The future of perovskite solar cells, optimal vaccine distribution, and how to discourage the spread of madness through social media.

Here are links to a few recent articles by LML External Fellow Mark Buchanan.

Perovskite Fever

Nature Physics 16, 996; 1 October 2020

New perovskite-based materials are the most promising for a new generation of efficient photovoltaic solar cells, with many experts expecting they will rapidly displace silicon-based cells. But the most exciting new perovskite materials will probably only be discovered in the coming decade, as researchers search systematically through literally trillions of different compounds to look for those with interesting properties. [Article Link]

A Coronavirus, Vaccine Is Coming, So Who Gets It first?

Bloomberg Opinion, 1 October, 2020

If and when a coronavirus vaccine becomes available, there will almost certainly be limited quantities. Authorities will face difficult decisions on how best to distribute the vaccine. Early proposed guidelines suggest protecting the most vulnerable, which makes sense for a virus for which fatalities skew heavily toward the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. Yet research also suggests that some vaccine should also be directed toward stopping the viral spreading, which will mean focusing on younger and socially more active people. [Article Link]

Managing the Infodemic

Nature Physics 16, 894; 3 September 2020

2020 has not only been the year of a global pandemic, but also of an information epidemic as rumours and crazy stories run wild through social media. Paradoxically, however, studies find that most people value truth, and don’t want to help false stories to spread. Experts suggest the problem is furthered by some design flaws in social media practices, and could be significantly curbed with relatively simple changes. [Article Link]

Power Grids Aren’t Evolving Fast Enough For Global Warming

Bloomberg Opinion, 27 August 2020

Extreme weather conditions this summer in the western United States led to rolling power outages in California and other states. The problem reflects the growing impact of global warming, and also the difficulties California is encountering in trying to change its energy policy to respond to climate change. The state faces immense engineering challenges in bringing ever more solar power on line, especially that generated by solar panels on individual homes. [Article Link]

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