Inspecting the news: Hot topics and subject guides

As a continually evolving database Inspec keeps up to date with hot topics and subjects within the science, engineering and technology sector. This page includes the current hot topic and guides on different subjects.

Inspecting the news

In this feature we take a look at some of the latest engineering hot topics to hit the news each month.

June 2017 - The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life - by Dr. Chris Marker

Since the dawn of mankind we have looked up at the stars and asked - are we alone? Dr. Chris Marker discusses a number of recent discoveries that may pave the way to finally answering that question.

May 2017 - Cyber Security in Healthcare

We take a look at the Cyber Security in Healthcare following the recent cyber attacks that hit the NHS.

Subject guides

Each feature selects a topic of interest and looks at some of the types of material available on that subject in Inspec and how best to find it.


The red planet

Curiosity has become the first mission to drill into rocks on the surface of Mars.

Neutrinos and the speed of light

The observation of faster than light neutrinos could have huge consequences for modern physics.

Square Kilometre Array

As the next big thing in radio astronomy, the Square Kilometre Array will be constructed on a scale never seen before; great things are promised.

Topological insulators

Topological insulators behave as insulators inside the material whilst, for very thin samples, quantum effects allow the movement of electrons along the surface of the material. They have potential applications in high speed computing.

Are smart materials intelligent?

In recent year, there have been significant developments in intelligent, or 'smart', materials. These are materials with one or more properties that can be varied in a predictable or controllable way in response to external stimuli.

Inspec: a prime source for graphene research

In October 2010 Andrei Geim and Knostantin Novoselov, both at Manchester University, UK, won the Nobel Prize for Physics for their research on graphene - the new 'wonder' material.

Inspec coverage of the experiments at the large Hadron Collier, CERN

The LHC aims to answer some of the big questions of science such as "What is the universe around us made of?" and "What are the laws that govern the workings of the universe?"

Gallium nitride applications

Gallium nitride is a semiconductor that possesses unique characteristics that make it advantageous for the creation of efficient optoelectronic devices in addition to high power and high temperature applications.

Inspec...The final frontier. When science fiction becomes fact

What was once science fiction is nowadays becoming science fact, this article details how the Inspec database could be interesting for a science fiction fan.


The deep Web

Much of the information on the Internet lies hidden, deep within the World Wide Web, inaccessible by conventional search engines.

Digital Forensics

The fight against cybercrime is becoming easier thanks to a relatively new branch of forensic science.

Cloud computing and web services

With cloud computing, virtualised and standard IT resources can be accessed from anywhere as a service over the Internet.

Information technology

Section D of the Inspec database - Information Technology for Business is the place to go for practical articles on the availability and use of technology. This includes product reviews, buyers' guides, street prices, residual values, case studies and all the new developments as they appear.


Cellular radio on Inspec

Where would we be without cell phones?

3D printing

Imagine being able to make any object with the touch of a button, 3d printing could make this dream a reality.  

Science, Engineering and Technology and the Olympics

With the Olympics and Paralympics happening this year in London, this article looks at the overlap between the worlds of Science, Engineering, Technology and sport.

Surgical robots

Robots self-assembling inside a patient might sound like the stuff of science fiction but surgical robots have come a long way since robots moved out of the factory and into the realm of medicine.

The Sun, life and death

Without the Sun life on Earth would be impossible, it provides us with all our energy yet it could be that the Sun could soon have a significant detrimental effect on our everyday life.

Watch the video on Inspec TV.

Hydrogen economy

Is this the answer to the world’s environmental problems?

Oil pollution...

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was one of the biggest new stories of 2010, the topic of oil pollution is covered in the science, engineering and computing sections of the Inspec database.


Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) consist of integral micromechanical and microelectronic elements fabricated by established semiconductor processing techniques. They are important for the miniatuarisation of mechanical systems and computers.

Cognitive radio

Cognitive radio is a type of wireless communication in which the transmission or reception parameters of a network or wireless node are changed to aid efficient communication.

Tribology on the Inspec database

Tribology is the study of the engineering and physics of contacting surfaces, the main aspects being friction, lubrication and wear.

Search Guides

In the field of searching, functionality is everything. Search tools such as Indexers can seriously affect the quality of your results.

Treatment Codes - simple letters big results!

Possibly one of the least appreciated data fields on the Inspec database is the Treatment Code (TC).

Hone your search using numerical data.


How do you differentiate between cobalt (Co) and carbon monoxide (CO) when search systems are case insensitive?


Revealed: an Engineer’s verdict on the Titanic before its fateful voyage

A 100-year-old abstract detailing an engineer’s verdict on the SS Titanic just a few months before its fateful voyage in April 1912 has been uncovered in the Inspec Archive database

History shapes the future in the Inspec Archive

The Inspec Archive (Science Abstracts 1898-1968) contains a wealth of information describing the origins and development of scientific and technological breakthroughs that offer solutions to today's problems.

40 years with Inspec

2009 saw the 40th anniversary of the Inspec database, this article details how science has changed since Inspec began.

Watch our video celebrating Inspec's 40th anniversary .


This article details how to view Venus passing in front of the sun.



More hot topic videos on Inspec TV.