Energy from the forest: Is wood a good sustainable energy source? It certainly has advantages: trees require no fertilizer and can be harvested after three or four years. Scientists are looking for new ways of obtaining wood.
Wind, sun and biomass. Renewable energy sources are supposed to make up one third of Germany's energy mix by 2020. In order to help realize that goal many farmers are turning to short-rotation forestry. The state of Saxony has a number of plantations where willow, poplar and other fast-growing trees are being cultivated.
Just a few years after planting, they are ready to be harvested. The wood, in the form of chips, is a good carbon-neutral fuel. More and more farmers are turning to these crops which, in contrast to grain, require no fertilizer and don't have to be replanted every year.
Prof. Volker Quaschning, HTW University of Applied Sciences Berlin is an expert on renewable energy .
Computer scientists are getting interested in soccer. Among the researchers who are offering coaches a digital tool for match analysis is Swiss IT professor Peter Heinzmann. He has developed a mobile and inexpensive system that uses commercially available GPS tracking units to register the positions of the players.
The data provides a wealth of information about the game's tactics and the individual performances of the players. Tactical analysis requires the opposing team to wear the GPS loggers, too.
The Tyndall Glacier in southern Chile is melting at a rate of around 500 meters per year. The retreat of the ice has revealed a wealth of information for paleontologists. They have found fossilized remains of ancient marine reptiles called ichthyosaurs.
Textiles made of synthetic fibers have one main disadvantage. They quickly become smelly. Swiss researchers are trying to eliminate the bacteria responsible for the odor using silver. The precious metal has long been used in medical applications - for example in coatings for tubing or as a germicide.
Silver kills bacteria, and in order to use this property in textiles the metal is now being incorporated directly into the starting materials for the polymer fibers. So far the process has been tested in sports clothing made of synthetic fabrics.