Today's news

October 9, 2003

Economics prize makes third British Nobel in a week
Clive Granger, a British economist working in the US, has won the 2003 Nobel economics prize. He will share the award with US academic Robert Engle. They were awarded the honour for separate groundbreaking discoveries that improved the way time-series models were used to analyse economic data. Mr Granger is the third Briton to pick up a Nobel prize this week.
( Independent )

US Scientists win Nobel chemistry prize
Two American scientists have been awarded the Nobel chemistry prize for work carried out in the 1980s and 1990s that revealed how water and salts get in and out of the cells of the body. The discoveries, made by Peter Agre and Roderick MacKinnon, have given researchers an understanding of how kidneys recover water from urine and how electrical signals are generated in nerve cells.
( Financial Times )

Heads snub sixth-form diplomas
Head teachers at independent schools issued a rebuff yesterday to government plans to replace GCSE and A-level examinations with a baccalaureate-style diploma. The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference of 240 leading schools said in Dublin that it would reject any reform that made students study particular subjects after the age of 16, amid fears that the ability of students to pursue their individual interests would be "compromised by any diploma system".
( Times , Guardian )

Boys turn backs on 'girly' English as A-level choice
English has become a foreign language for sixth-form boys in virtually every mixed comprehensive school, according to a government adviser. Figures from the Joint Council for General Qualifications show that boys accounted for fewer than a third of the 78,746 entries for A-level English this summer, with 23,295 taking the exam. Caroline Gipps, deputy vice-chancellor of Kingston University, who advises the government on qualifications, said the boys were almost all from fee-paying and grammar schools.
( Times , Daily Telegraph , Daily Mail )

Universe is shaped like a football, says scientist
Scientists presented today the most compelling evidence to date that suggests that the universe is not only finite, but may be shaped like a football. Jeff Watts, a mathematician based in New York and one of the lead authors of a paper in today's Nature , said he and his team may have cracked the puzzle.
( Guardian )

Sleep makes your memory better
A night's sleep can help us to remember things we have forgotten during the day, according to scientists from the University of Chicago and Harvard Medical School. They have shown that sleep not only consolidates memories picked up during the day, but also allows our brains to recover information that would otherwise be forgotten. New skills are more likely to stick in the memory if we sleep before we have to use them.
( Times , Guardian , Daily Telegraph )

Other higher education items
Cambridge dons have high hopes of Alison Richard's appointment as v-c ( Independent ) · A profile of Liverpool University's new boss Drummond Bone ( Independent ) · "Physicist" special pull-out ( Independent ).

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