid

More than 1.7 billion people worldwide still don’t have a reliable electricity connection. For many of them, solar power is their potential energy saviour – at least when the sun is shining.

This article y Jeff Kettle, ‎Lecturer in Electronic Engineering,is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 16 October 2019

Henry VIII’s marital troubles may have influenced other splits, newly-discovered documents show

Newly-discovered documents show Henry VIII’s legendary marital troubles may have led to other copy-cat splits around the country.

The extraordinary story of a teenager who flip-flopped between two wives in a similar way – and at the same time - as the monarch was trying to change his spouse suggests other couples were watching and being influenced by the impact the King’s case had on the law.

Publication date: 15 October 2019

When did the people of Wales become Welsh?

It’s Rugby World Cup season, which means that expressions of Welsh identity are broadcast on the big screen for the world to see. But, amidst the singing of the anthem, the dragons and the daffodils, do you ever wonder when people began to consider themselves as Welsh, and their country Wales?

Most historians agree that a sense of Welsh identity was in existence by the twelfth century, but we don’t yet know when exactly this developed and why. Medieval historian Dr Rebecca Thomas thinks that suggestions of a Welsh identity can be found as early as the ninth century.

Publication date: 11 October 2019

Relocating China’s pig industry could have unintended consequences

Writing in Nature Sustainability (30/9/19) an international group of agriculture and environmental scientists warn that the Chinese Government’s desire to relocate its pig industry from the South, in order to protect water quality could have unintended detrimental consequences.

In 2015 the Chinese Government banned livestock production in some regions to control surface water pollution near vulnerable water bodies. This has reduced the availability of pork at a period when consumption is forecast to increase from 690 to 1,000 million head per year between 2018-50.

Publication date: 8 October 2019

University’s U-Boat research featured in Drain the Oceans

Research by Bangor University is to feature in the Drain the Oceans series on National Geographic Channel on Monday 7 October 8-9.00pm.

Monday’s programme outlines the development of U-Boats, and how they changed the shape of naval warfare. The introduction of the world's first stealth weapon forced Allied forces to adopt new tactics to fight back. 

Highlighted in the programme is work carried out by Bangor University’s School of Ocean Science’s research vessel the Prince Madog, which has surveyed numerous shipwreck sites in the Irish Sea as part of a joint research project with the Royal Commission on Ancient & Historic Monuments in Wales‘s Heritage Lottery funded project: Commemorating the Forgotten U-boat War around the Welsh Coast, 1914-18.

Publication date: 4 October 2019