Shattered glass. Howling car alarms. Buildings evacuated. On 15 February 2013, the city of Chelyabinsk in the Urals region of Russia felt the full force of a shockwave caused by an unexpected fireball exploding some 15-20 km above it. As the lump of space rock burned up in the sky above the city, windows were blown out and local buildings shook. Hundreds were left injured.
‘It’s in your genes!’ How often have you been reminded by friends or relatives that you look the way you do because of the genetic code stored in your DNA? But next time you hear this expression used, you might stop to wonder what else could be stored in those genes.
In the six years since the launch of the European Research Council (ERC), its grants have become the most sought-after funding for top researchers in Europe. The biggest reason: the freedom they give scientists to pursue projects in the way they think best.
Professor Christian Keysers first saw the film Dr. No as a teenager. Watching the scene where James Bond wakes up to discover a large, hairy, poisonous spider crawling up his arm, he thought he could almost feel the spider on his own skin.
Grants should only be given to research organisations who have received an award for female-friendly policies, according to a UK scientist who was overlooked for a Nobel Prize on pulsars even though she did much of the work.
Should we rethink education to foster curiosity, creativity and competitiveness? At the last World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Sir Tim Hunt, member of the ERC Scientific Council and Nobel laureate in 2001 proposed some guidelines.
The European Commission has launched plans for the next research funding programme.