2021: Beyond coronavirus – what’s in store for science in the year ahead?

There was one science story that dominated 2020 and coronavirus is likely to remain a dominant theme in 2021. But from vaccine rollout to lessons for future pandemics and – that other big challenge that we’re facing – climate change, how will the year in science play out? We asked a selection of our interviewees … Read more

Few aeroplanes land automatically but new systems could make this the norm

Almost half of fatal plane accidents happen between final approach and landing. Image credit - Pixabay/ windhaven1077, licensed under Pixabay license

by Jonathan O’Callaghan When it comes to planes cruising through the air, many of us are used to the idea of them flying on autopilot with little or no input from a human pilot as they travel from one destination to another. Landing a plane under autopilot, known as autoland, is a different matter. While … Read more

Wing tip device for cleaner aviation wins 2019 EU young scientist prize

Magnus Quaade Oddershede says his wing tip design could reduce the climate impact of aviation. Image credit - EUCYS/ European Commission

by Annette Ekin An alternative aeroplane wing tip dubbed ‘new raked’ that would make flying more fuel efficient has been awarded one of four €7,000 first prizes at this year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS). The Danish student behind the design, Magnus Quaade Oddershede, 19, said his model came out of a two-week … Read more

Quantum simulation could help flights run on time

Quantum simulators could help solve logistical challenges, such as making sure planes and airline crew are in the right place in order for flights to run smoothly. Image credit - Pixabay/ Free-Photos, licensed under pixabay license

A powerful new form of computing could help scientists design new types of materials for nanoelectronics, allow airlines to solve complex logistical problems to ensure flights run on time, and tackle traffic jams to keep cars flowing more freely on busy roads. While modern digital computers are capable of impressive feats of calculation, there are some … Read more

Aeroplanes could cut emissions by flying on waste cooking oil fuel

Biofuels have the potential to reduce aviation emissions by 90%, according to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

Blending biofuels and kerosene to create greener jet fuel has shown promising results in test flights, but more work needs to be done to ensure biofuels burn cleanly and can be produced in a large-scale, low-cost way, says Dr Chong Cheng Tung, associate professor at the China-UK Low Carbon College of Shanghai Jiao Tong University … Read more