Today's news

February 14, 2005

Lecturers call strike ballot over pensions
University and college lecturers are the latest public sector workers to call a strike ballot over government plans to raise their retirement age from 60 to 65 to reduce the burden of pension costs. A series of one-day strikes are planned for what is expected to be the run-up to the general election on May 5. However, the Government appears to be undaunted by the prospect of hundreds of thousands of public employees taking industrial action during an election campaign.
Financial Times, The Times

Britain is crying out for scientists
The number of sixth formers taking A-level physics has fallen by 30 per cent over the past 15 years. It is hardly surprising against this background that nearly a third of the physics departments in our universities have closed over the same period.
Daily Mail

Scientists urge calm over fears of new HIV strain
HIV and aids scientists and advisers on both sides of the Atlantic urged caution yesterday over suggestions that a new fast-acting strain of the HIV-virus resistant to most anti-retroviral drugs had emerged in New York.
The Guardian

Gene therapy is first deafness 'cure'
A pioneering form of gene therapy has apparently cured deafness in guinea pigs, raising hopes that the same procedure might work in people. "It's the first time anyone has biologically repaired the hearing of animals," says Yehoash Raphael at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and head of the US-Japanese team that developed the technique.
New Scientist

Crick's DNA sketch goes online
The first sketch of the DNA double helix by the molecular biologist Francis Crick has been published on the internet. The rough sketch, made by Crick on a scrap of paper, gives a unique insight into the 1953 discovery that revolutionised medical and forensic science. The sketch is part of 350 documents and images from Crick's collection that are online from today. The collection includes his original research papers on DNA and genetic codes, dating from 1948 to the 1980s. Crick, one of the most celebrated scientists of the last century, died last July, aged 88.
Daily Telegraph

Regarding alumni donations to UK universities.
The Times

Regarding building work at Imperial College London.
The Times

From the weekend's papers:


  • The Medical Research Council announced on Friday the biggest laboratory relocation in its history. The National Institute for Medical Research, its largest establishment, is to move to University College London. Financial Times, The Times
  • The £3,000 cap on top-up fees must be scrapped if British universities are to stay competitive, the government is warned. Evening Standard


  • Exploited tutors say standards are at risk. The reality is that a tutor or lecturer is likely to be underpaid, overworked and may have no job security. Mail on Sunday
  • Physicists at Glasgow University believe that they are on the verge of finding the final link in Einstein’s theory of relativity that would provide definitive evidence of the birth of the universe. The Times
  • Film director Ken Loach, known for the uncompromising realism of his portraits of working class life, is to receive an honorary degree from Oxford University. The Scotman, The Observer

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