Durham space researchers number one in Europe
Durham University is number one in Europe and fourth in the world for the impact and influence of its space science research. The league table, published in the Times Higher Education, puts Durham ahead of the University of Cambridge and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
The data, provided by Thomson Reuters, measures ‘impact' by counting citations per research paper - the number of times Durham research is mentioned by other researchers.
Durham's research includes computer simulations of the large scale structure and evolution of the Universe, how galaxies form and evolve and what happens to material near to black holes. Durham's physicists also design and build instruments for some of the world's largest telescopes. This news gained mentions in the Independent and Northern Echo.
Leading risk experts have their say
Experts from the Institute of Hazard and Risk Research (IHRR) have commented on issues in the global media from flooding to earthquakes to landslides. Prof Stuart Lane's analysis of rainfall records suggested the UK should prepare for more floods. Dr Alexander Densmore commented on the earthquake that hit China's Sichuan province and Prof Dave Petley suggested summer rains could mean more landslides in the aftermath of the earthquake.
'No' to casual sex, say women
According to research into one night stands women 'have not adapted' to casual sex. Almost half of women interviewed in the study, led by Prof Anne Campbell (Psychology), had negative feelings about one-night stands suggesting they are not well adapted to fleeting sexual encounters.
Dr Lynda Boothroyd's (Psychology) research into attraction suggests that suitors can tell a young person's attitude to sexual relationships by the look on their face. The study showed men generally prefer women who they perceive are open to short-term sexual relationships whilst women are usually interested in men who appear to have potential to be long-term relationship material.
Stem cell research gets a boost
An investment, totalling nearly £4m, for Durham's trio of stem cell laboratories and the University's spin-out company, 'Reinnervate', means stem cell scientists have taken a step closer to developing pioneering new therapies. The laboratories will be used for investigations into the therapeutic potential of 'adult' stem cells for medical issues such as wound healing and heart disease. Reinnervate concentrates on developing stem cell related intellectual property.
Star Trek classrooms
Schools are set for a Star Trek make-over thanks to the development of the world's first interactive classroom by researchers at the Technology-Enhanced Learning Research Group (TEL). The team is designing new learning environments using interactive multi-touch desks that look and act like a large version of an Apple iPhone, achieving active student engagement and learning.
Harder to achieve top grades in science subjects
Research led by Dr Robert Coe (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring), proves that pupils studying science and technology subjects like Maths, Physics and Chemistry find it much harder to achieve the top exam grades than candidates of similar ability studying subjects like Media Studies and Psychology. The researchers analysed and compared data from nearly one million students sitting GCSE and A-level exams finding significant differences in the relative difficulty of exams in different subjects, with the sciences among the hardest.
In a multi-million pound expansion to improve health in the North East, 30 new researchers are set to join the Wolfson Research Institute. The expansion includes over £2 million from the National Institute for Health Research to fund several new research posts, and will see researchers working alongside NHS staff to find practical solutions to health problems in the North East.
In addition, the Wellcome Trust announced that £1.8 million has been awarded to the University to establish a centre of excellence in the emerging field of medical humanities.
North East identity not so deep rooted
According to a new book, the ‘North East' regional identity isn't as deep-rooted and cohesive as previously thought. The book, ‘Regional Identities in North-East England, 1300-2000', also highlights the wider political implications for the regionalism debate. One of the editors is Dr Adrian Green (History). The book's findings hold significant implications for the history of regions and modern-day regionalism, particularly given the recently failed efforts in North East England to set up a regional assembly.
Whitehouse expert comments
Coinciding with a screening of a drama about the life and work of Mary Whitehouse, Dr Lawrence Black (History) provided expert comment to the BBC about her 'Clean-up TV' campaign launched in 1964. Mary Whitehouse's revolutionary action is thought to have led to changes in broadcasting standards.