Two Cultures

Category archives for Two Cultures

Survey-Related Inadequacies

I recently participated in a survey of higher education professionals about various aspects of the job. It was very clearly designed by and aimed at scholars in the humanities and social sciences, to the point where answering questions honestly made me feel like a Bad Person. For example, there were numerous questions about teaching methods…

Two Cultures Defining Research

I was initially puzzled by the headline “Research-Assignment Handouts Give Students Meager Guidance, Survey Finds,” and the opening sentences didn’t help much: Most research-assignment handouts given to undergraduates fail to guide the students toward a comprehensive strategy for completing the work, according to two researchers at the University of Washington who are studying how students…

Back in one of the communications skills threads, Karen comments about science and humanities: It’s easy enough for a humanities major to avoid doing much science in school. The converse is not true. It strikes me that for those earlier scientists who attended univeristy, both their early education and university years were more suited to…

Two Cultures Publishing Journals

I hate to keep highlighting silly articles in Inside Higher Ed, but they keep publishing silly articles, like Jeffrey DiLeo’s argument that humanities journals cannot be ranked because they’re all unique and precious flowers too specialized: Another reason for the roaring silence regarding the ranking of humanities journals regards the high level of sub-disciplinary specialization.…

A great clip from his World Science Festival appearance the other night, especially the bit toward the end: “One thing I think that as a nation we should be embarrassed by is that the scientists– you can do this experiment yourself, I’ve done the experiment– the scientists, by and large, know more liberal arts than…

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…

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…

Best Books, With Bonus Irony

Like every other media outlet, Slate has a Best Books of 2009 list, in this case featuring one book chosen by each of their 22 editors. Editor in chief Jacob Weisberg chose Richard Holmes’s The Age of Wonder, and writes: If, like me, you didn’t study much science after high school, this absorbing narrative will…

Science: Notable at Last

The New York Times list of “Notable Books for 2009” has been released, which means it’s time for my annual rant about how they’ve slighted science books. So, how did they do this year? Here are the science books on this year’s list: The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn By LOUISA GILDER…

A. O. Scott Is an Ignoramus

Via His Holiness, there is an aggressively stupid paragraph in a New York Times movie review today: Did you hear the one about the guy who lived in the land of Uz, who was perfect and upright and feared God? His name was Job. In the new movie version, “A Serious Man,” some details have…