Physics maintains magnetism

April 4, 1997

Physics lecturers are not all greying over-50s with retirement just around the corner, a new survey reveals. On the contrary, departments are recruiting young blood at a higher rate than at any time since the 1960s, says Ken Pounds, chief executive of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council.

Professor Pounds has carried out an analysis of university physics department staff following a report highlighting Insitute of Physics' concerns that the age profile presented "a serious problem for the future of the subject".

The institute said in its submission to the Dearing committee that without a significant rise in recruitment, there would be a dramatic decline in the permanent physics population over the next decade. Professor Pounds wrote to each university physics department and discovered that although nearly 30 per cent of full-time physics lecturers are aged 55 or over, recruitment is sufficient to replace retiring staff.

There were 1,213 academic staff in indefinite physics posts. He calculates that 588 of these are aged 51 and over. Since 1992, 195 staff have been recruited into indefinite posts, representing a rate of 49 new staff every year, with a median age of 34. To maintain the current level an average of 39 will need to be appointed each year.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns