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Game Over for Physics at Reading

Nov 20 2006 17:58
The Dark Knight
The University of Reading today confirmed the closure of its Physics department, despite extra government funding being made available.
Physics Department at Reading

The Department of Physics at Reading will close in 2010 when the last undergraduates leave the course. The department currently loses in the region of £500,000 a year and would need to recruit three new staff and buy new facilities to continue operating. The welfare of current undergraduates will be a top priority for Reading until the department finally closes.

The stream of closures in expensive science subjects sparked a £75m bail-out from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) two weeks ago, in an attempt to tide loss-making departments over until an anticipated new wave of science students comes through the education system. £25m per year will be available from 2007-8, as Hefce realised it was more cost effective to keep struggling departments open during the barren spell, rather than go through the expense of re-opening them later. Reading was expecting around £180,000 a year from this pot, far short of the amount it would require to keep running.

Reading's vice-chancellor made comments on letters he had received from MPs expressing concern at the closure: a number of the letters came from regions which had sent few, if any, physics undergraduates to Reading over the past decade.

Reading was rated 34th in the country by the 2006 Sunday Times University League Table.

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Discussion about “Game Over for Physics at Reading”

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.
Nov 20 2006 18:48

this is terrible news. they should close all the rubbish department (e.g. media studies) and use that money to fund teaching for real subjects! Clearly the pot of money available to keep science departments open needs to be increased.

Nov 20 2006 18:57

Most of the funding required to keep a physics dept running comes from research, and I sincerely doubt that any media studies depts receive much money from either PPARC or EPSRC.

Nov 20 2006 23:12

That's now two shocking decisions in a matter of days...

I don't even know if they had at any point considered trying to merge a reduced Physics department with other departments (Maths springs to mind, possibly Cybernetics too), anything to keep it open. Sadly, the people who run Unis often put what they want ahead of what the country needs.

Long-term solutions always beat short-term patches.

Nov 23 2006 20:09

Was watching a quiz show today. they asked this father and son team (about 50 and 20 in age respectively) what the chemical symbol Na stood for.

Their final answer was Carbon.

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