Letter: Exam results

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Sir: Could anyone really be surprised by the fate of Britain's physics departments ("Physics fails to flourish", 24 August)? In concentrating on the difficulty of the subject, which is unimportant to anyone really interested, your article failed to mention one crucial point: the paltry financial rewards offered by a career in physics. A mind of the quality required adequately to master the discipline will very quickly deduce that it could be put to use far more lucratively elsewhere.

This problem is not new. It made the headlines during the "brain drain" in the late Seventies and early Eighties, but at least we then had world- class facilities to train the brains. Unless physics is rewarded properly in this country, this fascinating and crucial subject will decline into being no more than a hobby to be studied by correspondence once we have provided for ourselves and our families through other means.


Knutsford, Cheshire