Today's news

November 21, 2005

Physics fades from nation's classrooms
Physics is fast disappearing from schools in England and Wales, with only a quarter now having a teacher with a degree in the subject, according to a study. The number of pupils taking physics has fallen by almost 40 per cent in the past 20 years. To make matters worse, almost half of the country’s physics teachers will be retiring in the next decade. As a result, the Institute of Physics is preparing to offer 300 bursaries to prospective students of the subject. The findings, from Buckingham University, have alarmed academics and scientists. “The science community is in danger of sleepwalking into the loss of one of the greatest branches of knowledge that we possess,” Alan Smithers, one of the report’s authors, said.
The Times

Research tool should be a major fillip to start-ups
A new online research tool set to help more Scottish businesses get access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise has been made available at Glasgow University. The new research map, the brainchild of experts at the university's Dialogues initiative, will allow SMEs to find quickly and easily departments and academics who could help develop and strengthen knowledge partnerships between industry and academia. The tool has been more than two years in the making and brings together more than 50 topics covering every field of research at the university.
The Scotsman

Finance teaching for engineers
A new masters degree in metals and energy finance at Imperial College London is using faculty from its Tanaka Business School to teach alongside faculty from the department of earth sciences and engineering. Would-be engineers will gain an understanding of the world of finance to enable them to establish and run their own mining and energy businesses.
The Financial Times

Bird migration tracker to help fight avian flu
A bird flu early warning system that will track migration routes of potentially infected birds and alert countries where they are heading was announced yesterday. The system will gather data currently scattered across the world's universities, conservation bodies and wildlife groups into one central computer. The database, which is expected to take two years to become operational, will be constantly monitored and updated by global experts studying migratory species. Special maps will be drawn up to show potential bird flu hot spots, in both countries where birds have been nesting and those to which they are migrating.
The Daily Telegraph

Mother's stress 'is contagious'
The children of overworked mothers benefit from spending a larger proportion of the day in childcare, a study has suggested. Researchers funded by Kent University found that children with mothers whose jobs left them feeling emotionally exhausted and stressed also carried higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in their blood streams. The longer the children of such mothers spent at their nursery the happier they were, the researchers found after studying 56 women who had three or four-year-olds. Julie Turner-Cobb, a senior lecturer at the University of Bath, said: “The mechanisms of ‘stress contagion’ are still not fully understood.”
The Times

City team steps up dog jabs in bid to save thousands from killer rabies
A vaccination programme led by city experts that aims to immunise dogs against the killer disease rabies is set to be expanded in a bid to save thousands of lives worldwide. The Edinburgh University-led initiative has already seen 40,000 domestic dogs immunised to try to prevent the spread of the disease to humans.
The Scotsman

From the weekend's papers:

Saturday

  • University applicants could be forced to answer questions about their background as part of a drive to 'socially engineer' admissions. The Daily Mail
  • Woman stabbed at the University of Central England. The Times, The Daily Express

Sunday

  • Medical students are heading for Eastern Europe to study. The Sunday Times
  • Lincoln University tells staff to mark non-existent work to prevent dropouts. The Sunday Times
  • Luton University launches Multicultural Awards for Enterprise. The Independent On Sunday

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