Today's news

July 26, 2005

Ministers reject science committee report
The government today rejected several key recommendations made by MPs on how to prevent science department closures and encourage more students to enter the science, technology, engineering and maths disciplines. In April the Commons science and technology committee published a report following a national row over departmental closures sparked by the closure of chemistry at Exeter last year. The committee recommended that universities adopt regional networks focussing on top departments to ensure that every region has, for example, an internationally-respected chemistry department.
The Guardian

Blunders let professor's wife kill herself
Mistakes at a leading teaching hospital led to the wife of an eminent university professor throwing herself from its roof, an inquest has heard. Less than 90 minutes before 57-year-old Lady Fiona Baker jumped to her death, she had asked medical staff to direct her to a place where she could kill herself, the hospital accepted. Lady Baker, who was admitted to Addenbrooke's, in Cambridge, suffering from delusions and hallucinations as a result of alcohol withdrawal also vanished unnoticed from her ward just before her death. The hospital has apologised to her husband, Sir John Baker, Downing Professor of the Laws of England at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, after admitting a series of blunders.
The Daily Telegraph

Students fail to work out the cost of their degree
A third of teenagers seriously underestimate the amount of debt they will accrue at university and expect their parents to foot the bill, according to research. To make matters worse, almost half of parents are saving nothing to meet higher education costs although they would be prepared to make sacrifices, such as going without a holiday, to do so. A report today shows that would-be students estimate their debt on graduation to be around £7,200 and one in four expect parents to help them pay it off. Research by the Association of Investment Trust Companies says that, while they are not saving to help their children out of the red, parents are willing to make sacrifices.
The Daily Telegraph

Studying in Britain offers route to a visa
Applying to study in this country is one of the most popular routes for obtaining a British visa and the Government has encouraged universities to see foreign students as a source of income. In 2003, more than 190,000 student visas were issued, a rise of 48 per cent in a year. To qualify, students must be able to show they are attending a recognised course, will be able to support themselves without working and promise to leave Britain when they complete their studies. Since 1 January this year, courses for which a student visa can be obtained must be registered on the Department for Education and Skills' "Register of Education and Training Providers".
The Independent

Graduating and finding a job costs students £1,150
Students who finish university this summer can expect to spend £350 on graduating and over £800 on finding their first job, according to figures published today. The average cost of preparing for a graduation ceremony is expected to reach £225, with over £38 spent on gown hire, £35 on a new outfit for the day and £45 on an official photograph and frame to record the event. Dinner, drinks and getting to the ceremony make up much of the rest of the cost, which is in addition to any spending done by the graduate's parents.
The Guardian

Shuttle fuelled and ready for launch
Space shuttle Discovery has taken on the liquid hydrogen and oxygen fuel for its lift-off, which remains scheduled for 1039 EDT (1439 GMT) today. As the day begins in Florida, the weather looks promising and there have been no technical problems. Nasa began adding the 1.9 million litres of cryogenic fuel to the external tank at 0048 EDT (0448 GMT). The process took about three hours to complete. Importantly, all of the engine cut-off fuel sensors in the tank have operated properly. One of the hydrogen sensors failed during a pre-launch test on 13 July, delaying the previous launch attempt.
New Scientist

Scots ear implants bring hope to deaf
Scottish scientists are recreating tiny bones in the middle ear to build a device that could restore the hearing of millions of deaf people. The device - called SMARTFIT - is still in development by bio-engineers at Dundee University, but doctors hope it might help people whose middle ear has been damaged by an infection. Scottish Enterprise is so impressed by the design that yesterday it awarded the project £170,000 through the Proof of Concept scheme to help take innovative designs into the marketplace.
The Scotsman

Chester gains university status
England's newest university was announced today - but the University of Chester can also claim to be one of the most historic, founded 166 years ago. Established in 1839 as a church teacher training college, its original buildings were formally opened by the then future prime minister, Sir William Gladstone, in 1842.
The Guardian

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