Reporter 442, 8 November 1999


In the news

University researchers’ quest for clean rivers was featured in the Sunday Times and the Yorkshire Evening Post this week, after first appearing in Reporter 441. Work by civil engineering researcher Nigel Horan is following research by colour chemist Jim Guthrie into cleaning up dye-contaminated effluent from factories. The dye filters out the sun from rivers and affects the growth of water organisms. A tiny bacterium, which eats the dye in a matter of hours, is being used in a commercial prototype of a reactor used to clean up rivers effectively and cheaply.

In the latest Guardian league tables Leeds continued its run of high scores. Geography and Media Studies were this week’s highest scoring areas for individual subject guides, ranking fourth and sixth respectively. Civil Engineering, Physics, History and Modern Languages also ranked highly in their subject guides.

The Observer highlighted work by Clive Upton, dialect expert in the school of English, who is keeping record of slang expressions before they are lost forever. Dr Upton is part of a team recording the country’s surviving dialects and putting them together on CD-rom.
Dr Upton explained, "People no longer stay working and living in just one area of the country all their lives. As a result English speakers have steadily dropped some of the more unusual words in their vocabulary." Following the article in the Observer, Dr Upton was interviewed by BBC Radio York about the study.

University toxicologist Alastair Hay was called upon by a variety of publications and broadcasters to comment on whether or not scientists at the Porton Down weapons base knew they were risking the lives of men involved in the experiments.
According to Dr Hay, the briefing notes made by scientists at the Wiltshire base suggested they knew the doses they were giving the servicemen could be fatal. He commented that they "were playing with fire." His thoughts were featured in the Independent, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Express and Yorkshire Post.

Leeds’ Pro-Chancellor Colonel Alan Roberts spoke to the Times Higher Educational Supplement about attitudes to the armed forces within the academic community. The article focused on the growing numbers of female students joining university Officer Training Corps (OTCs).
Col Roberts is a former chairman of the Council of Military Education Committees, the umbrella organisation for university OTCs. He commented on the change in attitude to the army and said that "the army is now seen as a peacekeeping, humanitarian force. The academic community, which takes an active interest in current affairs, can relate to that."

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