Today’s physics news: Royal Institution may sell home; Fermi might hunt dark matter

Here is our physics news for Friday 18 January 2013.

Royal Institution: UK science body ‘may sell home’

One of the oldest scientific organisations in the world may have to sell off its home in Mayfair, London. The Royal Institution was founded in 1799 to link science with wider society and is well known for its televised Christmas lectures. The RI has reportedly instructed a niche property agent to market its building on Albemarle Street for £60m.


Fermi telescope may change to dark matter hunting

The Universe’s highest-energy light could finally yield clues to the nature of the “dark matter” that makes up some 85% of the Universe’s mass. The Fermi space telescope, designed to catch gamma rays, has seen hints of evidence for dark matter in high-energy gamma rays seen at the galaxy’s centre. The Fermi team is now opening a call for ideas on changing how it observes.


Drop in student numbers ‘could cost economy £6 billion’

A drop in student numbers of 30,000 this year could cost the country more than £6 billion over the next 40 years, according to a new report. The report by consultancy firm London Economics also finds that the Treasury gains £94,000 for every student that is educated to bachelor’s degree level. Once all the costs are taken into account, the Treasury reaps a 10.8 per cent net return on its initial investment in funding an undergraduate degree, it says.

 Times Higher Education

Mathematicians aim to take publishers out of publishing

Mathematicians plan to launch a series of free open-access journals that will host their peer-reviewed articles on the preprint server arXiv. The project was publicly revealed yesterday in a blog post by Tim Gowers, a Fields Medal winner and mathematician at the University of Cambridge, UK. The initiative, called the Episciences Project, hopes to show that researchers can organize the peer review and publication of their work at minimal cost, without involving commercial publishers.



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