Archive for the ‘Oxford University’ Category



This is real scientific breakthrough guys, scientists have used laser beams 60,000 billion times more powerful than a laser pointer to recreate scaled supernova explosions in the laboratory to investigate one of the most energetic events in the universe.

Supernova explosions, triggered when the fuel within a star reignites or its core collapses, launch shock waves that sweep through a few light years of space.

“It may sound surprising that a table-top laboratory experiment that fits inside an average room can be used to study astrophysical objects that are light years across,” said Professor Gianluca Gregori of Oxford’s Department of Physics.

“In reality, the laws of physics are the same everywhere, and physical processes can be scaled from one to the other in the same way that waves in a bucket are comparable to waves in the ocean. So our experiments can complement observations of events such as the Cassiopeia A supernova explosion,” said Gregori, who led the study.

The Cassiopeia A supernova explosion was first spotted about 300 years ago in the Cassiopeia constellation 11,000 light years away, its light having taken that long to reach us.

The optical images of the explosion show irregular ‘knotty’ features and associated with these are intense radio and X-ray emissions.

Whilst no one is sure what creates these phenomena one possibility is that the blast passes through a region of space that is filled with dense clumps or clouds of gas.

“Our team began by focusing three laser beams onto a carbon rod target, not much thicker than a strand of hair, in a low density gas-filled chamber,” said Jena Meinecke, an Oxford graduate student who headed the experiment.

The heat generated was more than a few million degrees Celsius and caused the rod to explode. The dense gas clumps that surround an exploding star were simulated by introducing a plastic grid to disturb the shock front.

“The experiment demonstrated that as the blast of the explosion passes through the grid it becomes irregular and turbulent just like the images from Cassiopeia,” said Gregori.

The research was published in the journal Nature Physics.


My Muslim hero has always been Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī. He is better known as Rumi. Rumi is an Islamic Sufi mystic from the 13th century who lived in what is now Konya, Turkey. I got really interested in Rumi when I first read about Rumi a number of years ago and ever since then I have been searching and learning about Sufism. I chose Rumi as my Muslim hero because I believe that Rumi is a shining example of the things I admire most about culture. Growing up as a non-Muslim in Malaysia I had become accustomed to the powers-that-be treating me differently because of my religion. I got used to thinking that the first thing the government see when they look at me is not the type of person I am, it’s my religion.

I assumed that’s how its going to be for a long long time in Malaysia because religion is used to the maximum by the powers-that-be. That all changed when for the first time I met a Sufi in India in 1980. I was welcomed with open arms and he wanted to get to know me the person. He brought me to the Sufi Center in New Delhi. For the first time in my life I forgot about my religion and could just be myself. It was a complete culture shock for me because for once I wasn’t judged based on my religion. I cannot even put into words how good it felt. I think this is a shining example of Rumi’s teachings on love and tolerance.

I see so many similarities between Rumi’s teachings and Hinduism and even Christianity. Sufism also has meditation as an essential part of prayer. For instance Rumi and his followers used simple music in meditation and prayer so that they can bring themselves closer to God. Perhaps the most critical and mind boggling event was when I saw both Muslims and non-Muslims praying together. This made me open my eyes. It taught me that I too can participate in things like Ramadan without compromising my identity or my belief.

These cross culture experiences have led me to be a stronger and well-rounded person. Therefore Rumi will always be my Muslim hero because he has helped me to understand the true meaning of peace, tolerance and love.

I want to post here a video of another Muslim I admire a lot, someone I recently discovered. He is Author of “The Arab Awakening” and Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, Tariq Ramadan. In this video Professor Tariq shares his thoughts on applying Islamic values in a multi-ethnic society like Malaysia. Among some of the other things he talks about in this video is the Hudud Law, equality between the rich and poor, setting up of an Islamic state and the level of tolerance Muslims should have towards homosexuals.

Watch this…



Harvard University

Harvard has been ranked as the top university in the world for the sixth consecutive year, while none of the Malaysian universities figure in the latest edition of The Times Higher Education, world reputation ranking report. The United States dominates the rankings of 200 world class universities.

National University of Singapore is 27 in the world ranking. Even Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University made it in the top 100.

It is no surprise Malaysia is sliding real fast as it is not able to cling on to a placing in the world list and it looks like it has disappeared into competitive oblivion. What happen to the Primier Najib’s call for an “education revolution”? What happen to the call for higher education in Malaysia to achieve world class status and establish the country as a regional centre of excellence in education? Is it just “cakap ta serupa bikin”? As long as UMNO government does not liberate our universities from the culture of mediocrity and our students are not given academic freedom and student idealism, we are not going to see any improvement in the rankings. Maybe we are just “jaguh kampong” and we are pretty satisified with that.

Between 2004 and 2009, Universiti of Malaya figured in the global list of 200 institutes but have slipped out in the new scoring system.

However, University of Malaya (UM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia do figure in the top 100 Asian Universities. But our Apex University, University Sains Malaysia (USM) is no where in the list. Shame on you USM, so much money has been spent and nothing out of it.

Now I know why even our own Minister of Education and also many other Ministers sent their children to foreign universities, obviously, they themselves don’t have confidence in our education system.

Anyway, Cambridge has been named as the most highly regarded universities in the world, while Oxford among the United Kingdom’s came third in a table that ranked universities exclusively on the basis of “academics” worldwide.

Seven of the United States universities figured in the top 10, followed by the United Kingdom making Japan the only country whose university found a place in the rankings as Tokyo University was placed eighth.

Overall, the U.S. had 45 universities in the top 100, while the U.K. had 12 and Japan had five. These three nations were the best represented in the rankings. Canada, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands had four universities each in the top 100.

According to Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-2011, Harvard University ranking at the top had an overall score of 96.1, California Institute of Technology that occupied the second slot had 96 points followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Stanford University was adjudged the fourth best institution and Princeton University, the fifth.

Although this is the seventh year that the global rankings have been announced, but the exercise undertaken for 2010-2011 adopted a methodology which included 13 criteria for judging. This was done to avoid the criticism that the ranking was primarily based on perception.

The ranking was done based on the points scored for teaching, research, citation, innovation and international mix of students and teachers.


Chief Minister of Sarawak Taib Mahmud is in UK to promote ‘Green Development’ in Sarawak. During this visit he will give a lecture in University of Oxford at the Said Business School, Park End Street, Oxford at 9.30 am Monday 26th July 2010

My contact in Oxford said that Professor Andrew Hamilton, the august Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, who was speaking at the soft opening earlier had some words of praise for the CM of Sarawak. To me its so funny but don’t want to say too much as I may jeopardise some people. I hope you guys know what I meant. Lets see what happens tomorrow London time 9.30 morning.

Anyway, read here what Survival International has to say….

One of Asia’s greatest kleptocrats and single-handedly one of the most destructive forces against the environment, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, East Malaysia, Abdul Taib Mahmud, has been invited to present the opening address at the Said Business School’s inaugural Islamic Branding and Marketing Forum, Monday 26th July.

During his 30 years of iron grip over Malaysia’s Christian State, Taib Mahmud has systematically plundered a country once rich in natural resources, oil and timber. He and his family are now multi-billionaires, while indigenous tribes such as the legendary jungle nomads, the Penan, have been left destitute and robbed of their rightful hunting grounds.

Abdul Taib Mahmud has destroyed all but 3% of the Borneo jungle in the state, which had been handed all but intact into the care of his uncle, his predecessor. Numerous species, including the Orang Utan, proboscis monkey and a plethora of unique plant and animal life have been virtually wiped out by his rapacious and unsustainable plunder of the jungle.

The Penan are struggling to keep his loggers out of the last corners of their jungle, one of the most precious remaining areas of bio-diversity left on earth. Recent reports have revealed shocking evidence of their treatment at the hands of state-backed loggers, including the systematic rape and abuse of their women, an outrage that Taib Mahmud has refused to acknowledge or investigate.

Taib Mahmud’s ‘business interests’ are notorious. The whole state of Sarawak has been illegally absorbed into the possession of his cronies and family members through ‘privatisations’ and the handing out of palm oil and timber concessions, via arbitrary state acquisitions of native lands. He now runs the State as a family business, maintained through systematic electoral intimidation and fraud.

Taib Mahmud has laughably advertised his UK visit as a promotion of ‘Green Development’ in Sarawak and will be focussing on the promotion of Islamic and Halal products, his latest venture, during his visit to Oxford.

It is a standing disgrace that Oxford University should be extending a hand of welcome and supporting the status of such a man. His wealth and ability to endow is not in doubt, however there is no possible basis of legitimacy for such wealth, as can only be plainly apparent to all his hosts.

The people of Sarawak are struggling to rid themselves of this man and his parasitical family and to preserve their unique environmental heritage from his further ‘business ventures’. Please lend your support to their struggle and to the campaign to preserve what is left of the Book of Life and the Borneo Jungle’s natural wealth. Help fight for the survival of the Orang Utan and fellow creatures of the Asian Rainforest.

Be there to receive him and protest at the disgraceful invitation that has been extended to him by Oxford University and the Said Business School.

Contacts – Survival: Sophie Grig – sg@survivalinternational.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For further details on Taib Mahmud see http://www.sarawakreport.org

For background on the problems in Sarawak see Times articles

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5908207.ece

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6814891.ece



None of the Malaysian universities figures among the world’s top 100 universities, with the U.S. and the U.K. dominating the scene.

Harvard University has retained its top position in 2009, while Cambridge University, U.K has moved up from third to second position. Yale University of the U.S. has slipped one position to third.

According to the QS/Times Higher Education rankings, the University College London (UCL) leapfrogged Oxford University as the latter slipped from fourth to joint fifth position along with Imperial College, London.

Overall, the U.K. still punches above its weight, second only to the US. It has four out of the top 10 slots and 18 in the top 100.

Tokyo is highest ranked Asian university.

The number of Asian universities in the list of top 100 has increased from 14 to 16. The University of Tokyo, at 22, is the highest ranked Asian university, ahead of the University of Hong Kong that stands at 24 and National University of Singapore (NUS) is at 30.

However, Malaysia’s top university, University of Malaya (UM), is back in the world’s Top 200 varsities at no 180. This is 50 places better than last year. Wow what a showing!

It is really a pity that none of the Malaysian Universities could figure among the Top 100 universities in the world. From this, one gets a clear picture of where we stand in the global education scenario.

It is high time the matter is looked into seriously, and fruitful measures taken at the earliest before we slide even lower. Why we are sliding down so badly is very obvious. The quota system is screwing up everything. Besides, our education system in Malaysia doesn’t allow our students flexibility and the opportunity to explore a subject in depth and worst still meritocracy is not favored at all by our political masters.

Politicians should stop experimenting with our education system. UMNO and BN is responsible for our sorry state of affair. Wonder what happened to our great APEX University, the University Sains Malaysia (USM)? Habuk pun tadak ini USM. This goes to prove that we are just JAGUH KAMPONG lah. Our University of Malaya used to be on par with National University of Singapore during the 60’s and 70’s, where are we now? Why have we fallen so badly? Is it not because our education system and civil administration here is politicised?

Our education must be liberated from racism and capitalism then only will we be able to see some change in our international ratings.

Anyway, the top 10 Universities are: Harvard (U.S.), Cambridge (U.K.), Yale(U.S.), UCL, London (U.K.), Imperial College, London and Oxford (both U.K., joint 5), Chicago (U.S.), Princeton (U.S.), MIT, Massachusetts (U.S.) and California Institute of Technology (U.S.). See the full ranking here