When it comes to the definition of "genius," everything is relative, right? When a particularly bright young person performs an amazing feat of intellect or scores incredibly well on a standardized test like an IQ exam or the SAT, we often herald them with excessive praise, calling them "the next Einstein" or even "smarter than Einstein," as though scoring well on a test were justification for such treatment.
Yet not only did Einstein never take an IQ test, he loathed standardized testing, having very public feuds with Thomas Edison and Carl Brigham (the inventor of the SATs) over the biases and lack of accuracy inherent in assuming that measuring performance on one such test was a good measure of aptitude of any sort.
A child Einstein is called a 'Gifted Learner'. A child Edison is a 'Bright Student'. When educators are talking about these two types, they commonly refer to them as Batman and Superman.
Batman is a man who builds himself into a superhero through his industriousness while Superman is born a superhero. While detailing the differences, educators say neither is superior. Both are great and needed, and parents should not try to turn Batman into Superman or vice versa.
I think the educators are wrong and I think Paul Halpern is wrong. Batman is better.
Einsteins theory of relativity is a colossal achievement that cannot be overstated, and Einstein did far more. From a standpoint of purely intellectual achievement, there is no comparison between Einstein and Edison. Einstein is a giant, but life is bigger than intellectual achievement.
Edison built General Electric, and GE has impacted your life, and your parents lives, and your grandparents lives more that the theory of relativity. When you think of the way the theory of relativity impacts your everyday life, it is almost always in conjunction with a product such as GPS that was built by either General Electric or a company like it. Theory is great, but application of theory is greater, and it is Batman who accomplishes application of theory.
Superman is at more of a disadvantage today than during Einstein's time. Right here on this blog Ethan has offered up the idea of a PhD litmus test. Academic achievement is Batman's game. I want to say that 46% of the Freshmen accepted into MIT last year were valedictorian of their high school, and 92% were in the top 5% of GPA at their schools. The valedictorian is always, always, always Batman. Superman often has poor grades. Einstein had poor grades. In today's test heavy, scores-as-gatekeeper environment, Einstein may never have persevered to pass Ethan's litmus test.
Edison built General Electric, and GE has impacted your life, and your parents lives, and your grandparents lives more that the theory of relativity.
Actually we owe the modern electrical system to Westinghouse more than Edison. Edison wanted direct current lines, Westinghouse favored alternating current. Edison won the battle but lost the war; he convinced authorities to use DC for the electric chair, not realizing this might have a negative effect on public perception of DC. That incident probably only played a very small part in history, but for that and other reasons, the humans use a Westinghouse-proposed AC system throughout the developed world. Not Edison's system.
And in any event, about a quarter of all the power generated that runs through those lines in the US, and a much larger fraction in Europe, comes from the nuclear science field that Einstein helped push forward. Because it wasn't just relativity he explained/discovered, it was Brownian motion (which was an early direct proof of atomic theory), the photoelectric effect, and mass-energy equivalency. The latter is used by every nuclear physics, nuclear engineering, and nuclear chemistry student in the world, every day, when calculating nuclear reaction dynamics and power outputs.
"A child Einstein is called a ‘Gifted Learner’."
"I think the educators are wrong and I think Paul Halpern is wrong. Batman is better."
Batman's a fictitious character. But Reed Richards is far far smarter than Batman, such that they have to keep coming up with some "reason" why he can't just invent some shit to finish it.
"Superman is at more of a disadvantage today than during Einstein’s time."
He's a fiction too.
And it has nothing to do with the following statements either.
Alternating Current is a better technology, but GE is the better company. GE built locomotives, and aircraft engines, and medical equipment. Programs such as corporate profit sharing and government unemployment insurance were put in place by General Electric. Gerard Swope, the CEO of GE, practically wrote FDR's New Deal.
Einstein never built a nuclear power plant, but you know who does? GE! They probably build more than anyone else in the world.
If you've ever been to the hospital, or traveled on a plane, or used electricity, General Electric was probably involved. If you've ever filed any sort of insurance claim for anything, there is a good chance General Electric was involved as GE Capital is one of the largest insurance companies in the world.
Einstein did not invent Relativity, and he did not invent any of the products that take advantage of its existence. When it comes down to Einstein or General Electric having a larger impact on your everyday life, it isn't even close.
One common characteristic difference between gifted learners and bright students is their social ability. Bright Students are much better at working in teams than Gifted Learners are.
"Alternating Current is a better technology, but GE is the better company."
Really? GE is a "better company". Better one than "Alternating Current", sure. But better than what if not?
"Einstein never built a nuclear power plant, but you know who does? GE! "
GE never worked out an entire new area of physics, but you know who did? Einstein!
"If you’ve ever been to the hospital, or traveled on a plane, or used electricity, General Electric was probably involved."
But you can pretty much bet that China was.
Does that mean China is better than GE?
If not, what the hell was your claim supposed to prove?
"Einstein did not invent Relativity, and he did not invent any of the products that take advantage of its existence"
Neither did GE. They may BUILD some, but inventing? Only a very small fraction.
How many patents on average do GE employees hold? How many patents on average does Einstein? You LOVE the irrelevant comparison, don't you.
"When it comes down to Einstein or General Electric having a larger impact on your everyday life, it isn’t even close."
Oh, hang on, you think it's GE, right?
Well, you WILL be surprised, then!
As to working with others, do you have ANY idea how GR was invented? It wasn't Einstein beavering away on his lonesome.
Go visit the bloody wikipedia, if nowhere else, and FRIGGING EDUCATE yourself.
I tend to feel each had their respective area of brilliance, so comparison becomes meaningless.
Einstein had a great way of looking at education in that instead of carrying a head full of rote learning, he knew where the required resources were. This allowed for more free-thinking without the clutter of a filled mind.
Over the years I have experienced with students a somewhat lessened aptitude to design (electronics, eg.) projects simply because their minds are blocked with their teachers ideas of how something should be, according to that teacher. The ability to think outside the square becomes more difficult. Product development becomes a rehash of existing technology.
For the student who realizes where the required information is, it is easier to think out the concept of the design, then follow through with the technicalities to create the final product.
The mention of 'savant (syndrome)' is probably less appropriate in this article since it relates more so to autistic persons having a flair in one particular area only.
"Actually we owe the modern electrical system to Westinghouse more than Edison."
No eric we don't, if we do owe anyone that would be Nikola Tesla and his brilliant work with electricity and understanding of it.
Tesla was beyond Einstein and Edison, he danced with the electrically charged particles.
I agree Tesla had more to do with modern electrical system and more influence on where we are today but the kicker was his idea of how it all worked was ultimately wrong. Proof that sometimes a wrong answer will get you a really long way.
BTW if you are interested in Tesla's view on how the universe worked you can find his book "The Problem of Increasing Human Energy" freely on the web. He had it that there was some medium or ether and he did not believe in relativity in any form. He suffered the same sort of problems with relativity that Einstein had with QM and there is a sort of irony to it all.
"No eric we don’t, if we do owe anyone that would be Nikola Tesla and his brilliant work with electricity and understanding of it."
Wow, more moronic spew from raggie the raving loon.
If we owe more to Tesla THAT DOES NOT MEAN ERIC IS WRONG. Since he never claimed we owed more to Westinghouse than Tesla.
"Einstein had a great way of looking at education in that instead of carrying a head full of rote learning, he knew where the required resources were"
Aye, that's why he's absolutely the WORST example of "not working well with others" to give.
He was damn smart, but ALSO smart enough to know people existed who knew better than him where they actually did.
Plato would likely be a good example, but some of that would be the fact that education wasn't as widespread and mobility meant you caught people in a very local area compared to the society wide net we have today, so it may not have been possible to find someone who knew anything better than Plato.
At least in anything he thought "important". How to build a house may have been beyond him, but he considered that sort of thing *beneath* him too.
Tesla invented the polyphase AC system and sold rights to Westinghouse. (He also invented fractional horsepower electric motors, and a clever centrifugal pump that handles high-viscosity liquids very well and today is used in sewage treatment plants.)
General Electric as we know it in the USA, is not the same entity as GEC, the General Electric Company, in the UK. GEC was a manufacturer of telephones & switching systems for the General Post Office (GPO), which ran the telephone network in the UK until becoming British Telecom (BT) during deregulation. I have on my desk a prototype telephone made by GEC for BT, that was molded in glow-in-the-dark plastic. Yes, it glows green for a few hours after I turn the lights off.
Edison didn't use DC for the electric chair: he used AC for that, as part of his campaign to prove that AC was inherently dangerous. The term "electrocution" was a neologism from "electricity" + "execution." Today we still use the word generically for accidental death by electricity as well, though we might more properly say "electrified," except that the latter word refers to being "spellbound" or otherwise deeply engaged with a performance such as in live music or theatre.
Edison tried to get the word "Westinghouse" used as a verb for "electrocute," as in, "the condemned prisoner was Westinghoused." It was clever and even slightly funny in a gallows humor sort of way, but fortunately it never caught on. Unlike "Googled," which means "to be stared at rudely."
And despite the enormous popularity of compact fluorescents and LED bulbs, you can now buy oldschool incandescents that closely resemble those of the early 20th century, presumably for use in restored antique lamps. I have not seen these bulbs in use, but since they are clear glass rather than frosted (the better to see the old-style filament), they probably cast fairly sharp shadows and could benefit from lamp shades.
Einstein was a scientist, concerned with ascertaining new facts and theories of nature. Edison was an engineer, concerned with applying the findings of science to produce useful technologies. Einstein lived in the academic world, where freedom from bottom-line concerns is most productive. Edison lived in the business world, where those bottom-line concerns are most productive.
While there is creativity and discovery and accountability in both fields, and certain similarities in mindset, there are also sufficient differences that I'm skeptical of comparisons between the great minds in each field.
As for schooling, find the smart kids and give them whatever they need to learn as much and as fast as they want to. Find the average kids and do likewise for them. Find the slow kids and do likewise for them. Hmm...!
At the risk of completely derailing this topic, there are 2 major flaws with your common sense idea of giving kids what they need to perform to their potential:
1 - The available funding is finite and already overextended
2 - Parents and their lawyers
My knowledge is of the San Diego public schools in California, but most American school districts are likely similar.
For the top end learners we have 2 programs. The GATE program is for kids in the top 2%, and the Seminar program is for the kids in the top 0.2%. The idea was exactly as you proposed, but the funding has been gutted. They still do the testing to find the kids, but once they find them there are no special classrooms for them to go to or special course material for them to learn from.
Instead, GATE students are "clustered". That essentially means the all have to sit together in a section of a regular class and the teacher does what she can to make things more challenging for them so long as it doesn't cost the school anything extra.
Later, there are Advanced Placement (AP) classes. and that is where the parents come in. Little Johnny may not have had adequate test scores to get into the AP class, but he was sick that day, or disadvantaged, or discriminated against by his teacher, etc, and if the school intends on "wrongfully" denying Little Johnny a place in that class then they'll file suit. The school always caves in because it is cheaper than fighting it.
"1 – The available funding is finite and already overextended
2 – Parents and their lawyers"
Yes, it's finite and overextended.
But like everything else in this world, you have to pay for things.
Every other western world civilisation gets a better result (even the UK) with their public education system, but they don't use the dumbass system you have there.
Pay out of collected taxes and DON'T spread it about based on local house rates.
Everyone else does.
And the more you pay, the better the results.
Add to paying more the fact that you're not dumping a shitload of unnecessary money into schools in rich neighbourhoods that don't need it (therefore waste it on iPads for the kids' homework assignments) means less waste: the poor schools don't have frigging TEXTBOOKS in many cases. They need more and will not be able to waste it, because everything they could be given is already spoken for in NECESSITIES.
But for some reason you 'merkins are socially TERFIFIED that someone else will get "your money", hence the dumbass system you have. Can't have your taxes go to the needy! Nosiree!
Denier, Edison did run GE, ever. The first President/CEO of the company was Charles Coffin. Edison did not even single-handedly create GE, it was a merger of businesses run by Edison, Coffin, and Anthony Drexel, with JP Morgan helping the whole merger happen (and Coffin taking the reins after the company was formed).
So your citing of GE's business success to somehow show that Edison was smarter than Einstein is a complete nonsequitur. Maybe you should argue that Charles Coffin and JP Morgan had more business acumen than Einstein. That's almost certainly true.
As seems to be a common theme, you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. The public school system in the US has some serious problem, and you are correct in the rest of the world doing better that we do, but a lack of spending isn't the problem.
California where I live spends among the lowest per pupil at $9,220, but that crushes the $7,103(£4,550.54) spent per pupil in the UK. We spend more and get worse results.
"As seems to be a common theme, you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. "
As seems to be a common theme, you have clearly made this claim up out of hope and prayer. Eschewing evidence.
Oh, and to make you feel better. Mustn't forget that. Very important.
Here, again, is your deliberately missed clue:
Add to paying more the fact that you’re not dumping a shitload of unnecessary money into schools in rich neighbourhoods that don’t need it (therefore waste it on iPads for the kids’ homework assignments)
Oh, and we have a legal system here in the UK too, you know.
And we don't use dollars.
And demand your moneys worth for your kids: your education obviously didn't work.
Comparing different sorts of intellectual competencies: apples versus oranges, versus watermellons. Different folks value different fruits, so the superstar apple will always look subpar to the watermellon fan.
Said the same in #5 with regards to "GE is a better company".
Denier still doesn't get it.
First, lets get the whole Edison smarter than Einstein thing out of the way. Einstein was smarter. Edison was less smart than Einstein. My point in the initial post was that today's test heavy / scores-as-gatekeeper environment favors the industrious over raw intelligence.
In regards to General Electric, General Electric was created from the merger of the Edison founded Edison Electric Light Company, the Edison founded Edison Machine Works, and the Edison founded Edison Lamp Company. The Coffin run Sprague Electric Railway & Motor Company was not a merger partner. They were acquired. JP Morgan and Anthony Drexel didn't run any of those companies either. They together were Drexel, Morgan & Co (today called J.P. Morgan & Co), Edison's chosen investment banking partner.
Edison didn't name himself CEO of General Electric because he preferred being in the workshop, but don't pretend that Edison had nothing to do with the formation of General Electric. That simply isn't the case.
"but don’t pretend that Edison had nothing to do with the formation of General Electric"
As seems to be a common theme, here, you're making a claim that someone else is making a mistake by claiming something THEY NEVER CLAIMED.
Oh, reading the wiki, it appears that GE was the merger of two central behemoths of electricity. The other one wasn't any less central to the resulting merger.
Maybe Edison didn't become CEO because Coffer was just better at it.
It's not like you were a confidante of Edison.
The question about the speed of sound in Edison's test of essential knowledge is a nonsense for a start. The speed of sound isn't a constant. It varies according to the nature of the medium in which it travels (unlike light, which doesn't require one, and which was one of Einstein's achievements - in doing away with the need for an Aether and explaining why the velocity of light in a vacuum is a constant to all observers), whether air, water, or whatever, its temperature and pressure and so forth.
My point in the initial post was that today’s test heavy / scores-as-gatekeeper environment favors the industrious over raw intelligence.
I think you do theoreticians a great disfavor here; most of them are as industrious as any engineer. Its kind of a myth or generalization to think of them as just coming up with ideas due to raw intelligence. They study, they work, they try and fail. They do all that with pen and paper (or maybe 'mouse and mainframe' now) rather than bending metal, but they do it nevertheless.
And I really have no problem with favoring industriousness. Because at some point, no matter how smart you are, you're going to get stumped. At that point everyone expects you to work to try and solve whatever the problem is that's stumped you. So demonstrating that you can work at problem-solving is critical to success in science. Non PhD's often think of PhD's as being eggheads with big brains who just 'come up with' ideas. PhDs know this to be wrong, because most PhD qualifying exams involve "test to destruction" - finding out what the candidate doesn't know, and then asking them how they would figure that out. If someone responds "I'll think hard, and it'll come to me," they will likely be failed.
WOW I am not sure all the abuse and bad language is required just because you don't agree with someone.
However for the record why Edison wasn't in charge of GE is covered in the wiki entry on Edison.
" By the early 1890s Edison's company was generating much smaller profits than its AC rivals, and the War of Currents would come to an end in 1892 with Edison being forced out of controlling his own company. "
I don't demand you be sure ldb. Neither do I demand you join in.
Your concern trolling is merely abuse avoiding bad language, built up to make you feel better whilst ALSO denigrating others (which is the abuse bit).
There's no need to point it out.
But you did. Because YOU love being abusive too.
C'mon people, no fighting, no biting.
Ethan is trying his darndest to offer something that gets laypeople interested in basic science, and we shouldn't go pooping all over it in the comments by getting all bitey and nasty.
Ethan's talent at communicating this stuff is darn close to being in the same league as Carl Sagan. Don't derail his good works.
There are plenty of people out there who are looking for information of the kind he provides, to get better informed. Have some respect for them too.
Set an example, don't be made an example of.
G, no nannying, no prissyness.
And what ever happened to the "I may disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for you to say it!"?
Mind you, one thing that OWS showed me clearly was that it was not even "I will make tut tutting noises if you're not allowed to say it", because free speech that inconveniences someone not involved is seen as a hideous infringement of everyone's rights to do as they like.
So "I may not disagree with what you're saying, but I will fight it with angry tones if you are inconvenient" is the new Voltaire.
WOW if you really are from the UK you have added new meaning to Eurotrash. Oh the bad man on the internet is terrifying me .. grow up pratt.
LdB, what on earth does "If you really are from the UK" supposed to mean?
Oh, and well done: you're now using foul language that you pretended to hate. Seems like "You shouldn't use swear words, ONLY I AM ALLOWED!!!!!!" Frigging moron.
If you're really from the USA you have added new meaning to "Retarded 'Merkin".
Grow a skin, you temper tantrum toddler.
I do seem to have infuriated you, though, ldb.
I'll call you ANGRY BRAT.
It appears that you can annoy the shit out of someone and saying that means it's THEIR FAULT! LOL!
I think you and I are on the same page but talking past each other a bit. I agree with you that today's PhD's are industrious. In the first post of this thread I beat you to the punch in making your point about the testing process of PhD candidates favoring the industrious.