"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories." – US President Barack Obama, 20 November 2009.
The world faces a crisis of resources. By using them up too fast, we're damaging our environment and risking scarcity costs. We also have a financial crisis, where governments are making large sums of money available to kickstart economic development.
This means that if money is invested now in green technology, it will have the additional benefit of solving long-term problems as well as the immediate ones.
So science and technology hold the answers – if we act now.
That message is now coming through worldwide. A big move to low-carbon technologies will stimulate the global economy, says economist Nicholas Stern in an interview with the magazine New Scientist. The new technologies could transform 21st-century society in the way that railways did in the 19th century, he says, but – 'It has got to be fast.'
'Britain needs an economy with less financial engineering and more real engineering,' says Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, and he's inviting regional development agencies to bring forward research and development initiatives into cleaner engines, lighter cars, plug-in hybrids and components for electric vehicles.
And that overall focus on innovation is the message on this site. Going Nova was established three years ago to identify for the Highlands and Islands the key areas of knowledge that need to be drawn on locally to sustain and develop the economy and community life of the region – and the routes to applying them.
Some of the new areas are quite abstract, for development over time; others have immediate practical benefit. On this site we will build up information about some of the areas with potential, including:
- new fuels and engines
- developments in space and astronomy
- fuzzy logic and control systems
- interpretations of quantum theory
Also featured on the site are key related areas of study, including communication of science, history and philosophy of science (HPS), and the challenge of developing regional science and technology strategies.
And on the Schools page you can hear about the latest successful Fresh Horizons day at Horizon Scotland on 28 November, when 200 secondary 5 and 6 pupils from across Moray came to study topics ranging from electronics and robotics to quantum theory and spectral analysis. See the Gallery for pictures of the day.