Today's news

April 11, 2006

Oxford seeks to extend injunction
Oxford University returned to London's High Court yesterday in an effort to extend the scope of an existing injunction against animal rights campaigners effectively to cover the whole city. The university first sought an injunction in 2004 after the building of a new biomedical research laboratory proved controversial because some work to be carried out there was likely to involve experimentation on live animals. The injunction set up special exclusion zones and sharply curtailed permitted demonstrations and other protest activity. However, lawyers for the university told a judge yesterday that they believed the "whole of the university" was the target of the campaign and even broader protections were needed.
The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph

Science class no place for creationism, says Royal Society
Britain's most distinguished scientists today denounced the distortion of scientific knowledge to promote religious beliefs in schools. The Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science, issued a statement saying evolution was "recognised as the best explanation for the development of life on Earth from its beginnings and for the diversity of species" and that it was "rightly taught as an essential part of biology and science courses in schools, colleges and universities across the world". With supporters of creationism and its offshoot "intelligent design" stepping up their efforts in the US, there are fears that the promotion of faith schools in the UK could lead to anti-evolutionary theories being taught in British classrooms.
The Guardian

Royal Society launches science and computing prize
The Royal Society is this week launching an interdisciplinary award in science and computing in conjunction with the Académie des Sciences. The prize, funded by Microsoft, recognises researchers "working at the interface between science and computing [who] are rapidly expanding the frontiers of knowledge", according to Professor Martin Taylor, vice-president of the Royal Society. The award, which will be given jointly by the British and French institutions, is also meant to contribute to the development of international scientific relations, especially within Europe.
The Guardian

Finance guide aimed at Edinburgh students
Students in Edinburgh are to be given advice on where to find funding for their time at university. Aimhigher Scotland has created a finance guide to help students understand what help they are entitled to and to apply for support. The organisation has teamed up with the Student Awards Agency for Scotland to produce the finance guide. It will cover who is entitled to support for fees and living expenses and how loans can be paid back.
The Scotsman

Euro spacecraft makes Venus rendezvous
An unmanned European spacecraft performed a "handbrake turn" around Venus as part of a mission that could help explain global warming. Venus Express , a robotic craft, burned its engine for 50 minutes to slow its speed enough to be captured by the planet's gravity. The main engine burn was begun at 0817 BST by controllers at the European Space Agency's operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany. Success means the spacecraft can now loop around the planet's poles in a tight elliptical orbit, bringing it within 250 miles of the north pole.
The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman

Scientists to put their heads to matters of heart
Scientists are set to go speed dating - in a bid to discover the most effective chat up lines. Psychologists will study 100 speed dates to establish which topics of conversation give the best insight into a prospective partner's personality. Professor Richard Wiseman, of Hertfordshire University, and Dr James Houran, an American expert on the psychology of compatibility, are to lead the study. Members of the public have also been invited to participate, with people being been asked to decide which of four profiled women is most suitable for a given man.
The Scotsman

Students across the country are being affected by the boycott on exams by lecturers.
The Daily Telegraph

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