• Last updated: 25 Nov. 2020 10:51

Also available in: French



NATO works with international networks of scientists and researchers from Allied and partner countries. Their research includes both security-related civil science projects and defence innovation projects to develop long-term capabilities. NATO supports these scientists by providing grant funding; creating channels that allow scientists to share and receive expert advice; and organising tailor-made activities that enhance practical cooperation on security-related science.


Watch the science series

From stratospheric balloons to fast-healing bandages, NATO scientists are working on new technologies every day that make us safer and more secure. Watch the videos below to learn more about NATO science!

Rapid skin wound healing

Have you ever wished you had rapid healing powers like Wolverine from X-Men? In our first episode, travel to Brussels to learn how NATO scientists in Belgium are building disposable skin patches that heal wounds faster. These "smart bandages" will provide quick relief to civilians and military personnel injured by chemical or physical agents.

High-altitude balloon-borne radar

Next stop: Pisa! Galileo might have dropped objects off the Leaning Tower, but NATO scientists in Italy are doing the opposite – launching things into the sky! Soaring into the stratosphere, a mini-radar system carried by a balloon is a low-cost, highly effective way to get the ultimate picture of what's happening down below.
Jonathan Parish - What is the cost of NATO membership?

The Next-generation Incident Command System

Next up, pop over to Podgorica to learn how NATO scientists in Montenegro are helping first responders get a full picture in emergency situations. Developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a new network speeds up information sharing – including images and location markers – across international borders and in real time.

Which NATO-affiliated Nobel laureate are you?
Take the quiz to find out!

More than 20 scientists involved in NATO science projects have won Nobel Prizes. From French liquid crystals physicist Pierre-Gilles de Gennes to Egyptian-American "father of femtochemistry" Ahmed Zewail, these scientists have made major contributions in many research areas.

Answer the 10 questions below to learn which NATO-affiliated Nobel laureate you are most like.



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Explore vintage tech

NATO Allies have contributed massively to scientific research and innovation over the past decades. Click through the gallery to discover some of the vintage technologies that NATO scientists developed in the early days of NATO scientific cooperation, from the 1950s to 1970s.

  • Explore vintage tech
    • NATO Secretary General Joseph Luns test drives an early model of a "clean car" during a demonstration at NATO Headquarters in 1974. The NATO Science Programme supported a study on "Automotive Propulsion Systems" to reduce dependence on petroleum-based vehicles, including with electric and hybrid engine systems.
  • Explore vintage tech
    • NATO Secretary General Joseph Luns test drives an early model of a "clean car" during a demonstration at NATO Headquarters in 1974. The NATO Science Programme supported a study on "Automotive Propulsion Systems" to reduce dependence on petroleum-based vehicles, including with electric and hybrid engine systems.
  • Explore vintage tech
    • This polythene balloon belonging to Bristol University was used by British scientist C.F. Powell to lift experimental equipment above Earth's atmosphere and prove the existence of the meson, a subatomic particle. Powell's project was supported by the NATO Research Grants Programme.
  • Explore vintage tech
    • A scientist stands beside an aircraft model in a NATO-operated wind tunnel, spring 1961. NATO's Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD) was founded in 1952 with a mission to "bring together the leading personalities of the NATO nations in the fields of science and technology relating to aerospace".
  • Explore vintage tech
    • A British and an Italian scientist work on the "Dragon" project, an initiative of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), at Winfrith, United Kingdom. The project, which began in 1959, involved a group of 250 scientists from 12 European countries and resulted in the construction of a high-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor.
  • Explore vintage tech
    • "A Belgian scientist operates a rig used for valve exhaustion tests by the OECD's 'Dragon' project at Winfrith, United Kingdom." The project, which began in 1959, involved a group of 250 scientists from 12 European countries and resulted in the construction of a high-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor.
  • Explore vintage tech
    • Scientists prepare to lower metal cylinders, containing "food of the future", down into the "Spring of Eternal Youth" radiation pool at Lemont Laboratory in the United States.
  • Explore vintage tech
    • Both of these potatoes are 15 months old, but only one of them was dipped into the "Spring of Eternal Youth" radiation pool at Lemont Laboratory in the United States. Which one? According to the NATO Letter, "The wrinkle-free one, of course".
  • Explore vintage tech
    • Italian-American researcher Dr George Speri Sperti (right) and his colleagues examine lab-grown seaweed, which was intended for animal feed as well as astronaut food.
  • Explore vintage tech
    • The 200-inch (5.1m) Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory in California, United States was "the world's biggest optical telescope" from its construction in 1949 until 1993. The Hale Telescope let us see farther out into the universe than ever before, and it also allowed scientists to observe our own galaxy's core.
    • It may look like a Dalek from Doctor Who or a droid from Star Wars, but this piece of tech is actually a model of the Anglo-American UK2 satellite, which was put into orbit in 1964 and was one of the first scientific cooperation initiatives of the NATO Science Programme.
    • The "artificial kidney" was developed in the mid-20th century, with the first fully functional dialysis machine created by Dutch scientist Willem Kolff during the Second World War. This model could remove impurities from the blood "up to 40 times faster than two healthy kidneys".
    • The "heart-lung machine" (or "pump oxygenator") was invented in the early 1950s in the United Kingdom and the United States by Dr D. G. Melrose. In this photo, nurses monitor the machine closely as it "temporarily takes over from a patient's heart and lungs".
    • This suspended rail-car was the first monorail system in the United States, inaugurated in 1956 in Houston, Texas. According to a 1964 NATO Letter article, it was "silent, speedy and hardwearing".
 

 

Fighting COVID-19

Scientists across the Alliance are on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. In April 2020, NATO's Chief Scientist issued a challenge to NATO's network of over 6,000 defence scientists, calling for solutions in virus detection, improved situational awareness, decontamination, resilience and the post-COVID-19 future. Click through the gallery below to learn more about how NATO scientists are helping fight the coronavirus.