Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Albert Einstein’s THEORY OF GENERAL RELATIVITY explains the motions of planets in our solar system with great precision, but does it hold true in distant galaxies? Yes, according to a March 11 Nature article written by a team that included three Princeton astronomers. In what Nature News called general relativity’s “most rigorous test yet,” the researchers applied Einstein’s ideas to data from about 70,000 galaxies mapped by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.  

Winter weather patterns and corresponding movements by migrating birds may influence the location of AVIAN-FLU OUTBREAKS, according to a study by researchers from Princeton University and the Netherlands’ Erasmus Medical Centre, published in Public Library of Science: Pathogens April 8. During the winter of 2005–06, avian-flu outbreaks in Europe occurred at the edge of cold-weather fronts, where waterbirds could feed in unfrozen ponds and stay close to the areas where they breed in the spring.

A new technique to process conductive plastics without degrading their conductivity could lower the COST OF SOLAR PANELS dramatically, according to research by Yueh-Lin Loo, an associate professor of chemical engineering, and several colleagues. The research was pub­lished online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences March 8.  

Researchers led by ecology and evolutionary biology professor Leonid Kruglyak have developed a new way to understand the GENETIC BASIS OF COMPLEX TRAITS influenced by multiple genes. The method, explained in Nature April 15, examined chemical resistance and mitochondrial function in a study of millions of yeast cells. The same ideas eventually could be applied to human genetics to provide a better understanding of many inherited diseases.