Academia

Category archives for Academia

When I wrote about Benjamin Bratton’s anti-TED rant I only talked about the comment about the low success rate of TED suggestions. That was, admittedly, a small piece of his article, but the rest of it was so ludicrously overheated that I couldn’t really take it seriously. It continues to get attention, though, both in…

Miscellaneous Liberal Education Stuff

The posts on box-checking and liberal arts teaching generated a fair number of comments that I haven’t really had time to address individually, across a few different social media platforms. So I’m going to collect some of the more important stuff here, in one catch-up post. –A few people, mostly in places that aren’t conducive…

What I Learned From the Liberal Arts

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about liberal education and the failure modes thereof, I thought I should try to do something constructive and make suggestions regarding how you might go about a “poetry for physicists” kind of thing. After all, one of the things I find intensely frustrating about a lot of “crisis in…

On the Checking of Boxes

One of the many ancillary tasks associated with my job that I wish I was better at is the advising of students. More specifically, the advising of students who aren’t like I was at that age. What I mean by that is that when I was a student, I didn’t need to be convinced of…

Richard Feynman, Placebo Technoradical

This past Monday, a lot of people in my social media feeds were passing around this Benjamin Bratton piece about the problems with TED, blasting the whole phenomenon as “placebo technoradicalism.” The whole thing, he claims, is shallow pseudo-inspirational bullshit that makes people feel nice, but doesn’t actually lead anywhere. As he notes at the…

Time Management, or A Day in the Life

In comments to the Sagan post, Niall asked about how I spend my time. This is about to change, as today is the last day of my class for the fall term, then we have an extended break, but it’s probably interesting in a life-in-academia way to put up my schedule at the moment: Monday,…

Individualists, Working Together

An article titled “Individualism: The legacy of great physicists,” by Ricardo Heras. crossed my various social media feeds a half-dozen times on Tuesday, so I finally broke down and read it, and I’m puzzled. The argument is very straightforward– single-author publications used to be common, now they’re not, this might indicate a lack of truly…

On Private Science Funding

A couple of weeks back, DougT won this year’s Nobel betting pool, and requested a post on the subject of funding of wacky ieas: could you comment on this: http://www.space.com/22344-elon-musk-hyperloop-technology-revealed.html and the phenomenon of the uber-rich funding science in general. It seems to me that there used to be more private funding of science, and…

It was looking like we were going to slip through the entire Nobel season without a winner in the Uncertain Principles Betting Pool, but at the eleventh hour, we got one: DougT correctly predicted that the 2013 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel would be shared by Eugene Fama (remember,…

Men, Women, and Graduation Statistics

There was a great big New York Times article on women in science this week, which prompted no end of discussion. (I also highly recommend Bee’s response at Backreaction.) It’s built around the personal story of the author, Eileen Pollack, a physics major at Yale who decided not to go to grad school, and her…