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Letter to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Reading

January 12, 2010 10:30 AM

Dear Professor Marshall,

As you may be aware, I recently called for the teaching of Physics at the University of Reading to be reinstated. As a graduate of the University of Reading in 1974, having studied for a BSc in Chemical Physics with Maths, I was dismayed to hear of the decision to close the Physics Department. While I appreciate there are some funding issues at the governmental level, it seems a real shame to scrap what many, myself included, believe to be a core subject of immense academic and practical importance.

As a patent attorney, Member of the European Parliament and, more recently, Chair of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, I have relied heavily on skills derived from my background in science. Furthermore, many of our national and global challenges, from climate change to recovery, from the economic downturn and building sustainable growth, depend upon sciences, including Physics. Maintaining such courses at our top universities is important and will surely enhance international reputation.

At a time when there seems to be an abundance of academic subjects on offer, core subjects such as Physics seem to be suffering. This seems contrary to the efforts that are made to encourage more teaching of these subjects in schools. As I am sure you are aware, other universities have removed Physics from their academic prospectuses, in my opinion to the detriment of their international reputation. If you were to consider reinstating Physics teaching, the University of Reading would provide a high-profile lead in encouraging other top universities to do the same.

In conclusion, I and many others would be very encouraged to see Physics teaching reinstated at the University of Reading, as I am sure you would. With this in mind, what can be done to get this valuable subject back on the map?


Sharon Bowles MEP