All entries for Friday 07 January 2011

January 07, 2011

Warwick Week – New Year's Resolutions, Fitness to Drive, and a 1800 Degree Furnace

Three New Year’s Honours for Warwick

Chancellor Sir Richard Lambert has been knighted as part of the Queen's New Year's Honours. This honour comes in recognition of his services to business as Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Three further honours were given to Emeritus Professor John Benington, Warwick Business School, awarded a CBE for public service, Rehana Richens, a student with the School of Health and Social Studies, awarded a OBE for her services to midwifery and nursing, and Sir Alec Reed, an Honorary Professor of Warwick Business School who has also been knighted for his services to business and charity.

Read more on the University of Warwick news page >>

Why we don’t keep New Year’s resolutions

It is possible that fewer people than ever will have made New Year’s resolutions last weekend. More than 80 per cent of us have ditched the tradition after failing to keep resolutions in previous years, a poll found. According to Professor Martin Skinner, Department of Pyschology, the decline could be due to the type of resolutions people make. He said:

I think many people aspire to the unlikely or impossible, and pick resolutions that are about levels of self-control and self-denial which are difficult to attain. When they don’t see the results they want, and which they have probably failed in the past to achieve, they tend to give up again.

Read more in the Daily Express and New Kerala >> 

Why do we continue to Keep Calm And Carry On?

Many people like to decorate their homes, mugs, even their clothes, with catchy slogans. In 2005, a couple discovered the original copy of the previously unfamiliar WW2 poster encouraging civilians to ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’. After displaying it in their book shop, they were met with hundreds of requests from customers who wanted a copy. Popularity peaked last year, as "Keep Calm And Carry On" became the slogan for all-things recession-related. Other posters boast the slogans ‘Rise And Shine’, ‘All You Need Is Love’, and even ‘Keep Calm And Eat A Cupcake’. Professor Martin Skinner, Department of Psychology, explains that buying into anything which carries a vibe of vintage or retro about it, is part of a self-conscious way of dealing with times of difficulty:

There's a tendency, and therefore maybe a trend, to be ironically stoic about the current economic downturn, because irony is the attitude of the times among a broad section of society. Something like the 'Keep Calm' poster is a way of quoting another simple, more straightforward and committed time – but it's done in a way that is gently mocking that time, and gently mocking ourselves.

Read more in the Independent >>

Rising number of people unfit to drive

A study conducted at the University of Warwick suggests that doctors, nurses and other health professionals are failing to stop people driving when they are a danger to themselves and other road users. The problem is growing because of the ageing population. The research team surveyed medical schools, health workers and drivers with medical conditions and used a range of research techniques including deployment of an actor pretending to be unfit to drive. Researchers found 69 of the 140 drivers surveyed should have been advised to stop driving for at least a period of time, but only 23 had received such advice. Dr Carol Hawley said there was confusion among health workers over who was responsible for telling drivers they should stay off the road after an episode such as a stroke, an operation or a bout of severe depression.

The typical response we found was, 'Yes, we know it's important, we know somebody should be doing it, but we don't think it should be us'. Leaving the onus on motorists to own up to a serious condition, and turn themselves in to the DVLA, is a recipe for inaction: if you are going to lose your licence, you aren't going to do it, are you?

Read more in the Guardian >>

1800oC furnace beats snow

Snow may be hampering Christmas deliveries but it has failed to stop the delivery of University Warwick’s Professor Phil Mawby’s Christmas present - a special furnace that can reach 1800 degrees centigrade.

The weather outside may be frightful, but this furnace will raise temperatures in Professor Mawby’s lab to a blistering 1800oC, 500oC higher than traditional silicon furnaces. It will be used to make Power Semiconductor devices in Silicon Carbide, a material which is revolutionizing electrical energy management.

Taking delivery of the new furnace this week, Professor Mawby said:

We are delighted to have this new furnace; it will allow us to really push the boundaries of what we know about silicon carbide and how it functions under such intense temperatures. This will allow us as a university to make great strides in developing the material for use in energy management and hopefully find a means of using the material to run electrical energy in a much more efficient manner.

Silicon Carbide is the next-generation semiconducting material. It is very similar to silicon but a much smaller piece of the material can perform the same functionality, meaning space and weight are saved, and less heat is lost.

Read more in the press release >>

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