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There is a web of filaments – essentially long strands of gas – that connects all the galaxies in the universe. This is known as the Cosmic Web and, so far, astrophysicist had only a partial idea of what it may have looked like. Now, ERC funded astronomer Michele Fumagalli, and his collaborators from the University of Durham and the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research in Japan, are able to show the stunning images of this common thread that runs through our stars.
Water vapour has been detected in the atmosphere of a remote planet with habitable temperatures. Two ERC grantees at the University College London (UCL) were among the coauthors of study.
When the engines of a plane rev up and we are momentarily plunged into our seats, chances are that propulsion is due to a gas turbine. Although these energy generators are fundamental to industry, especially to aeronautics, their production of harmful exhaust gases is a cause of concern. ERC grantee Aimee Morgans works on making gas turbines greener.
Humans have wondered at flight since primeval times. Yet despite almost two centuries of designing machines to fly, birds still do it better in many ways. Dr Shane Windsor, a lecturer in Aerodynamics at the University of Bristol, is looking at how birds control their flight in windy conditions with the aim to improve the engineering of small-scale unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) for use in and around urban areas.
“Once lost is lost", one may think, especially if the piece of forgotten patrimony is an opera from 1850 that is “incomplete, too fragmented and irretrievable”, according to the experts. Except for Dr. David Trippet: like an art restorer holding fine paintbrushes, he has dedicated three years of intensive research to retrieve the unborn opera, bringing the music and libretto back to life 170 years later.
Can architects provide new types of evidence on war crimes and human rights violations? Dr Eyal Weizman believes they can. With the ERC backing, he developed a new field of research: forensic architecture. Dr Weizman and a multidisciplinary team of architects, software engineers, graphic designers and researchers provide architectural evidence and new perspectives on violent events and conflicts around the world.
Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir is a literary and cultural historian at King's College London. Passionate about music, dance, film, the visual arts, academic discourse and literature, she studies what such forms of cultural production can say about the world we live in. With her ERC grant and interdisciplinary team, she leads research on Afro-diasporic rhythm cultures, examining the history and global popularity of African-derived dance practices and their relation to modernity, post-colonialism and post-trauma.
Originally published in March 2017 as part of the multimedia campaign "ERC - 10 years – 10 portraits."
Over the past months, a sudden influx of ‘Pokémon Go’ players could be observed across the globe. Youngsters, people of all ages scrutinise their surroundings silently, using their smartphones to catch those digital creatures with unlikely names. How could such a phenomenon take over the world so fast? Part of the answer may be the game’s strong interaction with the real-world and its impressive mapping, offering a whole new virtual experience of spaces that seem to be familiar and yet so different.
Stronger than steel, conducting electricity better than copper and heat better than diamonds: these are some of the promises held by carbon nanomaterials. Although not as well-known as graphene, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) show these properties – offering also a great advantage: they can be produced in larger quantities. Prof. Michael De Volder now explores new ways to manufacture CNTs-based devices with optimal features, potentially opening the way to their broader commercial use.
More than 95% of our universe comes in the mysterious form of dark matter and dark energy that we can neither explain nor directly detect. Dr Catherine Heymans leads a team of researchers who were the first to “map” dark matter on the largest of scales. She now uses her research to confront Einstein’s theory of general relativity in an attempt to explain the nature of dark energy.