September 13, 2007
Time for a bit of auto-trumpet-blowing. The Integrated Sciences course this year has been 100% successful. By that I mean that every graduate, each single one, is either in graduate employment or on an extending education course like teacher-training. Not only can we tell prospective students at open days that industry is eager for a degree like this, we can back it up with a figure.
Congratulations to all the graduates.
May 14, 2007
For the past year, I’ve been blogging on both WordPress and on Blogger. Having a foot in both camps, it’s interesting to watch the arms race between the platforms. Another thing this dual approach has allowed me to do is to take a more commercial approach to my Blogger blog, Science of the Invisible (great title!), which means, among other things, including a Google Adsense widget in the blog template. So it was interesting today to see an ad for Integrated Sciences BSc crop up for the first time. Integrated Sciences hits the bigtime?
January 8, 2007
Courtesy of Scott McNulty @ TUAW:
PBS is in need of a new science show, and they have a conundrum on their hands. They need one new science show, and they have three pilots for science shows. What’s a non-profit network to do? Why, make all three shows available for free on iTunes (and other places) and let the viewers choose which one will make it into full pledge series-dom. The three shows are (all iTunes Store links):
Watch them, and let PBS know which one is the best.
January 4, 2007
Here’ some positive news. A new campaign has started to appeal to celebrities, Sense about Science. It has its own celebrity backer, Derren Brown, who has written recently about the dangers of sensationalist science reporting in the press. How dangerous are some of the claims being made?
Homeopathy is not just useless, it is worse than useless in the case of malaria because it dupes people into thinking that they are protected when they are not. I was shocked that there was such willingness to give advice and sell products that would leave people exposed to a highly dangerous disease…
Beforehand I suspected that one or two homeopaths might offer pills to protect against malaria, but it turned out that ten out of ten were guilty of such irresponsible practice. This makes me think that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way homeopaths are regulated.
The danger is magnified when celebrities attract attention to what they think is a good cause. The willingness for celebrities to try and do their bit was one of the major segments of the series Brass Eye.
You can also watch celebrities tackle the menace of Cake. If you’ve not heard of Cake it is not a natural drug but, as Bernard Manning described, a made-up drug from the Czech Republic. No-one doubts the sincerity of someone like Noel Edmonds, who explained that Cake stimulated the part of the brain known as “Shatner’s Bassoon” which alters the users sense of time. “Sounds like fun, but tell that to the Czech boy run over by a tram. He thought he had two weeks to cross the street.” But if people like Tania Bryer can tell a camera that inverted clouds are raining upwards into space and causing drought, then there is cause for concern about the damage a well-meaning spokesman can cause.
I think an advisory panel where public speakers can get another point of view before committing themselves to what might be dangerous nonsense is a good thing. It would mean that campaigns about genuinely important matters do get a better chance to be put before the public.
December 4, 2006
click to play video
What would you do if someone gave you £4.65 million (that’s over US$9 million) to spend on genetics education? Well, you’d have a party of course! This party was to celebrate the official opening of the GENIE Centre of Excellence for teaching and learning at the University of Leicester. GENIE stands for Genetics Education Networking for Innovation and Excellence. There were the usual refreshments, and a few few short speeches. But mostly, we got to play with giant DNA, and have a good look at all the education and outreach materials GENIE has already produced.
November 2, 2006
Two potential future Nobel Prize winners have enrolled at the University of Leicester. The pair, both medallists from the 2005 International Physics Olympiad, have qualified for direct entry into the second year of the MPhys degree in the department of physics and astronomy.
Professor Ken Pounds said: “It is perhaps no coincidence that 2004 and 2006 saw the strongest results ever from our final year, with a record number of first-class honours, as our own UK students sought to match the high standards set by their international colleagues. Olympiad students could be the Nobel Prize winners of the future.”
October 9, 2006
Students rank Leicester first for teaching quality, personal development, academic support and overall satisfaction amongst universities teaching full-time students in the National Student Survey.
The University of Leicester has been ranked joint first for teaching quality and overall satisfaction amongst universities teaching full-time students in the new National Student Survey. Leicester also finished top for personal development and academic support. Over 60% of final year students at British universities completed the questionnaire making it the most comprehensive test of student opinion ever carried out. The survey was conducted independently by the UK higher education funding councils in England, Wales & Northern Ireland.
October 2, 2006
Above is a view of a Google Earth model we’re using to demonstrate some of the equipment we have in the i-Science labs for the pi-CETL launch evening. Click on Sunrise Alignment and you’ll see the view from Stonehenge to the rising sun in midsummer. Click on Sunset alignment and you’ll see the view in the direction through Stonehenge to the setting midwinter sun. There’s also a moonrise alignment to the most southerly rising of the moon, which can be viewed along the long side of the station stone rectangle. It’s for the students to improve it or otherwise, but you can download a version to play with.