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November 26, 2010

Warwick Week – Queen Camilla, Saving our Sprouts and NATO's History Lessons

Queen Camilla

During an interview with the American broadcaster NBC that was shown on Friday night, Prince Charles suggested that the Duchess of Cornwall “could be” Queen Camilla when he becomes king, becoming Britain’s first queen consort since the late Queen Elizabeth was crowned in 1937. But will she? Dr Sarah Richardson, Department of History, looks at some incidents of historical precedence:

There is no constitutional reason why the Duchess of Cornwall shouldn’t be crowned queen. There is no law that says a divorcée is excluded and, of course, Charles was himself divorced from Diana. Ever since Henry VIII got divorced, constitutionalists have tended to shy away from worrying about the issue of divorce. It all boils down to whether something is acceptable in the prevailing public opinion of the day. For example, Edward VIII did not have to abdicate for a constitutional reason, he abdicated because Wallis Simpson was considered unsuitable by the government.

Read the article in the Daily Telegraph >>

Saving sprouts from deadly cigar burns

Brassicas like brussels sprouts, cabbages and broccoli are all susceptible to the turnip mosaic virus, commonly referred to by gardeners as ‘cigar burns’ because of the black spots it leaves on prize vegetables. The Government-funded Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have invested more than £13 million into helping scientists discover new breeds of plants that are resistant to disease.

One of the most successful projects so far is led by Dr John Walsh, Department of Life Sciences:

TuMV causes really nasty-looking black necrotic spots on the plants it infects - ‘a pox on your’ vegetables! This can cause significant yield losses and often leaves an entire crop unfit for marketing. At best, a field of badly affected brussels sprouts provide some animal fodder, but these vegetables would not be appealing to most shoppers. The virus is particularly difficult to control because it is transmitted so rapidly to plants by insect vectors like greenfly.

Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>
Listen to John Walsh speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Material World (1:35) >>

Warwick Arts Centre's tribute to wealthy benefactor

Warwick Arts Centre’s new studio has been named the Helen Martin Studio after the wealthy Kenilworth woman who donated the equivalent of £28 million to the university. Helen Martin, of Spring Lane, Kenilworth, loved classical music and regularly attended classical concerts in at the arts centre’s Butterworth Hall.

She was a major benefactor of the university and from its earliest days established a trust fund that in today’s money would be worth £28 million. She insisted on being anonymous during her lifetime and was referred to by the university simply as ‘The anonymous benefactor.’

University of Warwick Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift said:

Helen Martin’s name and her support for Warwick is now well known but despite her generosity being behind many of university buildings none of them bear her name. Now we will put that right by naming this fine new studio created as the final part of the recent £8 million redevelopment of Warwick Arts Centre.

Read more in the Coventry Telegraph >>

History lessons to inform NATO exit strategies

As politicians and military strategists try to negotiate the NATO withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, academics are looking at what history can tell us about how exits have been managed in the past. A research team from Oxford and Warwick Universities will examine two centuries of British imperialism, from the late eighteen century to the 1990s, in a wide-ranging study that focuses on the alliances and deals that the British brokered in conquering and controlling their empire.

The three-year research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will culminate in a conference in 2013 at which policymakers and academics will assess whether we can learn lessons from past experience. 

Dr Daniel Branch, from the Department of History at the University of Warwick, said:

National myths don’t help us understand how empires worked and the fate of those who backed the losing side in anti-colonial rebellions. It is discomforting for some now to consider that as many Americans opposed the revolution there as supported it in the eighteenth century. The same is true for Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s.

Read the press release by Oxford University >>

Warwick academics awarded research grants from the Leverhulme Trust

A clutch of young academics from the University of Warwick have been awarded research grants from the Leverhulme Trust. Philip Leverhulme Prizes are awarded to outstanding scholars who have made a substantial and recognised contribution to their particular field of study, recognised at an international level, and where the expectation is that their greatest achievement is yet to come.

Dr Giorgio Riello, of the University’s History department, has been awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize – one of only 25 young academics in the country to be handed the honour. A further eight academics have been granted Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships – more than ten percent of the national awardees.

University of Warwick’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Mark Smith said:

The University of Warwick’s research has long been established in the top ten of UK universities and these nine prestigious awards are testament to the quality of our young staff at the start of their academic careers. Such colleagues are essential to maintain and enhance Warwick’s research reputation in the future. Warwick is one of the top ten research universities in the UK and these nine awards to some of our young academics show the next generation are ready to keep us in the top ten.

Read the press release to learn more >>

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