Infestation fears grow

May 15, 2014

“It’s an architectural leap in the dark, but we can only hope that it does something to contain the problem and reduce any serious spillage.”

This was how Jamie Targett, Poppleton’s Director of Corporate Affairs, responded to enquiries from our reporter Keith Ponting (30) about the intended use of the squat, barred-window building presently under construction on the far side of the Biology Pond.

Targett explained that the problem first came to light when a routine health check of existing university departments revealed the presence of several serious contaminants, including deeply encrusted deposits of Newman Nostalgia and Arnoldian Values.

Further inspection turned up more modern but equally contaminating substances such as “Peter Scott Sensibility” and “Inglis-based Indignation”.

Matters finally came to a head with the discovery of a clutch of potentially contagious aphorisms: “Knowledge for its own sake”, “Community of scholars” and “Academic freedom”.

Those academics who had been diagnosed as affected by any of these pollutants would, Targett explained, be frog-marched to the new building as soon as construction was complete.

In what he described as “an appropriate recognition of the relevance of the new arrangement to the rest of the university”, he further revealed that the new building would be known as the “Ivory Tower”.


Of mice and men

Mad scientist

In what is being described as “a groundbreaking piece of research”, our Head of Social Psychology, Professor D. K. Mundayne, has dramatically demonstrated the relevance of recent research on mice behaviour to the behaviour of humans in social psychology experiments.

According to recent research conducted at Canada’s McGill University, many decades of animal experimentation may need to be jettisoned following the discovery that mice test positive for stress when in the presence of male researchers because “the pheromones shared by male mice and humans means that the rodents regard men as a territorial threat”.

Our Professor Mundayne has dramatically extended this research into unwitting experimenter bias by asking several hundred students who had participated in well-known social psychology experiments about their attitude towards the social psychologist conducting the experiment.

Results revealed that more than 90 per cent of those who took part in such experiments thought that the experimenter “was probably off his head but on the whole considered it better to follow his daft instructions in order to earn their cup of tea and free biscuit”.

Professor Mundayne described this finding as “conclusive” but also “somewhat disappointing” in that it invalidated over 50 years of social psychology experimentation in which no account whatsoever had been taken of the subjects’ belief in the incipient madness of the experimenter. In view of this finding, said Professor Mundayne, it was clear, that, in social psychology at least, more research was definitely not needed.


Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Next week’s seminar will be given by a leading cosmetic surgeon who will discuss the manner in which surgical intervention might further accelerate the disappearance of ‘eggheads’ from UK universities.

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

Please login or register to read this article.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most commented

Summer is upon northern hemisphere academics. But its cherished traditional identity as a time for intensive research is being challenged by the increasing obligations around teaching and administration that often crowd out research entirely during term time. So is the 40/40/20 workload model still sustainable? Respondents to a THE survey suggest not. Nick Mayo hears why

25 July


Featured jobs