YEP Letters: July 22

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Have your say

I was very interested to read in that Leeds City Museum is considering updating its ‘Who’s Who’ wall (YEP, July 16).

With this in mind, could I suggest for inclusion some of the great scientists who have worked at Leeds?

It is not widely known, but Leeds has a great scientific heritage and some very important scientific work has been done here which has had a lasting legacy.

Here are three suggestions:

1) The physicist Sir William Bragg, who was Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Leeds from 1909 to 1915 and was awarded the 1915 Nobel Prize jointly with his son Lawrence for discovering a way of using X-rays to study the shapes of molecules and crystals. Known as ‘X-ray Crystallography’, this method developed by Bragg and his son right here in Leeds has enabled us to understand how life-saving drugs such as penicillin and insulin work, and it was also vital in solving the structure of DNA, the molecule of heredity. No fewer than 28 Nobel Prizes have since been won using this technique and in an online poll conducted last year, it was voted the third most important British scientific innovation.

2) The scientist William Astbury. A protege of Sir William Bragg, Astbury spent his entire working life at Leeds, where he used Bragg’s X-ray technique to explore the structure of wool fibres for the local textile industries. In the course of this work he not only made the very first attempt to solve the structure of DNA, so laying the foundations for the eventual discovery of the double-helical shape of DNA by the Cambridge scientists James Watson and Francis Crick, but also helped to transform our understanding of biology.

In his day, Astbury was a scientist of formidable international reputation whose lab here in Leeds was hailed by one Nobel Prize winner as ‘The X-ray Vatican’.

3)The chemists Archer Martin and Richard Synge. Working at the Wool Industries Research Association (WIRA) facility on Headingley Lane in 1941, Martin and Synge developed a method of analysing the chemical composition of proteins for which they were awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Their method is now used worldwide and enabled later important scientific advances, such as determining the exact chemical composition of the hormone insulin as well as DNA.

Dr Kersten Hall, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds

Ian McGeechan call for face wall

My nomination for the Who’s Who wall would be Sir Ian McGeechan.

Born into a working class background in Kirkstall and attending West Park Secondary Modern like myself, Ian achieved international honours in his playing days and then gained worldwide respect due to his involvement with the British Lions. I cannot think of anyone from our city more deserving of recognition.

Stephen Munroe, Leeds

Yorkshire’s Nell deserves place

I would like to see Leeds model and charity fundraiser Nell McAndrew on the Who’s Who wall. I think it would be nice for some sort of reward for all of Nell’s charity fundraisers as well as adding glamour and being a down-to-earth Yorkshire lass.

P Rhodes, Leeds

Cameron’s pale threat to Russia

There is no doubt that the downing of flight MH17 is an absolute tragedy for the families of those who have died and the condemnation of those responsible is certainly justified.

But realistically, what type of sanctions can any country, let alone an alliance of countries, bring to bear that can do more than be a slight annoyance to Russia?

David Cameron issuing an ultimatum to Vladimir Putin is like a mouse threatening a cat, even with the backing of its pit bull, America. Russia can do us far more harm by using sanctions against us than we could ever do to Russia, thanks to thirty-five years of capitalist dogma closing down the mines and privatising the energy industry. I hope Cameron remembered to end his conversation with Putin by saying please don’t freeze us to death this winter.

Derek Barker, Moortown

Brits in Israel visiting families

Firstly, I would be interested to know how John Appleyard (YEP, July 21) obtained his information that 100 British citizens were mercenaries in Israel. Perhaps he should check his facts again – I think he will find that British citizens going to Israel are parents and grandparents with loved ones in towns that daily, and not just in the last few weeks, have to face dangers from rockets being fired by Hamas and other terrorist groups. Many children go to kindergarten or school in armoured buses, come home and go into shelters. At least they can look forward to love and comfort from their British families who have flown out to support them.

Edna Levi, Leeds

Magnificent medical staff

AGED 95 in a few days’ time, I have recently been catching up with medical check-ups at several Leeds hospitals – heart, lungs, blood with several repeats, plus a sharp visit to A&E. Staff throughout the visits – receptionists, doctors, nurses, X-ray staff etc, were truly magnificent in every way.

The warfarin clinic is beyond belief. You are in, documented, ‘juiced’, bandaged and out in less than five minutes. Results are advised on the same day by telephone or are in the next day’s post. That’s service! Congratulations to all staff concerned and please accept my grateful thanks.

Gerald Fitzpatrick, Halton

City dancers being ignored

Further to your story (YEP, July 18), I went online to learn more about Leeds’s bid to become a ‘City of Dance’.

As I expected, the movement refers to an elite minority of ballet and contemporary dance and the involvement of the general public is mainly limited to spectating – and then at a price! There are thousands of people in Leeds participating in a wide range of dancing such as: Rock’n’roll/Swing-jive; Lindy-hop; Balboa; Modern-jive/Ceroc; Ballroom/Latin; Sequence; Cotswold, Northwest, & Border Morris; Sword; English country; Scottish country; Irish; New England Contra; American Square Dancing; European country; Argentinian Tango/Milonga; Salsa; to name but a few. All these dance groups have classes and dances well within the financial budgets of most people.

How can Leeds City Council exclude all these dancers in their bid to make Leeds a City of Dance?

Martin Phillips, Cookridge

Jobs growth is propaganda

The current industrial relations dispute affecting Argos and its workforce ought not to come as a surprise to those who understand the present abysmal state of the UK economy.

The empty rhetoric of coalition propaganda about ‘jobs growth’ and supposedly record levels of people in jobs belies the stark fact that the UK’s Gross Domestic Product has shown no signs whatsoever of any increase in productivity since 2007.

Beset by an endemic wages freeze and actual devaluation year on year through inflation, workers in the UK are being continually de-incentivised and so are not ‘producing’ any more. It is imperative that the scandal of zero-hours contracts are made a prime election issue and that the trades union movement and all progressive, enlightened and socially responsible organisations call for them to be abolished.

It is to the credit of the workers at Argos that they have said that enough is enough.

Louis Kasatkin, The Campaign Against Zero-Hours Contracts, Wakefield

Killingbeck Cemetery.
By Paul Goodyear.

YEP Letters: March 28