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Few pupils find that science is fun

Only 13 per cent of London children say they feel confident using computers and information technology compared to a quarter of their UK peers.

And 71 per cent of children in the capital think the best scientists come from Japan, a figure which correlates with children in the rest of the country.

These are the findings of a national survey of 1,800 pupils aged 13 to 16, 186 parents and 100 teachers in 18 cities in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The survey was commissioned by mobile phone manufacturers and network operators, Motorola, and Cellnet, and carried out by The Research Business.

Other findings are: * 79 per cent of London children (interviewed between June and September last year) feel they receive insufficient careers guidance about science at school, compared to 42 per cent of Scottish children.

* Only 15 per cent of children in the capital describe science as "fun", compared to 28 per cent across the UK.

* Almost half of the London children believe that, while science is not essential, it is very important in the pursuit of their desired careers, compared to 32 per cent of children elsewhere in the UK.

* Significantly fewer girls in London (9 per cent) think that men still dominate science, compared to 35 per cent nationwide.

* Fewer girls in the capital (16 per cent) say they chose science at school to secure a well-paid job, compared to 53 per cent of boys.

* 36 per cent of London children say they chose science because they were encouraged by their teachers, compared to only 25 per cent of children elsewhere in the UK.

Motorola and Cellnet are the joint presenters of the Institution of Electrical Engineers' 1994-95 Faraday lecture, an interactive programme with the latest 3D, scenic and projection techniques, lasers and hologram effects, which is being given in 18 venues throughout the country until the end of March.

The Pounds 1 million lecture tour, which is called "Making Waves," seeks to interest Britain's youth in science and technology and the revolutionary impact it has on the way people live.

The lecture commemorates the centenary of the invention of radio and marks the 10th anniversary of the mobile phone.

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