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Pisa provides a study slant

STOPPING THE Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over was the challenge for more than 100 schoolchildren who last week visited the ICE.

The atmosphere in the mausoleum-like Great Hall was enlivened by 13 teams of excited youngsters from schools around the South East and the Midlands. They worked on three experiments set by Pisa expert Professor John Burland.

Burland was able to give the children the very latest news from Pisa. He had just returned from a two day meeting of the commission of experts responsible for stabilising the tower's lean.

He explain- ed that last Monday the commission agreed plans to install horizontal cables attached to the tower's third storey and tensioned by counterweights. The cables, which should be fitted within the next six months, will act as temporary supports to halt any further lean.

Burland added that work on the permanent solution should begin this summer and will take about two years to complete. Although plans have yet to be finalised, it is likely that soil will be drilled from under the north side of the tower to induce controlled settlement and stabilise the structure.

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