The Evening Sentinel                   Page 4          Friday, January 25, 1974

                  Editorial opinion:           Valley physics students

     When the Russians fired the first sputnik into orbit, Americans were angry and fearful. People could not understand how a relatively backward country like the Soviet Union could achieve a technical triumph that the United States - the most advanced scientific and industrial nation in the world - could not.

     Sputnik's "fallout" hit the American educational system.  Educators decided that schools and colleges should put more stress on mathematics and physics.  The public encouraged them to do so.  So did the government.  More students were eager to take these courses.

     During the past few years this interest has faded and fewer college students are taking these subjects.  The same thing is happening at some high schools.

     Here is the situation in the Valley:

     In Ansonia, about one-quarter of the class will have studied a course in physics before they graduate in June, according to school officials.

     In Derby, some 14 per cent of June's graduating class will have studied it, school officials said.

     In Shelton, according to school officials, about 70 per cent of the graduating class will have studied the subject.

     In Seymour, school officials put the figure at about 22 per cent.

     Too often physics is considered a "difficult" subject, suitable only for students planning to go on to college.  Advisers may steer average students away from it.

     Actually, it is no more difficult than any other subject is, when the subjects are well taught. Physics has wide application in many careers, whether or not the student goes to college.  As the most basic and most important of the sciences, it is vital to an understanding of the world about us.

     As A. J. Dubrexxx, chairman of the mathematics department at Xxxxx High School, has written:

     "Physics is the heart of everyday science, mathematics and technology.  The society of today is, and that of tomorrow will be, technically oriented.

     "Today's student demands relevant and interesting courses.  There is no single course which is more interesting, more comprehensive or more relevant to this age of technology."

     Schools and educators should encourage interest in this vital and fascinating subject and students should give every consideration to studying it.