From the first discoveries of planets beyond our solar system in the 1990s, we now know of thousands of alien worlds, some of which could even be habitable to life as we know it. Now we need to detect more of these exoplanets and study them in detail, says astronomer Dr Michaël Gillon from the University of Liège in Belgium, who was involved in one of the most important exoplanet discoveries to date.
The most powerful source of misperceptions about important issues such as immigration and climate change are false beliefs rooted in people’s political or social preferences, but having people who question authority is also important for a society, according to Professor Jason Reifler, a political scientist at the University of Exeter, UK.
Finding ways to enlist the bacteria living in our bodies to defend against infections while better understanding their role in promoting antibiotic resistance are key to fighting this growing problem, says Dr Nassos Typas, a microbiologist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.
With Europe facing significant challenges over the next decade, it is vital that the EU’s research activities are designed not just by bureaucrats but by a wide range of voices to ensure that they’re fit for purpose, according to Jean-Eric Paquet, the European Commission's Director General for Research and Innovation.
Cities have a critical role to play in fighting climate change but hard conversations lie ahead about the best way to achieve the transition to sustainability, according to Harriet Bulkeley, professor of geography at Durham University, UK.
The success of European research missions, which aim to stimulate innovation to solve major societal problems, will require a complete change in the way governments think about business and risk, according to Professor Mariana Mazzucato, special advisor to the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas.
In the last few years, the integration of refugees into European societies has become an urgent issue. Since 2015, nearly 4 million people have applied for asylum in the EU and many are now beginning to make new lives here. What does it mean to become integrated into a new society? How can it be achieved? And are current policies helping or hindering? We spoke to Dr Dominik Hangartner from the Immigration Policy Lab at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, about what the evidence tells us about successful integration. Here are five takeaways.
Blending biofuels and kerosene to create greener jet fuel has shown promising results in test flights, but more work needs to be done to ensure biofuels burn cleanly and can be produced in a large-scale, low-cost way, says Dr Chong Cheng Tung, associate professor at the China-UK Low Carbon College of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.
European scientists have spent 100 years developing the field of quantum mechanics – a branch of physics dealing with the atomic and subatomic scale – and we need to reap the profits now that quantum computers and other technologies are becoming a reality, according to Dr Thomas Monz from the University of Innsbruck, Austria.
Virtual simulations can also help build aeroplane wings more efficiently.
Understanding consciousness in healthy people could help when things go wrong.
Dr Michaël Gillon on what's next for exoplanet science.