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Issue 466, 8 May 2001


Nothing tentative about it

Professor John Altringham
School of Biology

I’d like to make a small but significant correction to the article on our SRIF bid for a biodiversity and conservation research centre in the Yorkshire Dales. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority did not give a tentative welcome to the project. At a full, formal meeting of the Authority it received unanimous and enthusiastic backing. English Nature and the Environment Agency were also very positive about the project.

Regrettably, NGOs and government agencies rarely have the financial freedom and speed of response needed for opportunities such as SRIF.

Sun doesn’t shine on minority habit

John Spence
Electronics Workshop, School of Chemistry

As a member of the currently most oppressed minority group in this country, financially by the state and socially by our places of work and by our fellow workers, I wish to ask David Fairer to consider again his plea or plan. Is it not enough that we are obliged to withstand the inclemency of our weather whenever we have the rare moment of leisure to indulge our habit? He suggests that we may now have to walk through the rain, sleet, etc. of the British summer to the boundaries of the campus. Where will this oppression end? Are we to be segregated, forced into ghettos, or perhaps into camps away from public view?

Smoking ban from big brother

Dr Haiko Muller
School of Computing

I note that ‘Big Brother’ has decided (Reporter 465) that the University, unlike the country, is now a smokeless zone. I trust this is mentioned in all overseas promotions.

Why bats don’t need dictionaries

Professor Brian Hoyle
Director, Institute of Integrated Information Systems

Thanks for the semantic interest shown by Dr Baczkowski (Reporter 465) in the overview of work of various Leeds ultrasound research interest group members, and others, featured in Reporter 464.

Semantics apart, our ultrasound systems are ‘non-invasive’ in the sense that they ‘observe’ from outside the process, usually a great advantage. Although there is ‘radiation’, it’s simply a sound wave, whereas common usage of radiation implies an ionising form. Of course, prolonged exposure to any form of localised energy source may be damaging in the limit (as indicated in long exposure, closely coupled, high energy ultrasound tests). For modern clinical purposes, readers can be assured that ultrasound systems are used only where there is an indicated diagnostic benefit, and then only for very short periods.

Our work on airborne ultrasound systems, such as our ‘spatial imager’, uses tiny pulsed transmitters working in air; their drive power is far less than typical for an audio loudspeaker.

It’s likely, by the way, that the visual display unit that we typically use to prepare our words, through mechanical vibrations in sympathy with the 50-100kHz line output frequency, bathes us all in ultrasound for much of the day!

As demonstrated by my colleague Dean Waters, bats do seem to live in (low intensity) ‘surround ultrasound’ without problems. They do use this energy form with great sophistication to explore their world. And they also manage without dictionaries!

Cloth requires a little mending

Professor Stephen Burkinshaw
School of Textiles and Design

I wanted to thank the Reporter for the excellent article on the ULITA Heritage Lottery fund success.

I have only one small comment concerning the article: the merger with Bretton Hall has led to the creation of a ‘School of Textiles and Design’ rather than a ‘Department of Textile and Design’ as stated in the article.

Once again, many thanks for your efforts on our behalf.

Giving credit where credit is due

Professor Animesh Jha
Department of Materials

Reporter 464 covered the award of two SMART prizes to a University spin-off company, Optiglass Devices Ltd, based on research carried out in the Department of Materials. The credit was given only to myself and to the company director, Dick Gale. The Reporter failed to acknowledge the teamwork involved in the research, or the fact that the awards were jointly won by Drs M Naftaly, S Shen, and myself. I and my research team would also like to acknowledge the immense technical support given by Mr. Mo Javed. Sadly, the photo in the printed Reporter only showed myself and Dick Gale, although a photo of the whole team is available on the web.

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