Today’s physics news: why girls don’t do physics A-levels, Nobel winners and nanoparticles destroy cancer
What’s putting girls off A-level physics?
In this article, Athene Donald, professor of physics at the University of Cambridge, says that the argument that girls “just don’t like physics” doesn’t wash as an explanation for the miserable A level statistics in the IOPs recent report.
Girls who love physics
A report from the IOP this week revealed that nearly half of schools didn’t send a single girl on to A level physics last year. Two girls short-listed for this year’s L’Oreal Young Scientist of the Year competition explain why they’ve bucked the trend and chosen physics.
Why physics makes you happier as well as cleverer
In response to IOPs report on girls studying physics, Deborah Orr calls it great shame, stating that physics is a a great subject that confers a wonderful understanding of how the world works. Drawing from her own experiences, Orr believes maths should be taught with physics from the start.
Trainees with a 2:1 up as entry bar is raised
New figures show that the proportion of trainees in universities boasting at least a 2:1 degree has already risen dramatically to 65 per cent this year. The number – up from just over half in 1998 – was revealed as the government launched a fresh drive to raise the bar for entry to teaching. For the first time, training institutions will be given targets for the number of teachers they should recruit with the best degrees.
Nanoparticles used to press cancer self-destruct button
Magnetic nanoparticles have been used to kill cancer cells by scientists who say they could become a tool for fighting the disease. The particles are made to bind to tumour cells before a magnetic field is used to flip the cells’ “self-destruct” switch. Researchers in South Korea have showed that the method works on fish with similar biological signalling mechanisms to those in humans. It is not yet clear how effective the technique could be in patients.
Nobel winners ‘unlikely to include Higgs
There will be no Nobel Prize this year connected to the apparent discovery of the fabled Higgs boson particle, according to a citation analyst with a history of successfully predicting winners. Every year David Pendlebury, a citation analyst at Thomson Reuters, makes three predictions for Nobel Prizes in the categories of physiology or medicine, economic sciences, physics and chemistry.
SpaceX lifts off with ISS cargo
The first commercially contracted re-supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has begun. A Falcon rocket carrying a Dragon cargo capsule lifted clear of Cape Canaveral in Florida at 20:35 (00:35 GMT). The robotic Dragon ship will deliver 400kg of food, clothing, experiments and spares to the orbiting platform’s six astronauts.