To boldly go...

August 17, 2007

The spaceship cartoon accompanying the piece by Michael Arthur and Deian Hopkin appealing to the Department for Children, School and Families and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills to get together to address the shortage of science and engineering graduates ("New science generation needs the spark of life", August 10) was very apt.

Several recent studies have shown that space exploration, particularly when involving humans, can be used as an effective hook to raise an interest in science and the general aspirations of both boys and girls.

Probably the best example is the Scottish Space School, which last year - assisted by the presence of Nasa astronauts - reached more than 20,000 children aged from five to 18.

The necessary funding for this was no doubt helped by the fact that the political responsibilities for schools, universities and employers are better joined up in Scotland.

Ken Pounds

Department of physics and astronomy

Leicester University

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