Physicists flock to enjoy life in City

March 28, 1997

TOP PhD physics students are increasingly tempted to drop their research and take up lucrative jobs in London's Square Mile, delegates at the Institute of Physics conference heard this week.

Bryan Lynn, former professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University, who went from academia to Wall Street, will tell the congress exactly why physicists are so useful to the city and why he thinks "lots of very senior people are making the move".

According to Mike Payne, of Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratory, the exodus has a lot to do with the perception that "academia is no longer fun and it's not getting any better."

Dr Payne, who has seen some of his best PhD students tempted by the City, says the 1990s has seen theoretical physicists and mathematicians moving into the derivatives markets, merchant banks and consultancies, where their academic skills are used to the full.

He believes it is the physics training, which involves distilling vast amounts of information down to the bare essentials, which makes these recruits so valuable.

"Other times they want them simply for their mathematical skills, things which are part and parcel of their everyday work here," he said.

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