No. 4538 Thursday 10 February 2000 Vol. 130

University centre to lead UK studies in ancient DNA : An Ancient Biomolecules Centre (ABC) is to be set up by University scientists, following a successful JIF bid in 1999, and will serve as the national centre of excellence for studies on ancient DNA.

Honorands announced for Encaenia 2000 : Eight distinguished figures are set to receive honorary degrees from the University at Encaenia on 28 June, subject to the approval of Congregation on 7 March.

Wildlife exhibition comes to Oxford : The finest wildlife images from across the globe form a major photographic exhibition currently on display at Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Beryl Bainbridge investigates `what makes a writer' : The question of `what makes a writer' was the subject of the Richard Hillary Memorial Lecture this year, delivered by Ms Beryl Bainbridge on 2 February.

Physics awards: Professor John Cardy , Professor of Physics and Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, has been awarded the Paul Dirac medal and prize for his contribution to statistical mechanics in the 2000 Institute of Physics awards. In the same awards, Dr Andrew Steane, University Lecturer in Physics and Fellow of Exeter College, received the Maxwell medal and prize for his contributions to the theory of quantum computation and information processing.

Royal Society appointment: Professor Brian Spratt, Principal Wellcome Fellow at the Wellcome Centre for the Epidemiology of Infectious Disease, has been appointed as chairman of a Royal Society Working Party which will conduct an independent study into the effects of depleted uranium in missiles and shells on human health and the environment. The group will publish its findings later this year.

Bodleian commended: The Map Room homepage at the Bodleian Library has been awarded a `Highly Commended' rating by Schoolzone, which specialises in educational support materials for UK schools via the internet. Sites are judged by a panel of 250 teachers. The page is at http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/ users/nnj/maproom.htm.

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