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Trainees implicate Cambridge university of ‘greenwashing’ ties with oil companies

Student activists at Cambridge have accused the university of attempting to greenwash its relationship with oil and gas firms by stealing their group’s name for a project led by an academic linked to the fossil fuel industry. Cambridge University is to launch its Cambridge Zero initiative at an event in London next week. The project’s…

Air contamination eliminates 5 individuals in Bristol every week, research study...

Five people die each week in Bristol as a result of high levels of air pollution, a study has revealed. Researchers at King’s College London examined the combined impact of PM2.5, which is mainly from domestic wood and coal burning and industrial combustion and nitrogen dioxide, which mainly comes from older polluting vehicles. The fine…

‘We’re at breaking point’: will UK researchers’ concepts make it through...

Professor Jurriaan Ton, a Dutch expert in plant science at Sheffield University, feels British. His son was born here, his family love Yorkshire, and after more than a decade of producing highly cited research in the UK he has invested “massively” in the resources needed to make his blue skies research a success. But if…

Can labs suppress their dependency to plastic?

Scientific research is a largely ignored consumer of single-use plastics, with the biomedical sciences a particularly high-volume offender. Plastic petri dishes, bottles of various shapes and sizes, several types of glove, a dizzying array of pipettes and pipette tips, a hoard of sample tubes and vials: they have all become an everyday part of scientific…

Did you fix it? Would you enter into Oxford?

Earlier today I set you a question from Oxford university’s Mathematics Admissions Test. You need to pack several items into your shopping bag without squashing anything. The items are to be placed one on top of the other. Each item has a weight and a strength, defined as the maximum weight that can be placed…

Can you resolve it? Would you enter Oxford?

Last week about 3,500 of Britain’s most mathematically gifted sixth formers sat Oxford university’s annual Mathematics Admissions Test. The exam is designed to test “mathematical understanding…rather than a breadth of knowledge.” Today’s puzzle is taken from a recent paper. It’s about stacking items in a shopping bag. If you get full marks in parts (i),…

Victoria Braithwaite obituary

Until the early 2000s everyone knew that fish do not feel pain. The biologist Victoria Braithwaite, who has died aged 52 from cancer, showed that everyone who thought that was wrong. Her demonstration that fish do feel pain caused a revolution in animal welfare research, resulted in changes to Home Office regulations and even featured…

Wake-up call: is the federal government now listening to university specialists?

Steve Brine, a former public health minister, was intrigued when he spotted a fellow train passenger reading Matthew Walker’s bestseller Why We Sleep. He picked up a copy of the popular science book, which argues that sleeping a eight hours per night can transform physical and mental health, and subsequently pushed to include guidance on…

Oxford teacher implicated of offering ancient Bible pieces

An Oxford University professor has been accused of selling ancient Bible fragments to a controversial US company that has been involved in several high-profile scandals related to its aggressive purchases of biblical artefacts. Dirk Obbink, one of the world’s most celebrated classics professors, has been named after an investigation by staff associated with Oxford’s Oxyrhynchus…

Why mathematicians simply can’t stop their chalkboards

Another year, another wave of students trampling across autumn leaves, making their way to their first lectures heady with a cocktail of excitement, apprehension and a nasty hangover. But while every year brings new faces, one feature of the academic landscape remains ever-present: the huge, imposing blackboards. Now photographer Jessica Wynne, a professor at the…

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