At its recent conference, the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry passed a resolution noting with concern the decline in the provision of chemistry teaching in British universities.
Shutting university chemistry departments on financial grounds or because of a decline in the number of students proposing to study chemistry seems to the society to be a mark of the declining quality of university administration.
National interest should be the main consideration in local budget decisions. The value of chemistry to society is not just in the products of research programmes of centres of excellence, but also in the provision of well-trained and competent professionals for myriad chemistry-related tasks - not every chemistry graduate will be another Robert Boyle or Hans Krebs.
Members expressed the hope that discussion of this matter would continue and that at least some of the planned closures would be abandoned.
Rom Harré Linacre College, Oxford Honorary president, International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry