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’s oceans are overfished, polluted and – for something that makes up 70% of the Earth’s surface – still little understood. This month, Horizon looks at some of the science that could help us take better care of our oceans, from robots trash collectors out at sea to finding ways to track the plastic that enters our waters. Plus, we look at how climate change is affecting plans for sustainable aquaculture, tech that can help divers reduce the cost of their dives by more than 50%, and the challenges facing research in the Black Sea.
To mark the European year of cultural heritage, Horizon explores how science is helping to uncover more about our past and to preserve our art, landscapes, buildings and ways of life for the future. We discover why prehistoric humans chose to paint rock art where they did, and how farming techniques from hundreds of years ago could help fight climate change today. Plus, we learn how cultural heritage feeds into European identities and what can be done to prevent the destruction of historical sites during wartime.
The world’s largest radio telescope, known as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and situated over two continents, will be able to detect the first stars and galaxies emerging from the ‘murk’ at the beginning of the universe and much more besides, according to Professor Phil Diamond, Director General of SKA. He spoke to Horizon at the opening of the Shared Sky art exhibition in Brussels, Belgium on 16 April, where indigenous artists from SKA host nations South Africa and Australia use traditional painting and folk art to explore the themes of astronomy, spirituality and a borderless sky.
Electric ferries and digital communication between ships could help in the quest to decarbonise maritime transport, a sector which is often perceived as being the green option but could still do much to lower its environmental footprint.
Astronomers could use giant radio telescope from 2025.
New tech could help shrink shipping emissions.
The EU’s research chief on his new role.