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Everyday science

Everyday science

Superconductivity wins dancing contest, scientists master the cheese fondue, and the first ever Web browser returns

22 Feb 2019 Alex Petkov 
Pramodh Senarath Yapa
Pramodh Senarath Yapa won the 11th annual "Dance your PhD" contest. (Courtesy: Pramodh Senarath Yapa)

Explaining your research, especially as a PhD student, can be a struggle. But communicating it via dance – that’s a challenge. Last week, the 11th annual “Dance your PhD” contest, sponsored by Science Magazine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), selected its winner: a physicist working on superconductivity.

Out of 50 submissions, the judges chose the work of Pramodh Senarath Yapa, who’s pursuing his doctorate at the University of Alberta, Canada. The topic of his research, superconductivity, relies on electrons pairing up when cooled below a certain temperature, and imagining these electrons as dancers was a natural choice for Yapa.

You can watch his winning submission here:


If you’ve got any special occasions to celebrate with friends, a good idea would be to treat yourselves to a cheese fondue. Wildly popular in the 1970s, this Swiss dish is now making a comeback.

It’s timely, then, that scientists have uncovered the secret of the perfect cheese fondue – which they say will optimize both texture and flavour. They found that you can prevent your fondue mixture from separating by including a minimum concentration of starch, which is 3 g for every 100 g of fondue. Also, according to this research, adding a bit of wine can help the mixture flow and taste better.

The results were published in ACS Omega.

Next month is the 30-year anniversary of the WorldWideWeb, the world’s first ever Web browser. Back in 1989 Sir Tim Berners-Lee proposed a global hypertext system to solve the growing problem of information loss at CERN at the time. This system, which he later named the “World Wide Web”, has since evolved into something we all use in our everyday lives.

In honour of this anniversary, a CERN-based team has rebuilt WorldWideWeb, so it can now be simulated and viewed in any modern browser. For those of you who are feeling nostalgic or curious, CERN has released links not only to the rebuilt browser, but also to some helpful instructions and explanations on how to use it.

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