University of Reading Research Blog

Soviet monuments are being toppled – this gives the spaces they occupied a new meaning

In the Latvian capital of Riga, an 80-metre concrete obelisk came crashing down in late August to the loud cheers of a nearby crowd. It was created to commemorate the Soviet Army’s capture of Latvia in 1944. Days earlier in Estonia, another Soviet monument, this time of a tank adorned with the communist red star, was removed and taken to reside in a museum.

Pulling Down the Statue of King George III by Johannes Adam Simon Oertel. Wikimedia
The destruction of public monuments has a long history. Pulling Down the Statue of King George III by Johannes Adam Simon Oertel. Wikimedia


Why the drought isn’t over even though it’s rained all week

Only a few days into autumn, and the UK has experienced some truly autumnal weather. Heavy bands of rain and thunderstorms have swept over parts of Britain, particularly in southern England, that up until a few weeks ago were looking dry and parched. The brown and yellow fields and parks have been replaced by a more familiar and reassuring cool, lush green.


The key to building lasting peace is engaging different groups of people in the process

The United Nations’ overriding purpose is to maintain international peace and security. To do this, the UN must develop friendly relations between states and achieve international cooperation, importantly without discrimination based on race, sex, language or religion. In the spirit of these purposes, the UN observes an annual International Day of Peace, which in 2022 is devoted to the theme ‘End Racism. Build Peace’.

A project to improve the living conditions of women as part of the UN mission in Mali. Photo: MINUSMA/Harandane Dicko/Creative Commons License.


Know dementia, know Alzheimer’s, know inflammation

For World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September, Nagihan Ozsoy, a doctoral researcher working with Dr Mark Dallas in the Reading School of Pharmacy, explains the importance of her new research project on inflammation.

A brain shape from puzzles as a symbol of mental health and memory problems and Alzheimer's disease.


Medication Without Harm – tackling modern medication-related risks to patient safety

Tomorrow is World Patient Safety Day and this year’s focus is ‘Medication Without Harm’. A number of medication-related pitfalls can put patients at risk of harm, and we urgently need to deal with some of the newer risks, especially after the coronavirus pandemic. As researchers in the Reading School of Pharmacy, my colleagues and I are working to tackle modern medication-related risks to patient safety.

Packets of medication


Using satellite technology to provide reliable rainfall information for African farmers

On the last day of the UK National Earth Observation Conference 2022, Vicky Boult explains the vital importance of using satellite technology to improve rainfall estimates and drought contingency planning.

Farmers in Malawi discuss their experiences of drought in order to improve weather-index insurance products


Monitoring climate change from space

It’s never been more crucial to undertake a full medical check-up for planet Earth, and satellite instruments provide an essential technological tool for monitoring the pace of climate change, the driving forces and the impacts on societies and the ecosystems upon which we all depend.

A globe showing clouds. NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using Blue Marble imagery.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using Blue Marble imagery.


UTIs are still diagnosed using a 140-year-old method – here’s why

If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI) before, you know what a pain it can be. Not just because of the physical pains it causes, but because it can also be such a pain to go to the doctor, provide a urine sample, and wait for your results.

Petri dish – agar plating technique for diagnosing UTIs


Alzheimer’s theory undermined by accusations of manipulated data – but does not bring dementia research to its knees

A scientist-cum-detective has presented evidence that images used to support the case for amyloid protein being the main protagonist in Alzheimer’s disease appear to have been fabricated.


Drought: heavy rain now might be a serious problem for the UK’s parched landscape

This year, World Water Week (23 August – 1 September) focuses on Seeing the Unseen: The Value of Water. This article by Rob Thompson, Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Meteorology at the University of Reading, explains the impact which drought has on how the ground absorbs water.

Large areas of the UK have officially entered a drought, as searing summer temperatures grip the European continent. We are currently seeing the introduction of hosepipe bans – a memory from my childhood, though rarely seen in the last two decades.