Thursday, October 4, 2012

Talking about Girls in Physics on BBC News Channel

Last night I was invited to talk about girls in physics on the BBC News Channel. It was an interesting experience - driving to Southampton for just a couple of minutes on screen, but I felt well worth it to help highlight this important issue.

Thanks to @billkeck2 for tweeting this screen shot of me mid flow!

A report (It's Different for Girls) was published yesterday by the Institute of Physics which showed that almost half of all state schools in England do not send any girls to study physics A-level.

This has been picked up very widely in the UK, following an excellent article by Pallab Ghosh: "State Schools Failing Girls in Physics". It was also covered by the childrens news show "Newsbeat": A-level physics turns off girls from studying subject.

 I was interviewed as a "talking head" by Joanna Gosling about the subject. She started by asking me if I was surprised by the findings (not really, although it's disappointing it's not getting any better), then we talked about what might be the reason. I thought there'd been too much teacher  bashing about this, and so instead I brought up the early gender labelling we apply to children (using my daughter as an example) which must contribute to girls thinking they shouldn't want to study physics. We then talked about good ways to encourage children to be interested in science, and finally she asked me why I went on to study physics - I talked about getting hooked by being able to explain things you can see in the night sky with physics. 

Edited to include the below clip of the interview: 

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