Brain cells clue to genius of Einstein
Scientists may be a step closer to understanding one of the most brilliant minds ever to grace the field, that of Albert Einstein, the man who unravelled the mysteries of the atom. Researchers at Lausanne University identified an unknown role for a type of brain cell which Einstein is thought to have had in more copious supply than the average male. The scientists said the cells provide energy for neural circuits and help build connections, leading to a more complex brain structure. The team, lead by Andrea Volterra, investigated specialised cells known as glial cells, which, it was originally believed, helped hold neurons together but did little else.
Music and dance centre appoints heads
Trinity Laban, the UK's first conservatoire of music and dance, has appointed two principals to lead the newly formed specialist higher education centre. The new centre is a result of the merger of Trinity College of Music with Laban, the centre for contemporary dance. Derek Aviss, formerly deputy principal and director of Trinity College of Music, and Anthony Bowne, the director of Laban, will have shared responsibility for the future direction, growth and development of Trinity Laban, but will have individual responsibilities for each of their colleges.
Buying organic food ‘can harm the planet'
Buying organic food grown locally may sometimes be more damaging to the environment than nipping down to the supermarket for produce that has been driven hundreds of miles across the country, a new study suggests. The report, commissioned by Defra, concludes that so little is known about the overall environmental impact of any food produce that it is impossible to say which are the most environmentally friendly.
Double-first at Bodleian as US woman takes over
One of the last remaining bastions of male domination has come crumbling down as one of the oldest libraries in Europe prepares to get to grips with the demands of the 21st century. For more than 400 years, the Bodleian library - the main research library at the University of Oxford and the second largest in the UK after the British library - has had a man at the helm. It has also never been run by anyone born outside these shores. But both of those taboos have been broken this week, with the accession of Sarah Thomas to the post of librarian. Dr Thomas has a distinguished record in the United States, where she worked at the Library of Congress in Washington DC as acting head of its Public Service Collections before moving on to oversee the 20 libraries at America's Cornell University.
The Independent, The Times Higher Education Supplement (November 24)
5,000-year-old artificial eyeball found
A 5,000-year-old golden artificial eye that once stared out mesmerisingly from the face of a female soothsayer or priestess in ancient Persia has been unearthed by Iranian and Italian archaeologists. The eyeball - the earliest artificial eye found - would have transfixed those who saw it, convincing them that the woman - thought to have been strikingly tall - had occult powers and could see into the future. Italian archaeologists said yesterday that the prophetess had also been buried with an ornate bronze hand mirror, which she presumably used to check her “startling appearance”.