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Weekly roundup 04/11/2016

The James Webb telescope. Credit: NASA

4 Nov 2016

In the news this week:

Sir James Dyson will confront the UK’s skills gap by launching an engineering university, the Dyson Institute of Technology, which he hopes will double his engineering workforce to 6,000 by 2020. He was advised by the Government to take matters into his own hands after he complained about the lack of engineers in the country and has done just that, committing £15m in funding over five years to the institute. The Dyson Institute of Technology will take its first 25 students in September next year. Students will not pay fees and will, in fact, earn a salary as they work alongside Dyson engineers on upcoming products. Read more about Dyson’s efforts and the new institute, which opens next year, here.

 

Rutgers Associate Professor Ashutosh Goel has invented a new method to immobilise radioactive iodine in ceramics and glass at room temperature.
Iodine-129 is primarily produced during nuclear fission and has a half-life of 15.7 million years. The American Environmental Protection Agency has expressed concerns that it can disperse rapidly in air and water and linger for millions of years. Iodine targets the thyroid gland and can increase the chances of getting cancer. The research may eventually help lead to ways to safely dispose of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel that is stored now at commercial nuclear power plants. Read more about his work here.

 

A team led by University of California School of Medicine researchers have shown it is possible to reverse diabetic insulin resistance and glucose intolerance in mouse models of obesity and diabetes by removing the protein galectin-3 (Gal3). Gal3 prevents insulin from attaching to the receptors resulting in cellular insulin resistance by binding to insulin receptors on cells. The findings suggest that Gal3 inhibition in people could be an effective anti-diabetic approach. You can read the paper, published in Cell journal on 3 Nov, here.

 

Engineers at NASA have finished assembling the giant telescope that will succeed Hubble and the new observatory is on track to be launched in exactly two years from now. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), named after NASA’s second administrator, is a joint venture between with the European and Canadian space agencies. The telescope will carry technologies capable of detecting the light from the first stars to shine in the universe and will reveal the chemistry and behaviour of planets far beyond our solar system in unparalleled detail. Read more here.

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