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.

Active landslides are a significant problem in today’s world, especially in highly urbanized mountain regions. We are now able to monitor changes to the existing landform using increasingly sensitive technologies. Our joint team of scientists from Poland and China is working on implementing state-of-the-art technologies for monitoring landform deformation, which will be used to assess future threats.

Back in the 1960s, as a 21-year-old, he managed the first gigantic computer in Poland. Now the young people he gives win prizes in prestigious programming contests. We talk with Prof. Jan Madey about the history and future of computer science.

Learning from textbooks? Certainly not for players of “geocaching” – i.e. several million people across the world who absorb geology-related knowledge by looking for places and objects according to clues left by others.

Mammoths, wooly rhinos, and forest elephants died out long ago, but the massive bones they left behind enable us to imagine how impressive these prehistoric animals truly were.

To retain our cultural identity in the modern world and sensibly think about the future, we need to thoroughly study the past,” says Prof. Marek Figlerowicz from the PAS Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, who leads the project “The Dynasty and Society of Piast-Era Poland in the Light of Integrated Historical, Anthropological, and Genomic Research.”

Shale gas mining is mainly viewed as an industrial and economic issue. But we can also look at it from the scientific perspective. Why should we?

Prof. Ewa Rondio from the National Center for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) explains the nature of neutrinos, the measurements taken by the Super-Kamiokande detector, and the involvement of Polish scientists in the project.

Antarctica is home to numerous relatively young volcanoes from the Cenozoic era. According to one hypothesis, their activity was one of the factors driving the continent’s glaciation.

The pace of climate change observed since the beginning of the industrial era has prompted scientists to seriously consider whether human activity is to blame for global warming. On the geological timescale, however, climate change is certainly nothing new or exceptional – as is clear when one looks at the record of plant and animal fossils.

Extraction of natural resources such as shale gas can disrupt the internal structure of rock, leading to the release of vast amounts of energy in the form of earthquakes. Is the risk of such human-induced quakes high in Poland? Scientists from the PAS Institute of Geophysics are trying to find the answer.

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.

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