Inquiry says Britain has lost its nanotechnology lead
Britain has lost its lead in nanotechnology because of inadequate government support, according to a damning report from a Commons inquiry that blames the Department of Trade and Industry for failing to support early breakthroughs. The science and technology committee said the US and Japan were pulling ahead of the UK because the DTI had failed to build on the lead in the early 1980s. A £90 million package of support for the technology was an inadequate response that had been shared between too many projects to have a significant impact.
( Financial Times )
Cambridge student jailed for stalking
Azeem Malik, a Cambridge University maths student who developed a "pathological infatuation" with another undergraduate, received a two-year sentence yesterday for breaching a restraining order.
( Daily Express )
Science exams fail pupils, says watchdog
Students from both ends of the ability range suffered because of changes to GCSE science exams made in the late 90s, according to a report published yesterday. The government's exam regulator, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, said changing from a three-tier to a two-tier exam had led to a "less effective assessment regime" for the least and most able candidates.
( Guardian, Times )
Building supply firm quits Oxford animal lab
Anti-vivisectionists claimed a victory yesterday in their campaign to halt the construction of a £18 million animal testing laboratory when one of the country's largest building material suppliers halted deliveries. Travis Perkins said it would end deliveries to the site of the new Oxford University complex after it was contacted by an animal rights group which is trying to persuade the project's contractors to withdraw. Oxford University said the withdrawal of the building supplies company had not disrupted construction of the facility, which will bring its biomedical research under one roof.
( Independent )
NUS removes support from Labour party
Kat Fletcher, president-elect of the National Union of Students, has made clear that the Labour party will have to look for some new friends. "The student movement is sick of a leadership too close to the Labour Party, whose political youth wing has not done what students wanted", she says.
( Independent )
Secrets of the Bronze Age stones
Researchers have puzzled over the purpose of mysterious megaliths on the island of Menorca for years. According to Michael Hoskin, a historian at Churchill College, Cambridge, the answer to the riddle lies in the way the night sky alters as the Earth wobbles on its axis. The ancient Phoenicians probably saw stars that were all part of the constellation of the centaur Chiron, a teacher of medicine. So the sanctuaries "could have been places of healing, as Lourdes is now".
( Guardian )
The arm bone's connected to a... fish bone
Researchers report in the journal Science today that they have found the earliest known link between fish fins and the forelimbs of land animals. The tiny humerus was found in red Devonian rocks in a cutting by a Pennsylvania roadside.
( Guardian, Independent )