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RTD info digs below the surface of earthquakes


Issue 43 of RTD info delves into the latest advances in European seismology as scientists grapple to crack the hidden secrets of earthquakes in their bid to minimise the devastating impact of this deadly phenomenon.

“The furies of the Earth can be awesome,” begins a special 11-page report on earthquakes in the latest issue of RTD info. “What can science do in the face of such cataclysms unleashed from the very depths of the Earth? The first step is to know and understand the phenomenon.”

The special dossier explores the relatively young science of seismology, and what hope it holds for helping us, one day, to limit the destruction left in the wake of earthquakes and volcanoes.

RTD info goes to Iceland to see how the earthquake-prone island is doubling up as an open-air European seismic laboratory. It examines whether scientists will ever be able to forecast ground tremors with any degree of reliability. The magazine also looks into the local ‘site effects’ of earthquakes and how much the impact of a single tremor can vary from one area to another.

One major fault line in dealing with natural disasters is insufficient public knowledge. RTD info investigates EU efforts to promote an educated awareness of the risks.

The latest issue drops in at some friendly neighbourhood ‘science shops’. These grass-roots organisations carry out research tailored to the needs of the local community. We also find out how what were fed in the womb might help shape our entire lives.

Issue 43 learns more about an EU-backed project that is planting the seeds for more sustainable agriculture by digging into traditional farming practices, and browses through the albums of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) which has captured unique snapshots of an exoplanet.

As the Science and Research Directorate-General welcomes its new Commissioner Janez Potocnik, we bid goodbye to his predecessor Philippe Busquin. In an exclusive interview, the Commission’s Science and Research Director-General Achilleas Mitsos talks frankly about the public debate surrounding ambitious plans for the future of European research.

Michel Claessens | alfa
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