Reporter 427, 16 November 1998

News in brief

Zod and the art of space shuttle maintenance

Alan Bennett, the technological jungle and a male chauvinist called Zod all feature in Did I say hairdressing? I meant Astrophysics, a film produced by Leeds Animation Workshop.

The film, made with a little help from members of the physics department, aims to improve opportunities for women and girls in science, engineering and technology and tells the story of Zod, who believes women have no understanding of science, and his daughter Joanne, who has ambitions to be a scientist, inventor or engineer.

The all-women animation team, two of whom studied at Leeds, made the film to address the under-representation of women in science. It is available for sale or hire from the workshop on 248 4997, or see

Working together

Posters and presentations can now be prepared by groups of students in a new group project work area in the Edward Boyle Library learning centre. The facilities include large tables for groups of up to eight students to work together, with networked computers, a printer, guillotine, scanner and photocopier. One table is height-adjustable to allow wheelchair users to participate.

The new room will allow students to work together without disturbing other cluster users. Priority use of the computers will go to groups of students. “We are delighted to provide facilities for students to assemble posters and presentations,” said Senior Assistant Librarian Pam Davies. A second group working area, without PCs, is available on Level 12 of the learning centre.

Action on inequality

Equal opportunity action plans have now been submitted by virtually all University departments. The plans suggest local action that could be taken to encourage equality including improving access to buildings, flexible working arrangements, better training, better targeting of vacancy adverts and encouraging a balanced representation from members of ethnic groups and both genders among staff and students.

“We now have an excellent base from which some very specific achievements can be made,” said Human Resources Director Matthew Knight.

Box of tricks or truth?

Telling the television truth from the trash will be among the topics discussed this week at one of the North’s biggest gathering of media professionals, at Trinity and All Saints University College.

The College’s media week focuses on News, Views, Fictions and Factions. The week features a series of seminars, lectures and workshops, given by key members of the industry, and exploring the issues raised by the blurring of the boundaries between objective reporting, serious comment, information and info-tainment.

The event is co-ordinated by the College’s School of Media and runs from November 16 to 20. Those interested in attending should contact Claire Openshaw on Leeds 283 7200.

From rag – the riches

Fire walkers and multi-legged pub runners were among the students helping to raise nearly £50,000 for local and national charities through the student charity Rag. The money was presented to the organisations at a special evening on October 29 at the Civic Hall, attended by University Pro-Chancellor Colonel Alan Roberts.

“The students have worked tremendously hard to raise this money and deserve praise for their commitment to helping other people,” said Colonel Roberts. Help the Aged was the biggest beneficiary of the students’ efforts, receiving a cheque for over £12,000, while the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Children in Need, and the Royal National Institute for the Blind also received donations worth several thousands of pounds.

Scientific value

The Sunday Times’ Brian Appleyard and internationally-renowned philosopher Mary Midgley are to give a special series of public lectures in education, values and science, in Leeds next month.

Mary Midgley will give the first two 1998 Victor Cook memorial lectures: Science and Poetry, and Atoms, Individuals and Selfish Genery, on December 3 and 4. Brian Appleyard will discuss Science versus the Citizen, in two parts, on December 7 and 8. The lectures are given annually at St Andrew’s University and repeated at two other universities.

Artist’s water colours

Underwater surveys to help develop fish and coral sanctuaries along the Tanzanian coastline will be carried out by an adventurous artist in Civil Engineering when she finishes her postgraduate study.

Ying Ying Tay has been offered the chance to help in the voluntary work of Frontier, part of the UK-based Society for Environmental Exploration, which is working to protect the coastline from over-exploitation and commercial development.

To help raise the £3,000 she needs for the trip she is selling her work, drawn with a combination of traditional ink and watercolours in an “East meets West” style.

Chinese paintings, from which many people believe an artist’s character can be inferred, usually include landscapes, animals and birds to show the harmony between nature and people.

For further information contact her in Civil Engineering or email

A site for research

special feature on contract research staff has been published on Science’s Next Wave – the Internet site for young scientists.

The site contains information about the Concordat on contract research staff career management and perspectives from research staff, university careers services, and representatives from the AUT and funding councils.

“Our background research revealed that many young scientists were unaware of the basic issues behind academic contract research,” said the UK editor of the website John MacFarlane. The website is at

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