News in brief…

22 November 2012

Cambridge rower died after broken down car hit by other car

A Cambridge student died after the car in which she was travelling broke down and was hit by another vehicle, the inquest into her death has found. Rebecca Chamberlin, 21, a member of Clare College Boat Club, who had coxed for the senior men’s crew and trialled for the Boat Race crew, had been on her way to a training camp near Marlow when the incident occurred in April this year. The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death. Chamberlin’s father paid tribute following the inquest to his daughter as a “modest, compassionate, fun-loving and popular girl.

Man caught indecently exposing himself at Skyfall cinema showing

A man was caught indecently exposing himself at a Cambridge cinema during a screening of Skyfall. The man exposed himself at a 2pm showing in a cinema room with 200 people, in front of children, before the start of the film, at the Arts Picture House on St Andrew’s Street. The man was escorted out from the cinema by manager Keith Gehlert, who has expressed shock at the incident. He said: “we want to catch this man before he does it again.” CCTV images released by the police depict a man they want to find in connection with the matter.

Paralysed dog healed by its own nose

Cambridge scientists have reversed paralysis in a dog after injecting its spine with olfactory ensheathing cells grown from the lining of its nose. The dog, has regained full motor function after being previously unable to walk. The ensheathing cells support nerve fibre growth, and once transplanted successfully regenerated the nerve fibres in Jasper’s spinal cord. Professor Robert Franklin, working on the project, explained to Channel 4 that he is “confident that the technique might be able to restore at least a small amount of movement in human patients.”

Quantum mechanics could spell more secure information transfer

Scientists from Toshiba’s Cambridge Research Laboratory have found a way of using quantum cryptography to transfer encrypted information along fibre-optic cables. Information encrypted using this system of “quantum key distribution” has been described as a series of ‘uncrackable codes.’ The encryption system relies on the problematic laws of observation on a quantum level. Once individual photons have been observed, they are irrevocably changed, making it impossible for anyone to ‘eavesdrop’ on the information unobserved.

New sports ground for Emmanuel College

Emmanuel College have been given the go-ahead to build a new sports pavilion in the south of Cambridge near Trumpington Road. Several acres of land, formerly arable fields, will now serve as sports pitches. The pavilion itself will be 160ft by 45ft, made up of two wings on either side of a central hall. At a City Council south area committee meeting two objections from residents were made; one about the proximity of the building to Hobson’s Brook, another about the “excessive” scale of the pavilion. Emma currently has playing fields and a pavilion in Wilberforce Road, Newnham.

Britain’s best universities leave many empty spaces

Professor Sir Howard Newby, Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool University, has admitted that around 11,500 student places went unfilled at Britain’s top universities this year due to Government higher education reforms. Nationally, numbers were around 2.1% lower than university forecasts, whilst universities charging more than 7,500 pounds (every Russell Group university) had to ‘hand back’ a certain proportion of fixed student places allocated by the Government, which were then distributed to the institutions with the lowest fees.

Tributes Paid to Former King’s College Choirmaster

Tributes have been paid to a former director of King’s College’s famous choir, following his death last Sunday. Sir Philip Ledger led the choir from 1974 to 1982. He later became principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where he presided for 20 years. At King’s, he conducted the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, which is broadcast each year on Christmas Eve, and made an extensive range of recordings with the famous choir, as well as leading recitals and tours throughout the world.

TV Presenter Visits Cambridge for Book Signing

Television personality Michael Palin appeared at Heffers bookshop on Saturday to sign copies of Brazil, his new book. Palin has presented travel series on television for almost 25 years, and he chose the shop as his next stop. Mr Palin, who has visited 96 countries to date, said: “I hope that the series will open people’s eyes to Brazil and show them a country created largely by immigrants. It has changed a lot in the last 20 years and in the series I try to understand what the implications are for Brazil and the rest of the world.”

Vince Cable pours money into Cambridge research

Business Secretary Vince Cable has awarded almost 4 million pounds to Cambridge University to help take current research into the business market. The grant is intended as a way of promoting new engineering and science research in the business world, and is part of a wider scheme of government funding. Cranford University has recently been given a similar grant of approximately 1 million pounds.

Owl feathers could make planes quieter

Scientists from Cambridge have presented new research on the structure of owls’ plumage to the American Physics Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in San Diego, California. The purpose of their investigation was to discover why owls’ flight is oddly silent compared to that of other birds. The scientists intend to use the noise-mitigating properties of owls’ wings as a model for the development of new, quieter conventional aircraft.

Pre-Drinking Culture Slammed by Swiss Study

A new study has suggested that students who pre-drink before a night out do not save money, as they drink as much as they would have if they were not already inebriated. The experiment, which was done by Addiction Switzerland, mentions that students who drink a lot before going out are more likely to behave in a reckless or dangerous way, Florian Labhart, from the organisation, said: “When we consider that pre–drinking leads people to consume nearly twice the normal amount of alcohol on a given night, its prevalence should not be underestimated from a public–health perspective.”

Lily Cole to Star in 24 Hour Plays at Old Vic

The model and Cambridge graduate Lily Cole will take in this year’s 24 Hour Plays at London’s Old Vic theatre. The productions being staged on December 8 will all be musical, and Cole will be joined by actors such as Anthony Head, and Amy Nuttall, who plays Ethel in Downton Abbey. The event, which will raise money for Old Vic’s New Voices, a project that champions new writing in the theatre. Previous participants have included Benedict Cumberbatch, Jim Broadbent and Joseph Fiennes. The evening will be chaired by Matt Lucas, who is most famous for appearing as one half of the comedy duo behind Little Britain.