The TopUniversities.com guide to the latest higher education news from around the world, on 19 February 2013.
Columbia University professor opens introductory physics course with a bang!
Academics are known to be a quirky bunch, and as such, are known to use interesting techniques to grab students’ attention. But few go as far as Professor Emlyn Hughes, a physics professor at Columbia University, who decided to open his ‘Frontiers of Science’ module by stripping down to his underwear in front of a video of controversial imagery. He then explained that he was trying to get students to clear their minds in order to prepare themselves for the rigours of quantum mechanics. Suffice to say, many students were left confused. The full story is available on The Huffington Post, which also has a video of the event. It goes without saying that it’s not for the faint hearted...
Oxford University develops cheap autopilot system for cars
Into the realm of science fiction now, with the news that researchers at Oxford University are developing a self-drive system which can easily be fitted to existing cars. What makes the project stand out from similar onessuch as Google’s is the cheapness – it is predicated that it could cost as little as US$150, reports the Wall Street Journal. Don’t think you’ll just be able to sit back and relax the whole time though; the system is only designed for occasional use on safe roads in good conditions.
Pennsylvania State University dance marathon raises US$12.37 million for charity
Since 1977, students at Pennsylvania State University have been raising money for a pediatric cancer by putting on their dancing shoes and heading to the university’s annual THON dance marathon. This year’s event raised a massive US$12.37 million, smashing last year’s record of US$10.36, with hundreds of students taking place over the course of a weekend. Not a bad result for a bit of a boogie! In total, the event has raised a total of US$89 million since it began, reports The Huffington Post.
University of Dayton launches month-long ‘pay it forward’ campaign
In more feel-good news, the University of Dayton (based in the US state of Ohio) has launched a month-long ‘pay it forward’ campaign. ‘I Love UD’, as it is called, encourages students to do a random good deed, after which they hand a card to the person who has benefitted, who is then expected to do a good deed of their own and pass the card on again, and so on. University alumni are also encouraged to get in on the act, reports the university’s website. Not a bad way to get people to spread the love, really, is it?
Duke University create sixth sense implant
And in more science fiction news, researchers at Duke University are currently testing an implant which will give the recipient an extra sense. Sadly, it’s not mind reading, but the ability to see normally invisible infrared light. It works by fitting an infrared detector to the brain using electrodes. The implant is currently being tested on rats, reports USA Today. The final goal of the research, however, isn’t to allow us to see invisible light, but to help restore lost senses in human beings.