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How is knowledge transmited?

  1. Apr 27, 2007 #1
    Lately, i have try to find a answer for this question. I will be glad if some of you would point me to the right literature. With that being said, i will tell you why i ask this question. I have attended numerious courses in mathematics, and physics, and the one thing i have noticed is that most professors( and the student) felt that the book in physics and mathematics are bad. Perhaps some student might be able to skip by in lower division courses without attending the lectures, but it becomes a bit difficult to learn say the method of proof by reading the book. It is often more helpful to study the class notes. My question is: if the notes are so much useful than the book, then why are there so many books? My professors answer is that most professor are too lazy to write it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2007 #2
    The problem, as I see it, is that books are not written to educate people but to impress other professionals in the publishing business. Most books are written in obscure language and make concepts appear more complex than they really are. That is basically why you need notes... and books "for dummies" (notice how the very notion of using simple language implies intellectual inferiority)
  4. Apr 28, 2007 #3
    College (especially UnderGrad) is set up to be difficult.

    Nabuco says it straight for College texts: "Most books are written in obscure language and make concepts appear more complex than they really are."

    Not only are the concepts written confusingly, the sentence-structure is awful.
    Sometimes I have to re-read a sentence several times, just to figure it out.

    Personally, I learn best in lecture. I listen to the speaker, and hear how he means to get the point across. (Although some speakers are as lousy as the textbooks.)

    This helps fuel the printing of supplemental texts.
    Why read a novel? Read the Cliff Notes. It's shorter. It makes sense. It's reasonably interesting. And, it's written in easy-to-understand English.

    I believe that most professors conduct a search ... to find the dryest, most confusing textbooks.
    They do this to stick-it to all his students, the way HIS prof stuck it to him.
  5. May 4, 2007 #4
    When you talk about how the texts were write. You must look for what the purpose of these text. Obviously, You will not expect a high school student to read the book of college students and so on. We must look at who were the authors of the book that we are reading. you will not expect that Einstein will write a book on motion in high school physics. When we read Dante's Inferno, will you expect that he will use normal language to describe Hell?
    Ultimately, I beleave that one should read the books that appropriate to his or her level of knowledge. We should remember that knowledge is accomodated over time. We should use our time to build our foundation and then getting to the higher level of education. If we are too hurry or carelessly go to the texts that are over our knowledge, we should slow down and concentrate before come back to that text.
    I don't want to discourage those who want and desire to achieve higher knowledge! there is nothing wrong about it! But my suggest to those is that they should find a good study group to do that with him. When you enter a new strange wood, you should have and should want some one to go with you!
    How knowledge is transmitted, we can not tell how. But the fact is that knowledge is generated by a human being and through some means of communication people spread it to each other. That is including onservational learning which is addressed to us by Bandura.
    Each of us has a ultimate storage of knowledge which is our brain. The way we show that we exist is the way we communicate and share the knowledge with each others!
    Thank you for reading!
    Last edited: May 4, 2007
  6. May 10, 2007 #5
    I agree with WARGRETMONKKTL. I started a physics/math degree with the preconception that I was at an apropriate level to do the work. However, I was not. Turns out that I was infact far short of the desired level in mathematics due to having skipped a vast area of study in years 7 and 8. Simple enough stuff, just realy basic algebra etc but you'd be surprised how much fundamentals count. I've since discovered a great number of holes in my math as it pretty much all relies on converting equations to the desired variable and with algebra problems I was doomed to failure.
  7. May 10, 2007 #6
    I am pretty certain that if you know the ground work leading to a text book you will find it simpler but many of us are not as good as we think at our chosen field. Text don't spoon feed us the pre topic math, they just assume you know what's required in a thourough manner and move on from there.
  8. May 28, 2007 #7
    Back in the ninties the scientific community made the serious mistake of allowing publishers to control scientific publications, including text books and reputable scientific periodicals. Unsuprisingly, the publishers began charging out the wazoo for the periodicals and numerous gross errors were discovered in text books. When money becomes the only driving force behind anything inevitably the feces hits the fan.

    Unfortunately, money is increasingly becoming the driving force behind universities as well. Hence, the emphasis on good lecturers in expensive colleges.
  9. Jun 2, 2007 #8
    Agreed. It's really annoying actually. The universities are essentially becoming "intellectually bankrupt" whereby the only reason for a particular path of study is the Money, Money, Money. If a company will sponsor it, it will happen. This is balanced with usefulness to society, perhaps usefulness should be emphasized more. This way also, unpopular findings are not promoted in the same way on the basis of them being unpopular, rather than them being the truth.

    Money needs to be there for the world to go round, but that doesn't mean there has to be excessive amounts of it for one person. Diverging to some extent, but this is why I think that the prime minister needn't be paid a lot, just the average wage, and they shouldn't have personal interests in the things that they govern. This way, they are working as a servant to their people, they understand the peoples' lives better. And this would also promote better candidates to take the positions...I am going to start a new thread with this.
  10. Jun 14, 2007 #9
    all of our experiences are like lego blocks... each of them labelled with a word that we were taught by experiences of others to call it. when someone uses words to convey a concept we dont know, they are basically hoping that we have enough shared legos of the right shape and size to construct a new object. Since we cannot see what the other is constructing, we often use probing questions to try to check what has been transmitted. As one of my favorite authors put it-- books are mirrors of the soul, no monkey reading one will find a god staring back.--robert A wilson
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