Peep's Diary

October 19, 2007

For whom the bell didn't toll

Rumour has it German chemist Gerhard Ertl was so confident of winning the Nobel prize that he turned up at his office just before 11.30am, the time at which the Swedes traditionally call. How many other chemists were waiting by the phone is not known, but it seems that honouring just a single chemist put noses out of joint. As Chemistry World puts it: "Surface scientists were pleased with the recognition of their field, but ... surprised that other surface science pioneers, including David King of Cambridge University and Gabor Somorjai of the University of California, Berkeley, had missed out."

No new ideas, please

Staff at the University of the West of England hoping that Sir Howard Newby's departure for Liverpool may mean a let-up in the drive to make the university more "business facing" are likely to be disappointed. Candidates for the v-c's job are being advised not to have any grand ideas about changing strategy. Visionaries are not required, apparently, as there is a vision already in place - Sir Howard's, and the new incumbent is expected to continue turning this into reality.

A Sugar-coated lecture

Ever wondered what happens to Alan Sugar's TV show apprentices after they hear the words: "You're fired"? Kristina Grimes, the feisty single mother and former regional sales manager for a pharmaceutical company, has taken to the lecture circuit. Earlier this month she imparted her wisdom to an audience at Teesside University. No stranger to the tabloids, she has had her personal life pored over in forensic detail, but her subject at Teesside was the rather more sober "Obstacles businesses face today and the steely determination needed to succeed".

Slim pickings

Old rockers never die. But some settle into academia. Chris Lee, a Salford University cultural studies lecturer, spent years playing in the Manchester music scene. He has now written about his experiences, including gigs at the "progressive music night" of the Halifax Builders' and Working Men's club, drinking with the Sex Pistols and spending a day pretending to be Elvis Costello. When We Were Thin: Music, Madness and Manchester is available from Salford University Press.

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