Today's news

August 22, 2003

Boy prodigy wins place at Oxford at 15
A boy of 15 has won a place at Oxford University after gaining top marks in his maths, further maths, physics and Hebrew A levels. Yadid Hoshen will read physics at Worcester College. The schoolboy, whose hobby is 'studying university-level physics', said he was pleased to be able to continue his studies.
(Daily Mail)

Hopes of finding life on Mars dry up
New data from Nasa's Mars Global Surveyor probe suggest that large bodies of liquid water have never existed on Mars, although tiny amounts of free water have been detected in its atmosphere. The results are published today in the journal Science.
(Times, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Guardian, Independent)

A-star mathematician at just 8 years old
Arran Fernandez, from Surrey, celebrated the grade awarded for a mathematics paper that he took when he was 7 years and 11 months old. Arran, who is schooled at home, is considering moving up to A level in a couple of years. Far from concentrating solely on maths, he is also nearing completion of a 30,000-word novel about a boy called John who grows up to be a knight.
(Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent)

GCSE results: Survey of best-performing schools.
(Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent)

Distant galaxies found
A cluster of the most distant galaxies has been found by an Anglo-German team. The galaxies are 12,600 million light years away. They were identified by scientists from Bristol University and the Max Planck Institute in Garching, Germany, using the Very Large Telecope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Details are published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Secret memorial to Ted Hughes discovered
The last wish of Ted Hughes was that his name be cut in a slab of granite on Dartmoor. Now, five years after the late Poet Laureate's death, the memorial has been discovered on the northern edge of Dartmoor, near Okehampton, close to the source of the River Taw. The stone, inscribed with the poet's name, was laid in secret two years ago with special permission from the Duchy of Cornwall estate, which owns the area.
(Daily Telegraph, Times)

Magnets could help to detect viruses
By injecting patients with tiny particles of sugar-coated iron oxide, 50 nanometres across, scientists at Harvard Medical School believe they can give accurate readings for the presence of viruses in the body. Any viruses present will stick to the antibodies to form a cluster of magnetic particles that could be detected through magnetic resonance imaging scans. The technology is described in this week's New Scientist.
(Financial Times)

Scientists solve bees' paternity puzzle
The reason that male bees have no father has been discovered by an international team of scientists. Female bees have two copies of a gene - one from each parent, that trigger female development. Unfertilised eggs, which have only one copy of csd from the mother, default to being males. Researchers report the solution today in the journal Cell.
(Daily Telegraph, Guardian)

Snack breakfasts make Jack a dull boy
Children who shun traditional breakfasts in favour of snacks such as fizzy drinks and chocolate bars have the reaction times of a person aged 70, according to researchers at Reading University. The team studied the cognitive skills of a group of children aged between nine and 16 after they had had a complex-carbohydrate breakfast.

Italian Renaissance art historian dies
Professor John Shearman, the most distinguished historian of Italian Renaissance art produced by the Courtauld Institute, has died aged 72.

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