Scientists teleport two different objects - Oct 4, 2006
Science is Hard

Blinded by the Light

1997 saw the battle cry of Education, Education, Education. Well, here we are nearly 10 years later and things haven't got much further than the "vision thing" that Bill Gates once advocated.

In 1963, a previous Labour prime minister, Harold Wilson, called for a new Britain to be "forged in the white heat of this [technological] revolution".

Nearly half a century on, Tony Blair is to call for more of the same: more than ever, our economic future is through "the brilliant light of science".

The prime minister is a late convert to science.


Mr Blair has presided over a time where the numbers of young people studying physics and chemistry have dwindled by a fifth. And a quarter of schools have no qualified physics teachers.

This is a deficiency he acknowledges but says he's trying to put it right.

"We've got to invest in science far more as a country. The government is tripling investment in science - to recruit better science teachers - which is why we're offering all sorts of incentives for that to happen. We've got specialist science and technology colleges which we are creating."

However, investment is well short of the target set by the European Union's aim of being the "most competitive, dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world".

That's a statement from the EU's Lisbon Strategy which aims to match the US's research funding of about 3% of GDP by 2010.

Currently, Britain's is just over 1% with plans to increase to 2.5% by 2015.

Link: BBC Science/Nature.

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