Harry Potter in the sky? Bid to inspire young stargazers

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In a campaign to get more young people interested in the universe, The Big Bang Fair in partnership with astronomers at University of Birmingham created ‘Look Up To The Stars’: a new set of constellations representing icons from sport, entertainment, science and activism that children are inspired by today. (AFP/UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM/THE BIG BANG FAIR/HO)
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In a campaign to get more young people interested in the universe, The Big Bang Fair in partnership with astronomers at University of Birmingham created ‘Look Up To The Stars’: a new set of constellations representing icons from sport, entertainment, science and activism that children are inspired by today. (AFP PHOTO/UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM/THE BIG BANG FAIR)
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A new constellation to celebrate British astronaut Tim Peake. In a campaign to get more young people interested in the universe, The Big Bang Fair in partnership with astronomers at University of Birmingham created ‘Look Up To The Stars’: a new set of constellations representing icons from sport, entertainment, science and activism that children are inspired by today. (AFP PHOTO/UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM/THE BIG BANG FAIR)
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A new constellation based on and created to celebrate JK Rowling's fictional boy wizard Harry Potter. In a campaign to get more young people interested in the universe, The Big Bang Fair in partnership with astronomers at University of Birmingham created ‘Look Up To The Stars’: a new set of constellations representing icons from sport, entertainment, science and activism that children are inspired by today.(AFP PHOTO/UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM/THE BIG BANG FAIR)
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A new constellation based on and created to celebrate classic fictional character Paddington Bear. In a campaign to get more young people interested in the universe, The Big Bang Fair in partnership with astronomers at University of Birmingham created ‘Look Up To The Stars’: a new set of constellations representing icons from sport, entertainment, science and activism that children are inspired by today. (AFP PHOTO/UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM/THE BIG BANG FAIR)
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A new constellation based on and created to celebrate Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. In a campaign to get more young people interested in the universe, The Big Bang Fair in partnership with astronomers at University of Birmingham created ‘Look Up To The Stars’: a new set of constellations representing icons from sport, entertainment, science and activism that children are inspired by today.(AFP PHOTO/UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM/THE BIG BANG FAIR/HO)
Updated 13 December 2017
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Harry Potter in the sky? Bid to inspire young stargazers

LONDON: British astronomers have come up with a new set of constellations inspired by modern-day figures such as Harry Potter and Usain Bolt in an attempt to teach children about the layout of the universe.
The eight new constellations in the “Look Up to The Stars” project are the brainchild of The Big Bang Fair, a science education event for young people and astronomers at the University of Birmingham.
The proposals include Harry Potter’s glasses, a tennis racket for Serena Williams, a spaceship for astronaut Tim Peak, a blue whale for naturist David Attenborough and a book in honor of Nobel-winner Malala Yousafzai.
The eight constellations invented are a bid “to get more young people interested in the universe,” The Big Bang Fair said in a statement.
Existing constellations are based on the zodiac and figures from ancient Greek and Roman mythology which “aren’t necessarily proving successful in enticing children today to look up at the stars,” it said.
A survey quoted by The Big Bang Fair found 29 percent of seven to 19-year-olds admitted they would not be able to recognize a single classical constellation.
The survey also found 72 percent of children admitted they had never looked for a constellation at night.
“We really hope these new creations will help people of all ages develop their interest in space and astronomy,” Emma Willett, who led the University of Birmingham research team, said in the statement.


Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

Updated 17 April 2018
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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

  • Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
  • The research starts in April and will run until September

TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.