As Europeans head to the beaches for their summer holidays, Horizon takes a look at the science of the Mediterranean.
For our Sea, Sun … and Science issue we speak to the scientists who helped develop the idea for a synchrotron being built in the Middle East and bringing together researchers from across the region.
We interview a researcher who discovered unexpectedly large swarms of jellyfish in the Mediterranean while checking ocean acidity. And we find out how smart biosensors could help prevent contamination of drinking water.
We also look at the best way to avoid colliding with whales if you are navigating a cargo ship, and hear from Tim O’Higgins, a man who believes the value of the seas can’t just be measured by markets.
Dr Tim O'Higgins, coordinator of the EU-funded KnowSeas project, based in Oban, Scotland, argues that implementation of the EU Integrated Maritime Policy will require a delicate balance between the use of Europe’s seas and conservation of the maritime ecosystem.
A third of a million Europeans get ill every year from diseases caused by contaminated water. Researchers now hope that smart biosensors can help them develop an early warning system that can prevent infection by raising the alarm long before contaminated floodwater reaches people’s drinking water supplies.
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.
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.
Hydrogen can be used to power cars, supply electricity and heat homes, all with zero carbon emissions. The snag is that the vast majority of hydrogen itself is derived from fossil fuels – a fact that scientists are now hoping to change. They plan to clean up production to kickstart a dedicated economy – something that has already found small-scale success in Scotland’s Orkney Islands.
Europe's leadership 'more important than ever', says Gates.
The goal is to remove reliance on fossil fuels.
A circular economy needs new business models and reusable products, says Felipe Maya.