War can destroy cultural heritage twice – in conflict and in clean-up

Proper documentation of cultural heritage is the key to restoration projects, says Dr Margarete van Ess.

People can inadvertently destroy cultural heritage for a second time when cleaning up conflict sites after a war ends, according to archaeologist Dr Margarete van Ess, who says that databases and education are the best basis for safeguarding sites for the future. She is director of the Orient Department at the German Archaeological Institute and … Read more

Ultrafine pollution particles create air of menace

As many as 6.5 million premature deaths every year are attributed to air pollution, according to the World Health Organization.

An air quality study has for the first time detected nano-sized particles of air pollution in children’s urine. With a diameter of just 100 nanometers – a thousandth of the width of a human hair – these ultrafine particles are the smallest particles found in air pollution and have been linked to heart disease and respiratory conditions … Read more

Omics, sweet omics – curing the incurable, one disease at a time

In recent years, the genetic defects behind about 5,000 of the estimated 7,000-8,000 rare diseases have been discovered, largely thanks to omics.

There are many rare genetic diseases that strike perhaps only one in a million people. Often incurable, they can be profoundly debilitating and frequently life-threatening. Though each particular disease is rare, they number in the thousands – which means that together they affect about 30 million Europeans or around 7% of us. Treating these diseases is challenging … Read more

Classroom to boardroom – how to turn a school science project into a business

Adam Noble, CEO of Noblegen, says that keeping grounded can help young scientists absorb advice and new experiences.

When, as a 16-year-old, Adam Noble began measuring nanosilver pollution in his local river, he could hardly have foreseen that it would make him CEO of a 40-strong company before his 24th birthday. And when 14-year-old Ciara Judge experimented with growing bacteria in a spare bedroom, she had no idea that within a few years … Read more

Skeleton teeth and historical photography are retelling the story of the plague

Scientists have unearthed photographs taken in countries including China during third plague pandemic, which killed 12 million people between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries.

New portraits of the evolution of some of history’s deadliest pandemics have been created through analysis of thousands of skeletons and new collections of historical photographs – and the results could indicate how similar diseases may evolve in the future. Genetic material from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and the plague leave fossil traces of … Read more