Q&A: Plate tectonics is fundamental to understanding Earth’s evolution – but big questions remain

The division of the Earth’s surface into seven major mobile plates is fundamental to our planet’s uniqueness, creating a habitable environment and possibly the conditions under which life itself originated. The theory of plate tectonics is 50 years old, but there are many puzzles left to answer, says Dr Kate Rychert, who studies the geology … Read more

The paints that eat pollutants and heat homes

Light-activated catalysts that can neutralise airborne pollutants are being embedded in paint with a view to cleaning up city air. Image credit - AM Technology

Applying a coat of paint on the walls of a house may soon help to heat it, saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions. It could also clean the air that we breathe, breaking down chemicals and pollutants, and eliminating harmful pathogens. In Europe, half of cities’ annual energy consumption goes to heating and cooling. Despite the EU’s … Read more

Our top 12 science facts from 2019

Image credits - PlanetMallika/ Pixabay; Pablo Trincado, licensed under CC BY 2.0; Image credit - Pixnio/ Janice Haney Carr, Jeff Hageman, M.H.S, USCDCP, licensed under CC0; Virpi Lummaa

by Josefine Kroll From bacterial invisibility cloaks to unexpected dinosaur colors, Horizon uncovered some fascinating facts in 2019. Here are our 12 favourites. 1. Meerkats live in cooperative societies where only one female is allowed to breed  2. There may be no free-flowing rivers left in Europe 3. Our idea of dinosaur colours may be completely wrong 4. Elephants … Read more

Matchmaking corals from different colonies could reduce bleaching events

Planting baby corals that are bred to be resistant to heat stress can boost a reef's tolerance to warmer waters. Image credit - James Guest

Breeding together corals that have naturally high heat tolerance and planting them on coral reefs could increase the reefs’ resilience to climate change and reduce the impact of bleaching events, according to Dr James Guest, a coral reef ecologist from Newcastle University, UK. He is studying this ‘assisted evolution’ approach to coral conservation and examining … Read more