Paper biosensors: towards eco-friendly diagnosis

Many of our daily products are made from pollutant materials, which have proven to be extremely difficult to recycle. Recently, there have been a number of high profile campaigns to raise awareness about the global plastic waste crisis. Specifically to raise awareness of single-use plastics (microbeads, packaging, bags, disposable products etc.), which make up approximately 40% of the now more than 448 million tons of plastic produced every year. In an effort to do their bit to help, some biotechnological companies within the healthcare sector have focused their efforts on the search for alternative materials to fabricate diagnostics products. Paper has emerged as a possibility, but is it actually a real option for the market?

The emerging trends of Nobel Prizes in science

This article reviews the Nobel history since inception which shows that the Prizes in science conferred on individuals in the first 50 years are shifting to the Prizes being shared. It is,in part, because the science has become more complex, collaborative, expansive, and expensive. With the critical need for teamwork to tackle Big Science, we recommend that the policy of “no more than three” sharing the Prize be loosened on case by case basis and the nomination be made open for scientific organisations. We also suggest concrete steps for improving the gender gap among the Nobel Laureates. This necessitates proactive nominations of Nobel worthy work done by women and making structural changes in Nobel committees toward better gender ratio. Finally, our analysis shows that the U.S. is emerging as a Nobel Super Power leading to a divide not only with European countries but the world at large.

The Blame Game

Science fiction authors are a motley crew, which includes a small number of professional scientists but also many others with no particular background in science or technology. EuroScientist published a short story called The Blame Game by Ian McKinley, who is a scientist involved in the rather esoteric area of radioactive waste management. In this story, a number of experts caught up in the chaos resulting from sudden environmental collapse argue about the root cause. The bottom line is that that there are so many interacting factors that it’s impossible to disentangle them. McKinley chose fiction as a means to talk to non-specialists about radioactive waste. He sets out to debunks the myths around the topic which stem from films, novels and, increasingly, comics, manga and anime, to get readers to ask themselves key questions about the topic.

UK scientists’ loss of influence to be felt at home and across Europe

Brexit keeps resounding in the many aspects that its implications may have for European research. In this opinion piece, Thomas König, Austrian social scientist, who was previously scientific advisor to former ERC president Helga Nowotny, examines the consequences of the predicted fall of influence of British scientists on the future of European science. He believes the consequences of Brexit are likely to be felt, not only in UK science itself, but also at the level of pan-European research endeavours, such as ERC-backed activities. This shows that scientists are not sheltered from the vagaries of politics when policies emanating from the popular vote forces them to defend their interests.

Enough with counter-intuitive cryptic physics theories

Science progresses through discussions and debates. Sometimes accepted notions are too well-established to be open to questioning. In this personal view, Helmut Tributsch, emeritus professor of physical chemistry, formerly at the Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany, challenges the notion that physics theories, such as quantum scale phenomena, obey counter-intuitive laws. Instead, he claims that introducing a definite and irreversible direction for the passing of time, would make our theoretical interpretation of physical phenomena more logical and resolve many unsolved questions pertaining to our understanding of the world surround us and the universe.