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
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
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