Reporter 449, 20 March 2000

In the news

The ceremony to install Melvyn Bragg as Chancellor and to confer honorary degrees was this week featured in the Times Higher Education Supplement, the Yorkshire Post and the Yorkshire Evening Post. As seen in Reporter 448, Lord Bragg also receives an honorary degree from Leeds at the ceremony on 8 June, which confers degrees on Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Lord Alan Bullock, Jude Kelly, Robert Ogden and Colonel Alan Roberts.

A masters course in the ‘science of the small’, first highlighted in Reporter 448, was featured in the Yorkshire Post this week. The course, which involves experiments at a scale of one 10,000th of a millimetre, is run jointly between Leeds and Sheffield and will look at nanoscale science and technology. The course is funded by the EPSRC’s new masters training scheme and is expected to attract up to 25 postgraduate students a year and is opening some of its workshops to the public. Dr Robert Kelsall, deputy director of the centre for self-organising molecular structures, described the work as ‘very much the science of the future’.

Leeds experts in English language and literature have appeared in print and on radio recently talking about English both on a local and global scale. English lecturer Dr Anthea Fraser Gupta took part in a discussion on Radio 4’s Turning World on English as a world language. Dr Fraser Gupta’s main areas of interest include world Englishes, child language and socio-linguistics.

The Times Higher Education Supplement featured Andy Barker, former lecturer in English at Leeds, in its soapbox column. He spoke about his surprise at the absence of Middlesbrough from British fiction, when it was very significant in British industrial history.

Dr Jonathan Joffe, consultant in the Cancer Medicine Research Unit, was one of the first doctors in the country to take part in a virtual reality experiment aiming to show medics how debilitating are the effects of cancer. The ‘In My Steps’ machine, reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post, simulates how even basic tasks can become nearly impossible for cancer patients and aims to help doctors to understand patients’ suffering. Dr Joffe described how the machine made normal tasks feel very slow: "You have to try extremely hard to do something even as simple as walking around the room."

Professor of theology Revd Nigel Biggar took part in Radio 3’s Beyond Belief series to discuss whether society is growing increasingly amoral. The programme, featuring Rabbi Julia Neuberger, Home Office minister Paul Boateng and writer Will Hutton, looked into notions of morality in the current climate of scientific and cultural change.

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