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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 November 2006, 18:19 GMT
Call to stop Physics disappearing
Physics Reading
Reading University's physics department is due to close in 2010
A Reading MP has called on the government to invest in science amid plans to close Reading University's Physics department.

If the department closes it will be the twenty-first physics school to close or merge in the UK in the last 10 years.

Rob Wilson, Conservative MP, for Reading East said the country needed a strong science base to compete with International graduate scientists.

The closure of the department has been planned due to lack of funds.

Last month Reading University said it regretted the decision but the physics department should close by 2010, when its current students have all completed their courses.

Pure Science

The Institute of Physics said the way funding followed student numbers meant that universities were controlled by the choices of 17-year-olds.

On Friday, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of science in schools and universities and the importance of a knowledge-based economy.

We need a strong graduate base to compete with places like China and India
Rob Wilson

Mr Wilson MP told BBC News: "I'm not sure what the government is trying to achieve here because what it says is there are more science graduates than ever before but they are combined sciences, they're not pure scientists.

"We've got a real problem in this country if we don't invest in pure science subjects.

"We need a strong graduate base to compete with places like China and India who are turning out very high quality graduates at a small fraction of the cost"

Professor John Blackman, head of physics at Reading University, said: "As far as students are concerned I think 3,000 a year are going into Physics degrees, spread across the country rather thinly.

"Its a consumers market and it's not something that you really want to push students into if they don't want to go into it - but at the same time there are still opportunities".




SEE ALSO
Reading closes physics department
02 Oct 06 |  Education
Universities to protect subjects
29 Sep 05 |  Education
Struggling courses 'will merge'
28 Jun 05 |  Education
Newcastle axes physics courses
03 Dec 04 |  Education

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