SHARE
COPY LINK

SCIENCE

‘Miracle plant’ found at record altitude

A flowering plant has been found at analtitude of above 4,505 metres (14,780 feet) on the central Swiss alps – a European record, Basel University said on Tuesday.

'Miracle plant' found at record altitude

“It is almost a miracle, but at 4,505 metres, at 40 metres below the Dom peak in the canton of Valais, the … Saxifraga oppositifolia has been recently discovered,” said the university in a statement.

“It is the highest elevation flowering plant that has ever been documented in Europe, and the location is probably the coldest point in the world where a flowering plant has been found,” it added.

The plant, also known as the purple mountain saxifrage, is common in mountainous areas, but it was found for the first time at such high altitude between solid rock by botanist Christian Koerner.

Scientists said that at such an altitude, the plant regularly has to endure night-time temperatures of below zero degrees Celsius and winter temperatures that plunge as low as -20.9 degrees Celsius. In summer temperatures reach a maximum of 18.1 degrees Celsius.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

SCIENCE

π: Swiss researchers calculate most exact figure of pi ever recorded

Using a supercomputer, Swiss researchers have determined the most accurate version of the mathematical formula of pi ever recorded.

π: Swiss researchers calculate most exact figure of pi ever recorded
The symbol for pi. Picture: Wikicommons.

Swiss researchers said on Monday they had calculated the mathematical constant pi to a new world-record level of exactitude, hitting 62.8 trillion figures using a supercomputer.

“The calculation took 108 days and nine hours” using a supercomputer, the Graubünden University of Applied Sciences said in a statement.

Its efforts were “almost twice as fast as the record Google set using its cloud in 2019, and 3.5 times as fast as the previous world record in 2020”, according to the university’s Centre for Data Analytics, Visualisation and Simulation.

Researchers are waiting for the Guinness Book of Records to certify their feat, until then revealing only the final ten digits they calculated for pi: 7817924264.

The previous world-record pi calculation had achieved 50 trillion figures. Pi represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, with an infinite number of digits following the decimal point.

Researchers nevertheless continue to push calculations for the constant — whose first 10 figures are 3.141592653 — ever further using powerful computers.

The Swiss team said that the experience they built up calculating pi could be applied in other areas like “RNA analysis, simulations of fluid dynamics and textual analysis”.

Not only was the task labour intensive, but it called upon the best computing technology on offer – with more than 300 terabytes of RAM required to calculate the new more exact incarnation of pi.

SHOW COMMENTS