Editor's Summary

7 February 2008

Research Horizons

A new series begins this week. 'Horizons' are commissioned articles in which experts speculate on what will happen over the next few years in their fields. On the cover, one of Antony Gormley's figures in his Another Place installation sets the tone. In the first piece, Thomas Kirkwood considers the potential of systems biology to de-link disease and old age. Peter Murray-Rust writes on a new 'open' approach to chemistry. But his subtext is broader: the future of the 'semantic web', where computers can make as much use of information as humans can. M. Armand and J.-M. Tarascon show how advances in materials science can provide the batteries of the future. George Koentges tackles 'evo-devo', the marriage of fossil evidence, genomic sequencing and molecular developmental biology. And R. J. Schoelkopf and S. M. Girvin raise the prospect that circuit quantum electrodynamics could pave the way for practical quantum computing and communication. On page 643, Nature editor Philip Campbell sets out the brief for these and future Horizons.

HorizonsA systematic look at an old problem

As life expectancy increases, a systems-biology approach is needed to ensure that we have a healthy old age.

Thomas B. L. Kirkwood


HorizonsChemistry for everyone

Moves by chemists to help computers access the scientific literature have boosted the drive to make scientific information freely available to all.

Peter Murray-Rust


HorizonsBuilding better batteries

Researchers must find a sustainable way of providing the power our modern lifestyles demand.

M. Armand & J.-M. Tarascon


HorizonsEvolution of anatomy and gene control

Evo-devo meets systems biology.

Georgy Koentges


HorizonsWiring up quantum systems

The emerging field of circuit quantum electrodynamics could pave the way for the design of practical quantum computers.

R. J. Schoelkopf & S. M. Girvin