Scientia Issues

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Scientia Issue #121

In this riveting edition of Scientia, we showcase the work of many dedicated researchers who are solving the world’s greatest challenges through engineering and technology. To open the edition, we feature an interview with representatives of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) about the latest Gender Summit. Here, we speak with the chairholders of the Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering Program, along with NSERC’s president, who discuss the outcomes of the Summit, success stories and the challenges ahead for achieving full equity within the STEM community. Then, our first section showcases the latest clean energy research. Here, we feature a selection of promising projects, from developing thermoelectric generators, which convert heat into electricity, to ensuring the safe implementation of marine renewable energy technologies. Such research efforts promise to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, in an effort to curb the most devastating impacts of climate change. Next, we meet researchers who develop innovative sensor technologies. Such novel sensors can help us address many societal challenges, from making healthcare more accessible to preventing environmental damage. Our third and fourth sections celebrate two crucial fields within the world of engineering – fluid mechanics and materials engineering. Here, we meet an ensemble of dedicated engineers who are driving progress in these fields towards real-word applications, from semiconductors to aviation. Last but not least, we celebrate researchers who are spearheading the latest innovations in computing and data science. An overarching theme that pervades our final section is utilising the latest computing technologies to drive scientific discovery.

Scientia Issue #120

In this thrilling edition of Scientia, we celebrate the pioneering scientists driving the latest discoveries and innovations in physics and chemical science. To start, we deep dive into the quantum mechanical behaviour of subatomic particles, atoms and molecules. In this section, we meet researchers who are transforming our understanding of the weird and wonderful quantum world. We also introduce those who exploit quantum properties towards the development of futuristic computers and renewable energy technologies. Our middle section of the edition is dedicated to the mind-bending fields of astrophysics and cosmology. Here, we meet many remarkable research teams – each dedicated to illuminating the mysteries of the cosmos. From hunting for dark matter to exploring whether we live in a multiverse, this collection of articles is sure to leave your mind reeling. Finally, we showcase the latest innovations in the chemical sciences – an often-underappreciated field that has become an indispensable part of our daily lives. In this section, we meet an incredible ensemble of chemists and materials scientists, each aiming to improve our lives through painstaking chemical research. From creating lanthanide-based sensors that could be used in medical imaging, to developing catalysts for purifying water in developing countries, these inventive scientists are breaking boundaries and pushing frontiers to bring future innovations to fruition.

Scientia Issue #119

This special issue of Scientia focuses on enhancing education, ranging from early childhood schooling to postgraduate training and beyond, with a particular emphasis on STEM subjects. We explore an impressive range of initiatives aiming to promote uptake, retainment and achievement in STEM. In the first section, we feature several researchers who recognise the necessity of introducing children to science at a young age. Here, we read how stimulating exposure early in education helps promote the development of our next generation of budding scientists. We also introduce innovative approaches to overcome obstacles to educational attainment, such behavioural difficulties. Next, we consider the impact of hands-on experience in scientific research at undergraduate level. We also consider the importance of supporting students at this level from underrepresented backgrounds, such as women and those from minority groups. This leads us to our third section, which specifically considers the need for diversity in science. In keeping with the previous sections, we discuss several pioneering approaches across educational and training provision with the aim of widening opportunity and promoting achievement in science across the broad spectrum of society. Finally, we take a closer look at the importance of innovation in supporting teaching and education. Here, we read of further interventions aiming to increase student engagement, retention and academic success – and also the benefits on a personal level, including the nurturance of critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity.

Scientia Issue #118

In this exciting edition of Scientia, we meet many dedicated researchers across the globe who are tackling some of today’s biggest problems in healthcare and medicine. Our first section takes us on a journey into the inner workings of the cell. By deciphering the signals and pathways within cells that control their basic functions, researchers are revealing new treatment targets for some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Next, we move on to explore the biological systems that control the body. In this section, we investigate how changes in blood vessels can influence health and disease. We also meet scientists who are unravelling how the nervous system connects the gut to the brain, towards developing future treatments for gastric conditions. Our third section immerses us in the world of drug development. Here, we meet one researcher who aims to boost the effectiveness of anti-viral drugs, while another is working to find cheaper and more eco-friendly methods to synthesise several common pharmaceutical compounds. In our final section of the edition, we look to the future of integrated healthcare and highlight innovative approaches developed through unique collaborations between clinicians and scientists. Here, we meet scientists who are unlocking the potential of new technologies to improve patient outcomes, and introduce researchers who work with communities to ensure everyone has access to the medical care they need.

Scientia Issue #117

In this crucially important edition of Scientia, we feature a diverse collection of research projects, on topics including conservation, sustainable agriculture and ethical meat and dairy production. In our first section, we showcase the latest advances in conservation science. Here, we meet one research team that uses population genetics to boost numbers of freshwater organisms, while another is developing innovative ways to help trees survive and thrive in urban settings. One of the most significant ways that humans negatively impact the planet’s biodiversity is through our food production. In fact, agriculture takes up almost 40% of Earth’s total land area, which has led to widespread habitat destruction. Thus, many researchers are now developing more sustainable ways to grow food, whilst also ensuring our food security into the future. Climate change is an additional challenge that must be overcome, as our agricultural systems are extremely vulnerable to rising temperatures and extreme weather. This is the theme of our next section, where we highlight the latest innovations in sustainable crop science – from investigating the cultivation of alternative crops that support pollinators and improve soil quality, to developing crops that are resilient in the face of climate change. Continuing with the theme of sustainable agriculture, our last section deals with the ethical and sustainable production of meat and dairy. Here, we showcase the work of several researchers who are developing effective solutions to our unethical treatment of livestock, from reducing the prevalence of disease amongst poultry and cattle, to investigating hunting as an alternative to intensive farming practices.

Scientia Issue #116

In this compelling edition of Scientia, we showcase a diverse collection of research projects, on topics ranging from climate change to galaxy evolution. To kick-start the edition, we had the opportunity to speak with Dr John Nemeth, former Executive Director of Sigma Xi – the Scientific Research Honor Society. In this exclusive interview, we discuss the Society’s rich history, and the ways that its members encourage scientific integrity, promote science education, and much more. Following this introduction, the first section of the magazine deals with the greatest challenge of our time – anthropogenic climate change. To predict and mitigate the most deleterious effects of climate change, thousands of scientists across the globe are working to accurately quantify its effects on sea level, storm severity, flooding and drought. This type of research is vital, as it allows us to make the best possible decisions to ensure a sustainable future for our home planet. Next, in our planetary science section, we take a wider look at Earth, and even venture deeper into the solar system. Here, we highlight several exciting projects, on themes ranging from how fractures develop deep within the Earth, to investigating water on the Moon. In our final section of the edition, we are plunged into the realms of cosmology and astronomy. Here, we meet four dedicated research teams, each striving to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos. From recreating the iconic Eagle Nebula Pillars in a lab, to simulating how the Universe evolved from the Big Bang until today, what better way is there to conclude this fascinating edition of Scientia.

Scientia Issue #115

In this electrifying edition of Scientia, we showcase the work of various research groups across the globe, each dedicated to shifting paradigms in the diverse fields of physical science and engineering. To begin, we delve deep into the most fundamental building blocks of our Universe – the elementary particles. Here, we explore everything from the trillions of cosmic neutrinos that pass through our bodies every second, to the antimatter positrons used in medical imaging technology. We then jump up the scales – first showcasing the latest paradigm shifts in molecular science, followed by recent breakthroughs in nanotechnology. Then, we introduce a team of scientists who investigate (amongst other things) the dynamic behaviour of raindrops, which may help us to more accurately forecast extreme weather events caused by climate change. In our middle section of the edition, we meet many remarkable researchers – each dedicated to combatting climate change and solving the energy crisis through developing and improving sustainable energy technologies. Finally, we showcase the latest innovations in computer science and engineering, where we meet an incredible bunch of researchers, each aiming to improve our lives through enhancing our computing technologies. From illuminating our understanding of the Universe, to combatting climate change and developing futuristic computing technologies, the teams featured in this edition are certainly paving the way to a bright future for all.

Scientia Issue #114

In this diverse edition of Scientia, we explore the variety of ways that scientific research enhances our health and happiness, from cell biology to social science. We kick-start the edition by investigating human health at the most fundamental level – the molecular processes that occur in our cells. Here, we showcase the work of several researchers, each dedicated to unravelling these intricate mechanisms, and the ways in which they can go wrong. As we’ll see, this type of basic research lays the foundations for elucidating the biochemical origins of many diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Next, we highlight a collection of research projects, where scientists are applying this fundamental knowledge in the hunt for new pharmacological treatments for many different diseases, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and HIV. While pharmaceutical treatments are behind much of our improved healthcare in the twenty-first century, alternative solutions can also provide huge benefits without the need for costly drug development. Therefore, in the next section of the edition, we meet several scientists who are developing innovative non-pharmaceutical person-centred approaches to treating a variety of conditions. After showcasing the latest innovations in healthcare, both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical, we then conclude the edition with another paradigm shift, towards the human as a whole, and our complex interactions with one another in society. Here, we explore the ways in which these social structures and interactions influence our health, happiness and even how our species developed.

Scientia Issue #113

In this exciting new edition of Scientia, we celebrate our living planet, by showcasing a diverse collection of research projects dedicated to understanding life on Earth, and devising new ways to preserve and restore it. Our first full section in the issue focuses on uncovering the origins of life. Here, we feature a diverse collection of projects – from studying how minerals played a role in the emergence of life on Earth, to pinning down the habitable zones of different stars in the search for life elsewhere in the galaxy. Our next section celebrates our home planet’s great biodiversity – from a species of algae that records climate change, to prairie dogs who display a rich tapestry of surprising social behaviours. Unfortunately, our planet’s biodiversity is under threat due to human activities, so protecting Earth’s habitats is more important than ever before. Therefore, our third section in this edition showcases the tireless efforts of many scientists – each striving to preserve and revive life on Earth. One of the most significant ways humans negatively impact the planet’s biodiversity is through agriculture. Thus, many researchers are developing more sustainable ways for us to produce food, whilst also ensuring food security into the future. This is the theme of our final section, where we highlight the latest innovations in agricultural science – from finding environmentally friendly alternatives to pest control, to improving the health and wellbeing of farm animals.

Scientia Issue #112

In this enticing edition of Scientia, we cover a range of important research areas, from geology to climatology, and from aeronomy to astronomy. Mitigating disaster is one pressing theme that pervades this edition, and we start off by featuring research devoted to predicting devastating seismic events – earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Then, the lion’s share of this edition is dedicated to perhaps the greatest disaster humanity will ever experience – anthropogenic climate change. Thousands of scientists across the globe are working to accurately quantify the impact of climate change, so that we can predict and hopefully mitigate its most damaging effects. Here, we feature the work of many research teams, each striving to predict or mitigate the severity of this imminent global disaster. Next, we focus on another danger, which lurks beyond Earth’s atmosphere – space weather. Space weather disturbances, caused by fluctuations in the solar wind, can cause a huge array of problems, such as widespread electricity blackouts and satellite damage. Because of our heavy reliance on satellites for communication, GPS and air traffic control, many scientists are dedicating their efforts to forecasting space weather events. Here we showcase the latest research in this area, and feature an exclusive interview with last year’s president of the AGU’s Space Physics and Aeronomy section. From near-Earth space, we venture deeper into the cosmos, with our final section dedicated to the mind-blowing field of astronomy. 

Scientia Issue #111

Modern research techniques have resulted in our living longer and more comfortably than ever before. In this edition of Scientia, we celebrate some of the many scientists at the forefront of this healthcare revolution. To open the edition, we have had the pleasure of speaking with both co-founders of Soapbox Science – a public outreach platform to promote women scientists and their research. After an introduction to The Sepsis and Critical Illness Research Center at the University of Florida, we become immersed in the world of psychology and neuroscience, where we highlight a diverse array of projects, ranging from improving refugees’ psychological wellbeing to mastering neuronal repair following spinal cord injury. To introduce our next section on respiratory research, we feature an exclusive interview with four division directors of NIH’s NHLBI. In this section, we showcase the work of four research teams, each dedicated to improving the lives of people living with lung conditions. Next up is two research projects that aim to improve lifestyle-related conditions – metabolic disease and food allergies. From here, we move on to highlight the latest in cancer research – from paediatric cancer to chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Not wanting to restrict the edition to human health, our final section features two projects dedicated to improving the health of our equine allies.

 

Scientia Issue #110

In this fascinating edition of Scientia, we celebrate the ways in which cell biology, biochemistry and molecular biology have illuminated our understanding of life on Earth in addition to advancing our healthcare. To open the issue, we have had the pleasure of speaking with Dr Erica Siebrasse of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), who discusses the organisation’s dedication to accelerating research in these fields. Next, we feature an article about the Dresden International Graduate School for Biomedicine and Bioengineering (DIGS-BB) – a PhD training program based at TU Dresden that combines cutting edge research projects with innovative mentoring strategies. Following an interview with our charity partner, Trees for Cities, we then move on to highlight the latest in genetics research. Here we feature eight fascinating projects, ranging from investigating the genes responsible for parenting behaviour, to developing new DNA fingerprinting techniques for ensuring quality in medicinal cannabis production. Next, we showcase the work of three researchers, each dedicated to improving our health into old-age, by investigating the biochemistry behind the ageing process. Our final two sections in the magazine highlight ground-breaking discoveries in the fields of both breast cancer and HIV. By investigating the nuts and bolts of these diseases at the cellular and molecular levels, the scientists behind these projects are opening the door to targeted therapies.

 

Scientia Issue #109

In this fascinating edition of Scientia we explore the latest in earth, environmental and ecological research, with a pinch of cosmology thrown in for good measure. To open the issue, we have had the pleasure of speaking with Dr Kiwamu Izumi, a scientist working at The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), who tells us all about the observatory’s phenomenal gravitational waves discovery. After showcasing several exciting cosmology and planetary science projects, we focus on the environment of our home planet. With global temperatures and pollution on the rise, dedicating our research efforts to the environment is now more important than ever before.

Next, we celebrate the diversity of life on Earth, by discussing several ground-breaking discoveries in the fields of ecology, zoology and evolutionary biology. Our final section in the issue is dedicated to the plant kingdom, where we explore the latest in crop science technology. Here we also introduce Dr Sonny Ramaswamy, the director of the US National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), in an exclusive interview about the organisation’s activities in working towards a future of sustainable agriculture.

 

Scientia Issue #108

Cancer survival rates continue to increase year after year. This trend is driven, in large part, by the breakthroughs made by cancer researchers over the past few decades. These innovations have enormously increased our understanding of how this disease arises and progresses, in addition to improving our diagnostics and offering us a vast array of new therapies. In this edition of Scientia, we applaud the scientists behind these huge leaps and bounds, by showcasing cancer research from across the globe.

To open the issue, we have had the pleasure of speaking with Professor Peter Naredi, the President of the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO), who tells us about how the organisation collaborates with its member societies to accelerate research, and to ensure that cancer remains at the top of the political agenda in Europe. From here, we feature a wide variety of different research projects, ranging from unravelling the molecular pathways that lead to cancer, to investigating the latest immunotherapies, drug combinations and novel nanotechnologies to combat cancer. The heroic efforts of the scientists behind these studies are bringing us one-step closer to eradicating the terrible blight that is cancer.

 

Scientia Issue #107

This edition of Scientia celebrates the diversity of scientific endeavour by showcasing research across three different themes. Each project has a healthcare or biological focus, but this edition is notable for its inclusion of a wide variety of research disciplines from neuroscience through aging to computational biology. We hope this variety will make for an interesting and enlightening read, regardless of your chosen profession.

 

Scientia Issue #106

Our healthcare continues to be transformed at an accelerating pace due to breakthroughs in bioscience research. Even in the past 50 years, our life expectancy worldwide has skyrocketed – people born this year can expect to live on average around 15 years longer than those born in 1966. We are enjoying healthier, longer lives as a direct result of scientific advances in vaccines, diagnostics, pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments, surgery, nutrition and medical technologies such as drug delivery, medical imaging and radiotherapy. In this edition of Scientia, we pay homage to the scientists behind our ever increasing quality of life by showcasing the latest in biomedical and biological research from around the world. To open the edition, we have had the pleasure of speaking with Professor Melanie Welham, the Interim Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, in an exclusive interview about the BBSRC’s activities in supporting and promoting biological sciences in the UK and further afield.

 

Scientia Issue #105

There has never been a more exciting time for physical science and engineering. The last few years have witnessed some of the most ground breaking discoveries ever made, such as proving the existence of the Higgs boson, detecting gravitational waves and imaging the farthest galaxy ever observed. To celebrate these huge leaps for fundamental physics and astronomy, opening this edition we have had the pleasure of speaking to representatives from Fermilab and The European Southern Observatory.

Such fundamental advances have given rise to an abundance of new technologies. Throughout this edition we introduce the latest in physics and technology research, from developing molecular computing devices to applying mathematics for the analysis of electromagnetic phenomena in the human body. Also in this edition we highlight recent innovations in clean energy research, from nuclear fusion, through storing energy using sodium batteries, to capturing CO2 emissions from industrial boilers.

 

Scientia Issue #104

In this edition, we celebrate the latest advances in Earth Science and Ecology. To open this issue, we have had the pleasure of interviewing Vítor Correia, the president of the European Federation of Geologists (EFG), who gives us an overview of the activities of the EFG and its role in geological research and public outreach. From here we delve into the world of geoscience, where we highlight several intriguing research projects, from uncovering how magnificent continental plateaus are formed, to developing new tools for seismic imaging of the Earth’s interior. In the second half of the issue, we highlight the latest discoveries in the diverse world of ecology, from exploring how mathematical modelling can be used to investigate the resilience of ecosystems, to investigating how land usage of the ancient Maya people has affected the environment and our use of land today.

 

Scientia Issue #103

In this edition we celebrate the increasingly diverse and interdisciplinary nature of the life sciences. The life sciences now encompass a wide array of disciplines and scientists are coming to understand the value of interdisciplinary cross-collaboration, leading to maximised outputs, paradigm shifts and the pooling of expertise.

 

Scientia Issue #102

Our healthcare system depends and thrives on innovations, both old and new. Indeed, medical equipment that one can find in any doctor’s office, a stethoscope, was once a revolutionary innovation that we now routinely use to do simple, yet critical tasks such as measuring blood pressure and listening to normal/abnormal noises of the heart and lungs.

 

Scientia Issue #101

In this edition we celebrate the increasingly diverse and interdisciplinary nature of the life sciences. The life sciences now encompass a wide array of disciplines and scientists are coming to understand the value of interdisciplinary cross-collaboration, leading to maximised outputs, paradigm shifts and the pooling of expertise. In this edition, we showcase a variety of life science research from a diverse array of fields and demonstrate that scientists increasingly blur the lines between disciplines, with encouraging results.