Feeds

Fewer students than ever studying physics

Exam entries down 2% on last year

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.