University of Leicester in the News, 15 February - 7 March 2012
Research by the University of Leicester made the front page of Time magazine, in an issue dedicated to "10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life." Geologists Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams are leading investigations into whether the Earth has entered a new epoch - the Anthropocene era, where Earth's geology and climate is fundamentally altered by human intervention. Bryan Walsh of Time magazine's science and climate blog wrote about the article and the concept. (University Press Release)
An article in the Telegraph discussed the benefits - and potential weaknesses - of DNA evidence and how it is used by police and the courts to inform cases. The article described the first use of DNA fingerprinting in a legal case in 1984, after it was discovered by Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys in the genetics lab at the University of Leicester. You can read more about Professor Jeffreys and DNA fingerprinting on the Department of Genetics website.
Robert McCrum of the Observer discussed Professor Julie Coleman's new book The Life of Slang in a recent article and review. He described Professor Coleman's book, which looks at the origins, use and development of slang, as "enjoyable and succinct". The Sun and the Sunday Times also ran articles about the book, and Professor Coleman appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Tuesday 6 March. Read more on the School of English website.
Dr Elaine Boyle of our Department of Health Sciences published research that showed babies born even a few weeks early can suffer health problems such as asthma later in life. The research gained a lot of media attention, and Dr Boyle was interviewed for the BBC Breakfast news programme. The story appeared across BBC news outlets and in local and national papers such as the Telegraph, Guardian, the Sun, The Times, Asian News International, Health Jockey, Medscape, and the Leicester Mercury. (University Press Release)
A study by researchers from our Departments of Health Sciences and Cardiovascular Sciences has found that women who spend a long time sitting down each day are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes - although a similar risk was not seen for men. The research generated a lot of coverage in both the national and specialist press, and was covered by outlets such as AOL Lifestyle, Diabetes.co.uk, News Medical, Health Canal, Science Daily, Medical Xpress, Health Express, Zee News, Newstrack India, Times of India, Dalje News, Asian News International, The Vancouver Sun, UPI, and the Leicester Mercury. (University Press Release)
Research by academics in our Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine has shown that certain physical complaints could indicate depression in cancer patients. Symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia or poor appetite can indicate depression and shouldn't be ignored, suggests Dr Alex Mitchell and his team. The work was reported by 24dash and Medical News Today. (University Press Release)
A team of researchers in our Department of Cell Physiology & Pharmacology have made a major breakthrough in understanding how a 'chemical switch' in the body works. The switch is linked to blood clotting, and when activated can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Science and medical outlets such as Science Daily, News Medical, Science Codex and Insciences Organisation reported on the findings. (University Press Release)
Science and Technology
Drinks Business Review and Gizmodo blog reported on the invention of a device that can detect fake whisky through the bottle, developed by researchers working in the University's Space Research Centre. The device uses technology originally used for space observation, and is now being developed for sale to retailers and suppliers. (University Press Release)
A researcher from our Department of Physics and Astronomy used data from NASA's Hubble and Swift telescopes to observe a black hole swallowing young stars - an observation that helps scientists understand how supermassive black holes form in the centre of galaxies. The amazing discovery was reported on the Hubble website and by Science Codex, Sci News and the Leicester Mercury. (University Press Release)
The new sculpture exhibition in the University's Botanic Garden has gained some attention, with Creative Boom, 24 dash and the Leicester Mercury all reporting on the installation titled Interesting Times. The exhibition will feature a mysterious garden shed and a larger-than-life Floating Man, amongst other sculptures and art pieces. (University Press Release)
Crocus Sundays at the Botanic Garden proved to be a big success with both local and national newspapers - the Express and the Telegraph both featured pictures of the flowers in bloom, along with the Leicester Mercury. The events raised money for the Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance, and also featured in the letters pages of the Mercury. (University Press Release)
University of Leicester students set up a Muggle Quidditch Team, based on the popular magical sport featured in JK Rowling's Harry Potter novels. The Leicester Mercury interviewed the budding team, and the story also featured in the Huffington Post. The team's match against the Keele University Quidditch team was also covered by the local Staffordshire news site, the Daily Mail and the Metro. (University Press Release)
The fundraising efforts of students were recognised in the local media recently. The Rutland and Stamford Mercury, Harborough Mail and the Leicester Mercury all reported on student Matthew Dacombe, who is running the London Marathon to raise money for a new ward at the Leicester Royal Infirmary hospital. (University Press Release)
The Leicester Mercury reported on the conversion of disused hospital space into a new clinical trials unit, which will allow doctors and researchers to recruit patients into early trials of innovative drug treatments. The increased capacity of the unit means researchers can carry out more trials in the future.
The Mercury also reported on another medical story - the development of a new technique to test the function of donor kidneys before they are transplanted into patients. The technique, developed at the University, can improve outcomes after kidney transplants. (University Press Release)
Five of our academics contributed First Person articles to the Leicester Mercury: Vice-Chancellor Sir Robert Burgess discussed the University's contribution to the local community and economy; Dr Oliver Daddow of our Department of Politics and International Relations discussed Prime Minister David Cameron's foreign policy; and David Johnson of our School of Historical Studies examined the importance of faith in the history of British society. In March, Professor Charalambos Kyriacou of our Department of Genetics looked at ways the press can distort scientific discoveries by poor reporting; and Colin Hyde of our Centre for Urban History told the story of Leicester's controversial town planner Konrad Smigielski.
Two stories from the University of Leicester featured on the Mercury's nostalgic Mr Leicester pages. An exhibition of work by Victorian illustrators, taking place in the David Wilson Library, featured on the page along with pictures of some of the featured artwork. In another article, a picture from February 1968 shows a young Paul McCartney at the launch of Leicester Arts Festival - after a keen University of Leicester student persuaded him to support the launch.