Atomium Culture

Atomium Culture

The Permanent Platform of Atomium Culture brings together some of the most authoritative universities, newspapers and businesses in Europe to increase the movement of knowledge: across borders, across sectors and to the public at large.
La plataforma permanente Atomium Culture reúne a las universidades, periódicos y empresas más prestigiosos de Europa para promover el flujo del conocimiento más allá de fronteras, entre sectores y hacia el público en general.

About us

Leading young European researchers have been selected by European research universities and the Scientific and Editorial Committees of AC to write an article about their work and the potential impact of this.

The Climate Clash: What the EU and the USA Deeply Disagree About

Por: | 28 de noviembre de 2013

By Johannes Stripple, Lund University

The year 2009 marked a crucial juncture in the evolution of an international response to the threat of global climate change. Governments met in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Unlike twenty years ago, countries around the world do not today disagree about the scientific basis of the climate issue, but they deeply disagree about the best way to move forward. The politics of climate change is fundamentally about two kinds of contestations. One is between the rich and the poor world and the other is between the EU and the USA. This article deals with the latter. The transatlantic disagreement is not about details and percentages; a much more fundamental disagreement about the organisation of international politics is at stake here.

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A 90,000-Year-Old Cervid

Por: | 27 de noviembre de 2013


By Núria Quintana, University of Barcelona Press

Image: Skull of Haploidoceros mediterraneus (Photo: GRQ-SERP, UB).

It was smaller than today’s red deer and had big antlers, comprising two sickle-shaped beams curving backwards and laterally. Its name Haploidoceros comes from Greek haploides, ‘simple shape’, and ceros, ‘antler’. That is the description of Haploidoceros mediterraneus, an extinct cervid that lived in the Pleistocene about 90,000 years ago. Remains of Haploidoceros were recently found in the Iberian Peninsula for the first time — to be exact, in the Cova del Rinoceront (Castelldefels, Barcelona).

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From Polynomial Equations to Galois Groups

Por: | 25 de noviembre de 2013

By Benjamin Schraen, Ecole Normale Supèrieure

In our modern world, our capacity to exchange large sets of highly secure data in a very short time has become essential. In this way, we have realized that some highly sophisticated methods in number theory are useful to produce some very secure and efficient cryptographic methods. However, number theory was studied for its own merit, far before the time of computers and a worldwide network. Algebraic numbers — or more comprehensively, solutions of polynomial equations — have an essential place in modern methods of cryptography. An essential tool for their study is the Galois group.

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Obesity: New Molecular Clues

Por: | 21 de noviembre de 2013


By Bibiana Bonmatí, University of Barcelona Press

Image: Researchers Marc Schneeberger, from UB, and Marc Claret, Miguel Servet researcher from IDIBAPS. (Photo: IDIBAPS)

It is well known that the leptin hormone plays a central role in regulating the brain’s feeling of hunger. When enough food has been eaten, this molecule is secreted by the adipose tissue to suppress appetite. However, many obese people are resistant to the effects of leptin, even though they have large amounts of leptin in their blood. To date, molecular mechanisms responsible for leptin resistance remained unknown.

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By Tine De Moor, University of Utrecht

Our present-day Western society is highly regulated and institutionalized: formal agreements are made at various levels within society to make things run smoothly, from driving a car, to disposing waste, to taking part in local and national elections. Breaching a rule usually carries a sanction. However, if rules are simply added without attention to the internal coherence of the regulations, contradictory situations may emerge within the regulations and the rules may become ineffective: they may no longer be understood by the stakeholders or they may simply be ignored (leading to freeriding), with sanctions no longer being applied. Some governments do realise that in order to avoid the inertia of an institution, adequate action is needed to reduce complexity and complementarity, e.g., the Dutch “Programma Regeldruk en Administratieve Lastenvermindering”, which aims to reduce superfluous and contradictory regulation in the field of education with the help of the stakeholders (teachers, government professionals, etc.). With evermore levels of institution being added at the national level, special attention needs to be given to avoid further problems. 

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Environmental Impact of Emerging Pollutants

Por: | 18 de noviembre de 2013

JZ EN060 image
By Roberto Rosal, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Image: Bioluminiscent cynobacteria

Researchers Ismael Rodea-Palomares, Francisco Leganés, and Francisca Fernández Piñas of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), in collaboration with the research group of Dr. Roberto Rosal at the University of Alcalá de Henares, have studied the impact of certain pollutants from pharmaceuticals in waste water and drinking water.

Their paper, published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research, describes the use of three aquatic organisms in evaluating the acute toxicity of four compounds of the fibrate family found in drinking water and waste water.

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INFERNOS Project: Maxell’s Demon in Nanoscale Systems

Por: | 15 de noviembre de 2013


By Bibiana Bonmatí, University of Barcelona Press

Maxwell's Demon is an imaginary creature that the mathematician James Clerk Maxwell created in 1897. The creature could turn heat into work without causing any other change; this violates the second law of thermodynamics. The primary goal of the European project INFERNOS (INformation, Fluctuations, and EneRgy CoNtrOl in Small Systems) is to realize experimentally Maxwell’s Demon — in other words, to develop the electronic and biomolecular nanodevices that support this principle.

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Goodbye, Mediterranean Diet?

Por: | 14 de noviembre de 2013

By Mario Mazzocchi, University of Bologna

Books on healthy diets are among the fastest moving items in bookshops — everybody wants to eat well. But what about a country as a whole? Are the dietary habits of Europeans better than those of Americans? Has globalization introduced major changes in diet? What in fact is a healthy diet?

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When Autism Runs from Parents to Children

Por: | 13 de noviembre de 2013


By Rosa Martínez, University of Barcelona Press

Image: The research group in which researchers Bru Cormand, Claudio Toma, Amaia Hervás, Conchita Arenas and Alba Tristán collaborate.

They appear to live in their own world, they usually have communication problems, and they show little interest for social relationships. They are children with autism spectrum disorders. Even scientists do not know yet what exactly causes these disorders, but there is strong evidence that genetic factors play a major role. In recent years, studies on autism genetics were mainly focused on de novo mutations — the ones that appear in a child but are not present in progenitors — in families with one child affected. However, there is much to know about how autism disorders run are transferred from parents to children.

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C085 - Lotsch - Image resized
By Bettina V. Lotsch and Ida Pavlichenko, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich and Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research Stuttgart

What do opals, peacock feathers and butterfly wings (and, coincidentally, “smart” photonic crystals) have in common? They all appear to be brilliantly coloured, yes, but for the most part, not in the typical way one might think of colour coming from special pigments or dyes that absorb and reflect light (see Image (a)), in a manner similar to inks or paints. What they have in common is that they largely have their “colour” arising from the very fundamentals of their structure.

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