Anarchy in the UK


Thanks to one of my colleagues for bringing to my attention an article in the education supplement of today’s Guardian in which chemistry Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto expresses grave concerns about the future of British science. The piece contains some strong stuff, and here are some quotes I wanted to share with you:

About how the numbers of young people choosing a scientific training are in decline across the developed world, not just the UK, but some countries find other ways to cope:

“…over decades, the US has been spectacularly successful in making up its own homegrown science and technology shortfall by draining first western European scientists, and now eastern European and Asian scientists.”

About the consequences of university vice chancellors – “who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing” – dispensing with science departments in favour of other courses:

“Just as cheap fast food has resulted in unprecedented levels of obesity, so this McDonald’s approach to cheap, trendy, seductively soft courses designed for mass consumption in tertiary education has resulted in a plethora of students trained for non-existent jobs.”

About the teaching of ‘intelligent design’ in some British schools:

“State funds are also being used to support some schools that abuse impressionable young people by brainwashing them into believing that non-believers will burn for all eternity in the fires of hell.”

About the future of British science:

“Do panic!”

So, what do you think – is he right?


Stuart Cantrill (Associate Editor, Nature Nanotechnology)

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