Ireland’s scientific researchers are punching above their weight on the world stage and are quietly making a significant contribution to the improvement of our daily lives. This TV series will look at some of the most interesting research projects that are currently underway and assess the impact they may have in the future.
A diverse range of projects are examined ranging from the identification of a protein that may help to arrest and even reverse the onset of Alzheimer’s disease to the design of a camera that can picture an event in space that happened billions of years ago.
Crops of the future
On November 13, Teagasc researchers feature in an episode on ‘Crops of the Future’. Ireland’s agricultural economy is changing. Where once Irish crops were used almost exclusively for food, fuel and animal feed, there is now an array of new possibilities. New technologies and dedicated research into new areas has opened up new horizons for crop growers in areas such as human health. In the United Nations’ ‘International Year of the Potato’ it is appropriate that developments in genetic mapping will allow Irish researchers to develop new breeds of blight-resistant potatoes, which are being exported all over the world. As our knowledge of the genomes of a large variety of crops increases so does the capacity for crops to play key roles in people’s health and the environment.
Denis Griffin is one of Ireland’s key potato breeders. Based at Teagasc’s Crops Research Centre in Oak Park, Carlow, his work involves a long and intricate process which begins with the identification of notable or desirable characteristics in potato breeds. Over a period of 10 to 12 years the team at Teagasc carefully crosses breeds, produces the initial seeds, grows thousands of seedlings and finally whittles them down to 1 or 2 plants which go on to become varieties. Checks for key positive and negative traits are done and the process begins once again.
In collaboration with Dan Milbourne, a plant geneticist also based at Oak Park, key traits in potatoes are identified in a much quicker way using information gained by the ongoing mapping of the potato genome. Working together they can identify key traits in the potato, both for the consumer in terms of taste and cooking styles, but also for farmers in terms of their natural resistance to certain airborne blights and pesticides.
Nigel Bunton & Eimear Gallagher are researchers working at the Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Centre. They are continually looking at new ways to improve the inherent nutritional value of our foods. Barley is one of Ireland’s most important crops and contains a compound known as beta glucan, which has important properties that can help to lower cholesterol and aid the immune system. Nigel Brunton’s research has found that in fact there are over four times the amount of this compound in the barley ends, which are normally thrown away. For Nigel and his team in Teagasc the challenge now is to find ways to incorporate this compound into breads that the public will want to buy.Pharming
Eric Donald | alfa
Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
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Sweet route to greater yields
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A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
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12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy