Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The Week in Higher Education

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The Week in Higher Education

Article excerpt

If University College London had hoped that Sir Tim Hunt's resignation over his "trouble with girls" comments had drawn a line under the controversy, it will have been sorely disappointed. Last week, senior academics, politicians and media commentators took turns to blast the treatment of the Nobel prizewinning biologist, who says he was forced to quit his honorary professorship at UCL. Stargazing scientist Brian Cox was quoted in The Daily Telegraph on 17 June saying that Sir Tim had been "hounded out" after a "trial by social media", and Classics don Mary Beard wrote in same paper on 18 June that it was wrong to "drum him out of the academic town" despite his "stupid, wrong and, to some people, seriously offensive" remarks. Evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins hit out at the "baying witch-hunt" in a letter to The Times on 19 June, while London mayor Boris Johnson and myriad letter writers championed Sir Tim's "right to offend". And with eight Nobel laureates criticising UCL in a Times front-page story on 20 June, the backlash may be far from over.

After a close-run contest that sparked controversy over which candidate Melvyn Bragg was backing, Simon Armitage - a Portsmouth Polytechnic graduate and former probation officer - has been elected professor of poetry at the University of Oxford. He pipped 80-year-old Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka - Lord Bragg's original preference before he switched to Armitage - and American A. E. Stallings to the post, The Guardian reported on 20 June. Armitage told the newspaper that he was "delighted and very excited and suitably daunted as well". "It's been such a long process," he said. "In the time it's taken, we've had a general election, Sepp Blatter has come and gone and come again, and we've nearly got a new leader of the Labour Party."

Research collaboration between Imperial College London and China's aerospace sector "is under scrutiny as US authorities investigate links between Beijing's top military aircraft manufacturer and Iran's ballistic missile programme", the Financial Times reported on 23 June. The Beijing Aeronautical Manufacturing Technology Research Institute (Bamtri) was added to a US watch list last year because of alleged dealings with companies owned by Li Fangwei, a Chinese national wanted by the US for selling missile technology to Tehran, the newspaper said. …

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