Why Physics?

There aren’t enough physics teachers around to teach school pupils physics, and only 37.7% of teachers of physics had studied physics as to at least joint or combined degree level. Unfortunately, this is pretty much the situation in 2002 whenever another much larger report which looked at the entire science, engineering and technology education system. The question is does this matter?

The simple answer is yes, if only for the effect that physics teachers have on pupil performance. Pupils from low-income homes tend to be concentrated in those schools that are least likely to offer GCSE physics and with the least well qualified teachers. It is these students that will most likely end up taking single award science which, according to the report, is ????????????being used mainly as a fall back for pupils with little aptitude or interest in science.?????? SETPOINT Wales aims to get as many people taking scientific and technological qualifications and so trys to generate interest, but if people are not interested in science they can choose not to do it. I am more concerned by those students with the aptitude that do not have access to good physics teaching.

Another issue for schools is that teachers who have a background in physics are often able to deal with the systems and processes of running departments and even schools. The report highlights a teacher who went from being a departmental teacher to deputy head of the school in two years because ??????they show an aptitude for figures and computer systems/timetabling etc.?????? I think that this finding should actually be publicised more widely to increase the take up of physics. By showing that studying physics gives you skills that are in wider demand it may be possible to show that there are more reasons to study physics than just for the sake of it. Hedge fund managers are amongst the most highly paid people in the UK with the best earning $100 million per year, and even average performers are at the $20m mark. One of the six stated qualifications for a vacancy at Standards and Poor??????s states that the successful candidate will have ????????????a rational problem solving ability??????. It is just this sort of skill that a physicist gains.

At this point I want to bring in Simon Singh. Having criticised him for his lack of proportion over KT Melua, I now want to show him for what he does best. In response to the report, Singh has written in the Guardian that ??????it should not be forgotten that A-level physicists have a direct impact on the economy, because some of us become the inventors, innovators and engineers that create high-quality jobs and major exports. The people behind Google and Microsoft and Apple did physics at high school, as opposed to majoring in psychology or media studies?????? Many high powered business men have got to their positions because they understand the scientific side of their businesses. All of the following studied physics or electrical engineering at university -*The CEO of
Sony Electronics
*The top three at Google
*The CEO of Philips

Just like all other subjects, it is only the best that make it to the top, but if you want to earn a very good salary perhaps you should consider physics.

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