Here’s the physics news for Thursday 13 September 2012.
The combination of BAE Systems and EADS would constitute a mega-merger in every sense of the phrase. It would create a company with 217,000 workers – including 50,000 in the UK – a market value of more than £30bn and an entity with products ranging from Britain’s nuclear submarines to the Airbus A380 superjumbo. It is a merger that could characterise a new era for European politics and co-ordination, let alone the defence industry.
UK’s largest meteorite goes on display at Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
A hunk of rock that for years sat on the doorstep of a stately home in Wiltshire has been identified as – possibly – the largest meteorite to have fallen on Britain. The lump of stone, which weighs 90kg, fell to Earth some 30,000 years ago and is thought to have survived almost whole because it was preserved firstly in the frozen conditions of the last ice age and then in chalk after being built into a burial mound. After being excavated from the mound in the 19th century it lay for at least 80 years on the front doorstep of Lake House near Salisbury, latterly the home of rock star Sting.
Working on borrowed time?
A report offers a sobering analysis of the implications for academic libraries – and academic librarians – of the “shift to more open-access scholarly content”.Released last week, Moving towards an Open Access Future: The Role of Academic Libraries summarises a round-table discussion between 14 librarians and other industry experts from Europe, North America and the Middle East that took place earlier this year and was organised by the publisher SAGE in association with the British Library. “The more content that is available as open access [OA],” argues the report, the less need there will be for “institutional collections”. “The concept of the individual library is going to go away,” suggests one contributor. “We are going to have to work together.”
Birmingham centre takes root
A university is to establish an education centre focused on improving access to and participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects as a direct legacy of a national programme based at the institution. The STEM Education Centre at the University of Birmingham will build on the work of the National HE STEM programme, which it has hosted since 2009, and work with other STEM initiatives and organisations. Within the university, the centre will focus on student recruitment and widening participation. Director Michael Grove said that the centre would provide a “sustainable legacy” for the national programme’s achievements.
EU battles over research billions
Tens of billions of euros are at stake as negotiations ramp up to shape Europe’s next seven-year research programme. The discussions will cover familiar divisions over applied versus basic research and conflicting national agendas, but the continent’s ongoing financial problems will add an extra measure of anxiety. The European Commission proposed the general size and shape of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme in November 2011. European Union (EU) member states and members of the European Parliament will negotiate and agree on the budget and final details of the programme, which will run from 2014 to 2020, over the next 15 months.
Predatory publishers are corrupting open access
Journals that exploit the author-pays model damage scholarly publishing and promote unethical behaviour by scientists, argues Jeffrey Beall.