Monthly Archives: April 2015

Far from the Madding Crowd’s Bathsheba was far from unique

Far from the Madding Crowd production crowd

Above: A woman farmer? Fox Searchlight

By Briony McDonagh, Lecturer in Human Geography

The opening scene of Far from the Madding Crowd, the new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel, shows Carey Mulligan’s Bathsheba Everdene stride into a stable, rain pouring outside, to comfort a horse. No skirts rustle or drag in the mud – she’s wearing leather riding trousers and jacket. It’s an image that jolts us out of comfortable period drama expectations, announcing that the film revolves around a woman ahead of her time. Read more

Forgotten resistance: the Italian freedom fighters dropped from our history books

On the fringes of resistance

Above: On the fringes of resistance (Istituto per la Storia della Resistenza e Storia Contemporanea)

By Sarah De NardiHonorary Research Fellow in Cultural Geography of the Italian Resistance

Most people are acquainted with at least the basic facts about the French Resistance. There are copious popular books, plays and films, and of course, the much-loved BBC comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo. But few are quite so well versed on another resistance movement that played out in Europe towards the end of World War II. Just across the Alps, Italians were protesting German occupation and hiding out in the homes of willing locals.

Despite the fact that many British and Commonwealth nationals lived and fought alongside the Italian partisans, this entry in Italy’s history has largely been ignored. Read more

“Big Five” should be “Big Six” say extinction researchers


There are five generally acknowledged key mass extinction events in Earth’s history. Now new evidence led by a researcher at the University of Hull argues that a sixth extinction – which took place 262 million years ago – should be added to the list.

The Capitanian extinction event occurred during the Middle Permian period in China. Since the only evidence for the event was found in tropical regions, there has been some uncertainty on its global impact.

But new evidence led by Dr David Bond from Hull’s Department of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences shows this extinction also occurred in Spitsbergen (Arctic Norway), proving that extinctions also took place in the Arctic, making it global in scale. Read more

Evolutionary Biology Group shortlisted for Research Team of the Year Award

Barcode species

The University of Hull’s Evolutionary Biology Group has been shortlisted for the Research Team of the Year award by the Educate North Awards 2015.

The Evolutionary Biology Group – EvoHull – represents a major research centre within the University of Hull, and is influential in the UK through its work as a founder member of the UK’s eDNA network.

The Educate North Awards and Conference, in association with The Telegraph Media Group, is a one-day conference and high profile awards event, which will celebrate, recognise and share best practice and excellence in the education sector in the North.

The Research Team of the Year Award celebrates a team within a higher or further education institution that can demonstrate an outstanding and sustained impact on their field. The number and standard of entries was extremely high, so making the shortlist is an amazing achievement in itself.


The group research on a wide range of topics in modern evolutionary biology, examining the varied processes which shape individual, population and species diversity.

The Evolutionary Biology Group is at the forefront of developing a new environmental DNA (eDNA) technique, which they have pioneered as a practical conservation tool. eDNA is a method used to monitor what species are in a wide range of habitats, such as in soil or water.

The awards event takes place on 3 June 2015 at The Hilton Deansgate in Manchester.

For more information about the Evolutionary Biology Group visit their website or twitter @EvoHull.

Sport Science and the BBC recreate the first stage of the Tour de Yorkshire

The Harrison Rotation

With the Tour de Yorkshire not long away, BBC Radio Humberside visited the Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science to discover the effects the first stage of the Tour will have on the human body.

Sports reporter David Harrison was at the University of Hull for a mammoth challenge, cycling the first stage of the Tour de Yorkshire on a stationary bike.

The first stage of the Tour starts at Bridlington and 174km later finish in Scarborough, passing through the North York Moors.

The simulation may not be as glamorous as being out in East Yorkshire and the North York Moors! However, cycling in the laboratory will simulate the physiological stress that the professional cyclists will be under during the first stage, giving a fantastic insight into the race demands. Read more

Accolade for world fisheries expert


Professor Ian Cowx, University of Hull scientist and world expert in fisheries conservation, has been awarded the prestigious Beverton medal by the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI).

The Beverton medal is awarded to a distinguished scientist for a lifelong contribution to all aspects of the study of fish biology and/or fisheries science, with a focus on ground-breaking research. Read more

Chemistry set pencils can turn life-saving tests into child’s play


The new chemistry lab – just add water. stux

By Mark Lorch, University of Hull

If you’ve ever sat opposite a doctor and wondered what she was scribbling on her notepad, the answer may soon not only be medical notes on your condition, but real-time chemical preparations for an instant diagnostic test.

Thanks to the work of a team of researchers from California Polytechnic State University, recently published in the journal Lab on a Chip, chemicals formed into pencils can be made to react with one another by simply drawing with them on paper. The team may have taken inspiration from colouring books for their take on a chemical toolkit, but their approach could make carrying out simple but common diagnostic tests based on chemical reactions – for example diabetes, HIV, or tests for environmental pollutants – much easier. Read more

« Older Entries