The decision by President Trump to withdraw from the Paris
Agreement on Climate Change puts the United States at odds with both science
and global geopolitical norms. The
fundamentals of climate change remain unambiguous: greenhouse gas concentrations
are increasing, they are increasing because of human action, the increase will
cause warming, and that warming creates risks of extreme weather, food crises
and sea level rise. That does not mean that scientists can predict all of the
consequences of global warming, much work needs to be done, but the risks are both profound and clear. Nor do
we know what the best solutions will be - there is need for a robust debate
about the nature, fairness and efficacy of different decarbonisation policies
and technologies as well as the balance of responsibility; the Paris Agreement,
despite its faults with respect to obligation and enforcement, allowed great
flexibility in that regard, which is why nearly every nation on Earth is a
On Friday 25th November, at the Cabot Institute Annual
Lecture, a new energy technology was unveiled that uses diamonds to generate
electricity from nuclear waste. Researchers at the University of Bristol, led
by Prof. Tom Scott, have created a prototype battery that incorporates radioactive
Nickel-63 into a diamond, which is then able to generate a small electrical current.
Details of this technology can be found in our official press
release here: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2016/november/diamond-power.html.
Despite the low power of the batteries (relative to current
technologies), they could have an exceptionally long lifespan, taking 5730
years to reach 50% battery power. Because of this, Professor Tom Scott explains:
“We envision these batteries to be used in situations where
it is not feasible to charge or replace conventional batteries. Obvious
applications would be in low-power electrical devices where long life of the
energy source is needed, such as pacemakers, satellite…
As plant science PhD students, we feel it is vital to share our research with other scientists to generate new ideas for collaborative projects. For this reason we decided to organise the ‘Innovations in Plant Science to Feed a Changing World’ workshop, which was held in the University of Bristol Biological Sciences department in February 2017. The delegates included early-career scientists from Kyoto University, Heidelberg University and of course the University of Bristol.
The University of Bristol has a long-standing partnership with Kyoto University and more recently, Heidelberg University, as our plant science groups share overlapping research areas. The main aim of the workshop was to encourage novel collaboration opportunities between the plant science groups, which would give rise to future projects, publications and ultimately funding.
Last year, Kyoto University hosted a highly engaging and productive workshop (see Sarah Jose’s blog post last year) for early-career scientist…