Today's news

October 9, 2002

Aga Khan foiled in bid for medical school site
The Aga Khan, the billionaire spiritual leader of 17 million Ismaili Muslims, has failed in his £24 million bid to turn one of London’s most desirable sites into a museum of Islamic art. The former site of St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School, opposite the House of Commons, will be sold to the Guy’s and St Thomas’s charitable trust for £12 million so it can be used for developing the medical school and new research establishments. The decision has delighted doctors at St Thomas’s and King’s College Medical School, who threatened to resign en masse if the site was sold to the Aga Khan. (Telegraph, Times, Independent)

Three win Nobel prize for physics
The Nobel prize for physics has been awarded to three scientists, two American and one Japanese, for their discovery of extra-terrestrial sources of X-ray radiation and ghostly particles called neutrinos. Riccardo Giacconi of the Associated Universities Inc in Washington, DC, Raymond Davis Jr of Pennsylvania University and Masatoshi Koshiba of Tokyo University established two new fields of astronomy, revealing celestial bodies such as black holes, violent cosmic events and why the Sun shines. (Telegraph, Financial Times, Independent)

Oxfam shuns professor
Oxfam has turned down a £5,000 donation from a distinguished professor of philosophy because it is linked to his latest book that defends the Palestinians’ right to carry out suicide bombings and terrorist attacks. Ted Honderich, formerly professor of mind and logic at University College, London, offered to give the charity his advanced royalties for After The Terror . (Guardian)

Bristol tries out SAT tests
Bristol University is piloting an American entrance test it believes may be fairer than A levels. The university is asking students to take the Scholastic Aptitude Tests every year to find out if it is a more accurate guide to academic potential than A-level grades. One department in each faculty is testing its students and the scores will be compared with their university marks each year. (Telegraph)

Students wear gripes on their sleeves
Cambridge undergraduates will sport black armbands as well as notepads and hangovers when lectures begin tomorrow in protest at, er, modern life. The Cambridge anti-Capitalist Action Group is distributing the bands to the city’s 14,000 students to encourage a blanket protest of anything from the war in Iraq to Starbucks coffee. (Times)

Will codes put spies out of work?
British and US government scientists are working on a quantum cryptography system that makes codes undecipherable and could result in totally secure communication. The team, based in Malvern, is working with Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. (Telegraph)

The toaster that says pop up and see me
Household appliances may in future make their feelings known. Clifford Friend of Cranfield University is using smart materials in toasters and kettles to build in intelligence. His research shows that people enjoy products more if they can develop a relationship with them. (Telegraph)

One man and his worm
Nobel prize winner Sir John Sulston fell into research by accident and ended up with a yard of bench space in a Cambridge lab. Then he became obsessed with a hermaphrodite worm - and unlocked the secrets of life itself. (Guardian)

Modern education fails the spiritual test
The government seems to think you can fatten a pig just by constantly weighing it, says Paul Vallely. He comments on criticisms of education made this week by Dom Anthony Sutch, headmaster of Downside School. (Independent)

Minister tells Eton to set up state school
Public schools such as Eton and Winchester should open their own comprehensives to help raise education standards in inner cities, David Miliband, the school standards minister, has said. He urged fee-paying schools to invest £2 million in city academies in areas of under-achievement. The state-funded secondary schools, which will be free from local government control, will help bridge the divide between independent and maintained sectors, the minister said. (Times, Guardian, Independent, Financial Times)

Ghostwriter scandal haunts Spanish novelist’s Nobel reputation
The Nobel prizewinning novelist Camilo Jose Cela has been accused of using ghostwriters for most of his career. (Guardian, Independent)


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