The top ten stories you’ve been reading on our site in 2017

Each year hundreds of thousands of readers view articles on our site and we’re always interested in what you’re looking at. This year, to mark the end of 2017, we thought we’d share our top ten stories, as read by you:

10: Tyrannosaurus rex couldn’t run says new research

It is a classic chase scene in modern cinematic history. The image of a rampant Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex) chasing Jeff Goldblum as he sits injured in the back of a 4x4 vehicle in Stephen Spielberg’s original film adaptation of Jurassic Park. But could a T. rex actually move that fast, or even run at all?

Research from the University published in July said the sheer size and weight of T. rex meant it couldn’t move at high speed, as its leg-bones would have buckled under its own weight.


9: Scientists reveal new super-fast form of computer that ‘grows as it computes’

Professor Ross D King and his team showed that it is possible to build a new super-fast form of computer that “grows as it computes”. The theoretical properties of such a computing machine, including its exponential boost in speed over electronic and quantum computers, have been well understood for many years – but the Manchester breakthrough demonstrates that it is actually possible to physically create one using DNA molecules.

8: Global subject rankings place Manchester among the elite

Manchester featured in every one of the five subject areas in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017. To compile the rankings, QS ranked 1,117 institutions and verified the provision of over 18,900 programmes.

Manchester’s subjects appeared in the world’s elite in all of the five groupings: arts & humanities, engineering & technology, life sciences & medicine, natural sciences and social sciences & management.

7: Scholarship student becomes Rwanda’s youngest ever government minister

At 30, new Rwandan Minster for Transport, Jean de Dieu ‘Jado’ Uwihanganye is the youngest ever minister in the country and a hugely successful project manager, but none of this would have been possible without the backing of a unique scholarship from The University of Manchester.

Jado was awarded an Equity and Merit Scholarship, a scheme which assists talented, disadvantaged students from some of the world’s poorest countries. Studying abroad would not have been otherwise possible for Jado, as both of his parents are subsistence farmers – in fact he also helped herd cattle in his village when he was younger.

6: Lost Turing letters give unique insight into his academic life prior to death

A lost and unique collection of letters and correspondence from the late Alan Turing was found in an old filing cabinet in a storeroom at the University.

The file’s contents, which potentially hadn’t seen the light of day for at least 30 years, dates from early 1949 until Turing’s death in June 1954.

5: Enormous promise for new parasitic infection treatment

We reported how the human whipworm, which infects 500 million people and can damage physical and mental growth, is killed at egg and adult stage by a new drug class developed at the Universities of Manchester and Oxford and University College London.

Current treatments for human whipworm are based on 1960s drugs initially developed for livestock and have a low success rate in people. There are also no vaccines available. As a result there’s a desperate need for new treatments.

4: Scientists create world’s first ‘molecular robot’ capable of building molecules

Scientists at the University created the world’s first ‘molecular robot’ that is capable of performing basic tasks including building other molecules. The tiny robots, which are a millionth of a millimetre in size, can be programmed to move and build molecular cargo, using a tiny robotic arm.

3: Graphene sieve turns seawater into drinking water

Graphene-oxide membranes have attracted considerable attention as promising candidates for new filtration technologies. In 2017 the much sought-after development of making membranes capable of sieving common salts was achieved.

The new research demonstrates the real-world potential of providing clean drinking water for millions of people who struggle to access it from adequate clean sources.

2: Major cause of dementia discovered

Only published in December, this story proved incredibly popular. An international team of scientists has confirmed the discovery of a major cause of dementia, with important implications for possible treatment and diagnosis.

1: Study reveals that climate change could dramatically alter fragile mountain habitats

Our most read story of 2017 was all about how mountain regions of the world are under direct threat from human-induced climate change which could radically alter these fragile habitats.

Ecologist Professor Richard Bardgett said that elevation was used as a surrogate for climate warming and this helps to make predictions about the potential effects of climate warming. This is because any particular elevation is expected to experience the same temperature as that of an elevation that is 300 meters lower in 80 years’ time due to climate warming.

Thanks to all of our readers who have come from 226 countries this year, proving that Manchester really is a global university. Our especial thanks go to the one each of you from Tonga, Turkmenistan, São Tomé & Príncipe, the Marshall Islands, the Comoros and the Falklands who took a look at our news in 2017!

If you want more highlights from 2017, take a look at our Review of the Year.

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