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Rotten eggs, horse pee, alcohol and bitter almonds: this is the bouquet of odours you would smell if a comet in deep space could be brought back to Earth, European scientists said on Thursday.

Despite a pledge from the British government to limit their use, new figures show there has been a rise in the number of experiments on animals. Critics argue that scientists continue to needlessly test medicines on animals, while scientists argue that testing on animals is often the only way to create vital new medicine and treatments. VoR's Simon Parker has more.


More than 30 leading scientists have written to the Daily Telegraph newspaper complaining about what they see as the stifling of research in Britain. Professor Don Braben is a physicist and one of those behind the letter. VoR's Tim Ecott asked him to explain his problem with the current funding application process. 

Spending on research and development in Britain has slumped to such a level that the UK risks becoming a backwater for science. Scientists are pushing for the government to commit to long-term funding of science and engineering as it would be a boost to the economy. It follows the figures from the Office of National Statistics showing spending has gone down. VoR talks to Jennifer Roan, a cell biologist at University College London.

Britain's University of East Anglia today secured European funding to the tune of two million euros to build a sea ice chamber that will mimic conditions in the Arctic. The chamber will be used to assess how the polar region adapts to global warming. Scientists will study the links between melting sea ice and snow, and the changing chemistry of the atmosphere. We spoke to Professor Roland von Glasow, the lead researcher.

Scientists at Oxford University have located a part of the human brain that helps us spot any bad decisions that we may make and change tack. They discovered a small ball of tissue called the 'lateral frontal pole', which allows us to switch decisions to a more successful course of action and also analyse what we might have done instead. VoR spoke to one of the researchers, Professor Matthew Rushworth.

Scientists in Britain have developed a method for determining the function of genes that can help us understand how to treat conditions like heart disease, liver disease and cancer. The team from Cambridge University used stem cells with a single set of chromosomes to reveal what happens to cells when they become diseased. VoR's Brendan Cole spoke to the lead researcher Dr Martin Leeb.

A leading academic says university students are getting short-changed in Britain, because many of their teachers are too focused on research. The head of the Higher Education Policy Institute says the growing pressures of research cause some teachers to demand less of their students. That leaves students in some British universities working far less than their counterparts in Europe to obtain the same degree. VoR’s Vivienne Nunis reports.

The Russian physicist Viatcheslav Mukhanov has won the prestigious Gruber Cosmology Prize. VoR’s Scott Craig asked Mukhanov about his work and its significance in helping us understand the origins of the universe.

Big Bang Theory, Research, Science, Scientists, British scientist, cosmology, Viatcheslav Mukhanov

Gene compatibility could be the clue to how suitable couples are for each other, according to new research. VoR’s Scott Craig asked professor Daniel Davis, author of The Compatibility Gene, whether people had been looking for love in all the wrong places.

Research, Science, Love, Genes, Attraction

Eating lots of broccoli may slow down osteoarthritis and could even prevent the disease. Researchers at the University of East Anglia team found that in tests on mice a broccoli compound blocked a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage.

UK, Research, arthritis, broccoli
The Internet is coming to one of the most notoriously inhospitable landscapes on Earth. Russia's Vostok research station in Antarctica is to have access to the Web, according to Alexei Yekaikin of Russia's Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring.
A new study at Goldsmith's College, University of London shows that children fed on junk food have lower IQs. The differences are relatively small when compared to children fed on freshly prepared meals, but according to Dr Sophie von Stumm, the author of the report, they are significant.
The British government plans to make all taxpayer funded research open access by 2014. The plans would mean that scientific research would become freely available online for universities, companies and members of the public. Proponents say it’s the most radical shakeup of academic publishing since the Internet was invented.
The economic downturn may be affecting people's general health. That's the finding of a survey by the Insight Research Group who has carried out research among family doctors.
Cases of the most dangerous form of skin cancer - malignant melanoma - are on the rise in Britain. The number of cases has risen particularly among the over fifties.
UK, Cancer, Melanoma, Skin, Research
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February 2018
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February 2018