‘It eats everything’ – the new breed of wildfire that’s impossible to predict

Image credit - Pablo Trincado, licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Annette Ekin We’re fighting a different kind of wildfire whose behaviour experts are struggling to predict. Climate change and negligent forest management are causing higher-intensity, faster-moving fires that can generate enough energy to evolve into erratic firestorms, known as pyroCbs, in the face of which first responders can do little. ‘Traditionally we could predict the fire behaviour and the … Read more

Heartbeats and memory suppression – the new tools for controlling fear

Image Credit - Flickr/Franck Michel

Most of us feel afraid when faced with a threat or danger, but people with phobias and anxiety feel overwhelming levels of fear in situations that are relatively harmless. Scientists want to moderate this response by using drugs to wipe out scary memories or by harnessing the power of heartbeats to improve therapy. Usually, people … Read more

How to keep lunar samples safe

Image credit - LUVMI consortium

By Gareth Willmer A lunar rover that can analyse samples in situ and a Europe-wide facility to store extraterrestrial samples will help to protect moon samples from contamination and increase their usability in scientific experiments. In 1969, the Apollo 12 mission retrieved a camera that had been left on the moon by an earlier spacecraft. … Read more

Pushing the bounds of vision could reveal hidden worlds

Image Credit - Amplify project

Nature is complex – often too complex for humans to see. But squint-controlled glasses that let people see 3D thermal images and a camera that can capture the inner workings of high-speed chemical reactions are helping to push the limits of human perception. Human senses have already been highly tuned by millions of years of … Read more

A dishwasher that keeps itself clean: how lasers are changing everyday items

Image credit - ALPhANOV

By Jonathan O’Callaghan At the smallest of scales, science can become rather weird. So weird in fact that metals and other materials can be altered to completely change their properties, such as making them resilient to water or bacteria. This is the cornerstone of new research looking into the hidden world of surfaces, with the … Read more

Under-road heating system to keep Europe’s highways ice-free

Image credit - picture is in the public domain

Under-road heating that melts ice and snow within 15 minutes and real-time information about icy road conditions could help prevent wintertime accidents. Snow and ice can dramatically change the conditions of a road, where slippery surfaces make it harder to keep control of a vehicle, particularly when braking or turning. ‘Once you have cars driving, … Read more