Physics Blogging Round-Up: July

Another month, another collection of blog posts for Forbes: — The Physics Of Century-Old Mirror Selfies: Back in the early 1900’s there was a brief vogue for trick pictures showing the same person from five different angles; this post explains how to do that with mirrors. — Why Research By Undergraduates Is Important For Science […]

The Inescapable Vagueness of Academic Hiring

Inside Higher Ed ran a piece yesterday from a Ph.D. student pleading for more useful data about job searching: What we need are professional studies, not just anecdotal advice columns, about how hiring committees separate the frogs from the tadpoles. What was the average publication count of tenure-track hires by discipline? How did two Ph.D. […]

The Central Problem of Academic Hiring

A bunch of people in my social-media feeds are sharing this post by Alana Cattapan titled Time-sucking academic job applications don’t know enormity of what they ask. It describes an ad asking for two sample course syllabi “not merely syllabi for courses previously taught — but rather syllabi for specific courses in the hiring department,” […]

Advice for New Faculty, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to speak on a panel about teaching during Union’s new-faculty orientation. We had one person from each of the academic divisions (arts and literature, social science, natural science, and engineering), and there was a ton of overlap in the things we said, but here’s a rough reconstruction […]

Why Physicists Disparage Philosophers, In Three Paragraphs

Periodically, some scientific celebrity from the physical sciences– Neil deGrasse Tyson or Stephen Hawking, say– will say something dismissive about philosophy, and kick off a big rush of articles about how dumb their remarks are, how important philosophy is, and so on. Given that this happens on a regular basis, you might wonder why it […]

Instagram Culture and the Democratization of Pretension

When I was going through the huge collection of photos I have from the Forum in Rome, I kept running across pictures containing two young Asian women (neither of them Kate). This isn’t because I was stalking them, but because they were everywhere, stopping for long periods in front of virtually every significant ruin and […]

Beyoncé and LIGO: Stochastic Awareness of Science Is Probably Okay

I’ve had this piece by Rick Borchelt on “science literacy” and this one by Paige Brown Jarreau on “echo chambers” open in tabs for… months. I keep them around because I have thoughts on the general subject, but I keep not writing them up because I suspect that what I want to say won’t be […]