On course for healthier, more sustainable soil

If we want to transition to a greener, healthier and more climate resilient Europe, it is important to ensure our soils are in good condition. However, the quality of soils is worsening because of unsustainable management practices, depletion of resources, climate change and pollution. Soil hosts a quarter of our planet’s biodiversity and is home … Read more

Our intelligent ancestor, the Neanderthal

While the jury is still out as to why the Neanderthal, an ancient ancestor of modern humans, became extinct about 40,000 years ago, it has long been assumed that it was because they possessed a low level of intelligence. Pioneering research is challenging this idea, uncovering evidence to suggest that our ancient cousins were in … Read more

Transparent electronic books and human-looking robots: the new field of ‘organic electronics’

Organic electronics are flexible and already being used to make curved screens but future applications could include biosensors and bendable solar panels. Image credit - Maurizio Pesce/Wikimedia, licenced under CC BY 2.0

Electronics made from carbon rather than silicon could lead to a new generation of medical devices, sensors and perhaps even robots, according to Professor Andreas Hirsch, chair of organic chemistry at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany. Materials such as graphene could soon be appearing in electronic devices and could lead to entirely new forms of ‘chemical’ … Read more

Forest darkness helps stave off effects of nitrogen pollution – but this is set to change

The life that grows underfoot accounts for 80% of the biodiversity in a temperate forest. Image credit - www.pikist.com/licenced under CC0

Europe’s forests are sitting on a pollution timebomb which could rewrite their ecology when it explodes, say researchers. Delicate forest floor plants such as wood sorrel or violet, and the balance among the tree species that tower above them, are all threatened by decades of accumulated nitrogen pollution. A study has found that the darkness … Read more