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Cambridge University

Prince William has started full-time studies on an agriculture course at the University of Cambridge.

The Duke of Cambridge arrived at the university by public transport on the 09:44 service from London King’s Cross.

Prince William will take a 10-week course in agricultural management, organized by the university’s Programme for Sustainability Leadership.

The course is designed to help him for the time when Prince William inherits the Duchy of Cornwall estate from his father.

He is expected to make the 46-minute train journey several days a week but also has the option of overnight accommodation in Cambridge.

Prince William was greeted at St John’s College, where some of his tutorials will take place, by vice-chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, along with Master of St John’s, Prof Christopher Dobson, and Polly Courtice, director of the Programme for Sustainability Leadership.

The royal toured the college’s grounds, where he stopped to look at a plaque marking the Queen’s visit there in April 2011.

Prince William arrived at the University of Cambridge by public transport

Prince William arrived at the University of Cambridge by public transport

The course, which ends in March, has been designed specifically for Prince William but he will study alongside PhD students in some classes.

He will have 20 hours of teaching time each week, including work in small groups as well as one-to-one tuition and his own additional reading. He will also go on a series of field trips.

Prince William will be taught by academics specializing in geography, land economy and plant sciences.

He is expected to study subjects including rural and planning policy, farming and supply chains, site management, agricultural policy and conservation governance.


The cost of the course is being met privately.

Kensington Palace said the duke was considering a number of options for public service following the end of his service as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot in Anglesey.

The Duchy of Cornwall is the portfolio of land, property and investments that the duke will take over when the Prince of Wales becomes king.

Prince William graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2005 with a class 2:1 degree in geography, and it was as an undergraduate that he met his future wife Kate Middleton.

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Prince William is to become a full-time student of agricultural management at Cambridge University from next week, Kensington Palace has announced.

The Duke of Cambridge will learn about issues facing the UK’s rural communities and farming industry during the 10-week bespoke course.

The studies are expected to give him a foundation for when he takes over the Duchy of Cornwall from Prince Charles.

It is thought the duke will live in Cambridge for part of the time.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said Prince William was “very much looking forward” to the course, which runs until mid-March.

Prince William is to become a full-time student of agricultural management at Cambridge University

Prince William is to become a full-time student of agricultural management at Cambridge University

The course is run by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL), an institution within Cambridge University’s School of Technology, which has Prince William’s father, Prince Charles, as its patron.

The Kensington Palace spokesman said: “The executive education programme of seminars, lectures and meetings will draw on the strengths of academics across the university.

“The course has been designed to help provide the duke with an understanding of contemporary issues affecting agricultural business and rural communities in the UK.”

The Duchy of Cornwall is a portfolio of land, property and investments which Prince William will inherit from his father when Prince Charles becomes king.

The duke, who is second-in-line to the throne, will have 18 to 20 hours of lectures, seminars and meetings a week, as well as essays to complete and field trips to attend.

The cost of the course is being met privately.

Prince William graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2005 with a class 2:1 degree in geography, and it was as an undergraduate that he met his future wife Kate Middleton.

A British team of physicians have come up with an equation that explains and predicts the shape of a ponytail that could help scientists better understand natural materials, such as wool and fur.

The Ponytail Shape Equation findings have been published in Physical Review Letters journal.

The new equation takes into account the stiffness of hairs, the effects of gravity and the presence of random curliness or waviness.

“It’s a remarkably simple equation,” explained Prof. Raymond Goldstein, who is the Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems at Cambridge University.

He added that the findings showed how physics could be used to “solve a problem that has puzzled scientists and artists ever since Leonardo Da Vinci remarked on the fluid-like streamlines of hair in his notebooks 500 years ago”.

Prof. Raymond Goldstein worked on the equation with Professor Robin Ball from the University of Warwick and Patrick Warren, from Unilever’s Research and Development Centre.

The Ponytail Shape Equation represents the first scientific understanding of the distribution of hairs in a ponytail, say the researchers

The Ponytail Shape Equation represents the first scientific understanding of the distribution of hairs in a ponytail, say the researchers

The Ponytail Shape Equation represents the first scientific understanding of the distribution of hairs in a ponytail, say the researchers.

It provides new understanding of how a bundle is swelled by the outward pressure which arises from collisions between the component hairs.

Together with a new mathematical quantity known as the Rapunzel Number, the equation can – they say – be used to predict the shape of any ponytail.

It opens the way to a better understanding of materials made up of random fibres, say the researchers.

This will resonate with some in the computer graphics and animation industry, where a realistic representation of hair and fur has proven a tough challenge.

Prof. Raymond Goldstein is presenting the research at the American Physical Society meeting in Boston on 28 February.

A new Ice Age is due to start within 1,500 years, according to Cambridge University scientists; but, due to human carbon emissions, the lethal “big freeze” could be put off.

Scientists at Cambridge University say that levels of CO2 in the atmosphere could actually insulate against a catastrophic ice age which would see glaciers advance over Europe and North America.

They admit that we would be “better off” in a warmer world – but caution that this is “missing the point”.

In an article published in Nature Geoscience, Cambridge University paleoclimatologist Luke Skinner says that even if carbon emissions stopped today, levels would remain elevated for at least 1,000 years, and stored heat could prevent the next Ice Age from happening.

Instead, things would cool down, but not quite so severely.

Thanks to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the earth would not experience “glaciation” (periods of severe cold where glaciers advance).

The current level of carbon dioxide is 390 parts per million. Scientists believe that level would need to drop to 240 parts per million to allow glaciation to take place.

“It’s an interesting philosophical discussion. Would we better off in a warm world rather than a glaciation? Probably we would,” says Dr. Luke Skinner.

“At current levels of CO2, even if emissions stopped now, we’d probably have a long interglacial period,” he says.

“Interglacial” periods are warmer periods between periods of glaciation.

The last ice age ended 11,500 years ago, and scientists debate over when the next one is “due”.

The cycle is dictated by tiny variations in Earth’s orbit around the sun.

Ice ages are marked by glaciers advancing over continents. At the peak of the last ice age, large areas of Europe, Asia and North America were covered in ice.

The effects of glaciation on human civilization would be catastrophic.

Dr. Luke Skinner says: “This is missing the point, because where we’re going is not maintaining our currently warm climate but heating it much further, and adding CO2 to a warm climate is very different from adding it to a cold climate.”

A new stem cell technique for growing working liver cells which could eventually avoid the need for liver transplant has been developed by British scientists from Sanger Institute and Cambridge University.

The British researchers used cutting-edge methods to correct a genetic mutation in stem cells derived from a patient’s skin biopsy, and then grew them into fresh liver cells. The scientists team put the new liver cells into and found they were fully functioning.

Dr. Allan Bradley, director of the Sanger Institute said:

“We have developed new systems to target genes and … correct … defects in patient cells.”

According to Dr. Allan Bradley, the Sanger Institute technique leaves behind no trace of the genetic manipulation, except for the gene correction.

“These are early steps, but if this technology can be taken into treatment, it will offer great possible benefits for patients,” Dr. Bradley added.

The British researchers from Sanger Institute used cutting-edge methods to correct a genetic mutation in stem cells derived from a patient's skin biopsy, and then grew them into fresh liver cells

The British researchers from Sanger Institute used cutting-edge methods to correct a genetic mutation in stem cells derived from a patient's skin biopsy, and then grew them into fresh liver cells

Stem cells are the body’s master cells, the source for all other cells, and specialists say they could transform medicine, providing treatments for blindness, spinal cord and other severe injuries, and new cells for damaged organs.

The Sanger Institute research is focused on two main forms:

1. embryonic stem cells, which are harvested from embryos,

2. reprogrammed cells, also known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), which are reprogrammed from ordinary skin or blood cells.

iPS cells were first discovered in 2006. The iPS cells seemed to be the perfect solution for the ethical debate over the use of embryonic stem cells, because they are made in a laboratory from ordinary skin or blood cells.

Embryonic stem cells are usually harvested from leftover embryos at fertility clinics and their use is opposed by many religious groups.

In recent years, some concerns have been raised that iPS cells may not be as “clean” or as capable as embryonic cells.

In 2010, a group led by Robert Lanza, of the U.S. firm Advanced Cell Technology, compared batches of iPS cells with embryonic stem cells and noticed the iPS cells died more quickly and were much less able to grow and expand.

The British study has been published in the journal Nature.

The research team took skin cells from a patient with a mutation in a gene called alpha1-antitrypsin, which is responsible for making a protein that protects against inflammation.

Patient with mutant alpha1-antitrypsin are not able to release the protein properly from the liver, so it becomes trapped there and eventually leads to liver cirrhosis and lung emphysema.

This is one of the most common inherited liver and lung disorders and affects about one in 2,000 people of North European origin, the researchers said.

The scientists reprogrammed the skin cells back into stem cells before inserting a correct version of the gene using a DNA transporter called piggyBac.

The leftover piggyBac sequences were then removed from the cells, cleaning them up and allowing them to be converted into liver cells without any trace of residual DNA damage at the site of the genetic correction.

Professor David Lomas, from Cambridge University respiratory biology department said: “We then turned those cells into human liver cells and put them in a mouse and showed that they were viable.”

Dr. Ludovic Vallier, also from Cambridge University, said the results were a first step toward personalized cell therapy for genetic liver disorders.

“We still have major challenges to overcome…but we now have the tools necessary.”

The British researchers said it could be another 5 to 10 years before full clinical trials of the technique could be run using patients with liver disease.

If the new technique will succeed, liver transplants, which is a costly and complicated procedure, where patients need a lifetime of drugs to ensure the new organ is not rejected, could become a thing of the past.

Professor David Lomas said: “If we can use a patient’s own skins cells to produce liver cells that we can put back into the patient, we may prevent the future need for transplantation.”