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15-09-2020 | © Heïdi Marier 5 mins read

The dancing particles

ERC grantee Konstantinos Nikolopoulos at the University of Birmingham recently won the first ERC Public Engagement with Research Award in the category of public outreach. His ExclusiveHiggs project looks at the origin of mass by exploring the interactions of the elementary matter particles with the Higgs boson. In this interview, he describes his efforts to make the public understand this field of physics through art and dance.

18-06-2020 | @ ICFO/ICREA 5 mins read

The jazz of physics

Three-time ERC grantee and four-time panel member in the ERC evaluations (the last three as panel chair), Maciej Lewenstein is not only one of the key physicists of the 21st century, but also a jazz expert. In this interview, he talks about his passion for free-improvised music and explains the intrinsic connections between quantum physics and jazz.

02-12-2019 | © petrmalinak, Shutterstock 3 mins read

Turning carbon dioxide waste into carbon building blocks

By creating a conversion process for recycling carbon dioxide into feedstock, the CO2Recycling project is paving the way towards a sustainable chemical industry.

29-11-2019 | © picture 3 mins read

Luminescent leap forward: Maximising the efficiency of solar panels in bad weather

Inspired by the country’s cloudy weather, an Irish researcher has developed a new way to increase the efficiency of solar panels – even in the event of overcast skies. With a grant from the European Research Council (ERC), the disruptive technology has increased the viability of effective solar energy collection in northern Europe. The potential of this innovation could be huge given Europe’s growing demand for cost-effective and sustainable energy solutions.

21-11-2019 | © Charles Baroud 4 mins read

Secrets of cells revealed by innovative droplet-based tools

A European bioengineer has pushed the boundaries of cell manipulation by pioneering a new, droplet-based method of study. His innovation, allowing for the highly detailed observation of cells, has resulted in the launch of a spin-off company as well as further research into cell cultures. Fuelled by a European Research Council (ERC) grant, the technology promises to open doors to new applications in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and medical research.

04-11-2019 | @istockphoto.com/Danor_a 4 mins read

The power of Quantum Computing

Quantum computers are the Holy Grail of information theorists. For years, scientists have been trying to crack their mysteries, to harvest their interesting applications. They are predicted to have tremendous computational power, exponentially larger than the computers available today. However, so far, they have been difficult to actually build. Prof. Ashley Montanaro will investigate the path from the theoretical foundations of quantum computing their applications to real-life problems.

20-09-2019 | @ Federica Barberi 3 mins read

Feeling legs again improves amputees’ health

Two volunteers are the first above-knee amputees in the world to feel their prosthetic foot and knee in real time.  Their bionic prosthesis, developed by a European team of researchers, has sensors that connect to residual nerves in the thigh. The resulting neurofeedback reduces physical and mental strain for prosthesis users as well as their phantom limb pain. They can also walk faster and with more confidence. Researchers, partly supported by ERC funds, recently reported on their achievement in Nature Medicine.

27-08-2019 | © 2019 EPFL – Murielle Gerber 3 mins read

Tiny biodegradable circuits for releasing painkillers inside the body

ERC grantee Juergen Brugger and his team have developed biodegradable microresonators that can be heated locally with a wireless system. Doctors could soon be using them in implants to control the release of painkillers within tissue. By Laure-Anne Pessina - Originally published on the EPFL website

01-07-2019 | © Shane Windsor 2 mins read

Autonomous flight inspired by nature

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.

01-07-2019 | © istockphotos.com 2 mins read

Gas turbines: a breath of fresh air

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.