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 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.
Bats are in the limelight these days because they are rumoured to be the source of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the coronavirus pandemic. But that is just part of their story. Bats turn out to be miraculous creatures. Their ability to age without decrepitude or cancer, as well as fight off a multitude of infections, are giving us clues about how to do the same for ourselves.
Thanks to rapid computing developments in the last decade and the miniaturisation of electronic components, people can, for example, track their movements and monitor their health in real time by wearing tiny computers. Researchers are now looking at how best to power these devices by turning to the user’s own body heat and working with garments, polka dots and know-how from the textile industry.
Bats stave off infections and ageing. What could humans learn from these abilities?
Researchers are harnessing the thermoelectric effect.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.