Science and technology’s newest words and what they tell us about 2023

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Ageotype

In 2020, Michael Snyder, a geneticist at Stanford University in California, discovered that we tend to age along four different pathways. He found that the biological signatures associated with ageing are mostly found in four parts of your body – your kidneys, liver, immune system and general metabolism – with one or two of these systems ageing faster than the rest.

Snyder reckons figuring out your “ageotype” can lead you towards the best strategy to target your predominant ageing pathway, meaning you live healthier for longer. Liver agers, say, might consider laying off the booze. Metabolic agers, meanwhile, should focus on exercise.

In any case, we might expect the term to rise to prominence, at least within the circles that obsess about this stuff, on the basis that it is at the vanguard of efforts to personalise anti-ageing interventions.

Agrivoltaics

The next time you find yourself walking in the countryside, you may spot some rather odd-looking fields. Some will have crops co-existing with great swathes of solar panels, while others will be full of livestock sheltering or grazing under a photovoltaic canopy. What you would be looking at are “agrivoltaics”, a term that describes solar energy installations designed to work alongside crops or livestock.

Inevitably, some people argue that solar farms blight the landscape and change the nature of rural communities. But in North America, proponents of agrivoltaics are working to convince them that solar farms can help to restore disappearing prairies. In any case, the term will surely stick around because it captures a new…