Today's news

June 13, 2002

Crumbling universities need £5 billion
British universities need more than £5 billion to make their crumbling campuses safe and to modernise their facilities, concludes research commissioned by Universities UK and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The study found that some universities were so dilapidated that students were being taught in dangerous structures and that universities were teaching undergraduates in leaking buildings with poor lighting and providing poor-quality drinking water. ( The Independent, The Times )

US animal rights violence imported from UK
Almost all of the most violent and disruptive animal-rights activism in the US has been imported from Britain, North America’s biggest biotechnology conference heard yesterday. Frankie Trull, president of the US Foundation for Biomedical Research, told the BIO 2002 meeting in Toronto that the British government had been too slow to act. ( The Financial Times )

Transistor shrinks to atomic size
Scientists have shrunk a transistor to the size of a single atom, bringing closer the day of microscopic electronic devices that will revolutionise computing, engineering and medicine. Researchers at Cornell University, New York, and Harvard University fashioned two nano-transistors from purpose-made molecules. Paul McEuen, a physicist at Cornell, reports the breakthrough in today’s issue of Nature . ( The Daily Telegraph, The Times )

Teacher resigns over alleged exam theft
The headteacher of the school at the centre of an investigation into the alleged theft of GCSE paper was yesterday held responsible for the incident by the exam board that set the questions. The teacher accused of stealing exam papers to show to candidates at a private tutorial college has resigned from her job at the Archbishop Lanfranc comprehensive in south London. (The Guardian, The Independent, The Times )

French begin exam amid tight security
More than 600,000 French pupils will begin sitting the baccalaureate today amid unprecedented security to prevent exam papers being leaked to students. ( The Times )

Company to alert investors to ‘hot’ research
Cambridge Angels, an exclusive regional business angel club, is poised to launch a company that promises to direct investors to the latest scientific breakthroughs – whether it is in bioinformatics, neural networks or nanotechnology – or the latest “hot” technology start-up in the Cambridge area. ( The Financial Times )

Children’s cough cures a waste of money
There is little evidence that non-prescription medicines are any better than placebos for treating acute coughs in children, say Knut Schroeder and Tom Fahey, two researchers at Bristol University. ( The Daily Telegraph, The Times )

‘Bloop’ sends scientists on deep-sea hunt
Mysterious sounds detected in the depths of the ocean may be the calls of large unidentified sea creatures, scientists say. Underwater listening stations developed to track Soviet submarines have recorded a strange loud sound nicknamed “Bloop” that is apparently made by a living organism but matches nothing ever detected before, the New Scientist reports. ( The Times )

Korean clue to Britain’s foot-and-mouth epidemic
A new outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Korea could help explain Britain’s epidemic. ( The Guardian )

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