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Research for Future

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By Dr Debdatta Ray, Applied Physicist

What do hazelnuts, cupcakes and our planet have to do with an invisibility cloak? Well, it’s all about nanotechnology!

How would you feel if you had your own “invisibility cloak” just like our favourite child hero Harry Potter? Or if you were to own a smartphone as thin as a sheet of paper? Or, if your bulky camera bag became the size of a hand-held purse as your DSLR camera shrunk to one resembling the size of a fruit cake? I am sure that this sounds like science fiction to you, and you might be wondering whether it is at all possible in reality. Well, the truth is – some laboratories are at the brink of making this a reality soon. You still don’t believe this? Then follow me into the world of nanotechnology and metasurfaces – the two key players that make this dream possible!

Last weekend was once again the Day of Peace of Westphalia. We are taking this as an opportunity to present an exciting programme currently in the works: the Münster International Peace Research Initiative (MIPRI). Similar to WiRe, MIPRI aims to promote and bring together international junior researchers. But let’s return briefly to the Day of Peace of Westphalia. What does the day commemorate again?

This entry to the blog was written by Dr. Yamina Saheb, climate mitigation scientist and current WiRe Fellow whose work and research focuses on designing sustainable policies to ensure wellbeing for all within planetary boundaries.

This blogpost is a slightly altered version of the sufficiency section included in the report entitled 1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Towards a Fair Consumption Space for All published by Hot or Cool Institute. Dr. Saheb’s contribution to this report introduces and examines sufficiency practices, which are long-term actions and societal changes driven by non-technological solutions. Sufficiency (in contrast to the want-based efficiency approach to climate policy) focuses on human needs and services required for wellbeing (i.e., housing including thermal comfort, nutrition, mobility…).

Global warming is today’s reality in every region of the planet

Heatwaves, heavy precipitation, agricultural and ecological droughts in some regions, tropical cyclones, as well as reductions in Arctic Sea ice, snow cover and permafrost are unfortunately what 2021 will be remembered for. Changes of the global climate system became indisputable. Extreme weather and climate events driven by human-induced warming of the atmosphere, ocean and land is unequivocal (Masson-Delmotte 2021).  Every region across the planet has experienced in 2021 at least one climate and weather extreme event. The global climate system has changed because of the global warming caused by the continuous increase of greenhouse gas emissions driven by human activities. Carbon dioxide emissions, resulting from the use of fossil fuels, is the main greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. Over the period 1750-2019, global carbon dioxide concentration increased by 48% to 410 ppm (parts per million) (Global Carbon Budget 2021) leading to an increase of global surface temperature of 1.09°C compared to the pre-industrial temperature levels (Masson-Delmotte 2021).