Migrant matters

14th September 2012 at 01:00

Professor Brian Cox has undoubtedly helped to popularise the subject of physics through his work in the media, especially through his excellent TV series, Wonders of the Universe. We can see evidence of this through the rise in the numbers of British students quoted in your article, who are now taking A-level physics ("Cool enough for school", 7 September). However, in the interview Professor Cox was not asked what he thought about his fellow Manchester physicists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov. The two Manchester academics of Russian origin won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 for their groundbreaking work on graphene at the University of Manchester. This is all the more significant because their work took place at a university beyond the traditional southeast triangle of Oxford, Cambridge and London.

As a history graduate of the University of Manchester, I should stress that Manchester has important international traditions - for example, in the famous Manchester school of international free trade. The Industrial Revolution that first began in the textile mills of Lancashire in the early 19th century, spread to the US, Germany and many other countries.

In keeping with these international traditions, we should not overlook the contribution that migrants have made, and continue to make, to the UK's academic and intellectual life.

Shouvik Datta, Orpington, Kent.

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