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SarahBell

Need More Science Graduates

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I did maths, physics and chemistry at A level and went on to do a science degree.

Is that now allowed anymore?

They seem to be saying on R4 that a levels don't encourage people to study enough science ...

I think it just sounds like flannel and poor careers guidance, as well as students opting for each subjects rather than getting stuck in and doing all sciencey stuff at a levels.

They're saying we need more science graduates - which is fine. but let's stop some of the arty farty degrees whilst we're throwing small rocks at the system.

The right to get a fluffy degree is not one I want to see enshrined in this country.

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How about... if we started paying science graduates decent wages. And stopped closing their labs and making the few that have a job redundant.

Do you think that perhaps that might increase the number of science graduates?

The current policy of shitty wages and/or no job doesn't seem to be reeling them in.

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I did maths, physics and chemistry at A level and went on to do a science degree.

Is that now allowed anymore?

They seem to be saying on R4 that a levels don't encourage people to study enough science ...

I think it just sounds like flannel and poor careers guidance, as well as students opting for each subjects rather than getting stuck in and doing all sciencey stuff at a levels.

They're saying we need more science graduates - which is fine. but let's stop some of the arty farty degrees whilst we're throwing small rocks at the system.

The right to get a fluffy degree is not one I want to see enshrined in this country.

Did you become a scientist?

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Do your research: we absolutely DO NOT need more scientists.

The government likes to say we do because its easy to pin the recovery on imaginary technology of the future, and because it sounds better than saying we need nothing. Like everything else these jobs are slowly moving to india and china.

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Pfizer.

A lot more will be shut down and moved abroad.

They wish to create an excess of science graduates way over the proportion of available jobs (let alone good jobs) in an attempt to reduce the overall cost of production - whilst at the same time ignoring all the other costs. I.E. the workers have to carry all the other inflated costs.

Not going to work. Get a science degree maybe, but go abroad where the standard of living for scientists is much better.

Either that or become one of the chosen ones and become a professional gambler and crook in one of the banks.

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I did maths, physics and chemistry at A level and went on to do a science degree.

Is that now allowed anymore?

They seem to be saying on R4 that a levels don't encourage people to study enough science ...

I think it just sounds like flannel and poor careers guidance, as well as students opting for each subjects rather than getting stuck in and doing all sciencey stuff at a levels.

They're saying we need more science graduates - which is fine. but let's stop some of the arty farty degrees whilst we're throwing small rocks at the system.

The right to get a fluffy degree is not one I want to see enshrined in this country.

The impression I got from the interview (although I was only half-listening) was 'they', being the prof. from some science council/group, would like students to do subjects or cover areas that are more relevant to progressing on to a science degree. In other-words students who take the easy option of doing arty-farty crap at A-level because it is easy and it gets their A level Tiger-Token-Tally up by one, won't be able to choose to study science at degree level as their whim changes and they realise they've been sold down the river by the school they attended, where the only concern of the over-paid 'super-head' was to get the overall Tiger-Token-Tally high up on the Tiger-Token league tables.

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The current policy of shitty wages and/or no job doesn't seem to be reeling them in.

+1

I know a few people with science degrees who went straight into finance.

Science is a great career path for people who don't like money or stable employment.

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Did you become a scientist?

If she had done, say, history, philosophy and politics, would you have asked if she became a historian, a philosopher or a politician? Of course not. Science underpins many careers - you don't have to go on to be a scientist after studying sciences!

Edited by snowflux

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I did maths, physics and chemistry at A level and went on to do a science degree.

Is that now allowed anymore?

They seem to be saying on R4 that a levels don't encourage people to study enough science ...

I think it just sounds like flannel and poor careers guidance, as well as students opting for each subjects rather than getting stuck in and doing all sciencey stuff at a levels.

They're saying we need more science graduates - which is fine. but let's stop some of the arty farty degrees whilst we're throwing small rocks at the system.

The right to get a fluffy degree is not one I want to see enshrined in this country.

I heard this, but I think that what they want is for fewer people to drop sciences at A level. Allowing them to study only three subjects basically means that science subjects don't even get considered by many teenagers. From what I understood, the Royal Society are suggesting that by giving them a broader range of subjects to study, they could still do art or whatever and a couple of sciences as well, which keeps their options open when they apply to university. Mind you, I don't know how much use physics will be at stage school.

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I did maths, physics and chemistry at A level and went on to do a science degree.

Is that now allowed anymore?

They seem to be saying on R4 that a levels don't encourage people to study enough science ...

I think it just sounds like flannel and poor careers guidance, as well as students opting for each subjects rather than getting stuck in and doing all sciencey stuff at a levels.

They're saying we need more science graduates - which is fine. but let's stop some of the arty farty degrees whilst we're throwing small rocks at the system.

The right to get a fluffy degree is not one I want to see enshrined in this country.

I find the attacks on media degrees quite amusing coz for starters 100's Millions of kids around the World learn by doing various computerised skool programs which are designed by media designers + programmers.

All the 3D media stuff you see Pixar special effects /Architecture walk around/Computer Games etc

Training people in flight/space rocket/ship/tank etc virtual reality simulators

Some of the most memorable pictures ever are taken by photographers like cappa/ansel adams/ Nick Ut (vietnam napalm attack) etc etc

I haven't started yet!

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If she had done, say, history, philosophy and politics, would you have asked if she became a historian, a philosopher or a politician? Of course not. Science underpins many careers - you don't have to go on to be a scientist after studying sciences!

I did science at university, and I'd never have done anything else. I don't, unfortunately, work in science.

As a career choice, it is a poor one.

You study twice as hard, for far longer, only to be paid far less. At the end of years of hard work, your best bet will to go into banking or finance, where you will have a more difficult job and lower status than someone who 'studied' PPE at Oxford, and left after three years.

I think what people get wrong isn't so much the salaries (although they aren't great compared to FIRE) or the number of jobs (although they are scarce and, unlike lawyers and accountants, you'll be competing with all of China and India) it is the technical difficulty of studying science and doing it for a living.

Science jobs are difficult.

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I agree we need an economy that is more based on manufacturing and technical innovation. But at the moment there's not a lot of point in educating people in science just so they get jobs abroad. The £6 billion pound profit announced by Barclays is symptomatic of the problem. £6 billion roughly equals £1,000 for every man, woman and child in Britain. £6 Biliion would just about be enough to set up a British car-manufacturing company from scratch.

People always said the world was run by big money. Until a few years go I didn't think that was entirely true, but it looks like it is now. It's looking like the closing stages of a Monopoly game, when the person with the most properties and money just makes more and more and everyone else is bankrupted.

Edited by Hyperduck Quack Quack

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Science jobs are difficult.

Science at uni is hard. I was friends with a load of people doing a mix of subjects, out of all of them those of us doing science had the biggest workload during the week.

The philosophy student did 8 hours a week in total. I had that a day and I was still expected to visit the library to read research papers etc!

I knew a music degree student who had no hours lectures in the last two terms.

Every non-science subject got Wednesday afternoons off for the sports teams stuff. We didn't. We were in a lab until 5pm.

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Science at uni is hard. I was friends with a load of people doing a mix of subjects, out of all of them those of us doing science had the biggest workload during the week.

The philosophy student did 8 hours a week in total. I had that a day and I was still expected to visit the library to read research papers etc!

I knew a music degree student who had no hours lectures in the last two terms.

Every non-science subject got Wednesday afternoons off for the sports teams stuff. We didn't. We were in a lab until 5pm.

The difference carries on in the workplace. Scientists have to keep learning, and have to know a huge amount of difficult stuff. Many are required to continually innovate.

I'm not saying science is uniquely hard, but it makes management consultancy look like a children's game (which it kind of is).

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You study twice as hard, for far longer, only to be paid far less. At the end of years of hard work, your best bet will to go into banking or finance, where you will have a more difficult job and lower status than someone who 'studied' PPE at Oxford, and left after three years.

Why the 'quotes'?

I did an arts degree and a science one. Guess which one was harder, and which one has proved more useful as my career has progressed?

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The difference carries on in the workplace. Scientists have to keep learning, and have to know a huge amount of difficult stuff. Many are required to continually innovate.

I'm not saying science is uniquely hard, but it makes management consultancy look like a children's game (which it kind of is).

Convincing someone to pay 1500 quid a day at 70% utilization to tell them stuff they already know requires genuine talent though. Many scientists couldnt do this.

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Why the 'quotes'?

I did an arts degree and a science one. Guess which one was harder, and which one has proved more useful as my career has progressed?

Science degrees are hard, they are not universally harder. It is a tough way to make a living, compared to finance, insurance and real estate. So is being a soldier, but you don't get politicians claiming otherwise.

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I find the attacks on media degrees quite amusing coz for starters 100's Millions of kids around the World learn by doing various computerised skool programs which are designed by media designers + programmers.

All the 3D media stuff you see Pixar special effects /Architecture walk around/Computer Games etc

Training people in flight/space rocket/ship/tank etc virtual reality simulators

Some of the most memorable pictures ever are taken by photographers like cappa/ansel adams/ Nick Ut (vietnam napalm attack) etc etc

I haven't started yet!

All the 3D stuff in games/films is done by proper programmers

"Game design" is basically what everyone wants to do when they realise computer programming is hard. Face it, what takes more skill and intelligence, building a 3D object renderer or deciding the car should be blue? The rewards, at least in the games industry, are allocated with that in mind, though in general it's a fairly crappy industry to work in with regard to work/life balance.

http://www.animationarena.com/game-design-salaries.html

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- you don't have to go on to be a scientist after studying sciences!

Correct. You get A*

Graduates from STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, maths) have the highest rate of gaining employment.

Employers' surveys show the underlying skills - numeracy, assessment of evidence, deduction, testing theories etc to be the most valuable for a whole range of careers.

One of the problems in encouraging studying of STEM subjects is that when pupils/students finish GCSEs they get to choose 4 or 5 AS levels and many of the ones who choose chemistry or biology are doing so because they want to be doctors, vets or forensic scientists (most have no chance). Many also are presented with the option of subjects they haven't tried before and decide to have a go at something new : Psychology, Law, Politics, etc. It's hard to get the message across that there is a wide range of other career paths in science and non-science professions.

There are several initiatives to develop industry/education links - in some ways exemplifying `big society' in which STEM professionals, in their own or their company's time, go into schools to talk about careers, run science clubs etc. Other volunteers oversee it and a small number of paid management staff co-ordinate it in each region. ie. a lot of work gets done for not much public money. Needless to say, the funding may only have another 6 weeks before the whole thing closes down and the Dept of Business and Skills hasn't said yet what it wants to do.

When I graduated in the 80s, in engineering, there were lots of civil service/ex government labs and technological/science jobs available. Not highly paid but productive as organisations. They have been whittled away, privatised and closed. The forensic science service is the latest whose closure was justified by it `losing' £2M a month. The other way of looking at it is that it `costs' £2M a month to have a forensic science service independent of the court system, the police etc and that can develop and assess techniques rather than just selling commoditised analysis as cheaply as possible.

Rant over. Back to the coloured bubbling liquids in mysterious glass contraptions in the cellar.

Y

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Science degrees are hard, they are not universally harder. It is a tough way to make a living, compared to finance, insurance and real estate. So is being a soldier, but you don't get politicians claiming otherwise.

Why the quotes then? Did you 'study' science?

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pfizer just announced it is shutting down that research site in Kent with 2600 employees.

What we need are a few supremely brilliant and outide the box thinking scientists. Those rare specimens who can push the frontiers. But what we don't need are millions of smart, well educated, but unable to push the boundaries scientists. With information technology you can automate basically everything except the creative spark.

Its like in engineering. Firms used to need an army of drafters and lower level engineers to do the grunt work calculations. Now the computer does all that in a few seconds.

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Science at uni is hard. I was friends with a load of people doing a mix of subjects, out of all of them those of us doing science had the biggest workload during the week.

The philosophy student did 8 hours a week in total. I had that a day and I was still expected to visit the library to read research papers etc!

I knew a music degree student who had no hours lectures in the last two terms.

Every non-science subject got Wednesday afternoons off for the sports teams stuff. We didn't. We were in a lab until 5pm.

Having done all the same A-levels as you (among my five), I was very interested in the physical sciences and contemplated a degree in them, but ended up doing Maths instead.

One of my reasons for that choice was a Maths teacher explaining: while the science and engineering students are in the lab, and the arts students are writing essays, mathematicians are out having a good time.

She was right: the kind of practical I recollect from my first term was when I acquired an ingenious exercise in Group Theory, that within a few months went on sale in the shops under the name 'Rubiks Cube' and rapidly became enormously popular!

[edit to add] Corollary: if you can solve Rubik's Cube logically and on your own (without looking it up or any such crap), you have mathematical ability B)

Edited by porca misèria

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pfizer just announced it is shutting down that research site in Kent with 2600 employees.

What we need are a few supremely brilliant and outide the box thinking scientists. Those rare specimens who can push the frontiers. But what we don't need are millions of smart, well educated, but unable to push the boundaries scientists. With information technology you can automate basically everything except the creative spark.

Its like in engineering. Firms used to need an army of drafters and lower level engineers to do the grunt work calculations. Now the computer does all that in a few seconds.

Cool, I'll like you to describe how you would automate taxonomic specimen collection in ecological niche environments please.

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pfizer just announced it is shutting down that research site in Kent with 2600 employees.

What we need are a few supremely brilliant and outide the box thinking scientists. Those rare specimens who can push the frontiers. But what we don't need are millions of smart, well educated, but unable to push the boundaries scientists. With information technology you can automate basically everything except the creative spark.

Its like in engineering. Firms used to need an army of drafters and lower level engineers to do the grunt work calculations. Now the computer does all that in a few seconds.

You have clearly never done any scientific research. Research is 0.1% inspiration and 99.9% perspiration. It usually takes at least 3 years of "grunt work" (i.e. highly skilled bench work) to make any sort of progress worth publishing, even starting from the best idea for a project.

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I dropped science as soon as I could. It was no secret that the exams in those subjects were much harder and so likley to affect your chances of going on to uni. Mind you in those days, uni was just about still esteemed as a place of awe that lead to a guaranteed job. I started to doubt that as soon as I got there and started talking to other students though...

Science degrees at uni did seem to involve far more hours of studies. I used to have a laugh though when my friends studying science were in a panic because they had to write an 'essay' of 600 words. They would spend weeks preparing for that and since I was studying an arty-farty subject, one or two of them even asked me to check what they'd written. Generally speaking, their ability to put across a concise summary and point of view was very poor IMO, skills which I think are very useful for work.

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