Stephen Hawking joins 150 top scientists calling for Britain to stay in EU
LONDON – Reuters
REUTERS PhotoRenowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking has joined more than 150 top scientists in calling for Britain to stay in the European Union, saying that leaving would be “a disaster for UK science and universities.”
The physicist and other members of the Royal Society, Britain’s leading scientific institution, including three Nobel laureates, made the case against Brexit, as leaving is widely called, in a letter to The Times on March 10. They argued that losing EU links would be devastating for research on two fronts.
Other signatories included Martin Rees, the astronomer royal and former president of the Royal Society, University of Cambridge physicist Athene Donald, and letter organiser Alan Fersht, a leading chemist.
“First, increased funding has raised greatly the level of European science as a whole and of the UK in particular because we have a competitive edge,” they wrote.
“Second, we now recruit many of our best researchers from continental Europe, including younger ones who have obtained EU grants and have chosen to move with them here.
“Being able to attract and fund the most talented Europeans assures the future of British science and also encourages the best scientists elsewhere to come here.”
They said Switzerland, which pays into the EU, was now struggling to attract young talent after voting to restrict the free movement of workers.
Britain is due to vote on June 23 on whether to remain in the 28-member bloc. Opinion polls show that the campaign to remain within the EU is slightly ahead, but its lead over the “leave” campaign has narrowed in recent months.