Today's news

April 11, 2005

Fees plea for part-time students
A group of university vice-chancellors today call on all political parties to ensure equality of treatment for thousands of part-time students who will receive a worse deal than full-timers when top-up fees are introduced. From next year, part-time students will still pay tuition fees upfront, even though full-time students in England will have the right to defer payment until after graduation and will then repay according to income. Yet part-timers account for 40 per cent of the student population and many are in poorly paid occupations, if in work at all.
The Guardian

Why Einstein may have got it wrong
A century after Albert Einstein published his most famous ideas, physicists will today commemorate the occasion by trying to demolish one of them. Astronomers will tell experts gathering at Warwick University to celebrate the anniversary of the great man's "miracle year" that the speed of light - Einstein's unchanging yardstick that underpins his special theory of relativity - might be slowing down.
The Guardian

Scientist calls for world DNA database
Everyone in the world should have their genetic profile stored on a database, but the information should be held independently of the authorities, according to the pioneer of DNA fingerprinting. Current practice means that only the DNA of criminals is stored in most countries and the information is held by government agencies. At a lecture on Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of the discovery of DNA fingerprinting, Sir Alec Jeffreys of Leicester University said a global DNA database would have been invaluable in attempting to identify victims of the recent tsunami.
The Guardian, New Scientist

Radiation burst may have wiped out marine life
A mighty blast of radiation from an exploding star may have wiped out most life in the sea 450 million years ago, scientists claim. New research suggests that a gamma ray burst could have been responsible for the Ordovican mass extinction in which 60 per cent of all marine invertebrates died. Gamma ray bursts are immensely powerful surges of radiation. Many are thought to caused by the explosions of stars more than 15 times more massive than the Sun.
The Scotsman, The Guardian

Female scientists need screen role models, TV producers told
More Silent Witness -style dramas starring women scientists must be shown on television to encourage female students to follow careers in science and engineering, an influential group of scientists and programme makers will say today. Annette Williams, the director of the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology, said that scientists needed to use television to get their message across.
The Independent

On the rounds
Onions, garlic and some other salad foods may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, according to researchers at the University of Bern. Scientists found that rats fed just 1g of onions a day developed stronger bones and suffered low resorption - the process by which calcium seeps from the bones. A similar result was obtained with 500mg of onion mixed with garlic, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, rocket and parsley.
The Scotsman

NIT launches double master's course
Hamburg's Northern Institute of Technology is offering a two-year double masters programme - an MBA in technology management and an MSc at the Hamburg University of Technology. The programme includes a three-month internship at one of more than 30 sponsors of the NIT, such as DaimlerChrysler and Siemens.
The Financial Times

From the weekend's papers:


  • Universities have been accused of enrolling wealthy overseas students who can barely speak English. The Daily Mail
  • The cost of going to university is set to reach record levels next year. The Times
  • Students are more likely to be depressed about not having enough spending money than about the much larger amounts owed in debts, says research. The Guardian


  • White patients are able to cope better with the pressure of having cancer than their Asian counterparts in Britain, research suggests. The Scotsman, The Daily Mail
  • Students at mercy of vultures behind ATMs. The Mail on Sunday
  • Students aiming for a career in construction have an opportunity to boost their finances, thanks to a new undergraduate grant scheme. The Daily Mail

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