Today's news

December 14, 2005

Improve governance, universities warned
As British universities enter a riskier and more entrepreneurial world they will need better and more professional boards of governors, Richard Lambert, a member of the Bank of England's monetary committee, said yesterday. Mr Lambert, a former editor of the Financial Times who chaired a Treasury inquiry into the links between business and higher education, said: "In an entrepreneurial environment, universities are taking more risks and the executives taking these risks need a relationship with a committed kind of governing body able to assess which risks are manageable and appropriate for a university."
The Guardian

American co-author wants name off stem cell paper
After several days of serious accusations about the validity of a prominent article on the cloning of human cells, the senior author, Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh, has asked for his name to be removed as co-author, the editors of the journal Science said yesterday. They also said they were refusing the request because authors could not withdraw their names unilaterally and Dr Schatten's Korean co-authors, who did all the experiments, had not yet agreed to retract the article.
New York Times

Candle employee unfairly sacked
A university accommodation worker sacked after lighting candles in memory of a dead student has won her case for unfair dismissal. Maria Ciupka lit the tea lights in a house on Christmas Eve as a tribute to a female student who had lived there and recently committed suicide. An employment tribunal has awarded the mother-of-one £6,370, after ruling the “uncompromising” position of Ms Ciupka’s former employers did not take into account her religious beliefs and other factors which influenced her actions.
The Times

Academic at St Andrews scoops prize
The Royal Astronomical Society yesterday announced that Dr Clare Parnell, of St Andrews University, has won the Fowler Prize for Geophysics in recognition of "her outstanding contribution" to solar physics.
The Scotsman

Turkmen university named for leader's book
Turkmenistan's president, Sapamurat Niyazov, has ordered construction of a university to be named after his book Rukhnama , which is held as a sacred text in the ex-Soviet republic. The university will be completed in 2010 in the capital, Ashgabat.
The Scotsman

Hubble measures white dwarf
Scientists have used the Hubble telescope to weigh a white dwarf for the first time, offering new insights into the evolution and death of stars. Efforts to study white dwarves, the burnt-out remains of stars, have been held back because the closest one to Earth is a companion of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, which swamps its faint glow. Astronomers led by Martin Barstow, of the University of Leicester, have used Hubble to isolate the light from the Sirius B white dwarf, enabling them to measure the defunct star’s mass.
The Times

Scientist gets a buzz out of brainbox bees
The very small brains of bees are still good enough to recognise different human faces, new research has discovered. Adrian Dyer, an Australian scientist working at Cambridge University, has trained a troupe of bees to recognise different human faces by rewarding them with a sucrose solution when they visited a particular photograph. Other photographs visited by the seven bees bore only a bitter quinine solution and the bees, despite having brains the size of pin heads, were able to remember the sweet faces, even when the pictures were mixed up and after a gap of two days.
Daily Telegraph

Festive feuds blamed on dinner overload
The traditional Christmas lunch: a touching scene of familial togetherness ruined only by the inevitable outbreak of hostilities between relatives, even before the Queen has uttered a word. Now scientists claim the answer is all in the food. The traditional Christmas overload of turkey, sprouts, spuds and pudding can lead to repeated changes in blood sugar levels, according to Paul Clayton, a pharmacologist and president of the forum on food and health at the Royal Society of Medicine.
The Guardian

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