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Topic: MIT Physics Riddle Solved
Replies: 25   Last Post: Jul 26, 2011 9:02 PM

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James Elander

Posts: 20
Registered: 4/9/09
Re: MIT Physics Riddle Solved
Posted: Jul 24, 2011 11:47 AM
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AGREE!!

It is time to change the system!
Suggestion: The B.S. or the B. A. degrees can only consist of academic
majors, no majors in ED. or athletics,etc.

Leave these programs to post degree or certificate programs.

That is my 2 cents info!

Respectfully,

On Sat, Jul 23, 2011 at 1:48 PM, Robert Hansen <bob@rsccore.com> wrote:
> While collecting stats on how the top colleges deal with physics instruction and the (surprising) great pains they have to go through in order to keep their students from flat out failing, it seemed to me that either this subject is simply too hard or the students are simply not interested or both. Even in high school, 3 times as many students take AP Calculus (AB & BC) than do AP Physics (B & C), even thou the courses are mathematically aligned (i.e. Physics B does not require calculus).
>
> But nonetheless, you could still fill a school like MIT (undergrad admittance ~ 1700) with successful physics students. There are roughly 20,000 high schools in the U.S. serving 4,000,000 high school seniors, certainly a large enough pool from which to select 1,700 successful physics students. From the data we are seeing however, it appears that MIT (and the other top schools) do not select students in this manner. Did they ever? What was it like in the 70's? 50's? 30's? Well, I think I found an answer to that question.
>
> In "The History of the MIT Department of Physics"...
>
> http://web.mit.edu/physics/about/history.html
>
> "In 1956 -- still a year before a second physics boom in the wake of the successful Sputnik launch by the USSR -- almost one out of every four freshmen entering MIT had indicated their intent to major in physics."
>
> Indeed, one out of four students majoring in physics! That was a statistic I was not even expecting. When I majored in physics in the late 70's I was lucky to have 5 peers (and it didn't help that I spent most of my time in the computer lab). Come to think of it, while my SAT math was good, my reading was mediocre, yet I didn't seem to have a college acceptance problem in physics, but it never occurred to me to apply to MIT. It does very much appear that in the past (before my time even) MIT was a school of physics, but not now. And this wasn't just MIT's physics-undoing, as the history article later states...
>
> "The 1970s and early 1980s were a difficult time for physics in the United States as other areas of science blossomed, in particular modern molecular biology. MIT was not exempt from the burst of the physics bubble, but it weathered it extremely well."
>
> Extremely well must refer to the fact that they at least still have physics department, but it is obvious that the physics bubble burst.
>
> So when students do not aspire they fail and when they fail reform steps in.
>
> Bob Hansen
>




- --
Jim



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