The study focuses on university student numbers since 1996 and shows that while there has only been a six per cent drop in the number of full time undergraduates studying physics in that time, there has been a twenty per cent decline in the number of chemistry students and a 24 per cent decline in the number of students on materials-based courses.
Dr Hywel Jones, of the Materials and Engineering Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University and author of the study explains, "It is not only undergraduate numbers that are dropping across these three subjects. There is evidence of a decline in postgraduate numbers too, especially in Chemistry. Modest increases in postgraduate numbers in Physics and Materials-based subjects do represent a recovery and do not keep pace with the overall trend of an increase in postgraduate study"
"This puts the future of scientific research in the UK in real jeopardy, as well as affecting industry, who are struggling to recruit suitably qualified science graduates.
"The decline in materials subjects is particularly worrying as there was such a small number of these students to begin with. If numbers keep dropping then courses will not have enough students to be considered financially viable and may close altogether.
"On a positive note, while there has been serious decline in traditional materials subjects, there does appear to be growth in other materials based courses such as forensic engineering, sports materials, bio-materials and aerospace materials. However, we have yet to see if these students will go on to use their degrees in a relevant graduate job."
Lorna Branton | alfa
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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