In an age of ever larger telescopes and particle accelerators, how can we use new modular technologies to increase our knowledge of the universe?

Earth as seen from space

While the particle accelerators at CERN are pushed to their limits, there are already plans for an even more powerful accelerator.

This new machine will provide us with knowledge and a clearer picture of the universe in its early moments.

Yet today’s generation of scientists might never get the opportunity to make use of this machine.

Planning the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest particle accelerator in the world today, took decades and so does any…


Recently I watched this video which discusses the effects of legalising rhino horn harvesting:

Stossel is really good at playing the devil’s advocate: While there is still uncertainty about whether legalizing rhino horn will be a sustainable solution, the video does expose some of the reasoning why international environmental organisations are against it.

As can be heard (in the video) during the interview with a spokeswoman of the Humane Society:

“Are we really now going to just farm every single animal on this planet so we can endlessly continue to supply this like bloodlust and thirst of people to…


To get to know the universe as it was at its earliest and smallest, engineers and scientists are currently building larger and larger instruments.

Particle accelerators are among the largest machines currently in existence, with the Large Hadron Collider leading the way.

Credit: CERN

To make progress in this field is a slow process: You need to spend years to create an optimal design and to collect all the necessary funding.

Once completed all the particle physicists have to sign up on the waiting lists of these massive machines to get their turn, to use them for their research.

But…


One problem with helping stray animals is that their whereabouts are often not visible to the organisations that are trying to help them.

For a big part these organisations (animal shelters/NGOs) rely on attentive citizens to notify them that they have discovered a stray animal and what their current location is.

This is a problem, because there is a certain communication barrier that makes it harder for citizens to contact the organisations and thus for the organisations to get to the animal.

Citizens cannot foresee when and where they will spot a stray animal that needs help.

So when they…


For hundreds of years building larger telescopes meant building larger lenses.

At the time that in itself was a challenge: Even small impurities in the lens could sabotage your ability to get a clear view of the night sky.

The techniques to perform precision grinding of lenses improved, just to be replaced with another problem: Gravity is pulling on the lens and can bend it out of shape once it becomes too big.

The solution to this was to fragment mirrors into smaller pieces and creating mirrors that where a composition of many components.

With this technique we entered the…


Whenever you set out to solve a grand challenge, it is good practice to create clarity first.

Grand challenges are large-scale social, environmental, cultural or scientific problems: They concern a considerable portion of the world (not just humans, but also animals and other parts of nature).

The United Nations have developed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to clearly define social and environmental problems by asking: Which are the current grand challenges that need to be solved on a global scale?

While these SDGs are nicely categorised, they also show how these issues overlap and affect one another.

Sometimes different problems…


Several biotech start-ups have already entered the world of wildlife conservation.

The initial idea is simple: Recreate the products for which these animals are killed, this can for example be ivory from elephants or rhino horn.

Especially in the case of rhinos this process is not too complicated.

Rhino horn is made from the same material as hair and nails: They are all made from keratin.

After creating the product, it is sold to those people that normally make a living by selling the poached product into the black market.

So you need a product that is like the real…

Fabian Petersen

I explore how new technologies can be leveraged to solve grand challenges and advance science 🚀 Website: www.terrayana.com/blog/

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