University of Leicester in the News 1 - 23 April 2012

Posted by fi17 at Apr 30, 2012 11:00 AM |
A regular review from the Press Office of coverage of the University in the media.

Science and Research News

Scientists in our Department of Chemistry are partnering with a number of local companies on a project to turn eggshells into plastics. Instead of going to waste, the eggshells could be recycled as food packaging or other products. The project attracted a lot of media interest during April, featuring in the trade press and on the BBC News. The story featured on Farming Today on BBC Radio 4 and was covered by BBC local news (TV and Radio) as well as on the BBC News website, and on CNN, Forbes, Phys.Org, Biofuels Digest, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, Rutland Times, the Leicester Mercury, Food Processing magazine, Environmental Expert, The Poultry Site, Earth911, Food Production Daily, and Farmers Weekly. (University Press Release)

Dino EggsResearchers in our Department of Geology have followed up on research in Spain to document the size and shape of dinosaur eggs - and in the process, compared them to common brands of Easter Eggs found on the high street. The story was covered by Phys.Org, Science Codex, Science Blog, Smithsonian Blog, MSNBC, Live Science, Red Orbit, Asian News International, and Zee News. (University Press Release)

A study by the Department of Geology has found that the roughness of an animal's teeth indicates what kind of food they've been eating. Hard foods lead to rougher teeth, meaning scientists can easily determine the diets of wild animals and even extinct species. Times of India, Nature, Earth Sky and Dental Republic all reported on the findings. (University Press Release)Teeth Research

Also in the Department of Geology, Dr Stewart Fishwick was interviewed by BBC Radio Leicester about the recent earthquake near Sumatra. Dr Fishwick lectures in Geophysics and studies seismology as part of his research interests.


Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, visited the University for an engineering conference, where she predicted that the need to tackle climate change will cause a surge in engineering jobs in the UK. The Leicester Mercury and Plant Engineer magazine both reported the news that up to 2 million new engineering jobs could be created in the coming years. (University Press Release)

Prof Julia Knight
Professor Julia King.


Professor Monica Whitty travelled to the British Psychological Society Annual Conference to present her findings on online dating scams, which show that victims are traumatised not only by the loss of cash and being tricked, but also by the loss of a perceived romantic relationship. The Daily Telegraph, Insciences Organisation, Medical Xpress, Science Codex, Newstrack India, the Times of India and Indian Express all reported on the story. (University Press Release)

Physics and Astronomy

The Leicester Mercury featured stunning images of Leicester and theLeicester From Space UK from space, taken by the International Space Station. Dr Nigel Bannister, of our Department of Physics and Astronomy, was interviewed extensively for the piece, and discussed topics such as light pollution and the Northern Lights.


A study by Leicester's Department of Health Sciences found that allowing patients to see their doctor of choice at the GP surgery can significantly reduce the rate of non-emergency hospital admissions - potentially saving the NHS thousands of pounds. The findings were reported by News Medical, Healthcare Today, On Medica, Medical Xpress, Science Codex and Pulse Today. (University Press Release)

Leicester Kidney Exercise Team
Leicester Kidney Exercise Team

The Leicester Kidney Exercise Team, which includes researchers from the University of Leicester, has been shortlisted for a prestigious medical award for their work with dialysis patients. The team adapted exercise bikes that let patients work out whilst their blood is going through dialysis. The Leicester Mercury and 24Dash both reported on the nomination. (University Press Release)

Professor Bryan Williams attended the World Congress of Cardiology in Dubai, where he spoke alongside other leading experts in the field of heart health. In an article in AME Info, he discussed the risks of high cholesterol and the need to raise awareness its dangers.

Academics in the news

James Treadwell
Dr James Treadwell

Dr James Treadwell was called upon by the BBC News to comment on the case of fifteen-year-old Daniel Bartlam, who murdered his mother in a pre-meditated attack. Dr Treadwell commented on violent media such as horror films, and disputed the idea that such films can 'cause' people to turn to violence. He talked on the same subject on Radio Five Live.

Professor Panicos Demetriades of our Department of Economics was mentioned in a New York Times piece about the state of the Eurozone. Professor Demetriades has argued against the official view of European Central Bank by claiming that Germany's strong economy drives up the value of the Euro and makes it harder for other Euro-member countries to be competitive.

Paul Behrens of our School of Law wrote an article for the Guardian's Comment is Free section asking "Do we need a law against incest?" The piece discussed the history and context of incest laws and attracted over four hundred comments, and the debate was also mentioned in Legal Brief Today.

Richard Taylor
Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor, head of our Division of Corporate Affairs and Planning, was interviewed for a piece in the Telegraph entitled "How to get the best out of University open days." He discussed how prospective students' attitudes have changed, and they are now taking open days far more seriously.

Booker prize-winning author Ben Okri is to become a regular visiting professor at the University. The Leicester Mercury reported on the story and it was announced in the Times Higher. (University Press Release)

Jean Baxter, head of our School and College Services, was interviewed on BBC Radio Leicester about the importance and value of degrees. She made the case that degrees are still relevant and can open up many opportunities for young people.

Ben Okri

Also on BBC Radio Leicester, Dr Philip Shaw was interviewed about the upcoming Viking Symposium at the University. This annual conference discusses all things Viking-related, and this year will the recent discovery of an intact Viking longboat on the coast of Scotland. (Read more about the Viking Symposium in our press release)       

Local news

During the Leicester Boat Club's annual regatta, rowing teams from the University of Leicester and De Montfort University faced off for a sprint down the River Soar. The University of Leicester Boat Club won the race for the second year running, and the Leicester Mercury reported on the run-up to the event and the day itself.

The University of Leicester Botanic Garden offered weekend tours to visitors as part of the RHS National Gardening Week. The Leicester Mercury reported on the story, and David Chambers, Chairman of the Friends of the Botanic Garden, was interviewed by BBC Radio Leicester. The Mercury also featured a local artist's painting of the daffodils in bloom in the gardens.

Botanic GardenA number of Leicester academics contributed First Person columns to the Leicester Mercury this month, including Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Robert Burgess, who discussed the importance of engaging with young people, and the contribution the University makes to the local area. Dr Gavin Brown of our Department of Geography discussed the anniversary of campaigns for the release of Nelson Mandela, whilst Dr Phil Shaw talked about the pagan origins of our Easter rituals. Film student Alyssia Chapman talked about her love of the Phoenix Square Cinema and the range of films and shows it has to offer.