Today's news

October 3, 2003

£40k debt puts studying law out of reach of poor
Law students are amassing debts of up to £40,000 before they start work, cementing the profession’s reputation as the preserve of the rich, according to a study by the Centre for Legal Education.
Read this story in The THES
(Times, THES)

British team scoops an Ig Nobel
A British team from University College London has scooped an Ig Nobel award for medicine for discovering that London cabbies have bigger brains than the rest of us.
(Guardian, Times)
· Marc Abrahams, the organiser of the annual awards that honour people whose achievements cannot or should not be reproduced, will be writing about the winner of the THES -sponsored literature prize, John Trinkaus of the Zicklin School of Business, New York, in the October 10 edition of The THES .  The prize was awarded for the more than 80 academic reports about specific annoyances and anomalies of daily life, such as the percentage of young people who wear baseball caps with the peaks facing to the ear rather than the front and the percentage of students who dislike brussels sprouts.

Bursaries for poorer students

Universities may have to spend a proportion of their extra income from higher fees to help poorer students, senior government sources have said.
(Evening Standard)

A-level failures may resit as many times as they like
A-level students will be able to resit their exams as many times as they like, the government’s qualifications regulator will say today. The move will trigger fresh claims that standards are being lowered.
(Guardian, Financial Times, Times)

South African professor wins Nobel prize for literature
South African author J. M. Coetzee, a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, has won the Nobel prize for literature.
(Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Independent, Times)

Scientists put human genome on a single chip
Scientists in California have put the entire sequence of the human genome on a single chip, allowing researchers to conduct experiments on the relationships between the 30,000 genes in a single experiment.
(Financial Times)

Cern to share data online
Cern, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, has launched a prototype grid that will enable scientists worldwide to share data from its atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider.
(Financial Times)

Concern over science publishing
A report by the Wellcome Trust concludes that scientific publishing “does not operate in the interests of scientists and the public but is instead dominated by a commercial market intent on improving its market position”.
(Financial Times)

Galapagos eruption seen in tortoise DNA
The impact of a huge volcanic explosion on the Galapagos islands 100,000 years ago can be seen in the genes of giant tortoises living on the islands’ mountain slopes, according to research by a team at Yale University.
(Financial Times, Times)

Bug risk from bottled water
Bottled mineral water could account for 12 per cent of the 50,000 cases of food poisoning by the bug campylobacter, say scientists from the University of Cardiff.
(Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Independent, Times)

Hysterectomy myth dispelled
The belief that having a hysterectomy will lead to diminished sexual pleasure has been disproved by researchers at the University Medical Centre in Utrecht.
(Daily Telegraph, Times)

Doodling can ‘draw on powers of thought’
Sir Roger Penrose, one of Britain’s leading mathematicians, has revealed how doodles help him to wrestle with highly abstract calculations.
(Daily Telegraph)

Fatty diet ‘will not increase stroke risk’
Fat in the diet from all sources, including high cholesterol, high protein foods, red meats and dairy products does not increase a person’s risk of stroke, according to researchers from Harvard School of Public Health. (Daily Telegraph)

Vibrating insoles ‘improve balance’
Shoes with vibrating insoles could help elderly people to avoid falling over, according to research at Boston University.
(Daily Telegraph)

Pharmacologist dies
Marthe Vogt, a pharmacologist who left Nazi Germany for Britain and became a leading authority on neurotransmitters, has died at the age of 100.
(Daily Telegraph)

Byzantinist dies
Professor Donald Nicol, a Byzantinist who discovered his vocation in wartime Greece, has died at the age of 80.
(Independent)

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