Diana Warwick, Chief Executive of vice-chancellors' organisation Universities UK, said: “Universities UK has worked with universities across the country to produce a lasting testament to the brilliant thinkers whose contributions have changed lives around the world.
“Who can imagine a world now without CDs and DVDs, test-tube babies, or computers? None of these would have been possible without the work and dedication of academics in the UK.”
Eureka UK sets out some of the most inspiring and dramatic breakthroughs in academic research, from unlocking DNA to the discovery of pulsars, from the first programmable computer to the artificial cows combating disease in Africa. The examples span the medical, physical and social sciences as well as the arts and humanities - and demonstrate both the unpredictable nature of research and the length of time it can take to measure its success.
Diana Warwick added: “The things we take for granted today offer a salutary tale for those responsible for research budgets. This Government has done much to support high-level research but we want to see the UK catching up with other major industrialised nations in terms of spending.
“Eureka UK is launched at a key time - we are approaching a Comprehensive Spending Review, and discussions continue over the future shape of research assessment and funding. We need continued investment from Government and industry if we are to maintain our high standards and see similar groundbreaking discoveries at our universities over the next 50 years.
“We also hope Eureka UK will inspire young people to go to university and spark an interest in discovery.”
Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury, said: "UK research is one of our greatest national assets. However, we will not be able to take advantage of our amazing record of discovery unless we convey to young people the excitement and opportunities which modern science and technology open up. This publication showcases some of the important discoveries and development which have changed the way we live, and should enable us to communicate this message more effectively.
"The Government's aim is to make the UK the best place in the world to carry out research. By providing the best possible environment for discovery and innovation I hope we may look forward to even more UK research successes in the next 50 years."
Universities UK will be distributing the publication to secondary schools across the country at the beginning of the next school year.
Ian Morton | alfa
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A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
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A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
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Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
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Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
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