Today's news

June 3, 2004


Cambridge calls for improved A levels
Cambridge University challenged the government yesterday to reform the "unreliable" A-level system in an attempt to ensure a fairer admissions process for students. Dons also defended Cambridge's system of selecting candidates through interviews and dismissed proposals to introduce American-style aptitude tests as "inappropriate". The remarks are a response to a government interim report, published in April, about an enquiry into the fairness of university admissions.
( Times, Daily Telegraph )

Author takes swipe at scientific elite
The upper echelons of the scientific community were yesterday accused of "usually being wrong" and guilty of "a systematic resistance to discovery", at the Hay book festival. The attack came from Nigel Calder, author of Magic Universe: the Oxford guide to modern science , and former editor of New Scientist magazine.
( Guardian )

RGS archive offers key to world of discovery
Maps, documents and artefacts made or owned by Charles Darwin, David Livingstone, Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary are among more than two million items that will be made available when the Royal Geographical Society launches its revamped archive on Tuesday.
Details: http:///www.unlockingthearchives.rgs.org </a>
( Times, Guardian, Independent )

£60,000 prize to celebrate English fiction
A prize of £60,000, open to any writer whose work is written or translated widely into the English language, was announced yesterday. The Man Booker International Prize will recognise an author's body of work and is designed to celebrate English-language fiction as a major cultural force in the modern world. The competition will be held every two years, with the first winner announced in the middle of next year. The chairman of the judges, John Carey, Merton Professor of English at Oxford University, said that British authors had a good chance of winning.
( Times, Daily Telegraph )

Rainforest canopy wildlife estimates
Twice as many animals are living in rainforest treetops as had previously been estimated, making that unique aerial habitat one of the world's richest hotspots for wildlife, according to a study by two Cambridge University ecologists. Their findings are published today in the journal Nature .
( Independent )

Scientists discover protein that extends life
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered a protein that extends life by as much as 50 per cent. The protein is released in the body during times of famine, according to their research published today in the journal Nature .
( Financial Times )

Academics must have their freedom
University of Central England vice-chancellor Peter Knight considers whether it is really safe to leave the issue of academic freedom entirely in the hands of the university management.
( Independent )

The new, old universities
A look at the plans of the forward-looking vice-chancellors at Cambridge, York and Bath.
( Independent )

The campus question
A variety of views across academia on how top-up fees will change universities.
( Independent )

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