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20-12-2018 | © Magdalen College Oxford Old Library © Marsilio Editori in Venezia © Marina Goldring

On the trail of the first printed books, the beginning of the knowledge economy

Until the middle of the 15th century, books were copied by hand. After the printing of the Gutenberg Bible, in Mainz, printed books started to circulate in Europe marking the start of a new era. But what do we know about the first modern books? What were they about? Who wrote them, bought them, read them? Prof. Cristina Dondi is chasing these answers, following the breadcrumbs left by these incredible volumes.

22-05-2018 | © picture

Sailing the mysteries of old maps

Dr Joaquim Alves Gaspar is a man of the sea. After many years in the Portuguese Navy, he gave up plans to become an admiral in favour of pursuing a PhD in the History of Cartography. This second career led him to receive an ERC Starting Grant, the first awarded in this budding discipline. With his highly multidisciplinary team (he likes to say that, to work with him, one must be a mathematician fluent in Latin), and the experience obtained as a navigator and navigational instructor, Dr Gaspar hopes to understand how and when the first nautical charts were created. The MEDEA-CHART team is the best place in Portugal, and probably in the world, to study the history of nautical cartography, hoping that this work will provide the domain with its rightful recognition within world history.

20-04-2018 | Portrait: ©Erik van Sebille Image:© Shutterstock

Keeping track of ocean plastic

ERC grantee Erik van Sebille is developing advanced modelling tools to help assess the full extent of the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans and how it is affecting the marine environment. The tools will help policymakers design targeted measures to address a big and growing issue.

08-03-2018 | © C. Maitre INRA

Bottom up climate change research

The increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere as a result of human activity is impacting the natural carbon cycle, modifying how the element travels between land and atmosphere. How will our future climate impact this exchange? How will ever-growing concentrations of greenhouse gases influence future biosphere CO2 fluxes? The answer may lie at our feet; in the soil beneath us.

06-03-2018 | © picture

Head and feet in the clouds

Fascinated by clouds and planes since childhood, she became a meteorologist and aerosol scientist. Prof. Bernadett Weinzierl looks at the atmosphere but she also flies through it, aiming to understand what happens in the upper layers of the sky. Using an ERC starting grant for her A-LIFE project, she chases aerosols, those tiny particles suspended in the air which are critically important to the global climate system.