Sustaining human development in a changing climate – some words on Brazil

There are more than seven billion of us spread over the five continents nowadays. According to the United Nations, we will hit more than nine billion by 2050.

Such astounding numbers put forth some pressing challenges to all sectors in our society. How will we feed everyone – not only in the quest for overcoming hunger, but also granting the nutrients people need to lead healthy lives? How will we grant water and energy for households and industries in a world of shrinking resources? How can different countries and regions adapt to a changing climate and its effects on the environment and on our cities? There are a myriad of other questions that pop up with these – and the heat waves, droughts and storms we see multiply all around the globe serve as a good reminder that we won’t be able to ignore any of such issues if we want to thrive as a species growing at a fast pace. Not only social and economic activity changes the environment and echoes on climate but both climate and environment, too, weigh heavily on human conditions of life and resonate on economic activity.

Car uncovered by the low levels of water at the Atibainha reservoir, Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2014. Credit: Futura Press.

Car uncovered by the low levels of water at the Atibainha reservoir, Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2014. Credit: Futura Press.

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IYL 2015 Events #35 | Week 31 August – 6 September

Find below the activities listed on the IYL 2015 Event Programme starting between 31 August – 6 September. Click on the links for more information on the different activities.

Please note that some last-minute additions to the event programme may not appear here. For an up-to-date overview of IYL 2015 events please visit the IYL 2015 Event Programme.

Shedding Light on Photonics: IYL 2015 Activities in Taiwan

Light has long symbolized human inspiration, imagination, and fantasy. In modern days, it is a key driving force behind information technology and it is literally lighting the way to green energy revolution. The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015) presents a unique opportunity to inspire, educate, and connect on a global scale. The promotion of key ideas and the corresponding outreach activities for IYL 2015 was well received by the many organizations and institutes in Taiwan, which include (but not limited to) the Physical Society (PSROC), the Center of Advancement for Science Education (CASE) of National Taiwan University, the Interdisciplinary Science Education Center of National Tsing-Hwa University, the Taiwan Photonics Society, National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC), Photonics Industry and Technology Development Association (PIDA), Taipei Astronomical Museum, etc. Riding on the wave of IYL 2015, many activities and events are planned in a laissez-faire style with some popular themes commonly found in Taiwan’s night market.

The cover page of PSROC's Physics BiMonthly special issue on IYL, published in April 2015 [1]. Credit: PSROC.

The cover page of PSROC’s Physics BiMonthly special issue on IYL, published in April 2015 [1]. Credit: PSROC.

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Radiology: Combining Quantum Theory, Medicine, and Artistic Vision

The medical specialty of Radiology is intimately connected to the themes of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015). More than any other profession, radiologists and radiologic technologists put theoretical quantum physics to practical use to improve the health and lives of their patients. Although quantum light theory can explain everything from the tiniest subatomic particles to immense galaxy-devouring black holes, radiologists apply this technology at the human level to diagnose and treat disease and thus alleviate human suffering.

More than 100 years ago in 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered a form of radiation which had strange new properties. These new rays were so unique and mysterious that he named them “X-rays”, for the unknown. Although often described as a fortuitous discovery, chance favors the prepared mind, and Roentgen’s astute observations back then are still accurate today.

Digital portrait of Wilhelm Roentgen holding a cathode ray tube. Credit: Mark Hom using a Wacom Pen & Touch tablet and Xara software.

Digital portrait of Wilhelm Roentgen holding a cathode ray tube. Credit: Mark Hom using a Wacom Pen & Touch tablet and Xara software.

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Laser pioneer’s daughter uses light to trap and study nerve cells

Dr. Ellen Townes-Andersonis a professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosciences at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, N.J., United States — about 20 miles away from the Bell Labs facility where her father Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow filed for their maser patent in 1958. Her current work involves using laser “tweezers” (1) to grab neurons for study by placing them on electrodes.

In an exclusive video interview with Laser Institute of America (LIA), Townes-Anderson recalled how her work led her to a rare collaboration with her Nobel Prize-winning father.

Dr. Ellen Townes-Anderson with her optical trap equipment in her lab at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, New Jersey, USA. Credit: Geoff Giordano / Laser Institute of America.

Dr. Ellen Townes-Anderson with her optical trap equipment in her lab at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, New Jersey, USA. Credit: Geoff Giordano / Laser Institute of America.

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