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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 January, 2005, 17:48 GMT
University cheers chemistry boost
Sir Harry Kroto
Sir Harry Kroto praised the university's science efforts
A university which caused an academic outcry when it scrapped pure physics degrees has seen an increased interest in other sciences.

Newcastle University said the number of applications to study chemistry had gone up from 330 last year to 367 this.

It stopped offering pure physics last year because of declining interest and lack of research funding.

Newcastle is investing extra money in combined courses like nanotechnology and molecular engineering.

'Impressive'

It is looking to work more with nearby companies.

Sir Harry Kroto, the Nobel-winning scientist who has campaigned against the closure of university departments, said developments at Newcastle were "impressive".

He added that it was "closely geared to the technologies of the 21st Century and promises to have a major impact on our lives, not only in terms of science but by making important social and humanitarian contributions to society".

Newcastle removed its pure physics department because it received a grade 4 - below top grades 5 and 5* - in official research ratings.

This meant it gained less government money, making the subject expensive to run.

Last year, Sir Harry returned an honorary degree to Exeter University in protest at plans - which were later carried out - to close its chemistry department.

It had also gained grade 4.

Sir Harry, who co-discovered the C60 carbon molecule used in nanotechnology, called the plans "slash and burn".


SEE ALSO:
Nobel winner in degree protest
29 Nov 04 |  Education
Newcastle axes physics courses
03 Dec 04 |  Education
More graduates snap up top jobs
14 Dec 04 |  Tyne/Wear


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