Letter: Lack of chemistry between students and science

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article 'The cost of neglecting science' (20 August) draws attention to the swing away from science subjects among A- level students, a problem that has existed for almost all of my working life.

In the late Sixties the research directors of a number of chemical and pharmaceutical companies had the imagination and foresight to see that science lessons could be enlivened by putting extra resources into the hands of teachers. Considerable sums of money were poured into producing superb films, booklets and teaching aids that helped science teachers to hold their own against the siren calls of the arts subjects, economics and business studies.

Many of us are still at it, promoting physics or engineering or (in my case) chemistry to young pupils. But the industrial support has fallen away in recent years so that many excellent projects struggle to survive.

Physics and chemistry may be quite difficult subjects to study at A-level, but they are also magical, rewarding and wonderful in the true sense of that word. There's no shortage of ideas or enthusiasm for promoting them. My simple message to any industrialist worried about the future harvest of qualified scientists and engineers is 'spend some money on seed corn'.

Yours sincerely,


The Chemistry Club

Guilden Morden, Hertfordshire