A simple white paper napkin depicts the future: at an informal dinner with aviation professionals the lead technical design engineer of Boeing sketches his personal vision of the airplane of the future, which is so futuristic that it even outranges the companies conceptual airplane. Any minute when a plane is not flying is a waste of money – the goal is to minimise the downtime. Leading airline companies already try to have their birds in the air around the clock. What still takes time is passenger boarding and de-boarding from an aircraft. Since there is no way to beam the humans aboard, the creative engineer found another solution to save time. In his futuristic vision, an airplane consists of a movable compartment, a ‘container’, where all passengers can be seated in a comfortable way before the plane has even landed. After embarking, while the passengers already enjoy their welcome drink, the whole compartment will be safely moved and secured to the fuselage, which consists mainly of one big airfoil with the engines.
Lucy Marcus is Founder and CEO of Marcus Venture Consulting, Ltd, a company that endeavours to foster sustainable success for funding organisations. She is non-executive chair of the Mobius Life Sciences Fund and chair of the audit committee for BioCity Nottingham. She talked to David Bradley about the downside to science spending cuts in the UK.
Doctoral Training Centres, or DTCs, are a new trend in UK doctoral training and are an alternative option to the traditional PhDs. Simon Hutchinson investigates.
One of the recurrent themes at the Vitae Researcher Development Conference 2010 was how to better facilitate the movement of researchers throughout the European Union. Representing the British Council, Dr Claire McNulty’s conference workshop, Research as an International Career, broadened the discussion to how to encourage and make easier the transition for scientists moving between continents, as well as between countries that are geographically, but not politically European nations.
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), with its multitude of accelerators, has opened up the possibility for scientists to answer some huge questions. I imagine CERN’s To Do list to read something like “1 – understand the intricacies of the Big Bang, 2 – find the Higgs boson, 3 – figure out dark matter, 4 – unify fundamental forces.” However, there is one underlying question that is arguably even more challenging – “How are we going to pay for all this?”
The Web in the 1990s, Web 1.0 you might call it, was all about content as everyone from shopkeepers to spectroscopists scrabbled to get online. The major scientific journals began their slow but steady adoption of the new access tools and community sites like ChemWeb and BioMedNet sprang up, endlessly mashing together capitalised prefixes and suffixes.
Do you want to fly around the Earth in a space orbit? Are you lacking the 20 million Euro the Russian Space agency requires to take you into orbit? Do you have a yard full of metal, plexiglass, cables, and other strange technical objects? Why not built your own rocket capable of carrying a human into space?
Contributions by the European science community to the ocean sciences as seen from Japan
There are a surprising number of European countries with space programmes, especially if compared to the days of the cold war when the US and USSR led the race. Germany (DLR), France (CNES), the Netherlands (SRON), Norway (NSC), and Sweden (SNSB) all have current projects underway, as well as the umbrella pan-European organisation, ESA, which has 18 member states and six cooperating states, which includes, interestingly, Canada.
You know that you’re not reporting on an ordinary science meeting when a waiter drops penne and tomato sauce on your notes. But then, this is Italy.
Europe lead on public engagement while the US enjoy the science stimulus package – on which side of the Atlantic is it better to be a scientist?