Divide and (slide) rule

July 29, 2010

A false dichotomy is posed when physics and engineering compete ("Physicists defend coffers from a raid by engineers", 22 July). Without physics there would be no engineering and vice versa. The subjects are interdependent.

This would be a fine philosophical point if it were not for the fact that the UK's political class has successfully pitched academics against each other in every recession. As a result, funding as a proportion of gross domestic product for higher education in the UK is one of the lowest recorded in the industrialised world.

It is time for academics to unite to create the space to defend their subjects for their intrinsic worth. Fighting each other is a recipe for a race to the bottom.

Malcolm Povey, Leeds.

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