Reporter 435, 26 April 1999

In the news

Professor John Chartres received widespread national and local coverage for his research into the history of the eighteenth-century distilling industry (Reporter 434).

The Guardian, Yorkshire Evening Post and Yorkshire Post all featured his work, which showed that the consumption of spirits has only twice been higher than at present. Professor Chartres commented to the Guardian that the social consequences of Britain's latest alcohol peak were unpredictable and said "Current drinking patterns may find us on the edge of Britain's biggest binge yet."

University staff dominated an article in the Guardian about academics with entrepreneurial talents. Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Wilson was featured as founder of GMAP Ltd, which sells mathematical models of the way people use their environment. Professor David Rhodes was named as "Leeds' most entrepreneurial lecturer" for his founding of Filtronic, the mobile-phone component makers. Filtronic recently announced record results including sales of over £80m for the six months up to November 1998.

Physiologist Dr Deborah Withington's innovations in the area of auditory fire exit signs were also highlighted. Dr Withington is founder and company chairman of Sound Alert Ltd. She said "I haven't made a million yet, but that's what I am aiming for."

University geographer Dr David Clarke has found Britain's first post-modern suburb, as reported in the Guardian, Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post. A major study in Headingley conducted by Dr Clarke found that many residents would accept high crime rates as "a necessary cost of living in a vibrant neighbourhood".

The BBC 1 o'clock news recently featured Dr David Morrison, research director in communications studies. Dr Morrison was asked about the reported rise in suicide following the screening of an episode of the BBC's Casualty featuring the topic. He said he did not believe a television programme could have such an effect.

Research by Dr Robert Aykroyd, lecturer in Statistics into age estimation, was widely reported. The work, jointly investigated by Dr Aykroyd and a Bradford archeaologist, was featured in The Times, The Independent, Daily Mail, New Scientist, The Herald, BBC News 24 Network, Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Three Counties Radio. The results suggest people born centuries ago may actually have lived much longer than previously thought.

And finally, The Times named the University of Leeds as the top choice amongst prospective students. Leeds had most applications amongt all British universities and has replaced Manchester as the top choice for 1999.

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