Warwick Knowledge Centre

Warwick Knowledge Centre

Access the latest research, ideas and thinking from academics at the University of Warwick How do we make the dream of sustainable cities happen?

Access the latest research, ideas and thinking from academics at the University of Warwick through the Knowledge Centre – an entertaining and educational website that asks the big questions – How does technology influence the way we look at history? And what is it like to eat a chocolate hob nob? We publish articles by the PhD candidates, Drs and Professors at Warwick alongside career advice from


Farewell to the Knowledge Centre (as we know it)

Things are changing at the Knowledge Centre, fellow knowledge fans! Our articles will now be found across the University of Warwick's website. Look out for Warwick’s Facebook posts with links to the latest insightful and thought-provoking articles from our academics, and join the debate by sharing your thoughts. And keep reading!

www2.warwick.ac.uk The Knowledge Centre, a digital space showcasing the latest research, ideas and thinking from academics at the University of Warwick has changed.


Why aren't we smarter already?

One from the archives for your to read over lunch.

Dr Thomas Hills discusses the possibility of popping pills to make us smarter. intelligence?

www2.warwick.ac.uk Science fiction films and novels have speculated on the advances of human brain power, whether through evolutionary or pharmaceutical means. Dr Thomas Hills, asks it's so easy to evolve superior cognitive capacities, why arent we smarter already?


Facing your emotions


www2.warwick.ac.uk I wear a fez now! How do people react to happy or threatening expressions. Evolution has provided a list of emotional responses. Dr Elisabeth Blagrove looks at how emotions affect our ability to process information.


Creativity, Culture And Sustainable Development

For more than ten years, global actors like the EU, OECD or UNESCO, have looked increasingly to culture and creativity as a new framework to approach hard policy problems, particularly in the sphere of Development.

www2.warwick.ac.uk What part does the creative economy play in international development? Dr Jonathan Vickery from the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick


Pontius Pilate – Ecce homo

Who was Pontius Pilate?' A guiltless governor? The chief witness to the Passion? A Saint? Professor Kevin Butcher provides a Pilate study for Easter.

www2.warwick.ac.uk “Behold the man” (in Latin, Ecce homo) – Pontius Pilate’s words to a hostile crowd ahead of Jesus’ crucifixion (John 19:5). Turning those words back on their speaker, Professor Kevin Butcher asks ‘who was Pontius Pilate?’


Bangladeshi women and today’s choices: Trading personal religiosity for professional modernity

www2.warwick.ac.uk Nazia Hussein’s research focuses on the different ways middle class women in Bangladesh perform gender and class identities. Here she tells the stories of just a few of the women she’s interviewed during her research.


Child-ready schools not school-ready children: The future of good quality childcare in England

Should the government delay the expansion of free nursery places for two-year-olds?

www2.warwick.ac.uk Dr Caroline Jones, Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Warwick, looks at proposed government-funded childcare for disadvantaged two-year-olds.


Effective leadership why following the market leader might not be your best business strategy

www2.warwick.ac.uk Dr Chengwei Liu, Warwick Business School talks to Anna Blackaby about effective business strategies


"We know that certain types of fish survive perfectly well in sub-zero sea temperatures without their blood freezing," says Matthew Gibson. "We used this as a starting point to search for synthetic substances which reflect what nature already does so well."

Dr Gibson explains his group's latest findings (published in Nature Communications) on Futurity: http://bit.ly/1bBroeq


"The athletes gathering in Sochi for the Winter Olympics must regret the fact that the threat of terrorism is commanding as much media atttention as the prospects for sporting excellence."

Professor Mark Harrison, Warwick Economics Department, on , and http://bit.ly/1b4KGuQ

Image: "Bolshoy" Ice Dome / Sochi 2014 Winter Games, Flickr


Life as an astronomer: it really is like Star Trek

www2.warwick.ac.uk Extra solar planets have come to prominence in the past decade as advanced techniques have begun to detect them in greater numbers. The recent discovery of Kepler-78b in October attracted media coverage worldwide, with some reports suggesting the planet had Earth-like properties. But what does that…


Could the 'Westminster Bubble' be detrimental to British politics?

Is it time to prick the Westminster Bubble?

www2.warwick.ac.uk It’s often argued that politicians are disconnected from society because they spend most of their time at Westminster. But is the ‘Westminster Bubble’, or the ‘Westminster village’ as it is sometimes referred to, merely a case of politicians occasionally falling out of touch with voter concerns? Or…


Letter from the editor (17 January 2014): M’obesity, Mo’ problems, 16/01/14, Knowledge Centre:...

Letter from the editor: M’obesity, mo’ problems

As National Obesity Awareness Week draws to a close, Warwick Knowledge Centre's editor discusses his own experiences with being overweight and how the latest KC articles have helped motivate him to further slim down.

blogs.warwick.ac.uk Thoughts, ideas, letters from the editor, op-ed pieces from alumni and members of the Warwick community.


‘The Bliss Point’: The happiest countries are rich, but not too rich

It turns out that happiness has its own 'Goldilocks zone' - The work of economists Eugenio Proto and Aldo Rustichini is discussed in a Washington Post piece on the 'bliss point' of happiness.

washingtonpost.com A new study tries to answer the question: Does money buy happiness?


Costing secrecy | vox

Recommended Reading: Professor Mark Harrison, Warwick Economics Department, has just posted a piece on the hidden costs of autocracy.

voxeu.org Democracy often seems bureaucratic with high ‘transaction costs’, while autocracies seem to get things done at lower cost. This column discusses historical research that refutes this. It finds empirical support from Soviet archives for a political security/usability tradeoff. Regimes that are secure...


Fat or Fiction: Our relationships with food, weight and the burgeoning obesity epidemic

Can you guess which sweet treats have the lowest calories? Are you a weight loss saboteur? How big a problem is childhood obesity?

www2.warwick.ac.uk It's estimated that by 2050 more than half of the UK population will be obese, at a cost of £50 billion a year. Obesity isn't only of concern in the UK, it's a global issue affecting more and more adults and children every year. Current estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest that...


Warwick Knowledge Centre's cover photo


Go on, its Christmas the distant-relative’s impact on your waistline

Put the cranberry and orange muffin down!

Philip McTernan, Warwick Medical School, runs the gauntlet of festive food and healthy eating.

www2.warwick.ac.uk Christmas is considered a misty-eyed time to enjoy the festive season through family, friends and food (although not necessarily in that order). Food is an essential part of this time of year and our bodies often seem to crave even more than sometimes we feel we can handle, particularly after the Ch...


Superstition: Friday The 13th

Why is seen as unlucky?

And we know, this is not a black cat, but our Amongst the Pigeons cat looks so cute in a festive hat!

www2.warwick.ac.uk Superstitious beliefs such as avoiding black cats and breaking mirrors to avert bad luck, and of course, the unluckiest day of all, Friday 13th, are an irrational yet engrained part of our culture. But how did they start? Prof Bernard Capp from the Department of History argues that what we consider…


Luxury and the manipulation of desire

We asked the Leverhulme International Network Luxury and the Manipulation of Desire 'What is luxury?' and discovered that it is very much a question of context. http://bit.ly/19DIgN7

www2.warwick.ac.uk Exclusivity – is this what defines luxury? Or is it quality, passion and the attributes given to a product by a true artisan? Has our view of luxury remained consistent or, over the centuries, have our values - at least in terms of high end goods - changed dramatically or have they remained as 'time...


Luxury and the manipulation of desire

What is luxury?

A five part audio series from the Leverhulme International Network Luxury and the Manipulation of Desire

Access the latest research, ideas and thinking from The University of Warwick through the Knowledge Centre. Continue to professionally develop and ...


Nelson Mandela: Moved by Madiba

Patrick Dunne, Lay Council Member and Founder of Warwick in Africa, remembers Nelson Mandela

www2.warwick.ac.uk There are many terrific tributes being paid to Nelson Mandela and justifiably so. Mine is a simple one. I didn’t know him, I never met him and sadly I only saw him once from the distance. Yet he moved me in a way that no other leader in my life time has and I am sure that this will be so for many as...


Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

Professor Robert Fine discusses Nelson Mandela

www2.warwick.ac.uk Nelson Mandela was a big man and his long life was punctuated by huge personal and political achievements. Foremost among his personal achievements was the dignity and apparent lack of bitterness with which he emerged from 27 years of imprisonment by the apartheid regime in South Africa. He had the…



What are your thoughts on the pension announcements made by the Chancellor George Osborne today?

Professor Noel Whiteside offers her thoughts on the future of pensions on the Knowledge Centre

www2.warwick.ac.uk Prince Charles celebrates a landmark birthday on 14 November when he will join more than 10 million other people in the UK who are aged 65 or over. Though he has reached the official retirement age, it’s likely the Prince will carry on working, mainly because he hasn’t been recruited to his main job...


Nigella seeds - the Vicks inhaler of Ancient Greece

Got a cold? Try Nigella seeds.

www2.warwick.ac.uk Dr Caroline Petit from the Department of Classics and Ancient History researches ancient medical culture and texts, including the work of Galenus (AD 129–c. 200/c. 216). Better known as Galen, the physician, writer and philosopher became the most famous doctor in the Roman Empire an...



Associate Professor Matthew Clayton, Professor Dennis Leech and Dr Alex Smith offer their views but what are your thoughts - should we lower the UK voting age to 16?

www2.warwick.ac.uk Should the UK voting age be reduced to 16? Should it only be reduced when matters that concern minors are under discussion? Associate Professor Matthew Clayton from the Department of Politics and International Studies, Professor Dennis Leech from the Department of Economics and Dr Alex Smith from th...


Professor Noel Whiteside discusses how we all might follow in Prince Charles' footsteps and work into our 'retirement years'.


Lest we forget. Dr Christoph Mick, University of Warwick's Department of History, on the cult of the Unknown soldier http://bit.ly/uHRZSW


The next round of climate change talks start today in Warsaw. What are your hopes for the unfccc's COP 19? Dr Ian Hancox offers his hopes via the Knowledge Centre: http://bit.ly/1i08YGA


What were your favourite Lou Reed penned lyrics? Leave your comments below or on the Warwick Knowledge Centre http://bit.ly/19JGP2U


LOU REED (2 MARCH 1942 - 27 OCTOBER 2013)

Dr Emma Mason and Peter Blegvad pay tribute to Lou Reed.

www2.warwick.ac.uk Dr Emma Mason and Peter Blegvad, English and Comparative Literary Studies, reflect upon the man, the music and the magnetism behind the Velvet Underground front man.


Styx and Stones: The Ghosts of the Ancient World

Happy Halloween

www2.warwick.ac.uk As people, young and old, prepare to celebrate Halloween by hosting parties, carving pumpkins, trick or treating, and generally having a ghoulishly good time, it’s easy to forget that this yearly celebration is an age old tradition. In ancient society, the day was dedicated to remembering the dead.…



An introduction to Warwick's Energy research http://bit.ly/1iohVGU

http://bit.ly/1iohVGU A rising demand for energy, along with EU targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions means that profound changes in the way our energy is produced and utilised are needed. Professor Phil Mawby, the academic lead for Warwick’s Energy GRP, which brings together more than 100 people from across the Uni...



Professor Philip Mawby's favourite number is 42.

Whilst we cannot promise you the answers to life, the universe and everything, we can give you some of the sound knowledge of Professor Philip Mawby on the Knowledge Centre today.

http://bit.ly/1iohVGU A rising demand for energy, along with EU targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions means that profound changes in the way our energy is produced and utilised are needed. Professor Phil Mawby, the academic lead for Warwick’s Energy GRP, which brings together more than 100 people from across the Uni...



"Marxism shows no sign of dying out; it lives on..."

Professor Mark Harrison, Warwick Economics Department, on the influence of Karl Marx today.

www2.warwick.ac.uk George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer recently compared a speech made by Ed Miliband, with the views expressed by Karl Marx in Das Kapital. In response, Professor Mark Harrison from the Department of Economics considers the influence and relevance of Marx on modern society.


George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer recently compared a speech made by Ed Miliband (Leader of the Labour Party UK), with the views expressed by Karl Marx in Das Kapital.

In response, Professor Mark Harrison considers the influence and relevance of Marx on modern society and asks 'Who's a Marxist now?' http://bit.ly/19Ykfl2


A New Dawn for Solar Technology

Dr Ian Hancox explains some of the research being undertaken into organic photovolatics to develop portable solar renewables.

www2.warwick.ac.uk Solar power has come a long way since Alexandre Edmond Becquerel observed the photovoltaic effect in 1839 and the last few months alone have seem to have seen a quickening of pace; from home-owners picking up solar panels at Ikea through to Google announcing, in October, it was investing $103 millio...

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The Birth of Advertising (Part 2)