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How long does it take for new discoveries/fields to be implemented to undergrad ?

  1. Nov 20, 2011 #1
    How long does it take for newly discovered math material or physics material to be standardized into the math undergrad curriculum? Just wondering about hilbert space as well. When did hilbert space first go into the undergrad curriculum?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2011 #2


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    Before 1970, in the UK. (I have no idea how many years it was there before 1970.)
  4. Nov 20, 2011 #3


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    I would hazard a guess of 30-40 years depending on the importance of the idea.
  5. Nov 20, 2011 #4
    And depending on the level of the undergrad course. The fundamentals have been so well established that even a unified theory is unlikely to make it into a sophomore course, but a senior level mechanics course is a different story.
  6. Nov 20, 2011 #5


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    Sometimes it happens immediately, like the results of the WMAP experiment measuring the age of the universe. I remember discussing it in my cosmology class the week it was announced, and it comes up in almost all astronomy classes now.
  7. Nov 20, 2011 #6


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    It depends.

    Sometimes courses can be offered at the undergraduate level that present an introductory level course on a particular topic without going into great detail.

    Also with research, it usually takes a little while before things become polished. You typically start out with unorganized ideas and lots of pieces of paper (or nowadays, electronic documents), and then it takes a little while for that to be processed, refined, and presented in an optimal way.

    Also nowadays, this process can happen a lot quicker since there is a much higher rate of involvement of people in this process, and the major bottleneck which was communication has largely been reduced with technologies like the internet.
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