Today's news

June 17, 2004


Test predicts when menopause begins
Scientists report today that they have worked out a way of establishing how many eggs women still have left by measuring the ovaries with an ultrasound scan. A mathematical and computer analysis can then predict how many more fertile years the woman has left. "In essence, it means we now have the potential to be able to tell a woman how fast her biological clock is ticking and how much time she has before it will run down," said Dr Hamish Wallace, consultant paediatric oncologist at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh and lead author of a paper published today in the journal Human Reproduction.
( Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Independent, Times )

Scientists hope for UK's first cloning licence
Newcastle University scientists are expected to be awarded Britain's first licence to clone human embryos this month after a meeting of the Government's fertility watchdog yesterday.
( Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Times )

Scientists teleport atoms for first time
In an advance that will thrill fans of Star Trek , scientists have for the first time teleported atoms. They say their research will help to develop ultra-fast quantum computers - but Trekkies should not expect teleportation machines to beam objects or people between distant locations in the foreseeable future. Previous experiments have succeeded in teleporting only photons (particles of light). The step up to atoms - far larger and more complex particles - was made almost simultaneously by two separate research teams, one at the University of Innsbruck in Austria and the other at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado. The scientists agreed to report their results together in the journal Nature today.
( Financial Times )

Gene treatment stops frisky voles being love rats
A single "love gene" that transforms Don Juans into loyal and attentive spouses has been identified by US scientists at Emory University in Atlanta, casting fresh light on the chemical cocktail in the brain that ignites romance. When the brains of male meadow voles, usually the most promiscuous of lovers, are enhanced with a gene called the vasopressin receptor, they instantly reform their loose ways and form lasting pair bonds instead.
( Times )

Science joins the fight to sniff out wine fraud
Scientists at the University of Seville in Spain yesterday unveiled a technique that will allow the great marques of Champagne and the chateaux of Bordeaux to determine instantly whether a bottle carrying their label also contains their product. It works by identifying the unique "fingerprint" of 16 trace elements present in a wine and determining, for example, whether a fizzy white wine is Spanish cava or French champagne.
( Independent )

The academic globetrotter
A profile of Sir Colin Campbell, the architect of Nottingham University's success.
( Independent )

Call to clear up training muddle
The responsibilities of the education department and its £8 billion-a-year skills agency are so confused that colleges and training providers are prevented from delivering government policies, according to a damning report. The independent review of bureaucracy in further education and training by Sir Andrew Foster, former head of the Audit Commission, has called for a fresh negotiation of the public contract between the Department for Education and Skills and the Learning and Skills Council.
( Financial Times )

BM pays £650K for Native American art
The British Museum has bought the Stonyhurst Mullanphy collection of native American art, which includes a unique 18th-century deerskin map used in negotiations for the sale of land just before the American revolution. Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, said the £650,000 acquisition had prevented the break-up of the collection, which had been on loan at the museum since Stonyhurst's school museum, Lancashire, closed in the 1970s.
( Financial Times, Independent )

Bob Dylan to be treated to doctorate
St Andrews University is to make singer Bob Dylan a doctor of music next week. The 63-year-old has accepted only one other honorary degree during his career, awarded in 1970 by Princeton University. Dylan will accept the degree at an afternoon graduation ceremony next Wednesday before he travels to Glasgow for the first of two solo concerts as part of his European tour.
( Times, Guardian )

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