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

Why Mumbai should get over its obsession with cars

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There is no congestion charging, no bike-share scheme, no bus lanes even. Despite an estimated 91% of trips in the city being made on foot, bus or train, transport policy remains geared towards the car, writes Dr Andrew Harris (UCL Geography) in the Guardian Cities.

Monster telescope needs mind-bending mathematics to uncover secrets of the universe

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Telescopes have come a long way since the days when they were all about lone astronomers watching the night sky through their upstairs windows. Today teams of astrophysicists build and use much more modern instruments, not only to observe light visible to our eyes, but also radio emissions from the universe, writes Dr Jason McEwen (UCL Space & Climate Physics) in The Conversation.

Lessons on censorship from Syria’s internet filter machines

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Emiliano De Cristofaro

Norwegian writer Mette Newth once wrote that: “censorship has followed the free expressions of men and women like a shadow throughout history.” As we develop new means to gather and create information, new means to control, erase and censor that information evolve alongside it. Today that means access to information through the internet, which motivates us to study internet censorship, writes Dr Emiliano De Cristofaro (UCL Computer Science) in The Conversation.

Black modernism, racism and the making of popular British culture in the inter-war years

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Caroline Bressey

In 1919, Ivy MacKusick, an art student at UCL’s Slade School of Fine Art, completed a Portrait of a Man in His Shirtsleeves. We know nothing about the man of African descent depicted in this portrait. It was painted during the inaugural year of the Harlem Renaissance, which was also a year of violent race riots in the United States and Britain. The evocative painting makes it hard not to speculate about the thoughts passing through the man’s mind as he sat for the Slade students, writes Dr Caroline Bressey (UCL Geography) in The Conversation.

Assess governance structures

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Projects such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Green List are beginning to evaluate the effectiveness of protected areas systematically. This will help to shift the focus of conservation efforts from targets assessed just by hectares to other, more-meaningful objectives, focused on effectiveness. But to learn from successes and failures, we must also evaluate governance systems, writes Dr Peter Jones (UCL Geography) in Nature.

How much do we care about our online privacy?

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A year and a half after Snowden’s initial NSA revelations, internet privacy has become one of the most widely discussed topics in media and technology. But there is little evidence that snooping habits have diminished. Even apps that emerged to ensure consumer anonymity, such as Snapchat and Whisper, have been under investigation for breeching their own privacy specs. But how much has changed in the mindset of consumers, and are we genuinely concerned about privacy, writes Professor Tomas Chamorro Premuzic (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in the Guardian Media Network.

Glühwein and gravitational waves

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Jon Butterworth

Fireworks seem to go off pretty much continually between Halloween and the weekend-after-Bonfire-night these days. I don’t object, and I rather like pumpkins and zombie costumes. Cats, witches and skeletons too. Though I’m not sure what nightmares were being channelled by the small child who came trick-or-treating to our door dressed as a ladybird. And then Bonfire Night on Wednesday. None of this weird American Halloween stuff, just the fine old British tradition of burning a religious terrorist in effigy, writes Professor Jon Butterworth (UCL Physics & Astronomy) in The Guardian.

A cosy pact with the spies is no substitute for the rule of law

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Philippe Sands

No one can doubt that the threat of terrorism poses considerable challenges. Yet the approach adopted by Robert Hannigan, the new head of Britain’s electronic spying agency, is deeply troubling. The GCHQ chief’s call for greater “co-operation” between the private sector and the intelligence services came in the same week we learnt that GCHQ may be accessing documents covered by legal professional privilege, writes Professor Philippe Sands (UCL Laws) in the Financial Times.

Yes, EU immigrants do have a positive impact on public finances

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The impact of immigration on Britain’s tax and welfare system is perhaps the most important economic issue in the debate over the country’s relationship with the EU and its principle of free movement. There are claims that immigrants from Europe take advantage of the UK’s benefit and health system. This has led to political pressure to limit immigrants' access to benefits and public services and even restrict immigration from the European Economic Area countries, writes Professor Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini (UCL Centre for Research & Analysis of Migration) in The Conversation.

If you want a fair inheritance tax, make it a tax on income

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No one likes tax but inheritance tax (or “death tax”) is the focus of particular moral outrage. On the face of it, this is odd. The reason tax is disliked is because it reduces the money you can spend. But as inheritance tax is only payable after you have ceased to exist, you’re not actually losing out by paying it, says Dr Dean Machin (UCL Philosophy) in The Conversation.

How does the IPCC know climate change is happening?

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Mark Maslin

Climate change is one of the few scientific theories that makes us examine the whole basis of modern society. It is a challenge that has politicians arguing, sets nations against each other, queries individual lifestyle choices, and ultimately asks questions about humanity’s relationship with the rest of the planet, writes Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography) in The Conversation.

Ebola is a product of a destructive and exploitative global economic system

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Henrietta Moore

Like a sleepwalker roused from his dream, the world is slowly waking up to the full nightmare of the Ebola outbreak decimating west Africa. With small numbers of cases turning up in western countries, governments here are belatedly pledging action to fight the disease, which has already claimed almost 5,000 lives, writes Professor Henrietta Moore (UCL Institute for Global Prosperity) in The Guardian.

Supplies of rare earth materials are still far from secure

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Raimund Bleischwitz

Materials essential for technology products such as electric vehicles, wind turbines or hard disks, known as rare earth elements, aren’t becoming any less rare, or any less crucial. In fact, experts at a major rare earths conference in Milan on October 16 – the European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON) – agreed supply shortages will continue for the time being. This isn’t just a matter for tech companies: their gloomy outlook should be of crucial importance for the future of international relations, writes Professor Raimund Bleischwitz (UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources) in The Conversation.

Is sending shoppers ads by Bluetooth just a bit creepy?

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Using Bluetooth wireless networking to send information to nearby smartphones, beacon technology could transform how retailers engage with their customers. But customers will notice how their information is used to personalise these unsolicited adverts, and companies that fail to respect their privacy may get burned, writes Dr Charlene Jennett (UCL Interaction Centre) & Professor Angela Sasse (UCL Computer Science) in The Conversation.

Europe needs gas and Russia needs cash, so expect an energy-fuelled reconciliation

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The Ukraine crisis caused relations between Russia and the EU to fall to their lowest point since the Cold War. But despite the bickering and outright conflicts, both still need each other: Europe relies on Russian gas to keep warm, and Russia in turn needs revenues. With winter on its way and capital flight from Russia reaching dangerous levels, the outlook should draw the EU and Russia back together, writes Dr Catalina Spataru and Professor Raimund Bleischwitz (UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources) in The Conversation.

London is a scientific powerhouse – and it’s about more than Nobel Prizes

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Stephen Caddick

London is fortunate in having a record in ground-breaking science that other cities can only envy. We have a long and proud history of research which we should strive to maintain, for the good of our society, and for the good of our city too. Investing in science will pay richer dividends, in every sense, than any of us can imagine, writes Professor Stephen Caddick (UCL Vice-Provost, Enterprise & London) in City AM.

Islamic State: no-one wants to talk to terrorists, but we always do – and sometimes it works

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The Islamic State (IS) now occupies significant swaths of Iraq and Syria, has pushed as far as the border with Turkey, and has succeeded in dragging “the West” into two civil wars in the Middle East. The West’s offensive, spearheaded by the US and supported by the UK and others, is to “degrade and ultimately destroy” IS. But in the face of IS’s state-building efforts, that strategy will only work if it manages to degrade the group’s legitimacy as a governing enterprise, writes Dr Kristin Bakke (UCL Political Science) in The Conversation.

Eugenics: the academy's complicity

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Nathaniel

“The British invented racism,” said the UK’s first “black female” MP. “Britain…almost invented racism,” said the US’ first “black male” ambassador to the UN. If by “racism” we mean “the science of improving stock”, by “giv[ing] to the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable”, then Diane Abbott in April 1988 and Andrew Young in April 1977 were right: the British invented eugenics. More precisely, the University of London invented national eugenics, in the service of the British Empire, writes Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman (UCL Philosophy) in THE.

First goal of UN sustainability targets should be to not conflict with each other

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The UN’s proposed sustainability targets are riddled with conflicts that could make them ineffective or outright harmful. In theory, there is nothing wrong with such targets. After all, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had mixed success on health, education and poverty but established the principle that measuring key indicators was a good way to at least begin tackling major issues, writes Lucien Georgeson and Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography) in The Conversation.

Humans drained the Aral Sea once before – but there are no free refills this time round

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Anson Mackay

The Aral Sea has reached a new low, literally and figuratively; new satellite images from NASA show that, for the first time in its recorded history, the largest basin has completely dried up, writes Professor Anson Mackay (UCL Geography) in The Conversation.

Space: the financial frontier – how citizen scientists took control of a spaceship

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For decades, space exploration remained a domain within reach of only government agencies, who could command huge pools of expertise and public funds. Now the means by which our space endeavours are funded have become more diverse, and more and more private space initiatives are appearing, writes Dr Geraint Jones (UCL MSSL) in The Conversation.

Building a new economics for the #Occupy generation

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After the global financial crisis in 2008, economics was in disarray. Even the Queen was moved to chide economists for failing to warn about the build-up of debt in households and banks in the major economies and the threat this posed to the global economy. She might have added that few economists provided convincing accounts of why the meltdown had happened. And some advocated policies in its wake that made things worse, writes Professor Wendy Carlin (UCL Economics) in The Conversation.

How the world's first smartwatch was built

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Lisa Jardine

The pocket watch could be called the world's first "smart" device, and its development involved some of the greatest scientific minds of the 17th Century, writes Professor Lisa Jardine (UCL Centre for Editing Lives & Letters) for BBC News magazine.

Could there really be such a thing as volcano season?

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The Earth seems to have been smoking a lot recently. Volcanoes are currently erupting in Iceland, Hawaii, Indonesia and Mexico. Others, in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, erupted recently but seem to have calmed down. Many of these have threatened homes and forced evacuations. But among their less-endangered spectators, these eruptions may have raised a question: Is there such a thing as a season for volcanic eruptions? asks Robin Wylie (UCL Earth Sciences) in The Conversation.

Energy efficient buildings – beware possible health risks

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The primary goal of home energy efficiency initiatives might be to reduce total energy consumption, but these projects could have a negative impact on public health if we do not take care, writes Melissa Lott (UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources) in The Conversation.

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