In August, we look at the social impact of mega events such as the Olympic Games, the links between sports and society, the benefits of high-intensity interval training, and how, one day, part of your football boots could have scored a winning goal at the World Cup, if shoemaker adidas gets its way.
At this year’s Olympics, athletes will compete in tailor-made trainers designed to help them perform better. With a research programme named Sports Infinity, consumers can now design their own sport shoe, one that never has to be thrown away, that is, according to Glenn Bennett, Executive Board Member of adidas AG.
The ever-increasing cost of holding large sporting events like the Olympic Games or the World Cup means host cities are looking for a lasting legacy in their towns as well. But experience shows that this doesn’t always work out as planned.
The construction industry has a heavy carbon footprint, accounting for some 40% of global emissions, and yet, as the world’s population grows, demand for housing and building is only soaring. We kick off 2021 by looking at how the construction sector can become greener and some of the radical solutions required. We speak to sustainable architecture expert Dr Catherine De Wolf about the need to design recyclable buildings and how that will require a fundamental restructure of the way the construction industry works. We look at nearly zero energy wooden homes and investigate whether this material can help us kick our concrete habit – concrete being the most used substance on Earth. We home in on techniques to make cement greener and piezoelectric to light up spaces with the addition of vegetable waste, and at how self-healing building materials can prolong the life of civil infrastructures. And we explore the promise of fungal architecture to see whether structures grown from fungus can green the way we build.
In December, as the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission to create a precise 3-D map of a billion objects in the Milky Way releases its next tranche of data, we take an in-depth look at what we know – and what we don’t – about our home galaxy. We speak to astrophysicist Prof. Ralf Klessen about why it might enhance our understanding of the Milky Way to consider it as a constantly evolving ecosystem rather than studying different parts in an isolated way. We speak to scientists who are trying to image the centre of the galaxy, which is hidden from view behind giant dust and gas clouds, and we explore the latest research into how stars are formed. And finally, we find out what the galaxies surrounding the Milky Way can tell us about our home system.
There are about 1,500 potentially active volcanoes worldwide and about 50 eruptions occur each year. But it’s still difficult to predict when and how these eruptions will happen or how they’ll unfold. Now, new insight into the physical processes inside volcanoes are giving scientists a better understanding of their behaviour, which could help protect the 1 billion people who live close to volcanoes.
Better predictions of volcano behaviour could protect people and infrastructure.
Bacteria can give structures an ‘in-built immune system’ to help them last longer.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.