Reporter 416, 9 March 1998

In the news

Reporter scoops national press

Novel research on ‘soft gloopy matter’, first highlighted in the Reporter, was featured by both national and international media. Dr Peter Olmstead, who heads a physics network investigating how structured liquids hold together, was interviewed live on Radio 4’s Today programme, the BBC World Service and Radio ABC Melbourne. The Independent, Times, Daily Mail and Yorkshire Post all ran articles on the applications of the research. Dr Olmstead also appeared live on C4’s Big Breakfast Show.

The regional dailies followed up last issue’s front page story on the launch of a computer network preparing Yorkshire universities for the 21st century. Articles appeared in the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post. The Yorkshire and Humberside Metropolitan Area Network linking universities at Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Hull, Sheffield and York will enable video conferencing links and allow students to share information and gain access to a wider range of equipment.

An article on national primary school maths testing, featured in last month’s Reporter, appeared on the education pages of the Yorkshire Evening Post. The Head of the University’s MAK2 team, Professor Diane Shorrocks-Taylor, said “League tables provide a rough guide to how well a school is doing but they don’t take account of the progress a pupil or school has made. I would like to see the ‘value-added’ factor taken into account.”

The Yorkshire Evening Post followed up a feature in January’s Reporter with a full-page report on the research by Dr Jane Francis into global warming. By studying the rings of tree fossils which provide a record of past temperatures, she aims to unravel how the world climate system works.

The Sunday Mirror reported on a cheap new way of detecting CJD, the human equivalent of mad cow disease, currently being developed at the University. The Reporter covered the research, led by Dr Harash Narang, last year.

Under the headline ‘Country house hunt’ the THES featured pioneering work at the new Centre for the Study of Architecture and Decorative Arts. Dana Arnold, director of the Centre, will lead research into the country house’s place in social and economic history. Ms Arnold said: “Architecture is a cultural document full of potential for interpretation. Studying the objects and possessions of a period can tell a social and economic history.”

Also reported in the THES is research at the Institute of Communications Studies into the effect of technology on people’s lives and relationships. The two-year ESRC funded project, headed by Dr David Morrison, will use video cameras to observe 16 families in Yorkshire, East Anglia and London.

The Yorkshire Post highlighted a new dinosaur exhibition at the Royal Armouries Museum. Professor McNeill Alexander, whose work on the locomotion of the Tyrannosaurus rex was featured in the Reporter, is involved in the research collaboration with European robotics specialists. The exhibition aims to showcase high-tec dinosaur models which are able to walk independently, illustrating the potential of new battery-powered visitor attractions.

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