Science & Technology Issue 11

Issue 11 of Science and Technology has borne witness to success in many diverse fields across the entire research and development landscape.

However, while this period has seen exciting developments in healthcare – in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, combatting air pollution, and in tacking tuberculosis, to name but a few. We have seen developments in Environment-related fields such as the study of tsunamis in Swiss lakes, or the European Commission’s decision to fund 225 new projects under the LIFE+ programme, the EU’s environment fund. However, it is perhaps in space research where we have witnessed the most numerous advances, with successful satellite launches and the discovery of two supermassive black holes.

How is technology refining space research?

  • While attending the Hubble Space Telescope IV: Looking to the Future event in March, Science and Technology spoke to Dr Fabio Favata, Head of the Programme Co-ordination Office in ESA’s Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration, who discussed the technological developments inherent in missions such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the role of member states in defining priorities;
  • Dr John Grunsfeld, a NASA astronaut who has spent over 58 days in space, discusses his work servicing the Hubble Space Telescope whilst in orbit, as well as his priorities as Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, including possible strategies for the successors to the James Webb Space Telescope; and
  • AURA’s Annalisa Calamida discusses how she has used Hubble data to conduct research into the white dwarf cooling sequence of the Galactic bulge.

How can technology improve healthcare?

  • Large biobanks such as Biobank Graz are crucial players in the emerging field of data integration and meta data mining;
  • The issue of data protection and electronic mass surveillance has received much negative attention. Here, the president of the European Patients’ Forum (EPF), Anders Olauson, outlines the role that patients should come to play in the sharing of their own information and the benefits that transparency can bring, whilst also taking stock of ethical considerations; and
  • Founder and chairman of ThalesNano (a company dedicated to making dangerous and difficult chemistry safe and easy to perform while assisting advances in the scientific field of chemistry) Professor Ferenc Darvas speaks to Science and Technology about technology transfer and harnessing the potential of nanotechnologies and advanced materials in aiding the healthcare sector to move forwards.

How is space and earth observation helping climate change?

  • Peter Breger, deputy head of the Space Research Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise, met with Science and Technology to discuss the Commission’s role in the Copernicus programme and the benefits it stands to bring to both Europe and the wider world, as well as the importance of a climate of co-operation; and
  • Reinforcing atmospheric research: A new kind of co-operation has started at the field station of the University of Helsinki.
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