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Morning, this is Alexandre Munafò from Interpeace, the international peacebuilding organisation based in Geneva.

With the UN World Food Programme (WFP) officially receiving the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize this week, I explore in my piece below how Geneva's "peace hub" can help shape more peace-led humanitarian interventions.

photo journaliste

Alexandre Munafò,

12.12.2020


Anticipatory reads by GESDA


The multiple case for nuclear fusion energy. Over just the last week, news have popped up that: 1. the UK wants to build the first nuclear fusion power station, 2. China is turning on its “artificial sun” (a tokamak), and 3. that US physicists are rallying around their own national ambitious plan (see below). In the wake of nationalism moves observed in different fields, does that mean that multilateral efforts in nuclear fusion research are vain? That the ITER project which, within an international consortium, is currently building a fusion reactor in southern France, is in a dead-end? It is true that the complexity and the ever rising costs (now $22.5bn) of this gigantic experiment, which should be switched on in 2025 (at most), have aroused disappointment, discouragement if not skepticism...

It is actually exactly the opposite! ITER was conceived decades ago to study the scientific feasibility of using nuclear fusion as a sustainable, almost endless and safe source of energy. It is a research tool, and has been designed with the technologies that are at disposal as of today. But, if nuclear fusion is to be used all over the world to light up the bulbs in our living rooms, further similar power plants will have to be much smaller and cheaper. Moreover, they will leverage the most recent advances in science and technology (supercomputer simulations of entire tokamaks, 3D printing parts, use of magnet coils made of high-temperature superconductors, which barely exist today). In that sense, having various initiatives across the world, even on national levels, to plan for those next steps, should be seen as very positive.

-Olivier Dessibourg

(EN)
Photo article

(Photo: ITER)

US physicists rally around ambitious plan to build fusion power plant. A new american roadmap.

Science (EN)

Brain implants enable man to simultaneously control two prosthetic limbs with thoughts. It is believed to be a medical first.

MedicalXpress (EN)

'This is not science fiction', say scientists pushing for 'neuro-rights'. Access to the contents of people's minds creates a need for new laws.

Jerusalem Post (EN)

CRISPR gene therapy shows promise against blood diseases. Early successes to treat sickle-cell anaemia and β-thalassaemia

Nature (EN)

China to expand weather modification program. It will cover an area larger than India.

CNN (EN)

How climate change is ushering in a new pandemic era. A warming world is risking an explosion of new zoonotic pathogens.

Rolling Stone (EN)

Editing the DNA of human embryos could protect us from future pandemics. The technique is, however, controversial

The Conversation (EN)

Who will we be when this is all over? Besides the sufferings, the Covid-19 pandemic offers ways for people and societies to change for the better.

WIRED (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.


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