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Hello, this is Achintya, and today we learn about technologies that may not only help with decarbonisation efforts but could also be used in water purification and the extraction of precious metals from waste electronics.

And sticking with climate, we're also turning our attention to CERN, where a recent virtual meeting of scientists was convened to address the use of greenhouse gases in particle detectors such as those at the Large Hadron Collider.

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Achintya Rao


Science & Technology News

🏭 Decarbonisation technologies may help other environmental causes. New materials that help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere could provide significant tools in the battle against climate change. Professor Wendy Queen from EPFL spoke to Geneva Solutions about porous materials being developed in her laboratory that may not only help with carbon capture but may also address other environmental areas of ongoing or future conflict: access to clean water and the mining of precious metals.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

💚 Reducing the dependence on greenhouse gases in particle physics. Particle detectors used in high-energy physics, such as those at the Large Hadron Collider, rely on gases to record the presence of particles flying through them. Historically, these have tended to be greenhouse gases. Researchers are working on strategies to either reduce greenhouse gas emissions or replace them with ‘eco-gases’.

CERN Courier (EN)

Here's what else is happening

Anticipatory reads by GESDA

Photo article

London Underground transportation system (© Ted Sullivan)

Travelling in the subway with a stranger is nothing of a surprise. But what if this stranger is a virus or a bacteria? And what if this microbe is still totally unknown to science?

In a fascinating study, scientists have collected “nearly 5,000 samples over a three-year period across 60 cities in 32 countries and six continents, and analysed them using a genomic sequencing technique”, they explain in the journal Cell (see below). “The study led to the discovery of 10,928 viruses and 748 bacteria that are not present in any reference databases!” Moreover, each city had its own “microbial signature”, possibly driven by climate and geographic differences.

According to the International MetaSUB Consortium, “this field of research has important implications for detecting outbreaks of both known and unknown infections and for studying the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant microbes in different urban environments”.

This study nurtures the comparison often made between the human body and life in cities, which sees the former as a metaphor to describe the latter: with growing research done around the human microbiome and its impact on the hosts health, this comparison can’t be more to the point!

– Olivier Dessibourg

A global metagenomic map of urban microbiomes and antimicrobial resistance. Cities possess a consistent “core” set of non-human microbes.

Cell (EN)

Indoor vertical farming grows up: a way to sustainably meet the growing demand for food – if its energy demand can be reduced.


Is the process of ageing inevitable? The idea that future humans may never grow old now seems theoretically possible.


Quantum internet: The race is on to build an unhackable online world.

NewScientist (EN)

The race to understand the exhilarating, dangerous world of language AI. Before it’s too late.

MIT Technology Review (EN)

Swarms of robots could dig underground cities on Mars. Underground habitats have recently become a focal point of off-planet colonisation efforts.

Phys.org (EN)

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This selection is proposed by the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator GESDA, working on anticipating cutting-edge science and technological advances to develop innovative and inclusive solutions for the benefit of the planet and its inhabitants.

Next on the agenda

📍8 June | The HESS array of telescopes in Namibia – hunting the most violent phenomena in the very-high-energy universe. The HESS array of telescopes studies very high-energy gamma rays coming from the cosmos. Professor Mathieu de Naurois from the French National Centre for Scientific Research will present some of the most emblematic results.


📍8 June | Interactions between energy use, comfort, behaviour and indoor environment in office buildings. Despite significant advancements in the field of energy-related behavioural research in buildings, human-building interactions are not well understood. Dr Verena M Barthelmes will present selected results from the eCOMBINE project.


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