This month, Horizon looks at the research shaping the lives of Europe’s younger generations, and heads to the classroom to learn how technology is transforming education.
Horizon finds out how one EU project could help swap textbooks for augmented reality and interactive video games, and we speak to Erki Urva from the Estonian Information Technology Foundation for Education, to hear how Estonia is pioneering digital education by incorporating IT training across the school curriculum.
Child prodigy Anne-Marie Imafidon, who gained an A level in computing at the age of 11, shares her views on how to close the gender gap and get more girls to study science, technology, maths and engineering subjects at university.
Horizon also looks at infant cognition, and in particular why parents should talk to their babies from as young as two months old, and interviews a researcher who explains how, for bilingual children, one language affects the way children learn to read the other.
On some streets in Europe, eight out of 10 children go to university, while in others it’s fewer than eight in 100. That’s according to an EU project which aims to reverse this trend by encouraging institutions to set up children’s universities and get young people to help change the way science is taught.
If more girls are to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at university, then attitudes among parents and society at large must change – that’s according to Anne-Marie Imafidon, a speaker at the EU’s Innovation Convention in March 2014. She passed an A level in computing aged 11, and at 20, she obtained a master’s degree. She is the founder of Stemettes, an organisation which encourages girls to get into STEM subjects by connecting them with women working in the field.
In August, Horizon looks at one of the features that makes Earth unique and habitable: plate tectonics. We explore what we know – and still don’t know – about how the shifting plates beneath our feet shape our planet. We speak to researcher Dr Kate Rychert, who wants to understand what makes a plate plate-like, and delve into one of the outstanding mysteries in the subject – how and why plate tectonics began. We find out about the link between mountain formation, erosion and climate change, and we look at what moonquakes and marsquakes can reveal about tectonic activity elsewhere.
As commutes dropped during coronavirus lockdowns, many of Europe’s city-dwellers breathed cleaner air. In July, Horizon takes a look closer look at our air pollution problem, what it is, how it affects human health and whether now is the time to make the move to greener transport. We spoke to social epidemiologist Dr Basile Chaix about what it will take to capitalise on the post-coronavirus calls for greener cities to really change our urban spaces – and transport habits. We dissect the properties of particulate matter to understand how characteristics such as particle size or number relate to toxicity, and what they do to human cells. With wildfires known to strike particularly in the summer, we look at how scientists are tracking this lesser-known source of air pollution to better understand the impact on human health. And we find out how a soybean-related asthma outbreak in 1980s Spain is influencing air pollution research today.
Eavesdropping on the shudders and groans echoing deep inside alien worlds like Mars and the moon is revealing what lies far beneath their surfaces and could teach us more about how our own planet formed.
More than six months into the coronavirus crisis, data show that not just age, but also biological sex plays a pivotal role in the manifestation and response to Covid-19, with more men dying from acute infections versus women in the short term. This discrepancy has shined a spotlight on a key theme that has gained traction in recent years: is enough being done to account for sex and gender in disease and medicine? Not enough, says Dr Sabine Oertelt-Prigione, the chair of sex and gender-sensitive medicine at Radboud University in the Netherlands and a member of the European Commission’s expert group on gendered innovations.
Earth is not the only place in our solar system that shakes with seismic activity.
Dr Sabine Oertelt-Prigione on a ‘moment of awakening’ for medical research.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.