Today's news

January 14, 2005

Companies alarmed by chemistry closures
The recent closure of university chemistry departments threatens to erode the country's role as a centre of medical innovation, UK drugs companies told a committee of MPs yesterday, writesAndrew Jack. "It will become a significant problem," said Vincent Lawton, head of the UK subsidiary of US firm Merck and president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. He said the concentration of good scientists had been critical to his company's decision to locate R&D facilities in the UK, and expressed concerns about a brain drain.
Financial Times

Poetry makes science sing for Einstein's centenary
Poems by Sir Patrick Moore, Terry Pratchett and Dr Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker of Muppet Labs are among the early entries in a contest to find Britain’s best scientific verse. They have joined scientists such as Monica Grady of the Natural History Museum and Paul Davies of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology in a poetry competition celebrating Albert Einstein. The “UNIVERSE” contest, organised by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, is part of Einstein Year, which marks 100 years since the publication of three seminal papers by the physicist.
The Times
From pop stage to lecture hall
The Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos is to follow in the footsteps of Mikhail Gorbachev and Stephen Hawking by delivering a speech at the famous Edinburgh Lectures at the city's university.
The Guardian , The Scotsman

Huygens probe on course for Titan plunge
The European Huygens probe is following exactly the right course to accomplish one of the most ambitious space missions ever attempted: it should plunge today into the atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon. Scientists have established that the unmanned spacecraft's trajectory is better than they had hoped for when it was released from the Cassini mother ship on Christmas Day, increasing the chances that it will make a successful descent towards the surface of Titan.
The Times , The Guardian
Parkinson's 'could be linked to pesticides'
The Government's independent scientific advisers are stepping up the pressure on Whitehall to investigate the long-standing fear that the widespread use of pesticides against fungi, insects and weeds has increased risk of disease in humans. 
The Guardian

Island museum vies for £100,000 prize
A three-room museum in North Uist has been shortlisted for the UK’s biggest arts prize, worth £100,000. The Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre stands close to the seashore in the village of Lochmaddy in the Outer Hebridean island. Its artefacts are devoted to the simpler side of island life, from crofting to fishing, whisky and weaving, in exhibitions run by local people. It is the only Scottish museum in the running for this year’s Gulbenkian Prize. The other nine contenders range from the National Mining Museum of Wales to major museums in England that have had multimillion-pound refits.
The Scotsman , The Independent

Flight of the albatross: around the world in 46 days
An albatross has flown round the world in just 46 days, according to scientists who spent 18 months studying the birds' migratory behaviour. Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey tracked the movements of 22 grey-headed albatrosses to shed light on where they go in the winter months that they spend away from their breeding colonies off the coast of South Georgia in the south Atlantic.
The Independent , The Guardian , Daily Telegraph


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