People rarely consider where their tap water comes from, or how much of it is actually available. At the same time, it is people who are most often responsible for water pollution. Problems involving the contamination of water-supply areas in Poland are scrutinized by an “intervention team” of experts at the Polish Hydrogeological Survey.

Almost all matter in our Universe exists in the form of plasma. Although it’s not easy to generate on Earth, it has a vast range of applications in medicine, biotechnology, farming and industry.

“We can see that all the recent predictions of a better future for the world are largely misguided. It is no longer certain even that the Cold War is definitively a thing of the past,” says Jerzy Szacki, a historian of ideas and sociologist, a professor emeritus of the University of Warsaw, and an ordinary member of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The Polish Academy of Sciences’ newly-created Bureau for Scientific Excellence will be focusing on helping researchers file ERC grant applications. The Academy has a big role to play here, because we pursue fundamental research and have certain advantages that other institutions do not – says Prof. Paweł Rowiński, Vice-President of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

They are a vital source of information about the glaciations that covered significant areas of Poland in the Pleistocene. They intrigue not only scientists, but also geotourists. So why do glacial erratics so frequently end up vandalized?

We talk to Dr. Bogdan Jaroszewicz, head of the Białowieża Geobotanical Station of the University of Warsaw, about how planned logging in the Białowieża Forest will damage not only the forest itself but also Poland’s image around the globe.

The conflict over the Constitutional Tribunal, law, and civil society through the eyes of Prof. Ewa Łętowska, lawyer and an ordinary member of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS), a corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Learning (PAU), a member of the Scientific Council of the PAS Institute of Law Studies, the first person to hold office as commissioner for human rights in Poland, a Highest Administrative Court judge in 1999–2002, and a Constitutional Tribunal judge in 2002–2011.

We talk about mobility and index theory with Dr. Piotr Nowak, who received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council for a project entitled “Rigidity of groups and higher index theory.”

Are videogames more effective at improving brain function than dedicated cognitive training?

One of the fundamental issues raised by scientists in fields as varied as biology, behavioral economics, psychology, and sociology concerns the causes of pro-social behavior, and cooperation in situations in which individuals could benefit by acting selfishly. Why do we honor others’ trust if we would be better off exploiting them? In other words, what is the basis of social order?

We talk to Igor Zubrycki, doctoral student at the Faculty of Robotics at the Institute of Automation at the Łódź University of Technology and winner of this year’s INTER competition of the Foundation for Polish Science, about robots supporting children on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), artificial intelligence and dangers posed by machines.

What kind of electoral system is the best? This question, easy to formulate in theory, has considerable practical significance. However, the answer is as widely known as it is disappointing: it has been shown that, given certain reasonable conditions, there is no such thing as a perfect voting system. This is the upshot of several different mathematical discoveries made in the latter half of the 20th century.

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