Don't stint on maths

October 5, 2007

Jim Al-Khalili argues that one should not consider the new ISciences degrees to be a "science-lite soft option" but rather the gateway to "a career in some cutting-edge research field" (Opinion, September 28). I was therefore surprised to find that the entry requirement at his institution, Surrey University, was lower in mathematics for ISciences than for the physics programme. Surely a challenging interdisciplinary programme requires a stronger command of the basic language of science than a more traditional degree programme? It would be most unfortunate if the message went out to the next generation of potential scientists that the best route to a career in cutting-edge research involved skimping on mathematics at school

Michael Merrifield
Professor of astronomy Nottingham University

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