Regional inequality in the UK is becoming more pronounced, Bank of England chief economist Andrew Haldane has warned. London and the South East are the only places in the UK where income per head is back above pre-financial crisis levels, he said. Net wealth has also fallen in places such as the north-east of England. But without action by the Bank, the regions could have faced economic contraction, he added. "The UK, I think, is towards the bottom of the league table within Europe in terms of its degree of difference across regions," Mr Haldane told the BBC economics editor Kamal Ahmed.
The 2016 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz, three theoretical physicists whose research used the unexpected mathematical lens of topology to investigate phases of matter and the transitions between them. Topology is a branch of mathematics that deals with understanding shapes of objects; it's interested in'invariants' that don't change when a shape is deformed, like the number of holes an object has. Physics is the study of matter and its properties. The Nobel Prize winners were the first to make the connection between these two worlds. The Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to three Brits for their research into'exotic matter'.
Millions of jobs are likely to be displaced by automation but we have less to fear from robots than some might think, a report from the World Economic Forum has suggested. The Swiss think tank predicts that robots will displace 75 million jobs globally by 2022 but create 133 million new ones - a "net positive". It said advances in computing would free up workers for new tasks. But others have warned there is no guarantee lost jobs will be replaced. The WEF, which runs the famous Davos networking event, said that robots and algorithms would "vastly improve" the productivity of existing jobs and lead to many new ones in the coming years.
Researchers are looking to the natural world for inspiration that will one day help them design life-saving robots. Salto is a monopedal and somewhat skeletal 10.2-inch-tall robot that can jump higher and more quickly than most other robots in the world today. A team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, revealed the new hopping bot on Tuesday in a study published this week in the new journal Science Robotics. Instead of taking just one big leap, Salto bounces off a wall with impressive force to complete an even bigger jump, much as a parkour expert might bound from a ledge to a wall and then fly through the air to his next perch. The new robot could be a predecessor to a future tool that may one day jump across dangerous terrain to aid in rescue missions.