The most misleading stereotypes about physics

  • #1
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3

Main Question or Discussion Point

How does the general public most misconstrue the personalities, theories, observations, achievements and goals of physics?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Rach3
You're too optimistic. The general public isn't aware of the personalities, theories, observations, achievements, or goals of physics. We'd be lucky to even have a stereotype for our field...
 
  • #3
Alkatran
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
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You're too optimistic. The general public isn't aware of the personalities, theories, observations, achievements, or goals of physics. We'd be lucky to even have a stereotype for our field...
*cough* What the BLEEP?! *cough*

I'd call that a serious misrepresentation of quantum physics, and it's not the first time quantum's been used for spiritual purposes. "Quantum physics proves (insert new age crap) works!"
 
  • #4
Rach3
Insignificant fringe crackpots.
 
  • #5
dav2008
Gold Member
609
1
Evolution is "just a theory"

Edit: Not physics but still...

I guess it could work for the big bang as well.
 
  • #6
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I think one of them is the scientific method. That every scientist uses scientific method to test out his idea and do the experiment. Another one is that there is no gravity in space <- this one I heard personally from my history teacher.
 
  • #7
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Skinny or fat out-of-shape geeks with no social skills or life. I'm not even close to being a physicist yet, but damnit when I am, I'll also be a natural pro bodybuilder with social skills and a life.
 
  • #8
Rach3
dav2008 said:
Evolution is "just a theory"

Edit: Not physics but still...

I guess it could work for the big bang as well.
Biologists are orders of magnitude better-known than physicsts. Marine biologists are portrayed by movie actors. So are zoologists. And that gorilla lady. In contrast, the general public isn't really sure what 'physics' is, or perhaps never heard of it. The best we can do is call ourselves "scientists" and leech off of the popularity of others.
 
  • #9
Rach3
heartless said:
I think one of them is the scientific method. That every scientist uses scientific method to test out his idea and do the experiment. Another one is that there is no gravity in space <- this one I heard personally from my history teacher.
Scientific method? You mean there's a method behind the 'mad scientist' persona? Again, far too optimistic.
 
  • #10
Rach3
via Cosmic Variance:
The Science Learning Centre in London asked 11,000 pupils for their views on science and scientists. Around 70% of the 11-15 year olds questioned said they did not picture scientists as “normal young and attractive men and women”...
 
  • #11
Rach3
Beeza said:
Skinny or fat out-of-shape geeks with no social skills or life.
Actually, to a large degree this is true.
 
  • #12
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
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Rach3 said:
Actually, to a large degree this is true.
A friend of mine went to this SPS conference this semeseter and he said it was just geeks geeks geeks.... and then our university half drunk.
 
  • #13
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
15
Oh i got one

They all wear white coats
 
  • #14
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Beeza said:
Skinny or fat out-of-shape geeks with no social skills or life [...]
Reveal me your astonishing way of life, oh master :rolleyes:

Scientific method? You mean there's a method behind the 'mad scientist' persona? Again, far too optimistic.
Yepp, every REAL scientists must use a secret method when conducting his experiment. I'd rather say scientific method taught in h-schools is depressing than optimistic :biggrin:
 
  • #15
Rach3
heartless said:
Yepp, every REAL scientists must use a secret method when conducting his experiment. I'd rather say scientific method taught in h-schools is depressing than optimistic :biggrin:
This is speculation on your part. Point me a single movie reference in which scientists are portrayed as rational, methodical empiricists.
 
  • #16
Rach3
Pengwuino said:
Oh i got one

They all wear white coats
Again, that's a scientist stereotype, not a physicist stereotype. Chemists do were white lab coats, universally. Physicsts never do. Not even experimentalists.

I'll point this out again - Biologists are extremely popular (by our standards). Chemists have their existance acknowledged. Physicsts are just plain obscure.
 
  • #17
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
15
Shut up, it works
 
  • #18
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Rach3 said:
This is speculation on your part. Point me a single movie reference in which scientists are portrayed as rational, methodical empiricists.
here's a single one you've asked for: The Scientific Method DVD (2004)
(please don't ask for any more references :tongue2: )
 
  • #19
Rach3
Current science stories in Reuters. Zero physicsts!

New Orleans sinking - geophysics, soil scientists
Indonesian skulls - anthropology, evolution, archaeology
Space shuttle launch - politicans (and some oppressed engineers...)
Prehistoric cave ecosystem - biologists, marine biology
Mona Lisa - forensics
Arctic sediment core - geologists
Wind turbines & birds - biologists


As the evidence shows, soil scientists are sexy. Physicists aren't.
 
  • #20
Rach3
heartless said:
here's a single one you've asked for: The Scientific Method DVD (2004)
(please don't ask for any more references :tongue2: )
Educational material. Pathetic attempt. That's as much a cultural reference as "Goldstein's Classical Mechanics".
 
  • #21
213
2
it's because physicists had done the job and work to open all of the mentioned fields to the geo-scientists.
Physicists are driven by intelligence and don't care about skulls from *billions years ago...* as that wouldn't benefit them in any way. If there were no phycists your space craft would have never been launched, nor you wouldn't be able to discover the underground cave ecosystem, test the age of the skull, and do other things.
The evidence shows that physicists are more sexy than sexy soil scientists.
 
  • #22
Rach3
heartless said:
Physicists are driven by intelligence and don't care about skulls from *billions years ago...* as that wouldn't benefit them in any way.
:rolleyes:
What a fantastically narrow-minded worldview.
 
  • #23
213
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Rach3 said:
:rolleyes:
What a fantastically narrow-minded worldview.
How would a skull benefit a physicist?
 
  • #24
Rach3
It keeps his brain from being squished.
 
  • #25
213
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ok, and how would somebody else's skull benefit a physicist?
 

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