Norway is in crisis in the field of science, and physics in particular is in crisis. Across the country, physics teachers have reported a decline in students choosing full immersion in physics, and many schools are now struggling to keep students well presented in the subject.
In many places, the subject of physics has been replaced by a regional online course or self-study. This has disastrous consequences for all of us, as a failure of physical knowledge in the population affects our chances of implementing the green transition and the required energy transition.
Here’s why: The green transition depends on us having the right energy and technology to take advantage of that access. Physics is an essential subject for anyone who wants to advance existing technology and develop new technology, especially in the field of renewable energy.
In order to implement the green transition, we need knowledge of solar cells, wind energy and electricity – physics is the basis for all this.
If employment in a school’s physics subject is weakened, for example by removing high school science credits as suggested by the admissions committee, employment in physics-based studies will be further weakened. This applies, for example, to IT studies and civil engineering, industries in which we know that there is already a great shortage of experience and the need will only increase in the future.
The failure of recruitment in physics in schools will then lead to the entire technological development on which the green transition depends, such as solar cells, offshore wind, electric cars, making light sources more efficient, etc., and stops in Norway.
It cannot be the conscience of a physics teacher that will ensure the future efficiency of Norway’s green transition.
And then we will be reduced to technology users, and we will not participate in the creation of technological value so that the green transition will be, in short, “what we will live on after oil.”
In an era when scientific knowledge is scarce, and where more and more future challenges will be solved technically, the subject of physics has to sell itself. Instead, physics teachers across the country find themselves spending a lot of time getting competent students to choose a physics major.
“No studies require it” or “It’s hard to get a good grade” students say when a physics teacher asks if they should continue with physics into their last year of high school. This subject is one of the most labor-intensive, and if it weren’t for the fact that you can be seduced with full science credit, the flow in this subject would have declined significantly, and physics as a school subject would have been marginalized for a long time.
If we want students to take up this discipline which is essential to the education of technical and natural sciences, they must see themselves as beneficiaries of it. We have two suggestions for how to do this:
- To avoid students not withdrawing from demanding subjects Academic credits should be maintained and possibly increased In the most difficult and labor-intensive scientific subjects.
- Admission requirements for civil engineering studies It should be strengthened to also include Physics 2 It is an in-depth study of physics in the last year of high school. This is often the level that lecturers expect. With the artificially high score limits for today’s most popular civil engineering studies, it should be possible to demand a tightening of the academic content from high school for these applicants.
We are now caught in a vicious circle: studies that should require full immersion in physics dare not demand it because so few students choose it, while students choose the subject away, because no studies require it.
We are asking for help from the authorities in recruitment for the subject of Physics. It cannot be the conscience of a physics teacher that will ensure the future efficiency of Norway’s green transition.
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