Today's news

May 10, 2004


Cambridge dons fight for patent earnings
Academics at Cambridge University are in revolt over plans to end their right to take home profits from their discoveries and inventions. Dons are furious at proposals by the university's governing council to expand its legal rights and potentially make millions of pounds from new medicines or computer software. Under the plans the university would take two-thirds of the revenue from inventions worth more than £100,000. The Campaign for Cambridge Freedoms, is fighting the proposed change.
( Independent )

Top museum faces lack of young scientists
The world-class status of the Natural History Museum in London is in jeopardy because of the dearth of young scientists willing to work there, according to its outgoing director, Sir Neil Chalmers. Top scientists earn about £20,000 when they join the Natural History Museum and perhaps £50,000 at the peak of their careers, but can earn considerably more in a related commercial field or in the US. Sir Neil, who is to become warden of Wadham College, Oxford, in the autumn, contrasted the situation with France, which has an extensive network of thriving and well-funded natural history museums.
( Independent )

Museum fears losing bodies of evidence
The Natural History Museum will have to break up one of the world's most significant anthropological and medical archives if ministers approve new restrictions on the storage of human remains. Sir Neil Chalmers believes that this would cost museums and universities millions of pounds to implement and end useful research on an unparalleled scientific and historical resource. He said that, while he had no objection to repatriation in cases where recent links could be established, the Palmer recommendations were "unbalanced and over the top".
( Times )

British trees turn toxic during heatwave
A team of researchers from York University claim to have discovered that the commonly held view that trees and plants act as filters, purifying the air and reducing harmful gases, is turned on its head during times of extreme heat. When temperatures exceed 35C (95F) our native plants and trees start emitting "cooling" chemicals such as isoprene and turpene into the atmosphere which in turn encourage the production of ozone.
( Daily Telegraph )

US scientists dissolve mice flab
Scientists at the University of Houston, Texas, report in Nature Medicine today that weeks of treatment by an experimental drug restored the normal weight of mice that had doubled their size on a high-fat diet. The technique called "molecular liposuction" works by specifically cutting off the blood supply to fat tissue.
( Guardian, Daily Mail )

Boat takes sailing 1,300 years back in time
Engineer Edwin Gifford, 83, has challenged scholars who believe that sailing boats were first built in 500BC by reconstructing a Bronze Age vessel which can sail. His boat is based on a 50ft vessel dating from 1800BC, whose remains were unearthed on Humberside before the Second World War. The reconstruction is described in the latest issue of Current Archaeology .
( Times )

MBAs in the spotlight
Special pullout covering the latest MBA news views and courses
( Times )

Higher education items in the weekend press
- Heads of Scottish universities have condemned the move to merge higher and further education. ( Scotland on Sunday )
- Universities may soon replace celebrity figureheads with fundraisers. ( Independent on Sunday )
- Steven Schwartz and David Frost debate whether the government should be pushing for 50% of youngsters to attend university. ( Guardian , May 8)
- Miriam Stoppard has received an honorary law doctorate from Newcastle University. ( Daily Mirror , May 8)
- Feature about how to change your university course without damaging your future. ( Guardian , May 8)

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