Physics news for Wednesday 29 August 2012
Tatooine-like double-star systems can host planets
A new study shows that planetary systems can form and survive in the chaotic environment around pairs of stars. A team reports in the journal Science the discovery of two planets orbiting a pair of stars – a so-called binary. The planetary system, known as Kepler-47, is located roughly 5,000 light-years away, in the constellation Cygnus.
Orkney, leader in green energy, launches wave power competition
In this article, Severin Carrell reports on how the Scottish island of Orkney, with a population of 20,000, is expected to meet 85% of its electricity needs by next year through home-grown renewables. The island currently boasts 450 privately owned wind turbines and perhaps as many as 100 solar panel arrays and more than 150 ground-source heat pumps fitted to homes, schools and offices.
GCSE English pupils ‘unfairly treated’ by grade boundary changes
More than 700 schools have produced evidence purporting to show that pupils were unfairly treated by examiners who moved the grade boundary for summer’s GCSE English exams. The dossier has been compiled by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) which on Tuesday met the exams regulator Ofqual to submit evidence of complaints by pupils and teachers. These suggested more than 10,000 students who sat tests in January were more likely to get a higher grade for the same marks than those who were assessed this summer.
NHS patient records to revolutionise medical research in Britain
A revolution in medical research in Britain is to give academics and the life sciences industry unparalleled access to the cradle-to-grave health records of about 52 million people in England. ministers have overseen the creation of new systems to encourage a surge in studies that draw on public health records. From September GP practices will be encouraged to take part in the scheme, through the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD).