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Boob-squeezing boffins steal Richard Noble's show

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

It seems that mammograms are taken by "compressing" a breast side-to-side and X-raying it, then doing the same at a 90 degree angle, so mapping it in 3D. Unfortunately, once the breast is no longer compressed it changes shape, so the two pictures give only an approximate idea where a detected object might be. When looking to perform a biopsy, for instance, this isn't really good enough if you want to get good results for patients.

In order to give doctors a more precise fix, university boffins had to spend a good deal of time "modelling the behaviour of breasts under compression" - in other words finding out what happens to boobs when you squeeze them and then let them go. In the end British scientists' dedication to the pursuit of knowledge won out and valuable software models were produced. The spin-out companies concerned are now part of Siemens, to the gratification of all hands (cough).

Now that's a proper bit of good sci/tech news, if you ask us here on the Reg boffinry desk. British brainboxes spend several years studying the squeezing of breasts and develop a piece of tech which will save lives (and boobs) round the world and make money for old Blighty as well. A truly feelgood story (sorry).

Noble's supersonic car may or may not be more interesting than a spaceship, zeppelin or what you will. But for around 50 per cent of the nation's teenagers - statistically the 50 per cent most likely to go into sci-tech and stay there, too - the prospect of saving lives and winning riches and fame by squeezing breasts for a living will be more inspiring by far.

We predict a stampede into the nation's science classrooms when the news gets out. ®

*Dirty Harry favoured the .44 Magnum, as everyone knows.

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