Today's news

July 15, 2004

Hawking rethink solves black holes riddle
In an announcement that has sent waves of excitement through the rarefied world of astrophysics, New Scientist reports today that Stephen Hawking claims to have solved one of the greatest mysteries of black holes. The world's best-known cosmologist will tell a scientific conference in Dublin next week that black holes are not as "all-engulfing" as he, and most other physicists, once thought. In a significant about-turn, Professor Hawking now believes that some information about the matter sucked deep into black holes may actually trickle out over time.
Daily Telegraph, Times

Business 'must sponsor' college courses
Employers will have to contribute more towards the cost of higher and further education by sponsoring courses, as public funding becomes increasingly tight over the next six years, Charles Clarke has warned. The Education Secretary said he believed planned university expansion could be funded only by "co-payment" between the state and employers. Today he will launch a campaign aimed at persuading more companies to help design vocational degree courses and sponsor students through them.
Financial Times

Poor language skills a risk to earnings
Britain is risking its £3 billion-a-year export earnings from education because its students have poor language skills and are reluctant to study abroad, Professor Steven Schwartz, head of a task force on university admissions, has warned.

Big rise in university applicants from EU
The number of applications to British universities from students in the new member states of the European Union have more than doubled in a year. The number seeking places on degree courses in Britain has risen from 1,332 last year to 3,174, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, said yesterday.
Times, Guardian

Oxford students in trouble over IT exposé
Two Oxford University students could be banned from their studies after exposing serious flaws in the university's IT network by hacking into it while investigating a story for the Oxford Student newspaper.
Guardian ; story first reported in The Times Higher last week: Oxford to punish hacking hacks

Collina wins cap at Hull
Pierluigi Collina, the world's best-known football referee, swapped his black strip for academic robes to collect an honorary degree from the University of Hull yesterday. The doctor of science title was conferred on him in recognition of his contribution to the world of sport.
Daily Telegraph

Older, wiser and solvent
The typical postgraduate is expected to change after top-up fees are introduced. Students are more likely to be over 40 and to have already embarked on a career.

Britain leads the field in scientific output
British scientists are the most productive in the world, according to a global survey carried out by Sir David King, the government's chief scientist, published today in the journal Nature . Britain produces the second largest number of scientific papers, after the US, and comes out well ahead of its international competitors in terms of research output measured against financial input.
Financial Times, Times

Nasa's hopes of saving Hubble recede
The future of the Hubble space telescope looked grim yesterday after a high-level scientific panel conceded that repairing the observatory using robotics would be "difficult". Scientists had been hoping that the telescope, which the panel called the "most important in history", could be salvaged by launching a robotic mission to change its battery and add new instruments. In January, Nasa, the US space agency, cancelled plans for human repair, calling a manned mission to the observatory too risky.
Financial Times

Bones reveal chubby monks aplenty  
Robin Hood's fat companion Friar Tuck had hundreds of real-life counterparts, according to a newly published analysis of skeletons in three monastic burial sites in London. Researchers at the Institute of Archaeology, at University College London, calculated that the monks were consuming in about 6,000 calories a day, and 4,500 even when they were fasting. The findings were revealed to the International Medieval Congress meeting in Leeds.

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