Reporter 444, 6 December 1999


In the news

Research aimed at re-creating walking dinosaurs was included in New Scientist recently. Professor McNeill Alexander has given advice to a Europe-wide project developing life-size robotic dinosaurs that will walk around museums and interact with visitors. Professor Alexander told reporters, "A real dinosaur has hundreds of muscles, so we’ve had to compromise." The designers hope to complete a full-size version of the dinosaur by 2001.

The Sunday Times recently featured two stories from Reporter 442. The newspaper highlighted both the computer-tracking software, designed by the schools of computer studies and biology to track the movement of chickens, and techniques used to produce emulsions in the department of mining and mineral engineering.
Professor Michael Forbes said the computer-tracking software was not limited to chickens: "The software could pick out when a piglet is in difficulty or detect lame cows from the usual profile they have when they walk."

Another Reporter story made national headlines and news bulletins last week. Dr Paul Williams’ efforts to recycle tyres were featured in the last issue and were subsequently included in BBC news on-line, the Scotsman, Yorkshire Evening Post and BBC Look North.
Stephen Evans of Wakefield tyre company Top Treads was sufficiently impressed with Dr Williams’ idea to offer him more ingredients for his reactors. "Come and get them, please," he said of the tyre mountain behind him.

The Times Higher Educational Supplement reported research by University earth scientists. Andy Jackson and Dave Gubbins are working with Art Jonkers, historian at the Free University of Amsterdam, looking at the history of the earth’s magnetic field.
They are combining historical compass measurements with measurements derived from rocks to try to piece together a model of the earth’s magnetic field over the past 400 years. Professor Gubbins told the THES: "In the past, the field has often changed completely, with magnetic North becoming South."
They hope that by looking at the history of the field they will be able to more accurately predict its future.

The national media has again highlighted the University’s own enfants terribles, the Leeds 13 fine art graduates. They were featured on this week’s Channel 4 documentary on the Turner Prize. The show’s presenter Matthew Collings asked the group to give their views on the four artists shortlisted for the Turner prize, on the basis that you can’t kid a kidder!

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