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the college newsletter

issue no

166 | M arch 2006

Keynote Government speech given at King’s

greg funnell


ecretary of State for Defence The Rt Hon John Reid urged the public to have more understanding of British soldiers serving in war zones, in his keynote speech given in the Great Hall, Strand Campus, at King’s on Monday 20 February. In his speech Be slower to condemn and quicker to understand the best fighting force in the world, he told an audience of War Studies students and staff that the public should be more understanding of the ‘unprecedented challenges’ faced by British troops in foreign battlezones, and urged people to be ‘slow to condemn’ UK forces in Iraq.

‘Best fighting force in the world’ Dr Reid said that soldiers face intense scrutiny as they take on terrorists prepared to resort to any measures. ‘I ask that we try to imagine what it must be like on the battlefields so we may be a little slower to condemn and a lot quicker to understand the best fighting force in the world.’ Dr Reid argued that soldiers face an ‘uneven playing field of scrutiny’, and asked that ‘the increasing number of us who do not come from military backgrounds take time to learn a little of the fantastic job they do on our behalf’.

Dr John Reid meets War Studies students after giving a keynote speech at the Strand Campus.

He continued: ‘We ask an enormous amount of our troops; that the most junior faces risks, dangers, threats unimaginable to most of us; that our officers take calculated risks, and make immediate life and death decisions upon which literally thousands of lives may depend. ‘Our legal culture, just like our civilian culture would do well to ponder these circumstances at length in this changing world. That’s why I am so glad that the Attorney

‘A great opportunity for King’s students and staff to hear directly from a policymaker’ General and others have made the effort to visit operational theatres – precisely in order to better understand these circumstances and these feelings.’ The Principal, Professor Rick Trainor, said in his vote of thanks:

2 RAE Higher/King’s 2008 | 4 OnlineAwards history| 3databases ‘Topping| 4out’ | 6 Admissions | 7 Departmental Pharmacy | 2| Times Greek play| 5success Collaborations | 5 Policy Restoring Thomas Guy | 6focus: Profile: Geoff Till 8 King’s peoplefocus: | 10 Flashback exhibition | 12 Research | 13 Student news 14 In |the news | 16 Books | 7| Departmental Philosophy| 11| 8Solidarity King’s people | 12 Flashback | 13 Research | 14 In the |news 15 Student news | 16 Books

‘This has been a great opportunity for King’s students and staff to hear directly from a policymaker about the thrust and the subtleties of reasoning that lie behind major parts of the country’s defence policy.’ After his speech Dr Reid met and answered questions from students and staff.



Times Higher/King’s Awards of British universities and provide the College with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate King’s great strengths. For this reason we hope to put forward some strong entries. ‘To encourage entrants the College is also offering three awards to run in parallel with those of the Times Higher with prize money of £500 for the best entry as a way of celebrating the excellence of King’s research.’

‘Excellent opportunity to demonstrate King’s great strengths’ The King’s Awards are for:

New admissions test


rom summer 2006 many applicants applying to study medicine or dentistry at King’s for entry in 2007 will be required to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT). The College is one of 24 UK universities to join this new scheme. Currently the College receives approximately 5,800 and 1,200 applications to study medicine and dentistry respectively for 410 and 180 places each year. Processing these applications efficiently is always an immense task. King’s has been central to national discussions on introducing this new test. Martyn Annis, Senior Assistant Registrar (Admissions), is a UKCAT Consortium Board member and Chair of the Board’s working group on delivering the test this summer. He comments: ‘The test will

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not only help us to widen access to our medical and dental degree programmes but also assist us in making more informed choices from amongst the many highly qualified applicants who apply. It will help ensure that the candidates selected have the best combination of cognitive abilities and other attributes considered to be valuable for healthcare professionals.’ The test will be delivered on computers through Pearson VUE test centres worldwide. No UK applicant should be more than 40 miles from a test centre and 80 per cent will be within 20 miles. King’s has already been innovative in this area. The College is one of a consortium of 11 UK universities who introduced the National Admissions Test for Law last year.

News in brief New Hefce boss Professor David Eastwood, ViceChancellor of the University of East Anglia, has been appointed Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. He takes up the post on 1 September.

Latin play History’s Advanced Latin Group is performing a dramatised reading of a 12th century comedy by Vitalis of Blois Aulularia (The Pot of Gold) on 24 March at 18.30 in the Chapel at the Strand. You don’t have to know Latin to follow the plot!


ecently A cover story in the Times Literary Supplement featured the first UK publication of two stories by one of the most famous writers of the 19th century, Robert Louis Stevenson, following research by Dr Ralph Parfect, School of Humanities. He transcribed the two stories, The Scientific Ape and The Clockmaker, previously unpublished in English, while researching for his PhD thesis, Hell’s Dexterities: The Violent Art of Robert Louis Stevenson. ‘These entertaining and provocative narratives have been strangely neglected by Stevenson’s admirers. They are as good as many

AUT strike Following a ballot in January, King’s staff who are members of the AUT joined colleagues across the UK for a one-day strike for better pay on 8 March.

New grant award The global pharmaceutical company, Wyeth, has awarded a research grant of $500,000 to Professor Patrick Doherty, Director of the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Disease, and Professor Ivor Mason, Assistant Director, MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, to investigate growth control in neural stem cells. This award highlights the continued close collaborative links between the two research centres.

Robert Louis Stevenson

One of the most famous writers of the 19th century Both stories use the ancient fable genre to poke fun at misguided scientific and ethical thought, and to raise serious philosophical and moral issues. The stories and an article by Dr Parfect describing the works and suggesting reasons why they may have remained unpublished for so long, were first published in the American academic journal English Journal in Translation last year before the Times Literary Supplement reprinted them in a special Scottish issue timed to coincide with Burns night.

King’s applications up UCAS figures released last month show that the number of undergraduate students applying to King’s has risen by an impressive 4 per cent. This compares to a drop of 3.4 per cent across the UK higher education sector. Also, the number of overseas applications to the College has increased by 9 per cent compared to a national

Greek play success

of his other published works. But his editor and literary executor Sidney Colvin had a rather conservative perception of literary taste at the time which may have led to his feeling they were too provocative and might damage Stevenson’s reputation,’ speculates Dr Parfect, now Programme Manager for the MA Creative & Cultural Industries.

g Pieri Nerli

• Research project of the year • Young researcher of the year • Young academic author of the year.

Bids for these awards must make their case in 500 words. Submissions must be based on work undertaken between 1 July 2005 and 30 June 2006, and be sent to Victoria Richardson, VicePrincipal’s Office, James Clerk Maxwell Building, Waterloo Campus by 30 May. (For last year’s winners see Comment 163.) The winners of these awards will then automatically be entered into the Times Higher competition. The College also encourages staff to enter in other categories, particularly ‘Widening participation initiative of the year’, ‘Outstanding contribution to the local community’ and ‘Most imaginative use of distance learning’. These submissions should also be sent to Victoria Richardson. See the Times Higher website for further details and entry criteria.

First publication of Stevenson stories

greg funnell


uilding on King’s outstanding success in last year’s inaugural Times Higher Awards – with finalists in two of the 14 categories and one overall winner – the College is keen to encourage staff to consider entering the 2006 awards. This year there are 18 categories (right), and see the website: The ‘Business initiative of the year’ category was won by drug discovery and development spin-out company, Proximagen Neuroscience, led by Professor Peter Jenner, while Dr Patricia Reynolds, Dental Institute, was shortlisted in the ‘Imaginative use of distance learning’ category. Vice-Principal (Research) Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman explains the significance of the awards: ‘They are an important showcase for the achievements

• Best student experience • Business initiative of the year • Commonwealth university of the year • Most imaginative use of distance learning • Outstanding contribution to innovation and technology • Outstanding contribution to leadership development • Outstanding contribution to sustainable development • Outstanding contribution to the local community • Outstanding student financial support package • Outstanding support for early- careers researchers • Outstanding support for overseas students • Outstanding support for students with disabilities • Research project of the year • Widening participation initiative of the year • Young academic author of the year • Young researcher of the year • Lifetime achievement award • Higher education institution of the year

decrease of 4.3 per cent. The Principal, Professor Rick Trainor, said: ‘In the face of a national downturn in applications to British universities, I’m delighted that King’s continues to attract an increasing number of highcalibre students. It is particularly pleasing to see that the number of overseas students keeps rising year on year.’


tudents from the Department of Classics staged five performances of the world’s only annual production performed in the original Greek at the Greenwood Theatre last month. This year’s play was the comedy Ecclesiazusae (Women Take Power)

by Aristophanes. It was first staged in or around 392 BC. The Greek play has been an uninterrupted tradition at King’s since 1954. Francesca Spiegel, third-year Classics student and director, says: ‘These plays offer the audience immediate access to the original theatrical experience.’

Methods Network


n 9 March the Arts and Humanities Research Council ICT Methods Network, based in King’s Centre for Computing in the Humanities, was launched. An event, co-hosted by the Principal, Professor Rick Trainor, and Philip Esler, Chief Executive of the AHRC, to celebrate the launch took place at Trinity House, London. Guests included senior arts and humanities academics from around the UK, as well as representatives from many cultural heritage organisations. ‘The Methods Network is funded by the AHRC ICT Programme until

2008,’ explains Lorna Hughes, Manager of the Methods Network. ‘It is a major new UK-wide initiative to promote, support and develop the use of ICT for advanced arts and humanities research across the whole range of subjects covered by the AHRC. ‘It accomplishes this by serving as a national forum for the exchange and dissemination of expertise, focusing on new developments and advanced methodologies, research processes, questions and methods.’ For more information about the Methods Network visit:

March 2006 | COMMENT | 


News Restoring Thomas Guy



ing’s has forged links with a number of world-class institutions recently. These exciting collaborations strengthen the global position of the College.

Swiss collaboration The War Studies Group has recently signed a contract with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the Swiss Armed Forces College to provide part of its new masters programme – Advanced Studies in Security

‘We should take pride in these achievements’ The first students on the programme took up places in November 2005 and will come to London later this year. Professor Brian Holden Reid and Dr Michael Goodman from King’s are director and deputy director of the course. Professor Holden Reid enthuses: ‘We are confident that this collaboration will be a success and pave the way for similar agreements with universities and staff colleges across the globe.’ Zurich initiative The Law School has entered into an agreement of co-operation with the Faculty of Law at the University of

Third annual alumni weekend On Saturday 10 June King’s opens its doors for the third annual Alumni Weekend. This year’s event includes plans for a topical lecture at the Imperial War Museum, a river trip and a black-tie event at the Waldorf Hotel. Campus and departmental tours will enable alumni to rediscover the College, and particularly their own Department. Equally the weekend

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gives departments an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with their alumni, to find out about their career paths since graduation, and kickstart departmental alumni groups. The centrepiece of this year’s weekend is an open-house event across all campuses. Please contact Claire Macneill at to find out more about how your Department can get involved.

Last year the Principal and Baroness Rawlings welcomed Professor Taro Nishimura, Vice President for Education & Student Affairs, and Professor Takami Matsuda from the Faculty of Letters from Keio University to King’s.

Zurich, one of Europe’s leading law schools. The agreement envisages the organisation of joint seminars and the exchange of academic staff and students. Most importantly, the agreement offers students who have successfully completed their undergraduate studies an opportunity to embark on a two-year programme at the end of which they may obtain a double masters degree. Students will study for one year at King’s leading to the award of a Masters of Law (LLM) and then for

an additional year at Zurich on the Master (M Law) programme. This is one of the first two-year LLM programmes in Europe and will coincide with the beginning of new specialist LLM degrees at King’s in a variety of areas, including European Law and Financial Services Law. The Principal comments: ‘Thanks are due to everyone involved in uniting these organisations with King’s. Collaborations with prestigious institutions such as these are vital to the College’s future and we should take pride in these achievements.’

Comic Relief funds major study


ing’s Institute of Gerontology, in partnership with the prestigious National Centre for Social Research, is undertaking the first UK prevalence study on elder abuse and mistreatment. The project is funded by Comic Relief and the Department of Health. The study will discover the extent of abuse and neglect in the UK. There have only been three such projects carried out worldwide, making this an initiative of international importance. The headline findings will be published in January 2007. ‘Whilst we know a lot about child

abuse, the same can’t be said when it comes to the abuse of older adults. ‘It’s usual to begin by noting how many people are victims of abuse, unfortunately we don’t know that right now. That is why this work is so important,’ explains Professor Simon Biggs, Director of the Institute of Gerontology. The team consists of Simon Biggs, Anthea Tinker and Claudine McCreadie and Jill Manthorpe from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit. King’s will be hosting a special lecture on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June.

he historic heart of Guy’s Campus is the Chapel, which serves the College and hospital communities. It became the responsibility of King’s in 1998. There are currently a number of improvements being made to the Chapel. One of these initiatives is the cleaning and conservation of the statue of its founder, Thomas Guy (1644-1724). The statue is the work of 18th century sculptor John Bacon, and was completed in 1779, just before the Chapel opened. The sculpture shows Thomas Guy reaching down to raise a sick and destitute man from the gutter. The

sick man is also shown in relief, being carried on a stretcher through the entrance to the Collonade, the original way into the hospital. Thomas Guy is dressed in the robes of a governor of St Thomas’ Hospital, which was then situated just opposite Guy’s. Guy was moved to pity that incurables, destitute people, and those with mental health problems could not be catered for at St Thomas’, and this motivated him to dedicate his vast fortune to founding a hospital that would be available to all, no matter what. The restoration of the monument is made possible thanks to the

Reading and naughtiness linked In a new study King’s researchers working with the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that the development of reading problems and behaviour problems in boys are interconnected: as one changes, so does the other. The link has been known about for ten years, particularly in relation to boys, but until now the reasons behind the connection remained unclear. The researchers tested three hypotheses to determine the link between reading and behavioural problems. The first hypothesis suggested that both were the result of underlying genetic factors but using a sample of twins, they found that just 27 per cent of the overlap was due to common genetic factors, and 71 per cent was due to common environmental factors the twins shared. From here they developed a second hypothesis linking the problems to the home

environment. They tested whether the home environment including child neglect, mother’s reading skill, parental income, education and social class could account for the relation between reading problems and behaviour problems but discovered that environment alone was not enough to explain the link. Their third hypothesis – that reading problems and behaviour problems cause each other, turned out to be correct for boys. In girls, research indicated that while behaviour problems lead to reading problems, reading problems do not lead to behavioural problems. Dr Kali Trzesniewski, lead author of the study at the Institute of Psychiatry, comments: ‘These findings may help guide interventions by showing that targeting either reading problems or behaviour problems during the pre-school and early primary school years is likely to produce changes in both behaviours.’

The Thomas Guy statue, Guy’s Chapel, receives some TLC.

generosity of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. Guy’s Chapel is open from 08.00 to 18.00 daily. For further information about the Chapel, regular service

times, and to view the tomb of Thomas Guy, contact the Chaplain at Guy’s, the Revd James Buxton ( or ext 6940).

Art and Autism Camilla Saunders

Keio partnership At the end of November, the Principal, Professor Rick Trainor, hosted a visit by President Yuichiro Anzai and other senior staff from Keio, one of Japan’s foremost universities. Links between King’s and Keio have been under discussion for some time and the purpose of President Anzai’s visit was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement marks a significant step towards collaborative research and graduate exchange. The first Keio students to benefit from the partnership will arrive in 2007 and be based in the Department of Classics.

Policy and Crisis Management. Students will include senior military officers, civil service employees and executives from major commercial organisations from across Europe. They will spend most of their period of study in Switzerland but will come to London for a two-week course on Security Operations and Resources which will be delivered by staff in the War Studies Group.

greg funnell

Prestigious overseas collaborations

Seven-year-old Laurie Mahon, the youngest Art and Autism exhibitor, and his self-portrait.


new exhibition, Art and Autism, featuring works by a group of artists with autism and organised by the Centre for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) based at the Institute of Psychiatry, opened on 7 February. The exhibition, which runs until 5 May, is sponsored by the Medical Research Council and is aimed at stimulating discussion between families affected by autism, scientists, clinicians and teachers. The formation of CARD

represents a major step forward in the quest for improved understanding and better treatment and services for individuals with autism and related disorders. These complaints constitute some of the most serious disorders of brain and behavioural development. The Centre was established by a multidisciplinary group of internationally renowned scientists and clinicians who work in close partnership with the UK’s leading clinical practitioners.

March 2006 | COMMENT | 


Departmental focus


Geoff Till

Professor Geoff Till is Dean of Academic Studies for the Defence Studies Department (DSD) based within the Joint Services Command & Staff College (JSCSC) at Shrivenham, near Swindon. He has also just been made a Fellow of the College. Tell us about your King’s career.

What is your area of research?

When I was exposed more closely to the Royal Navy at Dartmouth I realised just how crucial the maritime dimension of human history was, and still is. Globalisation means that we are all absolutely dependent for our security and prosperity on a worldwide sea-based trading system, and navies have an important role in keeping the system going. This is a truly international topic.  | COMMENT | March 2006

How did King’s come to be providing courses to the Armed Forces?

There’s been an association between King’s and the Royal Naval College at Greenwich for well over a century. When I took over the Chair of History and International Affairs, we were able to develop those early links, encouraged by my mentor at Greenwich, Professor Bryan Ranft, who also held a visiting position in the War Studies Department. The University validated my department at Greenwich so that we could provide an exciting MA programme in Defence Studies for about 40 naval officers. Under Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman and Professor Phil Sabin, King’s instituted a rather smaller and different MA scheme for the other two services as well, at Camberley (Air Force) and Bracknell (Army). When it was decided that the three service staff colleges should merge first at Bracknell and then from 2000 at Shrivenham, King’s was well placed to take over the whole lot. So now DSD comprises over 50 full-time academic staff, with a number of part-timers and a strong support staff section. What is the remit of the DSD?

We’re responsible for the academic components of all staff and other courses taught at JSCSC, the Royal College of Defence Studies in London and the RAF College at Cranwell in Lincolnshire.

‘P It’s a vast enterprise: we contribute to the teaching of around 2,000 students a year, mostly at postgraduate level, including about 260 formal MA students, and some War Studies PhDs. And many of us teach at other military institutions around the world because that’s part of our remit. Teaching includes international politics, strategy, military history, regional studies and a bit of defence management. What’s it like teaching at Shrivenham?

Visitors are amazed at the magnificence of the building, and envious of what is certainly the best library on defence studies in Europe. Our teaching facilities are superb. And so are the students. Many of them come to us fresh from operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. They are bright, experienced, highly committed, articulate and challenging. In addition, we have a fascinating cross section of overseas students; at the moment from 44 other countries. Education at Shrivenham is therefore very much a two-way process. There’s a downside:

our extended teaching year, and the complex patterning of our teaching commitments make it difficult for us to get extended chunks of time for research. But we do our best, and have high hopes for the next RAE. Do you have a typical day?

I really don’t have a typical day, but much of my time is taken up with personnel matters (looking after over 50 academics is no sinecure!) I’m involved alongside the Commandant in the higher management of the Staff College. Currently we are engaged in a major course design project for the main Advanced Commmand and Staff/MA Course and are designing a number of other courses. We’re establishing a new section at Cranwell to create a national Air Power centre. And we keep a sharp eye on various other business projects around the world, particularly in the Gulf. I am standing down as Dean of Academic Studies in the summer, and hope to devote more time to my interest in matters maritime. I may even be able to do a bit more teaching!

hilosophy is very well worth studying at university,’ countered Professor Gabriel Segal, Head of the Department of Philosophy at King’s. ‘Philosophy departments impart the skills of analytic thinking: thinking in depth, with clarity, precision and attention to detail. Students learn how to express their thoughts clearly and precisely in (more or less) plain language. These intellectual techniques are powerful and highly transferable, and employers value them extremely highly.’

improving upon the way King’s applications have risen overall and bucked the national trend. The Department is one of the most distinguished in the country. It received a 5* rating in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, and 24 in the 2001 Quality Assurance Assessment teaching review.


Philosophers also ask important questions, such as ‘What is consciousness?’ ‘What is thought?’ ‘When are we responsible for our actions?’ ‘Is there a God?’ ‘What is the difference between right and wrong?’ ‘Is free speech sacrosanct?’ and ‘When is war justified?’ ‘Would it really be “no bad thing” if there was no intellectual space in Britain’s universities for such questions?’ Professor Segal asks. Whereas university applications for Philosophy nationwide were down 3.9 per cent this year, applications for the subject at King’s have risen by a massive 42 per cent, from 475 to 675: mirroring and further

over many departments and Schools, and between the arts and sciences. The Department’s website lists philosophers at King’s working in areas as various as theology, computer science, education, classics, medicine and linguistics. The Philosophy Department has plans in the near future to collaborate with the College’s medical schools on a major research project in the philosophy of medicine.


The King’s Department is proud to participate in both undergraduate and graduate federal degree programmes, along with its partner departments at University College, Birkbeck and Heythrop Colleges. ‘This enables us to offer students a unique array of subjects ranging from aesthetics to set-theory,’ Professor Segal points out. The Department also has a wealth of contacts within the College. Philosophers are spread

Research strengths

getty images

I started my academic career at King’s in 1963, joining the History Department under Professor A G Dickens. After that I did a PGCE, and then took my MA in War Studies from the new Department of War Studies under Professor, now Sir, Michael Howard. I then went to the History Department of the Naval College at Dartmouth, later moving to the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. I’m a great believer in Bismarck’s old adage about people not being in command of their own destiny: the most they can hope to do is float down the river and steer. These two almost entirely accidental appointments determined my career and what turned out to be my main academic interest (or obsession!) – naval history and maritime studies. In the end they bolted me back into King’s.

Philosophers sprang to the defence of their subject last month, when the Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell, said he ‘didn’t necessarily see it as a bad thing’ if students no longer took ‘really nonvocational’ subjects, such as philosophy, and instead chose ‘subjects they think are more vocationally beneficial’.

With 431 students, of whom 83 are on masters courses and 135 doing research degrees, plus 23 academic staff, two research staff and three administrative staff, it is also one of the largest philosophy departments in the UK.

The Thinker by Auguste Rodin (1881).

The Department has particular research strengths in the philosophies of mind and psychology; the philosophy of science; ancient philosophy; ethics; the philosophy of language and linguistics. It hosts research projects concerning Ancient Commentators on Aristotle and on Dynamic Syntax. ‘The Aristotelian Commentators project was founded by Emeritus Professor Richard Sorabji CBE,’ Gabriel Segal explains. ‘It has now published 65 volumes of translation (out of a projected total of around 100) together with a threevolume sourcebook, making the philosophy of late antiquity accessible to English readers for the first time. ‘The Dynamic Syntax project involves an Arts and Humanities Research Council project (in collaboration with the School of Oriental and African Studies) on cross-language typologies (Romance and Bantu) and an interdisciplinary research network on dialogue modelling, together with psycholinguists and computational linguists at King’s, Stanford, Stony Brook, Gothenburg, Edinburgh and Glasgow.’ March 2006 | COMMENT | 

King’s people New Fellows The College has developed and extended the range of awards it makes in recognition of distinction of service. In so doing it has reconstituted what was the Fellowship Committee, and it is now known as the Fellowship and Honorary Degree Committee. Furthermore, there is greater definition to the constituencies that might be considered for these awards. Simply put, the Fellowship can only be awarded to those who are, or who have been, staff or students at the College, or who are, or who have been, members of the College Council. The Honorary Fellowship and the Honorary Degree of the University of London are to be awarded to those who are not, and have not been, staff or students of the College and nor have been a member of the College Council. To differentiate between these two awards the Honorary Degree is to be awarded to individuals of conspicuous merit as demonstrated by their outstanding contribution to their academic field. The Honorary Fellowship also recognises distinction but in fields other than academic life. In accepting these definitions the College Council noted with approval that the awards are mutually exclusive. ‘Along with these changes there has also been a change in the timescale in which nominations are made and considered,’ explains Brian Salter, Secretary to the Fellowship and Honorary Degree Committee and Deputy College Secretary & Academic Registrar. ‘The arrangements for the current academic year are transitional, from 2006-07 onwards nominations will be requested in September and considered by the Committee in November –

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nominations for the award of Honorary Degrees have to be referred to the University also in November – and the full raft of nominations for the award of Fellowship, Honorary Fellowship and Honorary Degrees will be considered by the December meeting of the Council.’ So far this academic year the Council has approved the following awards of the Fellowship and Honorary Fellowship. Honorary Degree nominations will be considered at the March meeting. Fellowships Ms Brigid Brown, Treasurer/Secretary of the Friends of King’s Association (USA) since 1998. Professor Adrian Hayday, Head of the Division of Immunology, Infection and Inflammatory Diseases, and Kay Glendinning Professor of Immunobiology.

King’s people

Honorary Fellowships Sir William Castell, President and Chief Executive Officer for General Electric (GE) Healthcare, and Vice-Chairman of GE since 2004. Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former British diplomat of great distinction and now Director of the Ditchley Park Foundation.

Mr Hugh Whitemore, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, and member of the Council of RADA. Mr James Wolfensohn, the Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement and President of the World Bank from 1995-2005.

Professor Malcolm Irving FRS, Director, Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics, and Professor of Biophysics. Professor Peter Jenner, Professor of Pharmacology and founder of spin-out company, Proximagen Neuroscience. Professor Noreen Murray, Emeritus Professor of Molecular Genetics, University of Edinburgh, a graduate of the College and loyal supporter of King’s. Professor Robert Plomin FBA, MRC Research Professor in Behavioural Genetics, and Deputy Director of the MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, IoP. Professor Richard Proudfoot, Professor Emeritus at King’s and one of the most distinguished editors and textual scholars in the field of Shakespeare and early Modern Literature. Professor Geoffrey Till, former student and Dean of Academic Studies, Defence Studies Department. His Honour Judge Toulmin, a member of College Council since 1997. Professor Nairn Wilson, Dean and Head of the Dental Institute and Professor of Restorative Dentistry.

Journal launch Laura Overton, Skills for business network e-learning champion, presents Dr Andrew Gould with the E-learning Award 2005.

Mr Lakshmi Mittal, founder and Chairman of the LNM Group of Companies. He is also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Mittal Steel Company NV. Rt Hon Sir Mark Potter, son of Professor Harold Potter (Dean of the Law School at King’s in the 1940s), President of the Family Law Division and Head of Family Justice.

Adrian Hayday

Researcher in Residence

research she has carried out in England in the field of comparative law over the past 15 years.

Dr Stephen Minger

At the end of January Future Science Group launched its new journal Regenerative Medicine with Dr Stephen Minger, Director of the King’s Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, as its senior editor. Regenerative Medicine is published bi-monthly in print and online and includes review articles, primary research, editorials, technology reports and interviews. It addresses the challenges and advances in stem cell research and regenerative medicine. ‘This has become one of the hottest areas in contemporary science,’ comments Dr Minger. ‘The launch of Regenerative Medicine, as the pre-eminent, pioneering, scientific publication in translational and cellular medicine is extremely timely. This is the first international journal devoted to the emerging field of regenerative medicine and stem cell biology.’

French Doctorate

Dental prizes

On 12 January Eva Steiner, Lecturer in French Law, was awarded a Doctorate in Law with distinction (‘Tres honorable’ with ‘felicitations du jury’) at the University of Paris X-Nanterre on the subject Rules and Method of French Law taken as legal models in England: a critical assessment. This was based on the

Pulp Afflictions, an interactive CD guide to endodontics, created by staff from the Dental Institute in conjunction with the Dental Channel, a dental e-learning company owned by Dr Andrew Gould from King’s Department of Paediatric Dentistry, has scooped two prestigious dental awards. At a ceremony in London Pulp

Afflictions clinched the E-learning Award 2005 for securing the most enthusiastic and widespread adoption of e-learning within an organisation. The guide also impressed another independent panel of judges from the audiovisual and e-learning industries and won the AV Awards Digital Media Project of the Year 2005. Dr Peter Robinson, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant (Department of Primary Dental Care) was the lead expert on the project. Drs Lindsay Nutting and Andrew Gould provided content for the paedodontic topics. This free CD, produced on behalf of the Department of Health, provides comprehensive information for NHS dentists in England and Wales on the complex subject of endodontics. It covers best practice in orthograde treatment, retreatment, surgical endodontics, pulp therapy techniques for primary molars and the management of traumatised incisors.

IEEE award Professor Hamid Aghvami, Director of the Centre for Telecommunications Research, was recently recognised by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Communications Society with a Technical Committee on Personal Communications award. This honour acknowledges Professor Aghvami’s ‘high degree of visibility and contribution in the field of personal, wireless and mobile systems and networks’.

Bethan McDonald, an MRC-funded PhD student, recently participated in the Researchers in Residence scheme. Launched in 1997, the scheme enables PhD students to spend four days working alongside teachers and pupils in school. Bethan’s research involves investigating the human proteins necessary for HIV-I to be released from infected cells. She designed some workshops for students at Langdon Park Community School on the immunology, transmission and prevention of HIV and gave some talks about current research and life as a scientist in a lab. ‘The response from the children was brilliant – lively, enquiring and very involved. I was surprised and impressed by what some of the students had learnt by the end of my time at the school. I also gained a great deal from the experience,’ enthused Bethan.

Cuba visit

Professor Wintemute with his class in Plaza de la Revolución, Havana.

At the end of last year Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human

Bishop of Durham at King’s On 22 and 23 February and 1 March the Rt Revd Dr Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham, visited King’s to deliver The F D Maurice Lectures for the Department of Theology & Religious Studies. The title of this year’s lecture series was The Bible in the Postmodern World. The F D Maurice Lectures were established in 1933 in honour of F D Maurice, Professor of English Literature & History (1840-46) and Professor of Theology (1846-1853) at King’s. Rights Law in the School of Law, visited the Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (CENESEX) in Havana, and gave 12 hours of seminars in Spanish to around 40 lawyers, judges and others on the Legal Rights of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transvestite and Transsexual Persons. He also gave a public lecture on the international aspects of this topic in the Aula Magna of the Universidad de la Habana. The director of CENESEX, Mariela Castro Espín, presented Professor Wintemute with a certificate confirming his appointment as Visiting Professor on the subject of Sexual Diversity and Rights. Ms Castro Espín will be a keynote speaker in the plenary session on Latin America at the largest-ever International Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transvestite human rights in Montréal on 26-29 July as

He was removed from the College by Council in 1853 because of his radical liberal views. The establishment of the lectures (and also an F D Maurice professorship) has been a form of reinstatement recognising Maurice’s importance as a social reformer and educationalist as well as a significant theologian. The Bishop of Durham is a well respected academic, a prolific writer on the New Testament and a popular speaker. part of the first World Outgames. Professor Wintemute is the co-president of the International Scientific Committee which is organising the content of the conference.

Judicial members The Queen has approved the appointment of two King’s alumni – Lord Justice Sir Robin Ernest Auld and Her Honour Judge Frances Margaret Kirkham – as judicial members of the Judicial Appointments Commission. Sir Robin (LLB 1958, PhD 1963) is a former member of College Council. Judge Kirkham graduated from King’s in 1969 with a BA in Spanish and French. The Judicial Appointments Commission is responsible for selecting judges in England and Wales.

25 new research studentships

Media directive

The launch of the Graduate School has generated 25 new research studentships to start in the academic year 2006-07. These studentships will be allocated across Schools and provide funding for a minimum of three years,

Have you been contacted by the media recently? Are you aware that the College has a Media Directive which outlines the responsibilities of staff with regards to dealing with the media? The policy is available at attachments/MediaDirective.pdf

subject to satisfactory progress, to cover tuition fees at home level and an annual stipend of £14,300. For further information and an application form visit www.kcl. (and follow the link) or email

March 2006 | COMMENT | 

King’s people Media Fellowships The BA Media Fellowships are summer placements working with a national press, broadcast or internet journalist. The aim is to create a greater awareness and understanding of the workings of the media among practising scientists, clinicians, social scientists and engineers. During placements of between three and eight weeks fellows come away better equipped to communicate research and

Obituaries John Dunhill 1945-2005


ohn Dunhill, Director, Department of Management Information Systems, died suddenly on 11 December 2005. John joined King’s Computing Centre in 1987 having previously worked at the University of London, Senate House. He undertook the project of setting up King’s own IT systems for supporting the Finance Department and the Registry. Up to this time, the College had used the central IT services provided by the University of London. Within a few months, John had identified appropriate software packages, the required hardware and the necessary networking technology needed to progress

10 | COMMENT | March June 2005 2006

expertise to the public and colleagues; they also learn to work within the conditions and constraints of the media to produce accurate and well-informed pieces about developments in science. The Media Fellowships are organised by the British Association for the Advancement of Science Experience. They reflect the BA’s commitment to work with the media to build understanding between science and society. For further information and to apply online visit

the task. Terminals were installed throughout the Finance and Registry Offices and, after about a year, everyone got to learn and love CODA (the finance system) and CCSL (the student records system). These applications were quickly joined by payroll and personnel systems. In the late 1990s the small team expanded into the present department of 26 staff. In that time, John led it through various changes such as migration to Windowsbased PC systems from DEC VT100s (still fondly remembered by IT professionals) and on into the world of RDBMS (Oracle databases), APTOS (finance), SI (student administration), 11i (HR/payroll) and other core administrative systems. He maintained a considerable grasp of the developing technologies in the IT field. Prior to joining King’s, John had worked at MISD in the central University of London offices. There he had been a key member of the development of the central payroll service provided to all Colleges. Before MISD, he had worked in local government. John was generous and loyal to his staff and colleagues, always willing to praise and stand up

News Photographic competition Staff and students have until 17.30 on 31 March to submit entries for the 2006 photographic competition. Up for grabs is a top prize of £500 and for the five runners-up £100 each. Photographs must reflect or be connected to King’s and should be titled and sent (in hard copy only) with an accompanying entry form to Archives Services,

Strand Building, Strand Campus in envelopes marked Photographic competition 2006 showing the entrant’s name. The winning images will be displayed online, they will also be framed in an exhibition in the newly refurbished South Range of the Strand Building and the winners invited to attend the official opening on 16 May. To look at the rules in full and download an entry form please visit photo06.html

for them. It was the same with his family: he had many stories of supporting his son at rugby matches, his daughters in dancing or roller skating and, quite recently, his wife at a parachute jump sponsoring a charity. John had a big personality and will be much missed by colleagues. He is survived by his wife Julie, their son Robert and their daughters Rebecca and Charlotte. Peter Anning Management Information Systems

Professor Sir Eric Stroud FKC 1924-2005


ir Eric Stroud was Professor of Child Health, King’s College School of Medicine and Dentistry (1968-88). He was instrumental in the creation of the Variety Club Children’s Hospital at King’s College Hospital. Sir Eric qualified as a doctor in 1948 and started work in the emerging National Health Service. Following National Service in the RAF, he returned to Cardiff in 1952 where he had studied and was encouraged to pursue a career in the newly developing paediatric specialty. Following a short period at Great Ormond Street and a secondment in Uganda, he took up

Metropolitan Police links


athryn Dagnall, a graduate from King’s MSc Forensic Science programme, has received a commendation from Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, for her leadership, commitment and professionalism in supporting the UK’s response to the south-east Asia tsunami disaster. Kathryn managed and developed DNA ante-mortem procedures through the Forensic Co-ordination Unit which helped identify UK victims of the disaster. She was

only two months into her job of Research Assistant at King’s with the Met’s Forensic Services Directorate when the tsunami struck and she was asked to help with the DNA identification of the victims. She set up DNA databases to ensure information was easily accessible and analysed and interpreted samples. She became the UK’s point of contact with laboratories doing tsunami-related DNA tests around the world. Kathryn’s post as Research Assistant was created under the Memorandum of Understanding

(MoU) between King’s Department of Forensic Science & Drug Monitoring, and the Metropolitan Police Forensic Services Directorate. Kathryn is now the Forensic DNA Intelligence Manager for the Met. However the post continues and runs as a rolling twoyear position for a King’s Forensic Science MSc graduate. The MoU was drawn up in November 2005 following several years of close interaction between the College and the Met. It aims to facilitate the flow of ideas and expertise between the two institutions and covers research, training and consultancy. A joint management board has been

Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme

L a consultant post at King’s College Hospital in 1962, working under Sir Wilfred Sheldon and succeeding him in the chair in 1968. He inherited a single ward and, over the course of the next 15 years, built it into a formidable department transforming healthcare services in the hospital and community facilities for the children of south-east London. He had a particular interest in helping children from deprived areas. Sir Eric was also instrumental in enabling Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ to work together long before their present partnership. The three hospitals now provide a comprehensive paediatric service for the children of the local area and for the huge population of south-east England.

aunched in 2002 by science writer and broadcaster Simon Singh, the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (UAS) is proving a popular way of introducing science, technology, engineering and mathematics students to the world of teaching and providing them with an opportunity to gain key transferable skills. Fifty-eight university departments across the country currently run UAS. King’s Department of Mathematics was one of the pioneers of the scheme, and the Physics and Computer Science Departments are now also involved. Aimed at science students in their final or penultimate year, UAS provides the framework for a degree course module awarding academic credit to undergraduates working with teachers in schools. Dr John Silvester, Department of Mathematics, explains: ‘Running this scheme is certainly not for those who want a relaxing time but it has been more rewarding – and fun – than almost anything else I

Kathryn Dagnall

established, which agrees, prioritises and monitors progress of specific plans. It is expected that this MoU will result in still stronger links between both organisations.

WP visit


Experiencing the world of teaching with the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme.

have been involved in during my professional life. ‘The scheme deserves our full support; it is one of those rare situations where everyone involved gains from it, and its importance cannot be over emphasised.’ Jay Odedra, who studied physics (2004-05) and took part in a UAS

module, says: ‘My expectations of the scheme were exceeded as every week I attempted new challenges and achieved new personal goals.’ For further information contact Sharon Herkes on 0795 228 5304 or Dr Alex Brabbs on 01904 641488 or visit

n 1 February a group of 16 students from St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College, Ladbroke Grove visited the Foyle Special Collections Library at the Maughan Library. The history and politics students, who are considering applying for university, were accompanied by the Head of History and Dr Debbie Andrews, a Widening Participation Co-ordinator at King’s. Katie Sambrook, Special Collections Librarian, and Hugh Cahill, Senior Information Assistant (Special Collections) spoke to the group about the importance of printed special collections as historical sources and about various aspects of their use. The students then examined books they had been shown during the talks, such as The Nuremberg Chronicle (Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 12 July 1493) and the rare Bilder aus Theresienstadt, a picture book with 18 hand-coloured lithographs by Dutch artist Joe Spier, who died in the Holocaust, and which is believed to have been published in an edition of ten in 1944.

March 2006 | COMMENT | 11


mong the many distinguished literary figures connected with King’s is the poet Victor Gustave Plarr (1863-1929), who counted W B Yeats and Ezra Pound among his circle and who served as the College’s librarian (1890-1897). Plarr was born in Strasbourg in 1863, the only son of Dr Gustavus Plarr (d. 1892), a distinguished Alsatian mathematician, and his English wife Mary Jane Tomkins. When the family home was destroyed during the FrancoPrussian War, Dr Plarr moved his family to Britain where the young Plarr attended Madras College in St Andrews. He later attended Tonbridge School, Kent, before going on to study modern history at Worcester College, Oxford. Plarr received his degree in 1886 and subsequently earned his


A King’s poet A

living in journalism and translation work before joining King’s as its librarian in 1890. The Rhymers’ Club

While at King’s Plarr became a member of the Rhymers’ Club, a group of London-based poets, founded in 1890 by W B Yeats and Ernest Rhys and which counted Ernest Dowson, Lionel Johnson, Richard Le Gallienne, A S Hillier, John Todhunter and T W Rolleston as members. Conveniently for Plarr, now working at the Strand, the meetings of the club were generally held at the Cheshire Cheese pub in Fleet Street. There the club members dined in the booths downstairs before retiring to an upper room to read their poetry to the group and to criticise each other’s work.

Victor Gustave Plarr, poet and King’s librarian.

The Rhymers’ Club produced anthologies of poetry in 1892 and 1894, both of which include contributions by Plarr. Indeed, it is in the 1892 anthology that the poem for which Plarr is best remembered appeared, Epitaphium Citharistriae: Stand not uttering sedately Trite oblivious praise above her! Rather say you saw her lately Lightly kissing her last lover.


Whisper not, ‘There is a reason Why we bring her no white blossom.’ Since the snowy bloom’s in season Strow it on her sleeping bosom! Oh, for it would be a pity To o’erpraise her or to flout her. She was wild, and sweet, and witty – Let’s not say dull things about her.

(This appeared in The Book of the Rhymers’ Club, London: Elkin Mathews, 1892.) Plarr and Ezra Pound

Plarr’s The Tragedy of Asgard.

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In 1896 Plarr published his most important and memorable collection of poems, In the Dorian Mood (which was re-printed in 1995), and in the following year he left King’s to become the librarian at the Royal College of Surgeons where he was to spend the rest of his professional life. While at the Royal College of Surgeons Plarr continued writing poetry and in 1905 published The

Tragedy of Asgard, a series of poems based on Norse mythology. Around 1909 he met the young Ezra Pound who had come to London the previous year. They became friends and Pound regularly dined at Plarr’s house. Pound was fascinated by Plarr’s stories about the characters of the Rhymers’ Club and of the 1890s, a period Pound thought much more interesting than his own. It was with Pound’s encouragement that Plarr contributed to the collections published by the Poets’ Club in 1911 and 1913. In 1920 Pound depicted Plarr in his poem Hugh Selwyn Mauberley as Monsieur Verog, picturing him at the Royal College of Surgeons, ‘Among the pickled foetuses and bottled bones, Engaged in perfecting the catalogue…’ thereby giving Plarr a level of fame which he perhaps did not achieve with his own work. Plarr also published a number of non-poetical works. In the 1890s he edited the fourteenth and fifteenth editions of Men and Women of the Time, a forerunner of Who’s Who. In 1905 he wrote A school history of Middlesex, including London, with his friend Francis W Walton, who was Plarr’s successor as librarian at King’s and in 1914 he published a memoir of his friend and fellow member of the Rhymers’ Club, Ernest Dowson. His most enduring work is Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons, which continues to be updated. Plarr was still collecting material for it shortly before his death from bronchitis on 28 January 1929. It was published posthumously the following year. The Foyle Special Collections Library has acquired a copy of The Tragedy of Asgard, visit: speccoll/acqarch/acqarch05.html


Prematurity and personality Researchers in the Psychological Medicine Department of the Institute of Psychiatry have recently completed a study looking at the effects of prematurity (being born prematurely) on adult personality. The study published in the journal Pediatrics (February 2006) used the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire to look at personality in a group of 18 to 19 year olds who were born preterm (before 33 weeks gestation) and compared them to a similar group of young adults who were born at term (38-40 weeks gestation). Those born prematurely had lower levels of a personality trait called extraversion, indicating that they may have less confident

and outgoing personalities. This group also had higher levels of the personality trait neuroticism, which indicates increased anxiety, low mood and lower self-esteem. The cause of this difference in personality style is not yet clear. Dr Matthew Allin, Peggy Pollak Fellow in Developmental Psychiatry, comments: ‘One factor that may be relevant is that very tiny preterm babies are at risk of injury to the brain around the time of birth. ‘However, personality is very complex and is influenced by many factors including genetics and upbringing. Our work will now focus on untangling the many influences that go into forming a personality.’

Temp staff happier


ew research conducted by staff in the Department of Management reveals that temporary workers are happier and healthier than permanent workers. These findings come from an EU study involving seven countries and more than 5,000 workers. The results are similar in all countries including those where unemployment is considerably higher than in the UK. The results for the UK are based on a detailed study of 642 staff from 19 organisations, including 25 per cent working on temporary contracts, and ranging from factory workers to professionals. Even though temporary workers report higher job insecurity and many would prefer permanent employment, their views of work are largely more positive than those of their permanent counterparts.

Even temporary low-skill factory workers are more positive in outlook. The study suggests that temporary workers cannot be sensibly viewed as an exploited minority and raises important questions about a number of current employment policy initiatives. ‘It is not so much that temporary jobs are good but that permanent jobs have got worse. People are working harder, they have less freedom at work and there is a general decline in job satisfaction,’ comments Professor David Guest.

Live cells ‘ink-jetted’


team of biophysicists from King’s and University College London has used a form of ink-jet printing to create jets of living cells for the first time. The technique could be used to grow biological tissue or human organs cell by cell. The device, called an ‘electrospray’, is a modification of a conventional ink-jet printer. Instead of forcing individual droplets of ink through a needle-shaped nozzle and onto the page, the cell printer uses a powerful electric field of up to 30 kilovolts to produce droplets just a few micrometres in diameter, each containing a handful of living cells. A number of research groups have shown that modified ink-jet printers can spray droplets of live cells suspended in a sustaining solution. However, these devices

have not been able to print droplets smaller than 20 micrometres across because the nozzles are prone to getting blocked. ‘We have demonstrated that cells can be processed in powerful electric fields without being harmed,’ explains Dr Peter Eagles, King’s Head of Division for Biomolecular Science. ‘This technique has huge potential for patterning 2D and 3D biological architectures, such as tissues and organs, at the micron and nanometre scales, allowing us complete control over the tissues that we graft.’

Fighting lung disease


n 1 January the European Union began funding a four-year lung research project – Pulmotension. This panEuropean initiative involves 31 institutions, including King’s, working in alliance with industrial partners in 12 European countries. The aim is to combat and cure pulmonary hypertension (PH), a devastating lung disease, which often affects young or middle-aged patients. On 9 and 10 February project leaders held a kick-off meeting at the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany. At this meeting lung specialists elected a central steering committee for this consortium and initiated research strategies, clinical trials and a European PH tissue bank and registry. The expertise in Pulmotension ranges from scientists involved in

Project leaders at the Pulmotension kick-off meeting.

the discovery of gene mutations in PH to those working on new therapeutic strategies. It includes Professor Richard Trembath of King’s Department of Medical & Molecular Genetics, whose team discovered BMPR2 mutations in PH. Over the next four years the aim is to uncover underlying molecular pathways of PH, identify distinct targets for anti-remodelling therapy, foster drug development in alliance with partners, and test new treatment options in pre-clinical and clinical trials.

March June 2006 2005 | COMMENT | 13

In the news

Student news

Wrong prescription

Headache findings

For the Radio Four programme, Our Lives in Our Hands, a patient suffering from severe asthma visited a number of leading doctors and researchers to see how much progress has been made in investigating and treating this condition. She spoke to Professor Brian Sutton and Dr Catherine Hawrylowicz of the MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma based at King’s.

Clive Ballard, Wolfson Professor of Age-Related Diseases, reacted to news that the Government was being advised to fund drugs for patients with only mild Alzheimer’s in The Daily Telegraph. He described the recommendations as unnecessarily cruel and not related to evidence.

Dr Martin Gulliford, Department

Years behind

Top Law School

GP drug tests Professor John Strang, Addictions

Unit Director, comments in an article in The Guardian on plans for random drug tests for GPs. He recommended that someone other than the doctor’s supervisor should conduct the test to avoid damaging working relationships between colleagues. 14 | COMMENT | March June 2005 2006

Food for thought The effects of diet on a person’s mental health were discussed on Channel 4 News by Tom Sanders, Professor of Nutrition & Dietetics. He also warned, in The Daily Mail, that statins, the wonder drug for heart disease, may have serious side effects.

Iran Peter Zimmerman, Professor of

Science and Security, appeared on CNN’s International Business programme talking about Iran’s nuclear plans. He was also on BBC24 and BBC Radio 5 Live.

Temps happier Temporary workers are happier and healthier than their permanent office colleagues, according to research by Professor David Guest, Department of Management, and reported in the Metro, Daily Record and Glasgow Evening Times.

Reading link Terrie Moffit, Professor of Social Behaviour & Development, is part of a team whose research has discovered a connection between poor reading readiness and naughtiness in pre-school boys and was reported on BBC Online.

Troop movement The decision by the Government to move an extra 3,500 troops to Afghanistan was the subject of an interview for Andrew Dorman, Defence Studies Department, on Radio 5 Live News.

Culture troubles On Monday 6 February a comment piece by Patrick Chabal, Professor of Lusophone African Studies in the Department of Portuguese, was published in The Financial Times exploring the apparent clash between Muslim and western values highlighted by the publication of the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

Data protection The Times reported that tens of thousands of Britons are dying needlessly each year because red tape is denying researchers access to essential patient data, according to senior medical scientists in a report from the Academy of Medical Scientists. Simon Wessely, Professor of

League tables

Congratulations to the following students who have won prizes in recent months.

Alison Wolf, Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management, took part in Radio 4’s More or Less. The programme was about international league tables for countries’ educational performance or health services, for example, and their validity.

WMD alert Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor

of War Studies and Vice-Principal, said that while it would be foolish to dismiss the threat of terrorists obtaining weapons of mass destruction, it would be difficult for them to construct a nuclear weapon undiscovered. His comments were reported in the Australian and New Zealand media.

Caribbean migration Dr Margaret Byron, Department of Geography, was interviewed about Caribbean migration to the UK on Radio 4’s Thinking Aloud.

Balderdash and Piffle Dr Elizabeth Eger, Department of

English, was interviewed on BBC 2’s Balderdash and Piffle programme. Dr Eger, an expert on 18th-century and Romantic cultural history, was talking about the etymology of the word ‘Bluestocking’.

See for the latest media coverage. Comment is keen to know of any staff featured in the media, call ext 3202 or email

Dentistry Dental student Janet Kan has been awarded the prestigious annual International Association for Dental Research Janet Kan David B Scott Fellowship. Janet will now work on a research project and participate in the IADR’s 84th General Session in Brisbane. At the end of December King’s graduates Neil John Opie, Dentistry, and Sarah Shingley, Dental Hygiene, received a General Dental Council Prize for Professionalism. This award recognises the achievements of UK student dental professionals.

Student surveys


tudents have been participating in a number of surveys over recent months.

National Student Survey Final-year undergraduates have been invited to take part in the National Student Survey. The survey, a Hefce initiative, is now in its second year. It aims to determine how satisfied students are with their universities and to use the information to improve the experience for all students. Students are asked to what extent they agree with a series of statements about their course. Topics include teaching, assessment and feedback, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources and personal development. Last year 170,000 students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or 60 per cent, responded.

Law Last month a team of five law undergraduates won the UK rounds of the Jessup International Law Mooting Competition. Organised by the International Law Students’ Association, this is the largest mooting competition in the world. The team defeated LSE in the semifinal and Bristol in the final and will now represent the UK at the world rounds in Washington in April. Nursing Masters student Julia Philippou recently picked up the Dame Jenifer Wilson Barnett prize for her empirical study evaluating mentoring. This annual prize is awarded by the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery to the masters student gaining the highest mark for their study.

Professor Phil Whitfield, VicePrincipal (Students), says: ‘King’s has worked closely this year with KCLSU to provide all our final-year students with information on the Survey. ‘We are committed to doing all we can to make sure that the student experience at King’s is as good as it can be. The survey is one of several useful tools to find out what students like and do not like about their time here. With that knowledge, with KCLSU, we will make changes to improve our overall offering.’ International Student Survey More than 7,000 international students from 27 institutions have been taking part in the International Student Barometer (ISB), to assess their views and satisfaction levels with their universities. The ISB tracks opinion across the international student experience at three points in the academic

The victorious mooting team. From left: Man Er Kong, Gleider Hernandez (coach), Sophie Weber, Wesley Pang, Soroush Kafiabadi and Zoe Bosomworth.

New Student Survey All new students were invited to participate in the annual online New Student Survey. More than 1,500 students completed the survey which aims to help the College assess its recruitment and admissions services. The survey asked students how they found out about their programme, what information they used and when, and how useful they found it. It also poses questions about the application and enrolment process. Those who responded were entered into a £500 prize draw.

RAG raises £100K

Julia Philippou receives her prize.

year, focusing on importance and satisfaction of the learning, living and support elements of student life.


his year’s RAG Week saw more than 200 health school students taking part in a variety of activities to raise money for charities linked with the local hospitals. An impressive £100,000 was collected. The charities that will benefit are: The Evelina Children’s Hospital, King’s Starfish Appeal, Lewisham Hearts, British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society, Medicinema and the Guy’s & St Thomas’ Kidney Patients Association.

Smile for the camera marianne northover

The Law supplement of The Times reported on the National Student Survey response of final-year law students. King’s Law School came top for overall satisfaction, academic support, organisation and management and learning resources and was in second place for teaching, assessment and feedback, and personal development.

The Independent, The FT, The Scotsman and The Daily Mail reported on a paper published in Criminal Justice Matters, the magazine of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, based in Law. It says that the Government misled the public over the success of its anti-crime policies by distorting research that contradicted its political aims.

Student prize winners

greg funnell

Research into how children develop maths and science skills, led by Professors Michael Shayer and Philip Adey, Department of Education & Skills, resulted in a full-page report in The Guardian. Their study concluded that yearseven pupils are ‘now on average between two and three years behind where they were 15 years ago’, in terms of cognitive and conceptual development.

Crime statistics

of Public Health Sciences, was part of a team that found women aged between 45 and 54 with headaches are twice as likely to be prescribed drugs by their GP as men of the same age. The story was reported in The Daily Mail, The Times and on BBC Online.

Epidemiological and Liaison Psychiatry, a member of the panel, was quoted.

Keith Norton

Asthma research

Marianne Northover’s winning photograph of Emma and Vitumbiko taken during her elective in Nkhotakota, Malawi.

Fifth-year medical student Marianne Northover clinched first place in the International Office’s photographic competition. This contest is open to medical

students who have completed an attachment or elective abroad. Professor Roger Jones, Dean for External Affairs, chaired the judging panel.

March 2006 | COMMENT | 15


implications of genetic findings for policy and practice. This thought-provoking account will inform public debate about the implications of the Human Genome Project and, more broadly, the field of genetic science. Blackwell Publishing

their role in health promotion and partnership working. The sections on sexual health, breastfeeding, smoking cessation and mental health promotion have also been fully updated. The new editorial team of Jan Bowden and Vicky Manning are lecturers in the Midwifery & Women’s Health Studies Department. The contributing authors are experts within their field and many are also from this Department at King’s. Hodder Arnold

Genes and Behavior:

Nature-Nurture Interplay Explained

Open University Press

Professor Sir Michael Rutter, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology

In recent years the subject of genes and their influence on human behaviour has become increasingly controversial as concerns about the racist use of genetics, discriminatory eugenics, and neurogenetic determinism have grown. In this major new book, eminent scientist Professor Sir Michael Rutter gets behind the hype to provide a balanced and authoritative overview of the genetic revolution and its implications for understanding human behaviour. Rutter sets out in layman’s terms what genetic science has discovered to date, explaining exactly what genes do, how much is nature and how much is nurture. He argues that nature and nurture are not truly separate, giving powerful illustrations of how the two interact to determine our behaviour. He also considers the

unique, in-depth examination of prisons, how they function, what they achieve, and their historical and political context. The book: • describes how prisons developed into their present form • looks at who is sent to prison and what happens to them while they are there • explains how the prison system and staff in England and Wales are organised • examines how order and control is maintained and how high security prisons operate • looks at prisoners’ families and the wider community • offers a future vision of the prison system.


Health Promotion in Midwifery: Principles & Practice

Jan Bowden and vicky Manning, florence nightingale School of nursing & Midwifery

Health Promotion in Midwifery has been fully revised and updated for this expanded new edition, exploring the principles of health promotion within the practical context of midwifery. It clearly outlines and discusses the midwife’s role in health promotion making it essential reading for all student and practising midwives, as well as clinical practitioners. This edition includes new chapters on domestic violence, complimentary therapies and

Understanding prisons:

Key issues in policy and practice Professor Andrew coyle International centre for Prison Studies

There are more than nine million men, women and children in prison around the world, and the number of people in prison in England and Wales has increased significantly in recent years. Yet in many respects prison remains the last secretive public institution in our society. Understanding Prisons provides a

enclosed with this issue of Comment is the new edition of Profile. Profile is an annual pocket-size guide to King’s, covering the college’s history, structure and latest developments. Profile is available on receptions but if you would like more copies for events or visitors please contact

COMMENT is the college’s regular newsletter, produced by the Public Relations Department | Articles, and/or photographs are welcomed from all members of the college, but please note that the editor reserves the right to amend articles | Copy for the next issue can be sent to Julie Munk, Public Relations Department (ext 3075), James Clerk Maxwell Building, Waterloo Campus, or emailed to by 26 April.

16 | COMMENT | March 2006

Comment 166 - March 2006  

The King's College London staff newsletter.

Comment 166 - March 2006  

The King's College London staff newsletter.