The newspaper of Imperial College London
 Issue 139, 31 March 2004
£76m centre for clinical imaging«
Tribute to miracle miler Sir Roger«
Harriet’s prime howler!«
International student awards«
Making a grand entrance«
Lowering blood pressure«
It’s a bug’s life«
Will powers IC Trust«
We’re on the map«
Britain the ‘tobacco control time-warp’«
Cutting carbon emissions«
When too much competition can prove unhelpful…«
Emotional intelligence scrutinised«
Move to new headquarters«
Staff Pay and Grading update«
An international night to remember«
Water way to make a splash at College…«
Science soirée at Silwood«
Snap happy…«
In Brief«
Media Spotlight«
What’s on«

Media Spotlight

with Judith H Moore

Sea change for tidal power
Nature (24/03/04) reports on a new device that could expand our range of renewable energy resources. Developed by a UK company, the new tidal power system is relatively easy to install, has little impact on its environment and could bring power to remote seaside locations. Drawing energy from the tide has a number of advantages over other forms of renewable energy, says Dr Tim Green, electrical and electronic engineering. “It is much more predictable than the wind. This will probably be the next big push in the UK after we have our wind-power farms up and running.”

Sounding out danger in aircraft
An ultrasound device being developed by UK engineers, could hold the key to spotting potentially dangerous cracks in aircraft components. The technology detects potential faults by using high-power ultrasound, which causes the component to vibrate. If there is a crack within the structure, this vibration generates heat that can then be detected using a thermal imaging camera. “It is very much quicker to use [than existing systems] as it can test large areas in one go, and you do not have to worry about angling the beam in a certain way as you do with other ultrasound devices,” said Professor Peter Cawley, mechanical engineering, who is helping to develop the technology at the Research Centre in Nondestructive Evaluation. The Engineer (18/03/04)

Disease risk prompts UK blood donor ban
Professor Roy Anderson, primary care and population health sciences, responded last week to the government’s decision to ban people from donating blood if they have received blood transfusions in the past 24 years. The move, designed to reduce the risk of spreading the human form of mad cow disease, follows three months after the first case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) which was suspected of being transmitted by a blood transfusion.

“The risk of transmission through contaminated blood is exceedingly small,” Professor Anderson told Nature (18/03/04). “But it is theoretically possible. Sheep injected with contaminated blood cells develop a CJD-like illness.”

Motors should be banned from Edinburgh city centre
Congestion charging in Edinburgh should be scrapped in favour of banning vehicles from the city centre, according to Professor Michael Bell, civil and environmental engineering. Speaking to the Scotsman (24/03/04), the professor said that charging motorists to drive into cities was too car-friendly.

“Pedestrianisation would make for a much more pleasant environment, turning the whole city centre into a shopping, entertainment and leisure precinct where people can walk unhindered by traffic,” he said.

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