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Reviewing the "crisis" in British physics. And the work of Nobel-winning Japanese physicists is not as obscure as it seems—it's about why there is more than one single thing

By Philip Ball   November 2008

What’s the state of British physics?

Is British physics in crisis? You might have thought so, judging by the recent laments of astronomers at threats to curtail projects and withdraw from international facilities. Yet a new report prepared for Research Councils UK by a team chaired by Bill Wakeham, vice chancellor of Southampton University, says the subject is in a “generally good state of health.”

This is not a whitewash. British physicists produce more publications per capita of population than any country bar Germany and the Netherlands, and their university departments enjoy international prestige. So what’s the problem? At root,…

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