Latest research news

October 1, 2002

Controversial university building project unveiled
A £190 million private finance initiative (PFI) was announced today by the University of Hertfordshire. The new campus at Hatfield is the largest development to be built from scratch in the sector for 50 years, said pro-vice-chancellor Tim Wilson, who urged other universities to generate funding in this way. Unison, the public services union with 60,000 members in higher education institutions, is strongly opposed to the project and has called for a moratorium on PFIs while their real value for money is investigated.

Academic workforce getting older
Roderick Floud, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of London Metropolitan University, argues that as higher education expands, the government must act now to secure teachers and researchers for the future.

Weed gives hope of cancer cure
A poisonous plant that has been used as a folk medicine and hallucinogen for centuries might provide new treatments for brain cancer. A molecule found in jimson weed has been found to "almost completely" halt growth of malignant glioma cells, scientists from Tokyo's Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology said.

Young men head abroad amid ageing population
Young people are quitting the country to spend time abroad, according to the 2001 census. Meanwhile, the overall population is getting older, with over-60s outnumbered for the first time, according to Office for National Statistics figures released yesterday. The number of over-85s has increased five-fold to 1.1 million since 1951. On the day of the census, the population was 58,789,194 - 1 million lower than the last published estimate for 2000.
(Financial Times, Guardian, Independent, Times, Daily Telegraph)

Fragment set to reignite row over Marbles
A fragment of the Parthenon frieze kept by an 18th-century British diplomat in Sicily is to be returned to Greece by the Italian government. It is a gesture that is certain to revive the dispute over Britain's retention of the Elgin Marbles.
( Times )

Geneticists sniff out rose scent
Geneticists are homing in on the musk that lured Tennyson's Maud into the garden, the same smell that set Shakespeare's Juliet musing on names. They've found a gene for the scent of a rose. (Nature)

Stock market shock explained
Two physicists have an explanation for the convulsion of the stock market just ten days ago that left traders reeling and economists scratching their heads. The market was behaving like a muffled guitar string, they suggest, thanks to short-termism and technological limitations. (Nature)

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