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Sussex to Close Chemistry Department

Mar 14 2006 14:56
Ashley Brown
Sussex University is to follow QMUL, Kings and Dundee by closing its Chemistry department, instead focusing on biosciences.
Only biological test tubes at Sussex in the future! (Photo: Jan Chlebik)

Education Guardian reports,,1730055,00.html that the loss-making Chemistry department at Sussex University, which attracts only 20 students a year, will be renamed "chemical biology" and lose half of its chemistry academics. Straight chemisty degrees will no longer be offered, with the University focusing on biosciences instead. Current students will be able to complete their degrees.

Imperial has a thriving chemistry department which has expanded over the last few years, with a new entrance area now being added to the building. However, recent league tables from both the Guardian and The Times have placed the Sussex department slightly ahead. Despite this, both students and academics have been taking places with larger departments leading Sussex to "strengthen its research and teaching in the area of biosciences".

This closure continues an alarming trend in the physical sciences, which points to further closures as smaller departments are unable to attract the research funding, academics or students to survive.

The original press release can be found here.

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Discussion about “Sussex to Close Chemistry Department”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Mar 15 2006 20:23
 

Merge them with the Chemical Engineers!

Mar 15 2006 20:47
 

Never! Pure science should never be confused with engineering.

Mar 16 2006 11:55
 

And this has relevance to engineers how? My god things are getting even worse. You all moan about excess of culture articles and now we have "copied from the Guardian" articles about the chemitry department of Sussex University. It might as well be Felix!

4. Bob   
Mar 16 2006 12:35
 

Culture is c**p. It is good to see some news on Live! for a change, and the closing of a dept that is ranked higher than IC's does have relevance...

5. Ruth   
Mar 16 2006 12:47
 

Actually if you look at how the rankings work the 2 departments are actually about the same. Sussex rank higher because more of their graduates are employed after. (The table doesn't say when after their degree - I would have thought they do the survey fairly soon after.) They are lower on average ucas points and research rating.

And culture is not c**p. It attracts a far wider audience to Live than articles for Guilds hacks which is the majority of what we get.

Also, I personally am ashamed to be on an editorial team that allows articles that are copied from the Guardian to be published. If this is the shape of things to come I am extremely glad that I will not be around next year. I agree with "p***ed off," this kind of article is worthy of Felix.

Mar 16 2006 12:56
 

Despite our best efforts this year there have been almost no new journalists recruited for Live!

As a result articles have been more sparse than in previous years. Hence whilst I personally did not publish this article (I too failed to see it's relevance) I can understand why it was. I do not generally condone publishing articles just for the sake of having something new on the site however if these are our only submissions we can only turn them down for so long.

If you want other articles to appear on Live! then feel free to write them! The editors are after all just that. The job is primarily to edit material submitted and select from it for publication. Yes we do write some articles and I admit that perhaps we should write more, but we cannot be sole authors for all material on the site!

Duncan Richmond

Live! Editor

Mar 16 2006 13:02
 

I feel I should also point out p***ed Off that Live! does strive to reach a wider readership than just engineers.

Mar 16 2006 13:10
 

Further to my previous post I should point out that the sometimes slightly overwhelming volumes of culture which appear on the site occur for two main reasons:

(1) Most cultural events occur towards the ends of terms after sufficient term-time rehearsals have happened and thus to cover events fairly and completely the will all appear over a short period of time.

(2) The people who put effort into cultural and musical etc societies put a lot of time and effort into them and as a result are often willing to write reviews as they understand the effort put into other peoples events.

Engineers on the other hand it seems can't frankly be a*sed to do anything proactive and write about their interests but merely complain about the lack of 'good stuff' on Live!

Mar 16 2006 13:40
 

OK, here's my justification for submitting this article. You may or may not agree, but here it is. I did think carefully about it, as it isn't directly Guilds-related.

Over the 5 years I've been here, Live! has carried articles relating not just to Guilds and engineering, but about wider issues affecting education which have an impact on everybody. I felt this story was an important one, as it shows the continuing trend of closures in the sciences. If you take away the "scientists suck" fun and games, what impacts science has the potential to impact engineering. So this article is relevant to Live! as an engineering news site.

Secondly, pulling the article from the Guardian. All information must be sourced from somewhere. I saw the story in the Guardian, then went to find the original press release and anything else of interest. So, I could have written the story and not quoted sources, or I could do the morally correct thing and quote them. Which would you prefer? This way you are able to read the story here and go and find the original sources. It's written from scratch from the sources available, not directly copied.

I asked when submitting the story that it be sat on until there was another more relevant story available, in this case the egg race. The idea was that it wouldn't keep the top spot on Live! for very long.

An engineer who feels that the sciences aren't relevant to them - and that funding issues in science aren't relevant to them - should carefully reassess the position they are in. This stuff *is* relevant. By all means, make fun of them - but don't make the mistake of thinking they don't matter.

The culture team have done a fantastic job this year, but the readership have asked for less culture. That's not the solution - we need more news to adjust the ratios. There's been plenty of directly-relevant news published in the last couple of weeks. This story was intended as a point of information, hoping to stimulate a discussion on funding issues. We also have scientists amongst the readership.

P*ssed off - the alternative is to have nothing published at all, except that directly related to engineering (or even just Guilds). That's not exactly well-rounded is it? You are welcome - and indeed encouraged - to submit stories to the editors. The fact you aren't prepared to identify yourself says a lot.

10. Ruth   
Mar 16 2006 14:25
 

So, given "Bob's" comment above, I attempted to email him to ask him to substatiate his claim that "culture is c**p". And guess what, an invalid email address. Yet another person who is afraid to admit who they and stand up for what they say. So I post my email to him here,

"Dear Bob (or whoever you are really)

Perhaps you would like to substantiate your claim made in the Live! discusion that culture is c**p? I consider your assertion to be somewhat offensive. The fact that the Arts and Entertainments Board Societies have such high membership and can attract an audience shows that there is interest in culture at Imperial. All culture articles are about Imperial?s arts societies and as such are directly relevant to students at Imperial. They show people from outside Imperial that we are not the boring engineer/scientist types that we are stereotyped to be. Also, while people who are interested in culture are the only people (other than Ashley and the editors) prepared to write articles you don?t really have a valid complaint.

If (like most people who post under an alias) this address turns out not to be real, I?ll post this email to you on the discussion as people like you who are not only afraid to post under their real name but also criticise articles published without offering to write any themselves irritate me intensely.

Ruth Davies"

11. Bob   
Mar 16 2006 14:49
 

Dear Ruth,

My e-mail address should work - if it doesn't then bigfoot have screwed up - it is a registered reporter... For your information I "created" culture when I had a hand in Live!

However Culture which was meant to be a news worthy element, has turned into a small clique of people who congratulate themselves on superb performances. Whilst I have no problem with people reporting on events, Live! is meant as a discussion forum, rather than a self-congratulating ego booster.

News gets more hits than culture, therefore it proves that people are interested in news and less so in culture.

The reason I posted this morning was to highlight the fact that the Culture Editor was complaining that their was news on live! which seems silly, when they wouldn't have a forum to post on, if it hadn't been for news.

If you want to argue with me then why don't you come to the office...

12. Ruth   
Mar 16 2006 15:38
 

Bob, I will come and see you some time, just to find out who you actually are. Obviously, assuming by the office you mean the guilds office, I will have to wait until I can bring an engineer with me, seeing as I am a scientist and therefore no longer allowed in there.

Your email address certainly didn't work at 13.18 today when I attempted to email you.

I totally refute your claim that

"Culture which was meant to be a news worthy element, has turned into a small clique of people who congratulate themselves on superb performances."

You should be aware that culture reporters never report on their own societies. I, for instance, haven't written an MTSoc review since the last perfomance they did before I joined them. Obviously some articles are previews written by the society involved but these are usually replaced as soon as another reporter who isn't involved in that society can be found to write an independent review article. I am constantly finding new culture reporters to write articles to avoid the creation of this "small clique" you refer to. Infact we have more people who are prepared to write culture articles at the present time that we have had for some time. They may well congratulate the people involved in a performance. The standard of concerts and performances at IC is constantly high and the people involved deserve that recognition.

Also, more hits for news merely proves that hacks refresh their page more regularly than normal people. Not that more people are reading it.

I was complaining this morning, and I still stand by that complaint, as I don't feel that an article about Sussex University's chemistry department is more newsworthy than an article about, say, windband's concert last night (which I am presently working on). If however, you all prefer Felix style articles about other universities, fine, I won't waste my time writing (and finding other people to write) any more culture.

13. Bob   
Mar 16 2006 15:45
 

I look forward to that time too. We all wait with baited breath for the next review on Windband. Hopefully something exciting might have have happened to make it news worthy and interesting, although I highly doubt it.

Bob will try and fix it - as Live! is really fairly broken these days (but not technically these days)....

Long live the Guilds, - Ladies and Gentleman of the Guilds - are you in good voice?

Mar 16 2006 16:59
 

KANGELA ARMADOLA...

Mar 16 2006 17:03
 

See, scientists everywhere... ;)

Mar 16 2006 17:14
 

I am sorry, but Scientists suck, they suck because rather then apply what is some wonderful stuff to the real world, they chose instead to hide in Huxley and SAF and "think" about stuff.

And obviously, unable to think, they all joined SWSS and march every cold Saturday morning asking to stop the war in Iraq. I mean, what is the point?

17. Ruth   
Mar 16 2006 17:24
 

I really hope that's a poor attempt at a joke, engineer.

Whilst a few scientists may choose to join the socialist workers, so do some engineers but most IC students (whether engineers, scientists or medics) aren't like that!

Oh and by the way, I hide in RCS1 rather than Huxley or SAF! ;-)

Mar 16 2006 22:52
 

Just a follow up to this - the Vice Chancellor of Sussex is to be called in front of a Commons committee to justify the closure of the department.

(Source: Education Guardian)

Evidently someone considers this to be important.

Mar 16 2006 23:31
 

Grow Up!

If you don't want to read an article, don't read it! If you have something to say, but don't want to show who you are, don't expect to be taken seriously. I for one don't just read Live! because I'm(was) guilds, I read it because it's an interesting news source, and to be frank, is technically easier to follow than Felix online.

As far as I can tell, there'd have been very few stories indeed recently if Ashley hadn't published, and by all means if there is more interesting stuff publish it. Live is looking good imho, and I'd rather see an interesting article on science, than a bland article on something else.

Mar 17 2006 14:51
 

Bob, when was the last time you came to a Windband concert? How do you know whether it was interesting or not?

Mar 17 2006 18:51
 

Out of interest, do you guys have anyone recording these events (video or just audio)?

22. Sid   
Mar 18 2006 15:01
 

At least the academics want it, even though students don't

Closed This discussion is closed.

Please contact the Live! Editor if you would like this discussion topic re-opened.

 
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