Connecting Science and Society
Engineering is one of the most impactful and transformative fields of teaching, research, and practice, as it shapes the world we live in and ensures the functioning of many systems that maintain human life. The Colorado School of Mines created the first Humanitarian Engineering (HE) program to train engineering students to devise solutions that are efficient, ethical, socially responsible and sustainable. Its students work closely with the communities they serve, thinking critically about their needs.
Enzymes make life as we know it possible. These active proteins are vital in nutrient cycling, metabolism, and cell functioning. With their diverse range of functions and ubiquity, enzymes could offer techniques to support healthy agricultural ecosystems, and as such, improve sustainability and future food security. Understanding their activities is vital to the organic agriculture revolution. Dr Zachary Senwo and his team at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) University have contributed years of important research to uncover the potential of enzymes towards informing novel agricultural practices.
As global emissions of greenhouse gas continue to rise, it is increasingly important for researchers and policymakers to identify exactly where and how much greenhouse gas is emitted and absorbed worldwide for global climate change mitigation. Over the past decade, Dr Tomohiro Oda of the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) in Maryland has aimed to realise this need by combining emission data with night-time observations from satellites. Through this work, his team has now produced global maps that distinguish sources of carbon at unprecedented resolutions – high enough to identify variation across the regions where emissions are most intense: Earth’s cities.
Dr Georgiy Stenchikov – Exploring the Effect of Aerosols on the Arabian Peninsula’s Changing Climate
Today, the Arabian Peninsula already faces a more daunting array of environmental challenges than most other regions on Earth. Yet as the climate changes, it is now expected to feel these adverse effects even more strongly in the coming decades. Using the latest modelling techniques, combined with ground-based observations, Dr Georgiy Stenchikov at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia aims to make better predictions of how these changes will unfold. His work now provides critical guidance on how governments in the region should prepare for future shifts in climate and air quality.
The effectiveness of cancer treatments could be hugely improved by a greater understanding of the cancer genome. This is the focus of the work of Dr John Paul Y.C. Shen, MD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, who is creating comprehensive molecular ‘maps’ of cancer cells and their interactions. Understanding cancer at a molecular level is the first step towards Dr Shen’s very real hope of bringing personalised cancer treatments into the clinic.
The Canadian Association for Food Studies allows researchers from diverse disciplines to meet regularly to share their findings and collaborate on diverse issues relating to food systems. In this exclusive interview, we speak with CAFS President Dr Amanda Wilson, who describes how the Association facilitates interdisciplinary scholarship in the areas of food production, distribution and consumption, towards addressing social, environmental and economic challenges within our food systems.
BREAKING BOUNDARIES IN PHYSICS & TECHNOLOGY In this exciting edition of Scientia, we showcase some of the latest discoveries and innovations across the interconnected fields of engineering, technology and the physical sciences. To begin,...
BUILDING BRIGHTER FUTURES THROUGH INNOVATION IN PSYCHOLOGY AND NEUROSCIENCE This important and timely issue of Scientia showcases the scientists striving to build brighter futures for humankind through their pioneering endeavours across...
NEW HORIZONS IN EARTH SCIENCE AND ASTRONOMY In these challenging and uncertain times, it is with great pleasure that I introduce this captivating edition of Scientia, which showcases a diverse collection of research, on topics ranging from climate change...
Professor Dr André Fringer | Mrs Sabrina Stängle – The Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking: Dying with Dignity?
To die with dignity is a common wish but not one that is easily granted. Professor Dr André Fringer and Mrs Sabrina Stängle, both of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, are investigating the voluntary stopping of eating and drinking (VSED) as a means to hasten death as an alternative to active euthanasia. Their work is driving forward our understanding of the medical and ethical ramifications of this practice.
Scientists and clinicians rely on data to inform their practice and make decisions in a variety of medical settings. For data to be meaningful they need to be translated into actionable information and interpreted by the user. Access to a sheer amount of data can, in itself, pose a challenge. Dr Guo-Qiang ‘GQ’ Zhang from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has developed several innovative systems that provide a user-friendly interface for handling large-scale, multi-centre clinical data.
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