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Dear WA Science Teachers,

Over the last few years several of the Eastern States' Universities have been sending marketing agents to
some of our schools trying to attract our top students with great scholarships and arguments of their
university higher rankings. The competition for top students is very fierce, and I, for one, welcome it
because it will lead to higher standards. Having said this, we need top students in WA more than ever.
Two of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) precursor instruments MWA and ASKAP are now in action here
in WA and are delivering world class science, and the start of the SKA build is only a couple of years away.
We need top Mathematics, Engineering, Computing and Physics students to be aware of the quality
training in these disciplines available in WA.

As Head of Physics and Astronomy at Curtin Id like to respond to the above challenge by making the
following comments:

1. Taking Math Specialist (with Methods, Physics and Chemistry) at school is very important for any
student contemplating careers in STEM based disciplines. This is not only important for the
students personal skill set and development, but also in competing for jobs against other
students who have done so. Right now year-10 students are making their subject choices for year
11, so please encourage those who are capable of taking Math Specialist to do so.
2. University rankings is a massive industry these days. According
to http://www.leidenranking.com/ranking/2017/list Curtins Physical Sciences and Engineering
field is ranked fourth for proportional impact in Australia (choose the PP(top 10%)" column for
sorting, after choosing region and field). Our Mathematics and Computer Science field is
ranked fifth in Australia. There are many complexities to university rankings, and none should be
taken too religiously, but we are competitive with the Eastern States in the STEM disciplines.
3. As far as scholarships go, Curtin Excellence Scholarships (for 2017 they were $5,000 p.a. for the
duration of the degree) are automatically awarded to any year-12 student with an ATAR of 96+.
With ATAR bonus marks these days, students taking Math Specialist are likely to benefit in larger
numbers than ever before.
4. We have almost completed the preparation of Advanced Science degrees at Curtin to start in
2018. The Physics one will have Math Specialist as a prerequisite, and will appear at Physics and
Astronomy when ready.

With best wishes,


Igor Bray, John Curtin Distinguished Professor

Head | Physics, Astronomy and Medical Radiation Science
Director | Theoretical Physics

Curtin University, GPO Box U1987 Perth, Western Australia 6845

Tel | +61 8 9266 7747
Fax | +61 8 9266 2377
Mobile |+61 4 0489 2862

Email | I.Bray@curtin.edu.au
Web Curtin | http://curtin.edu.au
Web Physics | http://physics.curtin.edu.au
Web Theoretical Physics | http://itp.curtin.edu.au