The Reporter
Issue 493, 27 October 2003
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In the news

Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Wilson’s appointment as the government’s first director-general for higher education (see Reporter 493) was featured across the national press – the THES, Guardian, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times – and in the Yorkshire Post. Talking in the Guardian about his new role, Sir Alan said: “The big problem is maintaining and enhancing world-class research and quality teaching, developing knowledge transfer, and actually demonstrating that new investment in universities really can deliver at the same time as carrying forward the growth policy and widening access policy.”

Michael Howard is also taking on new challenges as leader of the Tory party. Management development expert Professor Richard Thorpe spoke to the Guardian about ways to analyse leaders: “The Great Man theory is where researchers looked at great leaders of the past and tried to unpick character traits, but a lot of new thinking relies more on how leaders can distribute their values and define a future landscape they can get people to believe in.”

The beleaguered Leeds United was also due a change of manager after announcing an annual loss of £49.5m. Interviewed in the Independent, Professor Bill Gerrard from LUBS estimated that the club ‘needs to cut expenditure by some £39m a year to break even’.

The British public have said ‘no’ to suggestions that parents using IVF should only be able to choose the sex of their child if there are medical reasons for doing so. However, pre-implantation testing for genetic defects is technically difficult due to the lack of cells to work with. New Scientist reported work on a new more efficient test developed by Professor Alan Handyside from biology. In the Yorkshire Post, Professor Handyside explained he ‘had long-believed that “very powerful” techniques would one day be available to look at the genetic make-up of individual embryos’.

Professor of composition Philip Wilby and colleagues have completed Mozart’s C minor mass. The Yorkshire Evening Post explained that Mozart wrote the piece to ‘show off his skill and the talents of his wife, Constanza Weber, who sang the soprano part’. On the Guardian website he said: “The whole work is something of a showcase for sopranos, and is filled with fine solos, and magnificently competitive duets.” In the Yorkshire Post, Professor Wilby likened the task to ‘repairing a stained glass window by replacing the missing pieces with appropriately coloured fragments’.

Cockerels have elaborate plans for making best use of their sperm, according to work published in Nature by Dr. Tom Pizzari in the school of biology (see page 9). The story also appeared on BBC online, Science, New Scientist and National Geographic.

‘Young affluent professionals are moving in and turning Leeds into the London of 10 years ago’ reported the Yorkshire Evening Post, picking up on work led by Dr Rachel Unsworth in the school of geography (see page 8). The survey of people living in the city centre was also covered by the Yorkshire Post and Dr Unsworth was interviewed about her research on BBC2’s Working Lunch.


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