Increasing Physics Enrollment Figures Addressed in Lecture Today

Posted: March 1, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The Department of Physics and Astronomy sponsors “Revitalization: A Personal Perspective” today from noon to 1 p.m. in Science and Technology I, Room 206. The lecture is presented by James Stith, vice president of physics resources for the American Institute of Physics.

Physics departments are facing unprecedented challenges, according to Stith. “While the enrollment figures appear to have bottomed out, we still see the lowest number of physics majors since the pre-Sputnik era,” he says. “The number and percentage of students that represent the base from which we have traditionally drawn physics majors (white males) continues to decline. There is also evidence that our share of the students who score in the upper quartile on the SAT exam is dropping.”

As the cost of equipment and space continues to increase, there is ever increasing pressure on physics departments to close and/or consolidate. The lecture will give Stith’s view of what departments and professional societies can do to respond to these challenges.

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