With more and more EU citizens living in cities, Horizon finds out how science has the potential to transform life in Europe’s crowded urban areas.
From personal helicopters to lift people out of Europe’s congested streets, to the latest electric vehicles, high-tech office designs, or smart electricity meters to cut energy consumption, our Science and the City issue looks at how cities can help solve Europe’s environmental and energy challenges.
We interview Anne Stenros, who led a group of experts that helped to develop the EU’s Capital of Innovation Award, to hear how cities can build an innovative culture from the grass roots, and we speak to those involved in a project to bring science centres, museums, and festivals to European cities to inspire a new generation of researchers.
Dr Anne Stenros, who chaired a group of experts that helped formulate the concept of the EU’s Capital of Innovation (iCapital) competition and is also Design Director at Finnish lift-maker KONE, believes the EUR 500 000 award can help stimulate 'grass roots’ innovation through things like 3D printing and high-tech design.
Commuters could be lifted out of the noise and pollution of Europe’s overcrowded cities thanks to a group of researchers who are laying down the groundwork for the development of a personal helicopter system as an alternative to land-based travel.
Dumped waste, from used nappies to industrial by-products, have long wound up in landfills and can take hundreds of years to decay. In October we speak to the scientists figuring out how to keep such items in use to reduce rubbish and create a so-called circular economy. We learn about new efforts to mine industrial waste for the rare metals that go into making aircraft parts, pacemakers and bicycle gears, and find out about the culture shift needed to develop a zero-waste society. We also speak to the researchers building a biorefinery to turn soiled nappies into fertilisers and raw materials, and look at whether seaweed could become the next plastic.
The model of our universe as expanding at an accelerated rate has given rise to theoretical constructs such as dark energy and dark matter, which scientists believe could make up 95% of the universe. In September, Horizon takes a deeper look at what we really know about the expanding universe. We speak to Prof. Subir Sarkar, who believes that the Nobel-winning discovery that universe expansion acceleration could be a fluke, and the scientists who are trying to answer the question by allowing us to better measure the expansion rate. We also look at the significance of accurately measuring gravity in deep space, and what dark matter haloes can tell us about the existence of dark energy.
As wind turbines become increasingly familiar sights along shorelines, developers of offshore floating platforms, which harness the powerful winds further out to sea, are seeking to establish their technologies as a major viable source of clean energy.
Bill Gates and the European Commission have launched a €100 million investment fund designed to bring radical clean energy technologies more quickly to market in order to promote energy efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Floating wind turbines could be a clean energy game changer.
Europe's leadership 'more important than ever', says Gates.
A circular economy needs new business models and reusable products, says Felipe Maya.