Today's news

July 6, 2006

John Moores lecturers to protest over schools closures
Lecturers at Liverpool John Moores University will today protest against plans to close the institution's language and business information schools. University management recently told staff that German and Chinese would no longer be offered and the BSc in e-business would also be axed. At least 41 academic and administrative jobs will be lost. The president of the local University and College Union branch, John Middleton, said the decision had been "rushed". He said closing the schools did not "make financial sense" and lost income from the language school would adversely affect the whole university.
The Guardian

Student all set to make Question Time history
A student who works as a scuba diving instructor in his spare time and supports the Tories is due to appear as a panellist on Question Time on BBC1 tonight. Matt Pollard, 20, from High Wycombe, Bucks, is the first member of the public to appear on the show in its -year history after winning a competition for under-25s to join the panel. He will join David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, Lord Coe, Julia Goldsworthy, a Liberal Democrat finance spokesman, and Richard Madeley. Mr Pollard is in his first year of an international relations degree at Exeter University. His father, Trevor, an accountant, will be in the audience.
The Daily Telegraph

Baccalaureate gets top marks at Ucas
The International Baccalaureate won the first official recognition yesterday of its academic superiority over A levels, the exam it is beginning to replace. A new points tariff announced by Ucas - the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service - made a relatively modest IB score of 35 points (out of a maximum of 45) equivalent to four and a half A grades at A level. An IB score of 38, the average achieved every year by more than 200 pupils at Sevenoaks, one of the first independent schools to adopt the exam, was deemed to be equivalent to five As at A level. Oxford and Cambridge typically ask for 40 points, equivalent to five and a half A grades.
The Daily Telegraph

$50m 'masterpiece' is poor forgery, says arts professor
A painting that was hailed as a 14th-century masterpiece when it was bought last year by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for a reported $50 million (£ million) is a 19th-century fake in the view of a leading American scholar. James Beck, professor of art history at Columbia University in New York, believes that Duccio’s Madonna and Child , which the Met dates to 1300, is the work of a much later hand. He says that it could never have come from the hand of a towering genius considered, with Giotto, to have been a principal founder of Western European painting. “It is a fake based upon indications found in works by or associated with Duccio,” he said. “It is not even a good forgery.”
The Times

LSE lures global faculty
The London School of Economics and Political Science is flexing its muscles in management education by recruiting two big-hitting international faculty, from Chicago GSB and Oxford University’s Saïd school. This summer will see economist Luis Garicano move to the LSE from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, where he is a professor of economics and strategy. The LSE has also recruited Paul Willman from the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, where he is director of the doctoral programme. Professor Willman, who was previously a professor at London Business School, is a specialist in industrial relations, collective bargaining, employee relations, unions and risk management.
The Financial Times

Twin towers survivors sought for skyscraper research
Researchers from three British universities are involved in a project that aims to improve the safety of skyscrapers worldwide by interviewing 1,000 survivors of the World Trade Centre collapse. The academics, all international experts in fire-safety engineering, want to interview people who escaped from the twin towers in New York following the 9/11 attacks to understand not only the physical but also all the environmental and behavioural factors involved in evacuating buildings. The project leader, Ed Galea, from Greenwich University, said that, almost five years after the September 11 attacks, building evacuation procedures were still not being designed with real situations in mind.
The Guardian

Starshade brings fresh hope in search for alien life
The quest to find Earth-like planets where alien life may thrive is boosted today by a University of Colorado professor who has unveiled plans for a gigantic daisy-shaped space shield. Although large planets, similar to Jupiter, have already been spotted outside our solar system, the orbiting shield should allow astronomers to make out much smaller and more habitable planets. Such so-called "Goldilocks planets" would be close enough to their neighbouring star so as to be not too hot and not too cold to support life. The daisy shield - a thin plastic starshade technically known as an "occulter" - effectively blocks out starlight, enabling astronomers to see further into space.
The Daily Telegraph, Nature

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