All posts by Anthony King

Anthony King is a freelance science writer based in Dublin, Ireland. He has contributed news and feature articles to the Irish Times, and science magazines such as New Scientist, Cosmos Magazine, Discover, Chemistry & Industry and Chemistry World, as well as journals such as Cell, Nature and Science. He writes primarily about the biological and chemical sciences, but also has an interest in policy.

Fusion: waste of research money or solution to world’s energy crisis?

The international fusion reactor ITER, located in the South of France in Saint Paul-lez-Durance, will cost an estimated 15 billion Euros over its lifetime. For critics, this project is an enormous white elephant, a colossal misdirection of resources away from other areas of science at a time when money is in short supply. Supporters say ITER can move us closer to sustainable energy, with no atmospheric pollutants, and that the one billion per year between 35 or so countries is money well spent. Read more [...]

Towards research excellence rather than excellence itself

Last April, leading researchers, politicians and key players in European research funding discussed how Europe can finance and provide optimal conditions for excellent research. They adopted the so-called “Aarhus Declaration” which states that “when aiming for excellence, one should aim at the stars: a new knowledge which changes paradigms, invents new fields and opens opportunities for broad societal consequences.” Increasingly, European Union and national funding is anchored around the idea of excellence in research. But what exactly is excellence? Is this yardstick a fair measure of a scientist’s work? Questions are being raised about whether this distorts the research landscape in Europe. Read more [...]