Academia

Category archives for Academia

We’re into admitted student season, that muddy period when large numbers of anxious high-school seniors visit college campuses all over the nation, often with parents in tow, trying to decide where to spend the next four years. As a result, I’ll be spending a good deal of time over the next few weeks talking to…

A few years ago, I taught one of our “SRS” classes, which are supposed to introduce students to research at the college level– I blogged about it while the course was in progress. I taught it again in the recently-concluded Winter term, but didn’t blog much about it because I was mostly doing the same…

STEM Is Not an Alien Menace

Everybody and their extended families has been sharing around the Fareed Zakaria piece on liberal education. This, as you might imagine, is relevant to my interests. So I wrote up a response over at Forbes. The basic argument of the response is the same thing I’ve been relentlessly flogging around here for a few years:…

That’s the title of the talk I gave yesterday at Vanderbilt, and here are the slides: Talking Dogs and Galileian Blogs: Social Media for Communicating Science from Chad Orzel The central idea is the same as in past versions of the talk– stealing Robert Krulwich’s joke contrasting the publication styles of Newton and Galileo to…

I mentioned last week that I’m giving a talk at Vanderbilt tomorrow, but as they went to the trouble of writing a press release, the least I can do is share it: It’s clear that this year’s Forman lecturer at Vanderbilt University, Chad Orzel, will talk about physics to almost anyone. After all, two of…

Just How Idiotic Are GPAs?

Yesterday’s quick rant had the slightly clickbait-y title “GPAs are Idiotic,” because, well, I’m trying to get people to read the blog, y’know. It’s a little hyperbolic, though, and wasn’t founded in anything but a vague intuition that the crude digitization step involved in going from numerical course averages to letter grades then back to…

GPA’s Are Idiotic

I was thinking about something only tangentially related to grading, when it struck me that the way we go about generating student grade point averages is the kind of mind-bogglingly stupid system that requires lots of smart people working together to produce. Two very different groups of smart people, with very different ways of looking…

STEM Gender Gaps and Draft Dodging

It’s always a pleasure to see former students doing well, and to that end, we invited one of my former thesis students, Mike Mastroianni, class of 2007, to give a colloquium talk last week in the department. Mike went to physics grad school for a couple of years after graduation, but decided he was more…

Fermi Pipeline Problems

There was some Twitter chatter the other night about a new arxiv paper called The Gender Breakdown of the Applicant Pool for Tenure-Track Faculty Positions at a Sample of North American Research Astronomy Programs: The demographics of the field of Astronomy, and the gender balance in particular, is an important active area of investigation. A…

As previously mentioned, SteelyKid has started to get into pop music. In addition to the songs in that post, she’s very fond of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” like every other pre-teen girl in the country, and also this Taylor Swift song: I’ve seen a bunch of people rave about this, but honestly, I found it pretty…