Should Doctors Have to Take Physics and Chemistry?

The New York Times today has a story with the provocative title Getting Into Med School Without Hard Sciences, about a program at Mount Sinai that allows students to go to med school without taking the three things most dreaded by pre-meds: physics, organic chemistry, and the MCAT: [I]t came as a total shock to […]

Communication Skills for Scientists

As I am still getting lengthy comments at the Chris Mooney post accusing me of making unreasonable demands on scientists, I thought I should spell out as explicitly as possible what skills I think scientists ought to have. This probably won’t solve the problem, but it’ll give me something to point to the next time […]

The Elusive Digital Native

Inside Higher Ed featured one of those every-so-often articles about the awesomeness of the demographic subgroup of the moment, this time Athur Levine’s panegyric about “digital natives”, who “grew up in a world of computers, Internet, cell phones, MP3 players, and social networking,” and how they’re too cool and tech-savvy for current universities: They differ […]

Cathedral-Building in Science

Tommaso Dorigo has an interesting post spinning off a description of the Hidden Dimensions program at the World Science Festival (don’t bother with the comments to Tommaso’s post, though). He quotes a bit in which Brian Greene and Shamit Kachru both admitted that they don’t expect to see experimental evidence of extra dimensions in their […]

Required Reading in Science

Over at Inside Higher Ed they have a news report on complaints about the content of required reading for students entering college. This comes from the National Association of Scholars, a group dedicated to complaining that multiculturalism is corrupting our precious bodily fluids pushing aside the shared heritage of Western civilization, so most of it […]

Knowing What’s Essential Is Essential

Spinning off a blog at Inside Higher Ed, the Dean Dad has a post on deciding what classes are essential: My personal sense of it is that the distinction between core and periphery is largely a function of purpose. If your goal in life is to be an exhibited artist, then you might well decide […]

Long Author Lists and Books Not Written

Back when I was in grad school, and paper copies of journals were delivered to the lab by a happy mailman riding a brontosaurus, I used to play a little game when the new copy of Physical Review Letters arrived: I would flip through the papers in the high energy and nuclear physics sections, and […]

What Should I Go to at the March Meeting?

Lots of good suggestions as to Portland activities for my trip to the March Meeting next week. There’s a second, related problem that I also need help with: What should I do at the meeting itself? My usual conference is DAMOP, which I’ll be going to in May, so while DAMOP is a participating division, […]

It’s Not Just the Length, It’s the Content

The never-ending discussion of whether the Web can or should replace books has shifted into the corners of blogdom that I follow again, with Kevin Drum arguing for more books, Henry Farrell arguing for shorter books, and Jim Henley agreeing with Henry, and expanding it to fiction. They’re all at least partly right– more shorter […]

The Perverse Economics of College Construction

I’m having a little trouble typing, because the temperature in my office at the moment is around 55 F, and my hands are getting really cold. This is because of “deferred maintenance,” which means “we’re saving money by not maintaining the air-handling systems in our academic buildings (among other things).” The budget has been tight […]