Lincoln – Green Shoots for Maths and Physics?

I noticed over the weekend that there’s a job being advertised at the University of Lincoln designated Founding Head of the School of Mathematics and Physics. It seems the powers that be at Lincoln University (which is in the Midlands) have decided to set up an entire new activity in Mathematics and Physics. I’m pointing this out not because of any personal connection with the position, but because it’s refreshing to see a new(ish) Higher Education Institute apparently willing to take the plunge and invest in a new venture, particularly because it includes Physics. It wasn’t at all long ago that UK Physics departments were being closed down – the University of Reading being a prominent example, in 2006. I think Reading is thinking of starting up Physics again, in fact. Perhaps these are the green shoots that presage a new spring for Physics in this country? I do hope so.

It won’t be an easy task to start up a new department from scratch in Lincoln: grant funding is tight and the competition for students among established institutions is already so intense that it will be very difficult for a brand new outfit to break through. Nevertheless, I think it’s a praiseworthy initiative and I wish it well.

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11 Responses to “Lincoln – Green Shoots for Maths and Physics?”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Maybe. I’m delighted to see new money going into the subject, but I think that the present model of British higher education, in which all subjects are studied at every university (hence the name) and taught by people doing research, is unsustainable in the long term. Nobody thinks any the less of Caltech or MIT for not being universities.

  2. Newcastle University closed its School of Physics about 10 years ago, to save money. It is now also re-introducing a Physics degree programme. A cynic might note that (purely co-incidentally) the University management have decided that position in international league tables is to be one of our key performance indicators. It’s hard to have a reputation as a top University without a Physics Department, and reputation in the eyes of other academics is a strong component of these tables. Still, it’s good news that Physics is on the up in the UK.

    • telescoper Says:

      Of course the danger is that if a University has closed its Physics department in the past, it might be perceived as being likely to do so again…

      • What might stop that happening would be a proper accounting of the money wasted in closing down and then starting up again. It won’t be cheap to set something new up.

  3. Zilcho Pilcho Says:

    Thanks for telling us where Lincoln is, but where is Reading and Newcastle?

  4. […] I blogged about previously, the renaissance of Sussex physics seems not to be unique. Admissions to physics departments across […]

  5. Thanks for this short nice post, telescoper. Though a small thing it was one of the drops, which shifted the scales when I was deciding to apply for the job or not. Now, I have to make the adventure a success šŸ™‚

  6. One year past and we actually started both Maths and Physics! But we need more good wishes for the future šŸ™‚

  7. […] few years ago Iblogged about the fact that the University of Lincoln was setting up a new School of Mathematics and Physics. […]

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