Month: March 2013

Imperial in the news: dinosaur killers

Asteroid or comet – what caused the impact that killed the dinosaurs?

For generations, the debate has raged as to what exactly caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Following a series of varying suggestions, the latest research proposes that the widely-held belief that an asteroid collided with the earth to cause a catastrophic chain of events is wrong. Sort of.

Researchers in the USA announced earlier this month that rather than an asteroid, the impact of the Chicxulub crater in Mexico was caused by a comet. The difference between the two interstellar objects is that comets are made of ice, rock and dust whereas asteroids are made predominantly of metals.

Imperial in the news: the future of climate change in schools

Debate in geography classes around climate change might be a thing of the past

On Monday, The Guardian reported moves by the Government to remove the topic of climate change from school geography lessons.

The situation raised concerns among policy makers and researchers. Under the new proposals the curriculum for geography up to the age of 14 would not specifically teach anything about climate change or its social and political implications.  The science of climate change would instead be taught in chemistry classes..

Policy makers argue that there has been a positive impact by the current generation in tackling climate change, thanks in part to debate and discussion in geography classes.

Imperial in the news: a cure for HIV?

Professor Jonathan Weber responded to the possibility of a cure for HIV

Yesterday, doctors at Johns Hopkins University in Mississippi announced that they had all-but cured a baby of HIV.

The child, who inherited the disease from her mother, was given anti-viral drugs as soon as she was diagnosed. After a few months the child had come off the intense regimen of medication and later she was shown that despite no longer taking the drugs, the virus could no longer be detected in her body.

Does this pave the way for a cure? Professor Jonathan Weber, Dr Hermione Lyall and Dr Sarah Fidler (all Medicine) contributed to a discussion on the BBC’s Newsnight programme yesterday.