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25-10-2019 | © Istock 3 mins read

Are we curious by choice or by chance?

The human brain is outstanding among mammalian brains, containing around 100 billion neurons (more than the number of stars in the Milky Way) and over 100 trillion connections between them. Yet, when it comes to making decisions, this impressive organ does not prevent us from making errors – even avoidable ones.

08-05-2019 | © picture 3 mins read

Is political participation contagious?

ELECTION SERIES #7

Why are some people more likely to vote or stand for election than others? Researchers based in Sweden are doing some deep data diving to find out how our social surroundings and our genes influence political participation.

08-03-2019 | © picture 4 mins read

The women of fundamental physics

This 8 March, the ERC celebrates the achievements of grantee Dr Mariana Graña, a determined researcher in a branch of physics where women are still noticeably underrepresented. She reflects on how far women have come in Theoretical Physics and what is still needed to overcome the gender-role stereotypes associated with this appealing but abstract field of science.

03-08-2017 | Portrait ©B. Eymann - Académie des sciences 2 mins read

Always on call: how does the immune system perform?

Our immune system recognizes and fights infections in a constantly changing environment, where new pathogenic threats emerge. At the crossroad between physics and biology, Prof. Aleksandra Walczak investigates the fascinating process that allows the immune system to be always ready to adapt and evolve to face new dangers.

15-03-2017 | © picture 2 mins read

Quantum computing: the new paradigm

Jeremy O’Brien is Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering at the University of Bristol. His current work focuses on bringing quantum computing into reality, with the potential to transform healthcare, energy, finance and the internet. Professor O’Brien is pursuing a photonic approach to manufacturing a large-scale universal quantum computer, exploiting the extraordinary silicon fabrication capability developed by the silicon chip industry.

Originally published in March 2017 as part of the multimedia campaign "ERC - 10 years – 10 portraits."

06-09-2016 | Image© iStockphoto 3 mins read

New light on emulsions

Many industries – and each of our cells – depend on emulsions. An EU-funded researcher has developed a method for studying molecules at the interface between oil nanodroplets and the water-based liquid contained in these substances. Her work advances understanding of liquid interfaces and emulsion stability, and is of great interest to industry.

26-04-2012 | Pedro Medeiros © Boaventura de Sousa Santos 2 mins read

A new vision of Europe

Pursuing a sustainable development and broadening social justice and cohesion are some of the challenges that Europe is currently facing. What if we could learn how to solve these challenges by using the social and political innovations taking place in different corners of the globe? Professor Boaventura de Sousa Santos suggests that a new approach can be developed in Europe based on the diversity of practices elsewhere.

19-09-2011 | Image credit: Cristoph Thomas, 2007 2 mins read

Forests to combat global warming

The DOFOCO project aims to better understand how forests can help lessen the effects of global warming, by bringing together advanced models and data from the life and earth sciences. Such research takes an additional dimension this year, in the context of the United Nations International Year of Forests 2011.