News in brief - 11 December 2014

December 11, 2014

Source: Ron Ellis/

Satellite campuses
Who’s moving to the Olympic Park?

The government has awarded more than £140 million to develop a new Education and Cultural Quarter in London at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. As part of the plan two London universities will create new campuses on the site. University College London will create a second campus, UCL East, which the institution says will be a “beacon of how universities should work for decades to come”. The University of the Arts London, meanwhile, will create a research and education hub that will bring together staff and students from one of its colleges for the first time in its history. Government funding for the project has been awarded as part of the National Infrastructure Plan. The Victoria and Albert Museum and Sadler’s Wells Theatre will also have a presence at the East London site.

Ebola courses to help curb virus

Two massive open online courses that aim to educate people about the rapid spread of Ebola have been launched by UK universities. The courses, one from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London and another from Lancaster University, examine different aspects of the virus, with the former aimed at health professionals and students and the latter targeted at the general public. Both are hosted by The Open University-sponsored Mooc platform, FutureLearn. The LSHTM-developed Mooc – Ebola in Context: Understanding Transmission, Response and Control – features director of the school Peter Piot. His early research work helped to identify the virus, and he has also encouraged staff and students to volunteer in West Africa.

Science publishing
350 years under the microscope

An exhibition offers a glimpse “behind the scenes of the process of science journalism and publishing” over 350 years. Philosophical Transactions was first published in 1665 and, after a period when it was privately run by successive secretaries, was formally taken over by the Royal Society in 1752. That means, said Aileen Fyfe, reader in history at the University of St Andrews, that it has not only “the longest publication history” of any scientific journal but also “the archive to back it up” – including, for example, more than 6,000 referees’ reports from the 19th century. This enables us to trace “the back history of today’s debates on open access, peer review and whether such journals should be profit-making”, she said. Dr Fyfe is the principal investigator on a research project titled “Publishing the Philosophical Transactions”, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She is also the lead curator of the society’s public exhibition, Philosophical Transactions: 350 years of publishing at the Royal Society, which opened on 2 December.

Digital resources
Einstein papers at your fingertips

Extensive material about the first 44 years of Albert Einstein’s life has been made available online for the first time. Launched on 5 December by Princeton University Press, the free website offers full public access to the 5,000 documents in the first 13 volumes of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. Further instalments of the likely 30-volume series will be available about 18 months after their print publication. Scientific landmarks include Einstein’s 1905 paper “On the electrodynamics of moving bodies”, the paper on “the production and transformation of light” that won him a Nobel prize, and the 1915 article setting out the general theory of relativity.

Follow Times Higher Education on Twitter

The announcement in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement that loans of up to £10,000 will be available for master’s students had our Twitter followers talking. @AmieDPE described the announcement as “awesome news, massive step in the right direction!”, adding that it was “making me consider a masters now”. However, @cl_ashworth was annoyed that the loans would be restricted to those aged under 30. “ ‘Sigh’. Age discrimination still goes on!” she tweeted. @lottelydia was similarly put out. “Decision to limit postgraduate funding to under 30s is a disgrace,” she said. “Is it even legal to discriminate by age like that?”

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