On the 11th March 2011 the Tohoku earthquake struck off the north-eastern coast of the Japanese island of Honshu. An area of seafloor larger than Greater Tokyo moved eastwards by 5 metres and some parts of the fault moved by up to 50 metres. A total of nearly 19,000 people were killed, mainly as a result of the following tsunami. But the event came as a huge surprise to scientists the world over “This was a truly extraordinary earthquake and very unfortunately seismologists, including myself, did not expect this to happen,” said Japanese scientist Dr. Kiyoshi Suyehiro.
Nuclear energy is at the forefront of many scientific minds these days. The Fukushima crisis shined a spotlight on possible dangers associated with the locations of nuclear plants, as well as the logistical and human health nightmares that can occur with meltdowns. But these aren’t the only concerns about nuclear power on which scientists are focusing. Nuclear waste management is also actively perplexing engineers, policy-leaders, and decision-makers, as the concern over how to best dispose of High Level Waste (HLW) continues to grow.
Europeans certainly love their bread but researchers led by Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania believe that we are tending to bake our own, or buy it from local bakeries in the search for flavour and texture that is missing in mass-produced bread.
Cancer. All around. But, is there an epidemic? The statistics would suggest not…for some forms of the disease, at least. Others are on the increase especially as populations age and more and more people survive the infections and altercations of youth, cancers of old age do seem to be more prominent in our lives.
When bats want to find their way around in the dark, they start by emitting a series of loud, ultrasonic sound pulses. Analysing how long it takes for the sound waves to return enables bats to construct a detailed map of their environment. Reverse Read more […]
Pivot Points is a monthly column by EuroScientist writer David Bradley. As a science writer, I’ve probably received more than my fair share of crackpot missives over the last couple of decades. Messages from the apparently well-meaning, but often Read more […]
Pivot Points is a monthly column by EuroScientist writer David Bradley. The artificial sweetener aspartame is one of the darling molecules of the scaremongering tabloids and blame-seeking activists, there’s even a Facebook page aimed at banning it. Read more […]
It is widely acknowledged that connecting science with the public is a must, and many organisations put significant resources into doing so, but how can we know when these efforts are successful? This article looks at the European Space Agency’s outreach activities for the Hubble Space Telescope to give some guidelines on how best to evaluate the success of science communication activities.
“The single most effective way to tackle these [greenhouse] gases is to capture them and store them safely underground” – Shell Website
The Christmas meal in Britain usually centers on turkey, in Denmark roast pork. The French penchant is for goose, while Germans may opt for suckling pig. Regardless of the fleshy focus, a feast of culinary chemistry is at play when you prepare and cook the big meal. However, if you don’t get the chemistry right there’s more to worry about than dry meat and vegetables when the microbiology is dished up.
The Census of Marine Life (CoML) programme addresses three major questions: What lived in the oceans? What lives in the oceans now? What will live in the oceans? This 10-year programme (2000–2010) is a unique global effort to develop the first comprehensive assessment of life in the oceans, from bacteria to large animals, from coastal and shallow waters to the poorly known habitats in the deep sea, through more than 500 expeditions. It has resulted in partnerships and an international network of over 2700 scientists from 80 countries. Through 14 field studies in distinct ocean realms, ranging from analysing historical documents to modeling future ecosystems, the Census enables scientists to describe the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans, to compare what once lived in the oceans to what lives there now, and to postulate what will live there in the future.
About ten years ago the regional director of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) asked to meet with National Association for Interpretation (NAI) executive staff to discuss the application of interpretive services to his organization. He explained that the Republican Contract for America removed USGS funding from the United States budget in 1994 because many in Congress and the American public did not understand that this agency of scientists were responsible for much more than making maps. Fortunately, the funding was restored. USGS monitors vital resources all over the U.S. The USGS regional director expressed concern that being skilled scientists was not enough. They needed to become more skilled at helping Congress and citizens understand their diverse scientific roles and findings.