Feeds

Fewer students than ever studying physics

Exam entries down 2% on last year

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The numbers of students applying to take the A-level physics exam fell again this year, research has found. In 2005, 579 fewer physics students were entered than in 2004, a decline of around two per cent.

The numbers studying chemistry and biology, meanwhile, have been enjoying a steady rise.

The Institute of Physics (IoP) warns that the numbers will continue to fall unless students are given better careers advice when choosing their A-Level subjects. It has also called on the government to act to combat the shortage of physics teachers.

The CBI warned earlier this week that a continuing decline in science graduates will harm the UK's competitiveness, and yet there are now fewer than 50 university departments in the UK offering physics to undergraduates, a decrease of more than 30 per cent since 1997.

Dr Robert Kirby-Harris, chief executive of the IoP, argues that students need to be made more aware of the options that studying physics leave open for them. He blamed narrow careers advice at schools for the number of students who take the "potentially damaging decision" to drop the subject.

"Students don't realize that if you study physics you don't automatically have to become a research scientist - but you do become much more attractive to a huge range of businesses, for example the financial services sector, engineering, the media, and computing," he said.

He also urged the government to set specific quotas for the number of physicists entering teacher training rather than a general quota for science as a whole.

"We need teachers who are passionate about physics, and able to inspire their students. Non-specialist teachers aren't as good at doing this," he argued. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.