Media Relations

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The UCL Media Relations team is the university’s central press office.


We connect journalists to expert academics and promote UCL research and teaching throughout the global media.


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Opinion

The book is out of its cover so authors must adapt

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John Sutherland

One doubts that authors, as a class, often get enraged about anything other than the puniness of their advances, the nastiness of reviewers and the fact that Ian McEwan and Alain de Botton sell so many more books than they do. But what is certain is that writers will adapt as creatively as they always have to the book world they find themselves in, writes Professor John Sutherland (UCL English Language & Literature) in the Financial Times.

Dutch court’s climate ruling may force other states to cut emissions – or else

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Arthur Petersen

A Dutch district court has ordered the Netherlands to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 25% lower than 1990 levels by 2020. This is several percentage points deeper than the 17% reduction the country had been envisaging, writes Professor Arthur Petersen (UCL STEaPP) in The Conversation.

How computers are learning to make human software work more efficiently

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Computer scientists have a history of borrowing ideas from nature, such as evolution. When it comes to optimising computer programs, a very interesting evolutionary-based approach has emerged over the past five or six years that could bring incalculable benefits to industry and eventually consumers. We call it genetic improvement, writes Dr Justyna Petke and Dr Bill Langdon (both UCL Computer Science) in The Conversation.

Brazil and Venezuela’s unpopular leaders remain friends – for now

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When a delegation of Brazilian senators arrived in Venezuela recently to visit Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, two Venezuelan leaders who are being held as political prisoners, they soon ran into trouble, writes Dr Marco Aponte-Moreno and Lance Lattig (both UCL Management Science & Innovation) in The Conversation.

Germany and Greece can't do without each other

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Phiroze Vasunia

Not since the early years of the 19th century has Greece roused such strong feeling in the rest of Europe. At that time, the Greek War of Independence proved to be a rallying point for thousands of sympathizers who joined together to liberate Greece from the Ottomans and their empire, writes Professor Phiroze Vasunia (UCL Greek & Latin) in NDTV.

Why onshore wind isn’t as cheap as it should be in the UK

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Europe’s weather systems tend to cross the Atlantic and slam into Britain, which should make the UK ideal for wind power. With very low running costs, cheap and easy integration into the grid in most of the country, and with wind being a mature industry that’s still evolving continuous improvements, how could it not be the country’s cheapest renewable, asks Andrew Smith (UCL Bartlett School Environment, Energy & Resources) in The Conversation.

How we discovered the dark side of wearable fitness trackers

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Rikke Duus

You no longer have to look to science fiction to find the cyborg. We are all cyborgs now. Mobile phones, activity trackers, pacemakers, breast implants and even aspirins all act as biological, cognitive or social extensions and enhancements of our bodies and minds. Some have even predicted that human beings as we know them will be replaced by technically enhanced, god-like immortal beings within 200 years. Or at least rich people will, writes Rikke Duus (UCL Management Science & Innovation) in The Conversation.

Students ride a merry go round between final and modular courses

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Jo Wolff

Some time in the late 80s, departments in my faculty received a letter from the dean instructing us to redesign our undergraduate courses, replacing outdated traditional degrees with modern, modular programmes. Up to that point, student achievement was based on finals, taken over an intensive few weeks in the third year, writes Professor Jonathan Wolff (UCL Philosophy) in the Guardian.

Early humans had to become more feminine before they could dominate the planet

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Mark Maslin

I have always wondered why our species Homo sapiens, that evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago, seemed to do nothing special for the first 150,000 years. Because it is not until about 50,000 years ago that the first sign of creative thinking emerged with beautiful cave paintings found in Spain, France and Indonesia, says Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography) in The Conversation.

Here’s what better relations with the US mean for city farms in Cuba

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Emily Morris

For more than 20 years, Cuba has been developing a sophisticated urban and suburban food system, producing healthy food, improving the environment and providing employment. But how will the sector survive if the economy opens up to US agricultural and industrial trade and investment, writes Dr Emily Morris (UCL Institute of the Americas) in The Conversation.

Is technology making us more creative?

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Creativity is the ability to generate novel, useful ideas and innovation is the successful implementation of those ideas. With this in mind, it is tempting to suggest that technology has made us more creative: the digital revolution has clearly produced a large number of innovative products and services, writes Professor Tomas Chamorro Premuzic (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in the Guardian.

East Asian maths teaching method boosts English children’s progress by a month

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There has been much discussion in recent years about why East Asian children perform so well on international education tests. I’ve argued before that there is no one reason for these countries' stellar results, but that home background and culture plays an important role, writes Dr John Jerrim (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.

After years of conflict, mega project could help scientists decipher the brain

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They said it was crazy – and in truth the European Commission’s billion-euro plan to build a computer model of the human brain appears to have been too ambitious. But after years of controversy and dispute, many neuroscientists believe that the Human Brain Project may no longer be doomed to failure, writes Sanjeevan Ahilan (UCL Biosciences) in The Conversation.

Duckworth-Lewis has had a good innings in one-day cricket. Is it time for it to retire?

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The second one day cricket international between England and New Zealand was heading towards an enthralling climax as England attempted to chase down a near-400 run target for the first time in the team’s history, writes Professor Ian Preston (UCL Economics) in The Conversation.

Six things other cities can learn from Transport for London’s success

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Complaining about public transport might seem as English as moaning about the weather. And it isn’t very British to shout about success. So what follows might seem odd, but here goes: Transport for London leads the way as an effective transport authority, writes Nicole Badstuber (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering) in The Conversation.

Beyond breadwinners and authority figures – dads enter the 21st century

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Fathers’ active participation in family life will likely be one of the most important social developments of the 21st century. Times have changed since fathers were often seen in terms of breadwinners and authority figures. Today’s children wish for a relationship with their daddy as a loving father, a pere de coeur, not just a father of duty, a pere de devoir, says Professor Margaret O’Brien (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.

The rise and fall of Nimrud

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Mark Ronan

When the Islamist terror group ISIS used hammer blows, bulldozing and explosions to destroy the ancient city of Nimrud in March this year, they wiped out a relic of Iraq’s glorious past, writes Professor Mark Ronan (UCL Mathematics) in History Today.

How stereotypes reinforce inequalities in primary school

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There are enduring gaps between the way different groups of children do at primary school: between boys and girls, between children from richer and poorer backgrounds and between children from various ethnic groups. Despite efforts by recent governments to close these attainment gaps, the performance of pupils from low-income homes, for example, seems to fall far below that of their peers, writes Tammy Campbell (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.

Sci-fi and Jurassic Park have driven research, scientists say

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The park is almost open. Two decades on and Jurassic Park has morphed into Jurassic World, the one and only dinosaur theme park. Science has apparently evolved too: the genetically-engineered dinosaurs are to take a secondary role to a new star of the show, a genetically-engineered hybrid, worryingly named Indominus Rex. Undoubtedly, chaos will ensue, writes Elizabeth Jones (UCL Science & Technology Studies) in The Conversation.

How Western plans to fight Putin’s propaganda war could backfire

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An information war is raging in Eastern Europe; at stake are perceptions of the situation in Ukraine. In both Russia and the West, the commentariat claims the other side manipulates gullible minds with propaganda, writes Dr Joanna Szostek (UCL SSEES) in The Conversation.

Austerity and house building boom mean British archaeology is in severe danger

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Lorna Richardson

George Osbourne has just announced that government departments have to find £3 billion in savings over the next year. The Department of Communities and Local Government will have a reduction of £230 million from its £8 billion budget this year alone. Promises have been made that local authority budgets will not be affected, but I doubt many are convinced that these will be upheld, writes Lorna Richardson (UCL Centre for Digital Humanities) in The Conversation.

Explainer: how does an experiment at the Large Hadron Collider work?

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Gavin Hesketh

It’s not every day my Twitter feed is full of people talking about flat-tops, squeezing and injections, but then Wednesday 3 June was not an average day for the Large Hadron Collider, writes Dr Gavin Hesketh (UCL Physics & Astronomy) in The Conversation.

Gandhi, Kipling and Magna Carta

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Phiroze Vasunia

Very few people take the trouble to read Magna Carta (the 'Great Charter'), either in medieval Latin or in translation, but someone who probably did read the text, perhaps even in the Latin, was Gandhi, who was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple during his years in London, writes Professor Phiroze Vasunia (UCL Greek & Latin) in NDTV.

Corruption hits economic growth – and markets can do nothing to stop it

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Ormerod

Sepp Blatter’s resignation as president of Fifa comes after a week of scandal for the global football body. Among soccer fans, sadly, the organisation has become a byword for sleaze. England spent £21m on the campaign to secure the 2018 World Cup. The height of our attempts to influence the delegates seems to have been the offer of a free breakfast with Prince William in Zurich. Little wonder we only obtained one vote in addition to our own, writes Dr Paul Ormerod (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in City AM.

Tory victory heralds rationing of higher education

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The trouble with the Conservative victory in the election is not only that we are stuck with a system of funding higher education that will burden graduates with debt while taxpayers continue to contribute almost as much as before – a lose-lose situation by any standard, writes Professor Peter Scott (UCL Institute of Education) in The Guardian.

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