Even though the group highlighting the figures has its own interests to defend, the findings published yesterday by the Institute of Physics are still disturbing. In nearly half of all state schools in England, there are no girls studying physics to A-level. That the same cannot be said of other sciences suggests that physics is stereotyped as a boys' subject.
It is disappointing that any discipline – let alone one which is so crucial to the country's future, and where such exciting advances are being made – should be seen as the preserve of only half the population. The notion that cookery was for girls and woodwork for boys was banished long ago, so how come girls are not taking physics? Whether it is a change in the syllabus, or a different style of teaching, or just more encouragement that is needed, physics – and the careers it opens the way to – should be accessible to all.