* The president-elect of the Institute of Physics (IOP), Brian Manley, said last week that the institute may fund research into the structure and content of post-16 education, writes Graham Lawton.
Dr Manley, whose two-year term begins on October 1, said that physics and maths must be allowed to flourish in universities and schools if the UK is to prosper.
Dr Manley said that he would like to see a broad, Baccalaureate-style post-16 education system that encourages sixth-formers to continue studying maths and science.
He is also committed to fighting for physics at university level. "In the research field, physics in particular has been desperately hit by the latest cuts, especially equipment cuts," he said. "We've got to find a way of not allowing that to happen." Although the absolute number of physical and mathematical science graduates is on the increase, as a proportion of the total their number is falling.
HESA figures show that in 1991 the physical and mathematical sciences accounted for 17.5 per cent of first degrees awarded in England. By 1995 that figure had fallen to 15.2 per cent.