Who are we? The microbiome revisted

In the column ‘There is no such thing as an individual’ we mentioned the influence of the microorganisms in our bodies on our development. But biologists have already gone much further along this path. Our microbiome, the living guests in … Read more

There is no such thing as an individual

Modern biologists are waging a fierce debate on the meaning of the concept of the individual. Definitions of well-known phenomena like symbiosis and parasitism need to be rephrased. The debate goes beyond the world of plants and micro-organisms; the subject … Read more

Biomedicines are coming

The major pharmaceutical industry is going through a difficult time. Industry should find a new track. Biomedicines could open up a new chapter. This is the third of four articles on the pharmaceutical industry. Biomedicines, yes or no? For over … Read more

Has big pharma lost track?

Major pharmaceutical companies (big pharma) are having a difficult time. Shareholders complain about falling profit margins; governments, insurance companies and patients complain about sky-high medicine prices. Industry should find a new direction – but which one? This is the first … Read more

High hopes for holism

Reductionism, reducing issues to little fragments, is at the basis of our present wealth. It also has a major influence on our social behaviour and our worldview. This may take us quite a distance, but we may also lose the … Read more

Geopolitics of information, the next conflict zone

geopolitics of information

In four earlier articles we came to the conclusion that geopolitics of fossil, mineral and agricultural resources will become less important. But a new geopolitical dimension quickly rises to the forefront: geopolitics of information. Information becomes less reliable. People create … Read more

Food and water as geopolitical assets

Can food supply and access to clean water develop into geopolitical weapons, like fossil energy has been for many years? If so, we should see a structural imbalance between food and water on the one hand, and population on the … Read more

We proudly present… More with Less

For us, April 21st was a day to remember. A month ahead of schedule we presented our new book: More with Less, welcome to the Precision Economy. The scene was a conference in Groningen where the latest results of modern … Read more

Bioplastics: end the confusion

The term bioplastics causes much confusion and will continue to do so, according to my conviction. The public does not seem to grasp the difference between bio as in biobased and bio as in biodegradable. As the plastic soup problem … Read more

Energy storage, its role in the transition

In many discussions on sustainable energy, energy storage is a controversial issue. Particularly non-experts use the lack of simple storage technologies as an unanswerable remark: all nice and well, sustainable energy, but as long as a day without sunshine leaves … Read more

The shelf life of green chemistry

Green chemistry is threatened both from without and within. In the heydays of classical organic chemistry, in a way many researchers overestimated their powers: they could synthesise anything, even from the drawing board, and better than nature. That overconfidence has … Read more

Towards a sustainable medicines production

A decade ago, in an authoritative scientific magazine, we published a prediction (1) on the synthesis of complicated molecules, primarily medicines. We foresaw the integration of chemo and bio catalysis in a reactor that would also be the catalyst. A … Read more

Trust is the basis of successful R&D

The problem surfaces everywhere: how to organise successful R&D in a cooperation between research institutes and businesses. Two worlds with very different cultures. Each with their proper rules and their proper criteria for success. Freedom to publish in the world … Read more

Energy neutral instead of shale gas free

Energy neutral society

Some communities declare themselves ‘shale gas free’. Pure symbolism. They know very well that they do not have a say in this. Apparently, they have the (naïve) idea that such a declaration will prevent environmental problems from shale gas recovery, … Read more

Logical mistakes on CO2

Our planet’s temperature rises. There is ample proof for that. CO2 emissions are the main reason, we know that for sure as well. We cannot deny that our wealth and craving for energy have caused this. But we can hardly … Read more