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Olivier Kirchhoffer

Senior Scientific Editor

About Olivier

Medicinal chemist by training, Olivier is a young researcher driven by his enthusiasm about scientific progress. He believes in the interdependence of science and politics, while recognising that it is the scientist’s responsibility to adapt his speech to his audience. Olivier loves to debate about politics when he is not at work, but he is also convinced about the strength of arguments that are backed by science.

Olivier is the editor of 18 Breaks:

Long or short doesn’t matter: the tale of an unusual gamma-ray burst

We think that gamma-ray bursts, the brightest cosmic explosions, are created by two types of sources, each of them producing flashes with different durations, long or short. In December 2021, a long merger-driven burst was detected for the first time, emitting a flux of gamma-rays also never observed before. Both of these mysteries have a common protagonist: the coincident detection of a kilonova.

Oct 6, 2023 | 4 min read
Stress for parents can translate into resilience for their children

One of the major challenges we face today is making sure there's enough food for everyone in the world. Crop diseases are making it difficult to grow enough food, therefore challenging our goal of ending world hunger. We found that treating wheat seeds with fungus Trichoderma can protect the wheat crop from diseases, not only in their current generation but also in descending ones.  

Aug 11, 2023 | 3 min read
Poverty and unpreparedness make monsters out of ordinary hazards

Flood disasters are expected to increase because of the climate change-related sea level rise. While impacts on regional and local scales may vary, mapping that variation is critical for understanding the risks our preparedness to tackle them. The historical and contemporary data show that ordinary hazards often turn into monsters because of poverty and unpreparedness.

Jul 17, 2023 | 4 min read
How cellular transport can be explained with a flip book

All cells, from bacteria to humans, need to be able to transport substances from their inside to the outside and vice-versa. To understand how this transport works, scientists often had to remove transporters from their natural environment to study them, which may significantly alter their behavior. What if a “cellular” flip book was created to better mimic a transporter’s motions?

Jun 5, 2023 | 3 min read
Drought may have prompted the Vikings’ departure from Greenland

The reason why the Vikings left Greenland in the early 15th century remains unclear. The declining temperature during the Little Ice Age had been thought to be one of the important factors. However, new evidence suggests that increasingly dry conditions played a more important role in undermining the viability of the Norse Settlement than minor temperature changes.

Apr 20, 2023 | 4 min read
Making nature compute for us

Artificial intelligence is all the hype lately. Behind many of the mind-blowing breakthroughs of the past decade is a single workhorse: More compute. As engineers work hard to supply the necessary electronics, researchers are turning to less conventional ideas in hopes of finding the next big thing. We showed how to employ the complex computations nature does, free-of-charge, for neural networks.

Jan 27, 2023 | 4 min read