Professor Henning Schmidt | DESIREE: Recreating Interactions Between Ions

Professor Henning Schmidt | DESIREE: Recreating Interactions Between Ions

Interactions between positive and negative ions are important processes in nature. However, there is a lack of experimental facilities designed to study them in detail. This picture could now be changing thanks to DESIREE: a facility where different ion beams can be stored and cooled for extensive periods within separate rings, before colliding with each other. Run by an extensive team of physicists at Stockholm University, the instrument is shedding new light on how ions interact in a wide range of environments – from dynamic stellar atmospheres, to interstellar space.

Dr Sara Stančin | Dr Sašo Tomažič – Improving 3D Orientation Tracking in Gyroscope Sensors

Dr Sara Stančin | Dr Sašo Tomažič – Improving 3D Orientation Tracking in Gyroscope Sensors

Gyroscopes are widely used to measure the orientations and rotation speeds of moving objects – but according to one pair of researchers, the techniques we currently use to measure them are introducing significant and easily avoidable errors. Through their research, Dr Sara Stančin | Dr Sašo Tomažič, both at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, introduce a mathematical framework which accounts for how all three rotations measured by a gyroscope happen simultaneously, rather than in a sequence.

Professor Andrew R. Barron | Repurposing Plastic COVID Facemasks to Improve the Steel-Making Process

Professor Andrew R. Barron | Repurposing Plastic COVID Facemasks to Improve the Steel-Making Process

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, billions of plastic facemasks have been used and disposed of, with the majority destined for landfill. Professor Andrew R. Barron and his team at the Energy Safety Research Institute in Swansea, Wales, have developed an innovative method for repurposing these used facemasks. By transforming them into a powdered material that acts as a reducing agent, Professor Barron’s team aim to make the steel-making process more energy-efficient and sustainable.

Dr Peter Melchior | SCARLET: Exploring the Universe in Unprecedented Detail

Dr Peter Melchior | SCARLET: Exploring the Universe in Unprecedented Detail

Wide-area scans of the sky are an important tool for astronomers as they seek to learn more about the universe. However, as the latest observation techniques have become increasingly sensitive, faint objects within these surveys can appear to blend together. Through his research, Dr Peter Melchior at Princeton University presents a computer-based framework for disentangling these blended sources, and for artificially reconstructing the components they contain. Named SCARLET, the technique could soon help astronomers to study the depths of the observable universe in unprecedented levels of detail.

Dr Surjani Wonorahardjo – Dr Suharti Suharti – Dr I Wayan Dasna | Exploring the Ethics and Environmental Impact of Chemistry

Dr Surjani Wonorahardjo – Dr Suharti Suharti – Dr I Wayan Dasna | Exploring the Ethics and Environmental Impact of Chemistry

From its early days, the field of chemistry has been exploring nature at the molecular level. As such, chemistry is also used to explore natural resources and possible ways of exploiting them. As Earth’s environment is now rapidly deteriorating, chemists need to adapt their practices with the aim of contributing to its protection. Dr Surjani Wonorahardjo, Dr Suharti Suharti and Dr I Wayan Dasna, three researchers in Indonesia, have recently conducted a study exploring the ethical and environmental issues associated with current chemistry practices, in the hope to inspire reflection and positive change in the field.

Dr Helen Greenwood Hansma | Energy: A Clue to the Origins of Life

Dr Helen Greenwood Hansma | Energy: A Clue to the Origins of Life

Energy is vital for life. It allows important functions to occur in living systems, from the molecular level to the scale of the whole organism. Dr Helen Greenwood Hansma, from the University of California in Santa Barbara, believes that the types of energy used in living cells can provide clues to help us understand the origins of life. In her recent research, she explores how mechanical energy could have driven the processes that gave rise to early life in the absence of chemical energy.