Today’s physics news: Science — cool kids and geeks unite, and more…
Science — cool kids and geeks unite
In this article, Andy Bodle looks at some of the reasons why science is increasingly being used as a tool to socialise. Bodle points to science-based TV shows as well as initiatives set up by London’s Science Museum and Science London — an offshoot of the British Science Association — to target 18 to 30 year olds.
A-level pass rates set to stall
More than one in four A-levels are expected to be awarded at least an A grade this year, but pass rates are set to stall, it was predicted today. In a bid to avoid grade inflation, the exams regulator Ofqual has told exam boards they will be asked to justify results that differ wildly from previous years. It means that the proportions of students awarded top grades are unlikely to increase greatly from 2011 levels. Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment at Buckingham University said he would expect to see the proportion of exams awarded an A* rise only slightly, from 8.2 per cent in 2011 to around 8.3 per cent.
Universities report boom for sciences
The class of 2012 appears to be shunning humanities subjects in favour of those that will lead to more lucrative employment, an analysis of applications to Cambridge University this year shows. A close analysis of the figures reveals a growth in maths and science applications – with engineering up as much as 12 per cent – while most of the humanities subjects have shown a drop.
Doctoring the evidence: what the science establishment doesn’t want you to know
According to investigative reporter Brian Deer, science has a dirty secret: research is plagued by plagiarism, falsification and fabrication. In this article, he looks at how this can stopped.
Michael Gove’s math curriculum reforms flawed, says numeracy charity
Michael Gove’s proposed reforms of the maths curriculum put too much emphasis on “rote learning” and not enough on using maths in real-life contexts, according to a campaign group set up to improve numeracy. The proposed new curriculum contains “serious flaws” that will undermine attempts to raise standards, according to the charity National Numeracy. The pressure group says the curriculum was overloaded, and that the aspects of maths children should learn in primary school were set out in an “atomised” way that does not explain the links between them.