Scientia Issues

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Scientia Issue #123

In this important edition of Scientia, we address one of the greatest challenges of our time – ensuring food security and agricultural sustainability into the future. Here, we feature a broad range of promising research projects – from protecting pollinators to conserving irrigation water in the face of climate change, and from improving soil health to understanding what motivates anglers to target bluefin tuna. Our first section of the edition focuses on crop science, where we introduce a diverse collection of initiatives, each striving to make our cropping systems more sustainable and to improve yields in the face of climate change. Next, we move on to another important consideration in achieving food sustainability – water conservation. As about 70% of all our freshwater withdrawals are used for agricultural purposes, meeting our growing population’s increasing food demands is set to become increasingly difficult in the face of climate change. The subsequent section deals with devising and informing land management strategies to ensure sustainability and restore biodiversity. Here we read about effective approaches to eradicate invasive species, and how different land management practices can help to boost soil health in pastureland. Our final section of the edition takes a different view on food security and sustainability – providing a perspective on the role human behaviour and sociology in these issues. Here, we explore how a thorough understanding of the behaviours both food producers and consumers must be achieved in order to ensure food security into the future.

Scientia Issue #122

This special issue of Scientia celebrates research exploring the inner workings of the human nervous system, with a particular focus on the brain. Here, we meet many dedicated researchers in the fields of psychology, neuroscience and neurorehabilitation, who are progressing our understanding of neuronal and psychological functioning, as well as developing treatment interventions. Our first section in the issue delves deep into the fascinating world of human psychology, where we begin by investigating how the human brain processes and acquires language. We also explore the genetic and environmental factors that put young people at risk for addiction later in life. We then conclude this section with an exclusive interview with MQ: Mental Health, where we can read about the challenges facing mental health research. Our middle section focuses on the latest developments in neuroscience research, where we meet scientists who are unravelling the biological mechanisms taking place within the brain. Importantly, we can read how improving our understanding of molecular and cellular processes in the brain can help us to develop treatments for devastating neurological and psychological conditions. Finally, we move into the specialist field of neurorehabilitation. In this section, we present the work of scientists who show us how understanding the brain from psychological and neuroscientific perspectives can inform treatment innovations in the field of neurorehabilitation. We also meet researchers who combine the latest technologies with an improved understanding of the nervous system to benefit those affected by brain and spinal injury.

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.