From whales and elephants, to Shakespeare plays and Tim Peake, York researchers have made some fascinating discoveries…
Your support for our research projects, as well as student clubs and societies, has allowed the University to provide a fantastic range of events and activities to the general public, engaging them with our work and allowing us to showcase our research. Thank you for your continued support.
Social lives of killer whales
Drones were used to discover more about the social lives of killer whales, as part of research that could help protect the species. Dr Dan Franks of the Department of Biology, and his collaborators, have so far analysed hundreds of hours of video of killer whale family groups, observing their relationships during fleeting glimpses as the whales surface for breath. They found female killer whales who survive after menopause pass on crucial information which helps their family members find food during hard times.
Shakespeare’s 400th birthday
Working with the British Film Institute (BFI) in the year the world celebrated Shakespeare’s 400th birthday, Professor Judith Buchanan, of the Department of English and Related Literature, provided voiceovers for ten silent films. ‘Play On!: Shakespeare in Silent Film’ was accompanied by a score composed and played by musicians at Shakespeare’s Globe. The DVD brings back into circulation a collection of silent Shakespeare films from archives not previously available to public audiences.
A passion for fashion
A fashion show hosted by the University, and featuring American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, raised more than £30,000 for two charities supporting refugees. The event was organised by HARD Magazine, a fashion publication at the University, and showcased the designs of students from universities across the region. It featured talks from Anna Wintour and Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner.
1,000 years of Tanzanian environmental history
Dr Robert Marchant from the University of York’s Environment Department, and his collaborators, charted more than 1,000 years of Tanzanian environmental history using sediments extracted from a peat bog. Research results showed that the forest ecosystem remains stable – the same as it was more than 1,000 years ago – suggesting that climate change has not yet impacted on the forest, but that its shrinking size is largely due to human activity.
York, home to a Roman amphitheatre?
Could York once have been home to a Roman amphitheatre? As part of the York Festival of Ideas, archaeologists asked competing teams to use their knowledge of the city to come up with some ideas of where the city’s mysterious amphitheatre might lie. It is a place where gladiators fought, rebels were executed and possibly where the VI Legion was addressed by their Emperor.
Researchers have demonstrated that a series of crude doodles and drawings discovered in the margins of a medieval manuscript were probably made by children. Dr Deborah Thorpe, from the Centre for Medieval Studies, enlisted the help of child psychologists to identify the drawings on the pages of a 14th Century book which originally came from a Franciscan convent in Naples. The drawings depict a horse or cow, a human figure and possibly images of the devil.
Organic materials in the atmosphere
Scientists operating research aircraft over West Africa detected organic materials in the atmosphere over a number of urban areas, contributing to concerns over the rise in pollution across the region. Three aircraft, carrying sophisticated instruments to collect atmospheric data, were used to track air pollution from the big coastal cities of Accra, Abidjan, Lomé and Cotonou, as it streams inland reaching the forests and the Sahara.
Space and beyond
British astronaut Tim Peake greeted more than 400 students from 80 schools at the University as part of the UK Space Agency’s Schools Conferences. The UK Space Agency invested £3 million in the biggest education and outreach initiative ever undertaken for an ESA astronaut. The curriculum-linked projects included scientific experiments, coding challenges, family shows, creative writing and more.
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