As World Cup fever grips football fans this June, Horizon takes a look at the science of sport.
Horizon speaks to Dr Olivier Rabin, the science director of the World Anti-Doping Agency, who explains how putting a stop to the development of ‘gene doping’ is one of the institution’s main research priorities.
We find out how football fans are being coaxed out of the pub and onto the sports field, and we learn about the digital 'smart trainers' which could cut back on sports injuries.
Top tennis tournaments Roland Garros and Wimbledon both take place in June, and Horizon finds out about the technology that is shaping the future of the sport in an interview with Dr Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the International Tennis Federation.
We also hear from a project whose findings suggest that, contrary to popular belief, exercise does not always make you healthier.
Innovations such as the Hawk-Eye line calling system, high-tech rackets, strings and smart monitoring can improve the game for tennis players, referees and spectators. However, too much innovation could change the nature of tennis, says Francesco Ricci Bitti, the president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Horizon Magazine spoke to him about tennis innovation at the EU’s Innovation Convention 2014.
Many football fans watch matches on the sofa or in the pub, and their fitness levels often contrast hugely with those of the players on the field. New efforts are underway to convert their fandom into motivation to get active and improve their health, or even to channel their support in socially beneficial ways.
The idea that an athlete could change their genes to grow bigger muscles, or increase their body’s production of red blood cells, may sound like the stuff of fantasy, but halting the development of ‘gene doping’ technology is one of the main research priorities of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), according to Dr Olivier Rabin, the organisation’s science director.
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 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.
European governments need to provide investment on a ‘wartime footing’ to stimulate a post-coronavirus economic recovery, but also need to redefine economic success to incorporate climate and social goals, the European Research and Innovation Days conference has heard.
The Covid-19 crisis provides an opportunity to reshape Europe’s economy, conference heard.
'Frontier research' scientists share how they are fighting Covid-19.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.