Today's news

March 16, 2006

One in three students cheats, survey finds
One-third of students admit to cheating at university by copying ideas from books or the internet, according to the results of a survey published today in The Times Higher Education Supplement . The statistics come to light only a day after Oxford University warned that plagiarism by its students could threaten the value of its degrees. The survey, based on 1,022 undergraduates at 119 universities and colleges, found that one in six students admitted they copied work from friends while 10 per cent said they looked for essays online. Male students were more likely to copy work from their friends (21 per cent) than female students (14 per cent), the study revealed. Nearly half of male students (45 per cent) said they copied from their friends for group assignments, compared with 29 per cent of female students, the researchers discovered.
The Guardian, The Times, The Scotsman, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Mar 17)

Students mobilise for French labour protests
French authorities are bracing for another day of mass protests today over new labour laws designed to cut youth unemployment by making it easier for employers to fire younger workers. Tens of thousands of students were expected to join demonstrations around the country and trains into Paris were full of cheering, whistling and singing protesters. Students occupied the Sorbonne in Paris over the weekend, provoking running battles with riot police reminiscent of the riots of May 1968.
The Times

Cambridge cosmologist wins £795,000 prize
A Cambridge University scientist has won the world's most prestigious religious award, the Templeton Prize, worth £795,000. Cosmologist John Barrow received the award yesterday for his work on the nature of human understanding, the universe and the limitations of scientific inquiry. "Our scientific picture of the universe has revealed time and again how blinkered and conservative our outlook has often been," he said.
The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times

Graduate infusion for biomedical science
The total number of science and engineering graduates increased by 57 per cent between 1997 and 2004 and is projected to rise by a further 61 per cent to 3.2 million by 2014, according to official figures released yesterday. The increase, however, is concentrated largely in the biomedical sciences. Ministers took the opportunity of a Celebrating British Science meeting at the Royal Society in London to issue a riposte to recent criticisms of their policy on science education, particularly at A level and undergraduate level. The planned closure of the highly rated chemistry course at the University of Sussex is the latest focus of concern.
The Financial Times

UK looking overseas for science graduates
UK companies are starting to recruit science graduates from overseas rather than rely on the home market because they have a larger pool of high calibre students to choose from, the Confederation of British industry warned yesterday. The deputy director of the CBI, John Cridland, said: "We are beginning to see UK companies saying it makes economic sense to source science graduates internationally, particularly from China and India." China is producing 300,000 graduates every year in science, technology, engineering and mathematics - three times the number coming through UK universities, said the CBI.
The Guardian

Crashed probe yields first results
The first results from a smashed spacecraft's cargo are proving that useful science can be salvaged from the wreckage. The Genesis probe spent more than two years sampling the solar wind, the stream of particles coming from the Sun, by trapping the particles in wafers of diamond, silicon and other materials. But when the probe returned to Earth in September 2004, its parachute failed to open. It slammed into the Utah desert at more than 300 kilometres per hour, exposing its cargo to Earth's atmosphere. Luckily, the tiles were contaminated only on their surface, so atoms buried a few hundred nanometres deep should be from the Sun, not Utah.

The red-hot power of chillies can kill cancer
The substance in chillies that causes the tongue to burn also drives prostate cancer cells to kill themselves, according to research that could pave the way for new treatments. The pepper component capsaicin makes the cells undergo programmed cell death or apoptosis, says a study published in the journal Cancer Research . Tests found that it induced approximately 80 per cent of cancer cells growing in mice to follow the molecular pathways leading to apoptosis. Prostate cancer tumours treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of tumours in non-treated mice, said a team from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of California, Los Angeles.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times

Top-up fees will not be of benefit to students.
The Independent

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