In the news
Leeds’ Dr Piers Forster was one of 600 scientists from 40 countries who contributed to the landmark international report, Climate Change 2007 and he spoke to the New Scientist about his involvement.
The report, launched in Paris earlier this month, paints a stark picture of global warming that made headlines around the world. As one of the lead authors, Dr Forster’s work fed into the report’s central prediction that temperatures would increase by between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, while sea levels would rise by between 28 and 43cm. It drew on his expertise in quantifying the impact of carbon dioxide and particle aerosols on climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report contains six years of research and took three years to write. You can read the report’s summary and view a webcast at www.ipcc.ch.
Ancient Greek rowers living around 500BC would have completely outperformed today’s top athletes, according to research by Leeds exercise physiologist Dr Harry Rossiter, reported in the New Scientist, CNet News.com, Canada’s Edmonton Sun, Athens International News Radio, the Daily Express, the Daily Telegraph, Talk Sport Radio and the Yorkshire Post.
Using a replica of a trireme, a 37m long Athenian warship powered by 170 rowers, he found that modern athletes could only sustain an average speed of five knots, whereas one Athenian crew rowed nonstop for 24 hours at seven knots to prevent a massacre on the island of Lesbos.
Dr Rossiter said: “Our data raises the interesting notion that these ancient athletes were genetically better adapted to endurance exercise than we are today.”
The United Kingdom weighs 24 million billion tons, according to new research by a team involving scientists from the University of Leeds, based on calculations of the thickness of the earth’s crust. Geophysicist Professor Greg Houseman told South Africa’s Independent Online that: “The heaviest part of the UK is Oxford, where the earth’s crust is particularly thick and the ground weighs 140,000 tonnes per square kilometre.”
A Leeds study found that women who eat foods high in fibre such as wholemeal bread, cereals, fruit and vegetables cut their risk of breast cancer in half, reported the Daily Mirror, the Daily Mail, the Independent, the Guardian, China View, the BBC News, the New Zealand Herald, Daily Express, Australia’s News-Medical.net, the Yorkshire Post and the Eastern Daily Press.
Professor Janet Cade, who led the study, said the effect was only seen in pre-menopausal women up to the age of about 50.
Leeds University Business School has been ranked 82nd in the Financial Times’ world top 100 full-time MBA/business schools. The school is also ranked 6th in the ‘top ten’ list for international business studies.
“Ethiopia is the only place on the planet where we can see a continent splitting apart on dry land,” geophysicist Dr Tim Wright told the Middle East Times in Egypt, the Khaleej Times in the United Arab Emirates, and Daily India.com. Dr Wright is leading an international team of scientists to measure the ground movements caused by continental rifting (see Reporter 522).
Dr Daniel Morgan from the School of Earth and Environment was interviewed on BBC Manchester to discuss Italian research showing that 4,000 years ago, Mt Vesuvius erupted with such ferocity that huge areas of land were uninhabitable for decades.
Dr Morgan said Vesuvius is heavily monitored by a large team of volcanologists, and is not about to erupt: “There are about 2000 active volcanoes worldwide, of which only a small fraction are erupting at any given time.”
A Leeds survey has found that most people can remember where they were during the 9/11 terrorist attacks more than any other moment. Second on the list is the death of Princess Diana. Psychologist Professor Martin Conway told the Daily Mail that so-called ‘flashbulb memories’ relate to memories of public events that have a strong personal resonance.
Consumers need more help choosing environmentally friendly products, according to a Leeds study reported in the BBC News and The Times. Dr William Young said that green consumers find it easy to make decisions about organic or fair trade food, but energy-efficiency labelling should be extended to items such as cars, televisions and MP3 players (see Reporter 520).
University spin-out company Syntopix has signed an agreement with one of the world’s largest clinical research organisations to develop an acne treatment, chief executive Stephen Jones told the Yorkshire Post.
Oscar-nominated screenwriter and Leeds alumnus Peter Morgan, who co-wrote the screenplay for The Queen, is now working with Stephen Frears on a film adaptation of David Peace’s football novel The Damned Utd, reported the Yorkshire Evening Post. It will tell the story of Brian Clough’s turbulent 44 days as boss of Leeds United.
Professor of Disability Studies Colin Barnes joined BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss the case of a nine-year-old American girl with a rare health condition who is deliberately being prevented from growing up, which her parents and carers argue is in her best interests.
An online survey about people’s attitudes to skin cancer (see Reporter 522) is part of an international research project co-ordinated by Leeds, reported Medical News Today and the Yorkshire Post. Dermatology Professor Julia Newton-Bishop said the project also aims to identify melanoma risk genes and find out how they respond to sun exposure and lifestyle.