Horizon looks at the big implications of the science of the very small, from the promise of microscopic machines that kill damaged cells, to the search for ways to make sure that nanomaterials are safe.
Nanotechnology involves examining and developing structures so tiny that they are only a fraction of the width of a human hair. When materials get this minuscule, their properties change dramatically – in new and sometimes unexpected ways.
Horizon looks at how nanorobots could carry drugs into the body without affecting healthy cells, and sees how these tiny particles and structures are already in products we use every day – like cosmetics, sun cream, and even parts of your TV.
We also hear from Professor Kai Savolainen, director of the Nanosafety Research Centre at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, who talks about research into the risks of nanomaterials, and, also, their benefits to society.
Professor Kai Savolainen, director of the Nanosafety Research Centre at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, coordinates the NanoSafety Cluster. He believes more needs to be done to understand the risks of nanotechnology.
In November, Horizon discovers a futuristic world of transparent e-books, plastic solar cells and electronic skin with a look at some of the applications of organic electronics. We speak to organic chemist Prof. Andreas Hirsch about how using carbon rather than silicon in electronics can make them flexible, lightweight and biocompatible and could lead to a new generation of human-looking robots and ‘chemical’ computing. We take a look at work to create electronic skin – self-healing, stretchable material that can mimic some of the functions of human skin – and its potential uses. We discover how thin, flexible, plastic solar cells could turn surfaces such as cars and fabric into sources of renewable energy, and we uncover some novel approaches to charging wearable electronics.
The world looks very different from this time last year. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the centrality of science, research and innovation, accelerated some changes already in the works, but also exposed our weaknesses. In September, Horizon looks at how the pandemic is reshaping Europe in areas including health research, work, tech, transport and food – and how research can contribute to Europe’s recovery over the coming years. We will also be covering the European Research & Innovation Days at the end of the month, which will bring together scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs and citizens to debate how research and innovation can ensure that the transition to a post-coronavirus society is sustainable, inclusive and resilient.
In three decades of diving at locations including the Red Sea and Great Barrier Reef, Gal Eyal has seen coral reefs transform in front of his eyes.
Imagine lying on a green hill watching the clouds go by on a beautiful day. The clouds you’re probably thinking of are cumulous clouds, the ones that resemble fluffy balls of cotton wool. They seem innocent enough. But they can grow into the more formidable cumulonimbus, the storm cloud. These are the monsters that produce thunder and lightning. They are powerful, destructive and intensely mysterious. They may also be getting a lot more common, which makes understanding their workings – and their effects on the human world, including how we construct buildings or power lines – more important than ever.
Scientists are studying past conditions to understand which corals migrated to deeper waters.
A lack of knowledge about thunderstorms means we could be overengineering our tallest buildings.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.