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The title of PhD in math at MIT

  1. Jul 22, 2014 #1

    MathematicalPhysicist

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    Does someone understand why do they have two different titles which functionally are equivalent?
    :biggrin:

    http://math.mit.edu/academics/grad/

    I must say that "Doctor of Science", aka D.Sc sounds more special than the old PhD.

    BTW, another anecdotal video clip from youtube:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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  3. Jul 22, 2014 #2

    SteamKing

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  4. Jul 22, 2014 #3

    collinsmark

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    I am surprised and shocked by the video. (Notice my avatar.)

    My father showed me how to light a bulb with a battery and wire when I was just a wee lad. But I suppose maybe, just maybe, if he hadn't, perhaps I wouldn't have known 'till much later in life. But Harvard/MIT graduates? Ya gotta be kidding me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  5. Jul 23, 2014 #4

    StatGuy2000

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    These type of "gotcha" questions aren't necessarily fair to the students being asked, nor does it give an accurate description of the know-how of these students, because we don't know in most instances beforehand what majors these students have graduated in (in the Youtube clip, one of the students confess that she's not an electrical/mechanical engineering major but that's about all we know).

    For example, a MIT graduate in math wouldn't necessarily be expected to know how to power a light bulb with a battery and wire.
     
  6. Jul 23, 2014 #5

    collinsmark

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    Yes, I suppose you're right. The video was as much about what we've been exposed to, what we are taught, and how we think, as much as anything else.

    If you've never been exposed to a simple circuit, and never bothered examining the internals of a flashlight* (before the advent of LED flashlights), you might never know.

    *[Edit: that's torch for many of you European English speakers.]

    It just shocks me though, because not knowing how to light a bulb with a battery and wire also means that those people have never build their own childhood electromagnet.

    And I suppose my shock was due to my own perspective. Even before entering highschool I built handfuls of electromagnets (good for attaching to a Tonka truck-crane to make a junkyard car-mover crane thing to move Hot-Wheel/Matchbox cars [Edit: it doesn't work on aluminum cars, but if there's any iron in them they're good to go]), ignition system for model rockets (which requires a closed circuit), radios, strobe lights, DC motors cut from sheet metal, etc. And all that was before I reached my teens.

    But I suppose the video is all about perspective. What's obvious so some might not be obvious to others.

    But a childhood without an electromagnet? Electromagnets are childhood's best part. You mean not all children construct their own electromagnets? Agh, it's just hard for me to imagine.

    [Edit: I see a poll coming. Here it is: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=762896]
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  7. Jul 23, 2014 #6

    George Jones

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    You must have used a high voltage battery.

    I have the feeling that the girl at the 1:50 mark would have been able to do it if she had been given two wires. Her statement about closed loops is correct, but she wasn't able to make the "mental leap" of closing the loop by touching the bulb to the battery.

    It isn't so hard for me to imagine. Different people have different experiences and influences. Maybe someone else would be shocked that you didn't do "so-and-so" and "such-and-such" when you were a kid.

    Still, after teaching science and engineering labs for over 20 years, I think that, overall, students technical skills have declined noticeably.
     
  8. Jul 23, 2014 #7

    George Jones

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    Okay, my wife has a Master's in physics and a Master's in material science engineering. Right now, she is thousands of kilometres away visiting her family. When, she gets back in a week, I am going to give her one D cell, one wire, and one bulb, and I will ask "Can you light the light?"

    Any predictions? (I don't think that my wife reads Physics Forums :uhh:)

    Should I start a poll?

    Am I living too dangerously?
     
  9. Jul 23, 2014 #8

    lisab

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    If I were your wife, I'd screw the bulb into a lamp and turn on the switch. "Yes, dear. Any more questions?"
     
  10. Jul 24, 2014 #9

    George Jones

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    Actually, prediction is that she will be able to do it without hesitation.
     
  11. Jul 30, 2014 #10
    Don't know why they have two degree labels, perhaps historical? I do know that MIT does not give out honorary degrees.
     
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