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Newcastle-born professor wins freedom of city

Professor Peter Higgs Credit: PA Wire

Newcastle-born scientist Professor Peter Higgs will receive the Freedom of the City of Newcastle today.

The Nobel Prize winner will attend a special ceremony at the civic centre this afternoon, where a plaque will be unveiled in his honour.

Prof Higgs was first to predict the existence of what became known as the Higgs boson particle..

He was born in Elswick in Newcastle in 1929 and spent his early life in the city.

He has gone on to become one of the world's most famous scientists and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics late last year.

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Video flying through space shows how universe would look to Captain Kirk

On the day scientists in the United States announced they may have detected echoes of the Big Bang at the start of the universe, researchers in the UK showed off a unique image of the cosmos in more recent times.

The team from Durham University used data from telescopes and satellites to put together a detailed map of thousands of galaxies, which Dr Peder Norberg compared to the view Captain Kirk and his team in Star Trek would have from their flights around space:

Seaweed could be the source of fat-busting success

Fat-busting seaweed could be the future of slimming, new research suggests.

Scientists have identified a natural seaweed fibre that prevents the body absorbing fat.

Tests show that alginate can suppress the digestion of fat in the gut.

"We have already added alginate to bread and initial taste tests have been extremely encouraging.

"Now the next step is to carry out clinical trials to find out how effective they are when eaten as part of a normal diet."

– Professor Jeff Pearson, from the University of Newcastle's Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences

The researchers found that alginates containing more of a sugar molecule called guluronate were best at blocking fat digestion.

They compiled a list of the most promising seaweeds, including a brown sea kelp known as "tangle" or "cuvie", bladderwrack, and bull kelp.

The findings, published in the journal Food Chemistry, showed that a four-fold increase in one type of tangle alginate boosted anti-fat absorption activity by 75%.

Dietary fibre avoided the side effects of conventional anti-obesity drugs that inhibit enzyme activity, said the researchers.

"The inclusion of an alginate into foods.. has the potential to reduce the intake of dietary triacylglycerol (fat) and could greatly help in weight management."

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