Two Cultures

Category archives for Two Cultures

Interdisciplinarity

Timothy Burke has some interesting thoughts about the College of the Atlantic, which represents a real effort to build interdisciplinarity on an institutional level. “Interdisciplinary” is the buzzword of the moment in large swathes of academia, and the College of the Atlantic, which doesn’t have departments and works very hard to make connections between disciplines,…

Two Cultures and Expertise

Academics of all sorts are highly protective of their scholarly territory. It’s an unavoidable consequence of the process of becoming an academic– I’ve often joked that getting a Ph.D. requires you to become the World’s Leading Expert in something that nobody else cares about. To make it through grad school, no matter what discipline you’re…

We had our annual undergraduate research symposium this past weekend, which included presentations from students doing work in all different disciplines. We have enough physics and astronomy majors these days that I spent most of the day Friday listening to them talk, but I did have a break in the morning when I saw a…

Labs vs. “Real” Courses

One final Steve Gimbel note. Toward the end of his anti-lab post, he writes: If you want to see a science professor get angry, just tell them that they teach all those labs to get out of teaching real courses. You’ll see faces get flush, veins pop out of heads and necks, and receive a…

Academic Links Dump

Two quick links from yesterday’s Inside Higher Ed that a browser crash kept me from posting yesterday: 1) A story on a professor at Idaho who asks students to sign a waiver acknowledging that they may be offended by some of the material in his film studies class. There’s a bit of discussion of whether…

Two Cultures At Meetings

For some reason, I was forwarded a link to an old article from the Chronicle of Higher Education about how to give a scholarly lecture. (It’s a time-limited email link, so look quickly.) As with roughly 90% of all Chronicle pieces, it’s aimed squarely at the humanities types. The advice given thus ranges from pretty…

Poetic Physics

Via Making Light, Chris Clarke at Creek Running North has some sharp words in response to the alleged Deep Thoughts on his Starbucks cup: When Einstein explained his theory of relativity, he couldn’t express it in the precise, scientific writing of physics. He had to use poetry. Poetry: the connection of words, images, and the…

How the Other Half Grades

My Quantum Optics class this term is a junior/ senior level elective, one of a set of four or five such classes that we rotate through, offering one or two a year. We require physics majors to take one of these classes in order to graduate, and encourage grad-school-bound students to take as many as…

Two Cultures in Meetings

Prompted in part by Rob Knop’s post on meeting with humanists, an observation about the nature of academia attributed to our late Dean of the Faculty, a former Classics professor: The key difference between disciplines in terms of administrative business on campus is that scientists tend to do their research work (experiments, calculations, simulations) in…

Step One: Change Disciplines

Dr. What Now? has a nice and timely post about helping students prepare for oral presentations, something I’ll be doing myself this morning, in preparation for the annual undergraduate research symposium on campus Friday. Of course, being a humanist, what she means by oral presentation is a completely different thing than the PowerPoint slide shows…