University of Cambridge

Climate & Environment
Research: Europe experiences worst dry period in the last 2,100 years
Research: Europe experiences worst dry period in the last 2,100 years
Credit: unsplash.com / Bernard Hermant

Recent summers in Europe have been the driest in the past two millennia, according to a recent international study based on tree ring analysis. Using a specific method, the team led by Ulf Büntgen of the University of Cambridge succeeded in creating a massive dataset that traces hydroclimatic conditions in Central Europe from Roman times to the present.

For the work, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, Büntgen and his colleagues from the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland took more than 27,000 measurements on tree rings from 147 oak trees, covering a period of 2,100 years (75 B.C. to 2018). The samples came from historic wells, buildings, and pile dwellings, as well as from archaeological remains and shore sediments, and also from living trees from what is now the Czech Republic and parts of southeastern Bavaria.

Health
'London patient' becomes second person ever cured of HIV

A 40-year-old man from London is believed to have become the second person in the world to be cured of HIV.

Adam Castillejo remains free of the virus 30 months after he stopped anti-retroviral therapy, doctors said. A stem-cell treatment he underwent for cancer also cured him of HIV, according to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet.

Lead researcher Professor Ravindra Kumar Gupta of the University of Cambridge told BBC News: "This represents HIV cure with almost certainty. "Our findings show that the success of stem-cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, first reported nine years ago in the Berlin patient, can be replicated."

Technology • Internet & Web
Study: Bitcoin has higher electricity usage than the country of Argentina
Study: Bitcoin has higher electricity usage than the country of Argentina
Credit: Viktor Forgacs

According to research by scientists at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, Bitcoin mining consumes around 121.36 terawatt-hours (TWh) electricity per year in order to generate new Bitcoins and verify transactions on the blockchain.

This ranks Bitcoin’s electricity consumption above Argentina (121 TWh), the Netherlands (108.8 TWh) and the United Arab Emirates (113.20 TWh) - and it is gradually creeping up on Norway (122.20 TWh).

Health
Study suggests that population wide face mask use could prevent second wave of Covid-19
Elderlies wearing face masks at a Bus stop in Macau, China
Elderlies wearing face masks at a Bus stop in Macau, China Credit: Macau Photo Agency

Scientists from the Cambridge and Greenwich Universities have stated that their research that focussed on the spread of the Covid-19 suggests that lockdowns alone are not enough to contain the virus from resurging in a second wave. It instead indicates that the widespread use of face masks - even homemade ones - could reduce the transmission rates to a controllable level if enough people wear them.