Today's news

August 23, 2004

Nobel chemist Kroto joins the brain drain
Leading scientist Sir Harry Kroto has announced that he will move to the US. The Nobel prize-winning chemist is leaving Britain for America because he says raising funds for his work will become increasingly difficult after he reaches retirement age later this year. Sir Harry, who says he has grown weary of the constant struggle to raise cash, is moving from Sussex University to Florida State University, which has guaranteed money for his research. Sir John Enderby, vice-president of the Royal Society, said: "Excellence should be supported, irrespective of age. Sir Harry's departure is not good news for UK science and for UK chemistry in particular. Harry has been terrific for chemistry."
Daily Telegraph

Too few pupils sit science at A level
Science in Britain faces a crisis unless more pupils are encouraged to study A-level physics, chemistry and mathematics, experts said yesterday. The Royal Society said the drop in the number of undergraduates choosing to study science reflected a fall in the number taking science A-levels. Latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service show that 15,659 students applied to study physics at university this year, a 10 per cent drop on the previous year. While the number of chemistry applications rose by 7per cent, the number of applications for biology degrees fell by 2 per cent to 24,818. At the same time, applications for journalism degrees rose 16 per cent, politics by 17 per cent and food and beverage studies by 31 per cent.
Daily Telegraph

Glasgow is haven for debt-ridden students
As thousands of students weigh up the cost of a degree, Glasgow works out best for undergraduates who want to keep their debt levels in check, according to the Student Living Index on student finances, commissioned by the Royal Bank of Scotland. The survey of 21 university towns reveals that students spend nearly £1 billion a year on alcohol - three times more than they do on books and course materials.
Scotsman, Times, Financial Times

Many school-leavers lack basic skills
A third of businesses have had to give school-leavers basic training in literacy and numeracy skills, according to research by the Confederation of British Industry.
The annual CBI-Pertemps employment trends survey of more than 500 companies found an increasing number of business heads were dissatisfied with the educational standards of school-leavers.
Financial Times

Building the business of student enterprise
Budding entrepreneurs can launch a start-up company while studying at the Moffat Centre, part of Napier University's business school.
Scotsman

Artificial cornea is a step closer
British scientists are nearing a breakthrough in efforts to create an artificial cornea that could save millions from blindness. Researchers from Lancaster University and Sheffield University hope to become the first in the world to make the artificial eye implant after receiving a £425,000 grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council.
Times, Guardian

Pope notes moral risk of science
Pope John Paul II has warned that humanity's progress in science and technology risks overlooking moral values. He cited experiments in human cloning and insisted that advanced research must not become an end in itself.
Independent

Obituaries
- Shizuo Kakutani, the mathematician whose work on subjects such as fixed-point theorems had an impact beyond his field, died on August 17 2004, aged 92. Times
- John Passmore, the Australian philosopher, has died aged 89. Daily Telegraph

Higher education items in the weekend press
- Cambridge is to be the first to use individual marks to distinguish between A-grade candidates. Sunday Telegraph
- Record numbers of students have confirmed university places, but applications to the natural sciences are dwindling in number. Independent on Sunday
- The deals on offer to college leavers struggling with overdrafts. Independent on Sunday
- Students heading off to university this autumn should not delay in applying for financial support from their LEAs. Observer
- How to upgrade university when your results are better than expected. Sunday Times
- University towns are becoming too dear for buy-to-let owners. Daily Telegraph , August 21
- Headhunters are finding novel ways to recruit graduates. Daily Telegraph , August 21
- Education experts are to recommend that universities use standardised tests alongside exam results and interviews to select their candidates. Financial Times , August 21
- An insurance policy covering students against the potentially astronomical costs of leaving university prematurely will be launched next week. Independent , August 21
- An e-book promises to teach freshers to budget and plan ahead. Guardian , August 21
- Radical proposals to allow the best universities to expand could lead to the return of the polytechnic. Daily Mail , August 21
- Students who fell just short of the grades they required are not getting the places they usually would due to the record number who did achieve their passes. Independent , August 21

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