We Want To Study Physics

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  • #1
ZapperZ
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If you ever forget, or take for granted, your ability and freedom to study stuff like physics, just think of those who are denied access to them. Such a case is happening in Nepal. It got so bad that students were http://www.nepalnews.com/nepalnewsvideo/dec_12_06_student_strike_physics.wmv" [Broken] that they want to study physics!

Zz.
 
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  • #2
G01
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Wow.... It makes you think...... Why does the government of Nepal not allow the students to take physics? Or is it just not offered by the education system?
 
  • #3
robphy
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That might make a nice PF-blog entry.

If we open a new university there, it could be the *top* university in the world. :rofl:
 
  • #4
G01
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If we open a new university there, it could be the *top* university in the world. :rofl:

:rofl: This shouldn't be as funny as it is!:rolleyes:
 
  • #5
humanino
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As anything else in life, you may take it seriously and either cry, or act, or you may laugh, and either stay there or act :smile:
 
  • #6
mattmns
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You Physics people are a wild bunch!
 
  • #7
JasonRox
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And people here are chanting the opposite. :cry:
 
  • #8
ZapperZ
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From what I understand, it is not that they do not allow people to study physics, it is just that there is only an extremely small number that are allowed, maybe due to the very limited resources.

But JasonRox made a very important contrasting point. Many in the Western world are almost to the point of bribing students to take up physics. High school teachers sometime even resort to using themselves as http://new.savannahnow.com/node/238706" to get students to be interested in physics. We go to great lengths to get students interested in physics. Yet, here you have people protesting so that they can be allowed to study physics.

It is times like this that you just shake your head at the injustice of the world. It is just isn't fair.

Zz.
 
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  • #9
Moonbear
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But JasonRox made a very important contrasting point. Many in the Western world are almost to the point of bribing students to take up physics. High school teachers sometime even resort to using themselves as http://new.savannahnow.com/node/238706" to get students to be interested in physics. We go to great lengths to get students interested in physics. Yet, here you have people protesting so that they can be allowed to study physics.

Maybe it's just the allure of what is forbidden. Maybe we should tell all the students that physics is just too "grown up" for them, and it might teach them things that would give them ideas about rebelling against authority, so we just can't allow it anymore. They'd be signing up in droves! :biggrin:
 
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  • #10
Cyrus
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Many in the Western world are almost to the point of bribing students to take up physics... We go to great lengths to get students interested in physics.

I dont think this is true. No one really cares about physics in the US, thats the problem. Schools care about their sports program, and students care about becoming doctors or lawyers to become rich.

If we cared so much about physics every physics student would get a full ride to complete their degree with jobs waiting for them like the 60's.
 
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  • #11
ZapperZ
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I dont think this is true. No one really cares about physics in the US, thats the problem. Schools care about their sports program, and students care about becoming doctors or lawyers to become rich.

Er... isn't that what I was trying to point out?

It is a problem in MANY parts of the Western World. In the UK, for example, the physics dept at Reading University will be closed down at the end of the academic year. The enrollment in physics at the A-level has dropped over the years. Several other European countries are having the same issues.

Compare that to China, Japan, and South Korea.

Zz.
 
  • #12
JasonRox
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From what I understand, it is not that they do not allow people to study physics, it is just that there is only an extremely small number that are allowed, maybe due to the very limited resources.

But JasonRox made a very important contrasting point. Many in the Western world are almost to the point of bribing students to take up physics. High school teachers sometime even resort to using themselves as http://new.savannahnow.com/node/238706" to get students to be interested in physics. We go to great lengths to get students interested in physics. Yet, here you have people protesting so that they can be allowed to study physics.

It is times like this that you just shake your head at the injustice of the world. It is just isn't fair.

Zz.

All this for projectile motion!? Wow, I couldn't imagine what it would take to get a student to go into further physics.

For projectile motion, I was satisfied with simply thinking about throwing a ball in the air.
 
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  • #13
Moonbear
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For projectile motion, I was satisfied with simply thinking about throwing a ball in the air.

Yeah, imagine that. Kids nowadays. :rolleyes:

Actually, we talked about things like shooting cannonballs, which seemed like more fun than throwing a baseball. :biggrin:
 
  • #14
Cyrus
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Er... isn't that what I was trying to point out?

It is a problem in MANY parts of the Western World. In the UK, for example, the physics dept at Reading University will be closed down at the end of the academic year. The enrollment in physics at the A-level has dropped over the years. Several other European countries are having the same issues.

Compare that to China, Japan, and South Korea.

Zz.

Oh, im sorry. I misread what you wrote. Yes, I see what you mean now.
 
  • #15
robphy
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I personally think that we need to be talking more about MODERN PHYSICS...and sooner! Generally speaking, we spend the two semesters allocated to us talking about "old" physics, usually presented in a pseudo-historical way. If we're lucky, a few stick around for a third semester to see the MODERN stuff, with the rest dispersed to focus on something else.

Akin to the new "Physics First" movement, maybe we also need a "Modern Physics first" movement. Some textbooks along these lines:
Modern Introductory Physics (Holbrow et al)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/038798576X/?tag=pfamazon01-20
Matter & Interactions (Chabay and Sherwood)
http://www4.ncsu.edu/~rwchabay/mi/


In addition, maybe we need to publicize stories like the recent Intel Science Talent Search winner https://www.physicsforums.com/blog/2007/03/15/intel-science-talent-search-2007-winners/ for a physics project.
 
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  • #16
SticksandStones
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Yeah, imagine that. Kids nowadays. :rolleyes:

Actually, we talked about things like shooting cannonballs, which seemed like more fun than throwing a baseball. :biggrin:
You can talk about shooting laser beams from the Death Star to blow up planet Alderaan, it doesn't make it any less boring.

In my physics class we build catapults and calculate the information necessary to send a cantaloupe into a target. That's a lot more exciting than a word problem asking to find the same information. Plus, it shows that everything just learned is in fact accurate, and not a bunch of bull made up to make it easy for students to plug-n-chug.

I personally think that we need to be talking more about MODERN PHYSICS...and sooner! Generally speaking, we spend the two semesters allocated to us talking about "old" physics, usually presented in a pseudo-historical way. If we're lucky, a few stick around for a third semester to see the MODERN stuff, with the rest dispersed to focus on something else.

Akin to the new "Physics First" movement, maybe we also need a "Modern Physics first" movement. Some textbooks along these lines:
Modern Introductory Physics (Holbrow et al)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/038798576X/?tag=pfamazon01-20
Matter & Interactions (Chabay and Sherwood)
http://www4.ncsu.edu/~rwchabay/mi/


In addition, maybe we need to publicize stories like the recent Intel Science Talent Search winner https://www.physicsforums.com/blog/2007/03/15/intel-science-talent-search-2007-winners/ for a physics project.
Yes!
 
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  • #17
Ki Man
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Wow this is sad. They actually had riot controll come in and stop them with clubs.

I remembe last year half my class was saying 'when will I ever need physics?' and they all hated it. Its a sad comparison. One day if i'm ever an accomplished person I'll make a not to myself to go help the science programs in nepal
 
  • #18
Moonbear
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You can talk about shooting laser beams from the Death Star to blow up planet Alderaan, it doesn't make it any less boring.
Except that wouldn't be projectile motion. :wink: And that's the point...smashing cantaloupes might get the class to applaud and have fun, but if they still aren't taught the physics, it does no good.

Then again, I grew up in a generation that still knew how to use their imaginations. We didn't have to have a ball to play baseball, so could imagine projectile motion without someone having to lob melons across a field. Granted, we had a lot of disputes over whether the batter hit a home run (the batter's version) or a foul (the pitcher's version). Oh, and yeah, we had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to get to school too. :tongue:
 
  • #19
Cyrus
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I think a large part of the problem is a lack of qualified teachers and a system that does not work. I have friends that came from countries in africa that did the first two years of our college level work in their high school. And thats standard over there, not a some stupid AP -BS. They learn french, english, and whatever their local language is. Im sorry to say, but the kids in high school here are just plain ole-stupid. Its that simple, and I was one of them thanks to the system. These are kids who dont have fancy TI-83 calculators.

High school was good for learning about US history, and thats about it. I didnt care for math, science, physics or english in high school. Sad..4 years of my life wasted.
 
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  • #20
SticksandStones
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Except that wouldn't be projectile motion. :wink: And that's the point...smashing cantaloupes might get the class to applaud and have fun, but if they still aren't taught the physics, it does no good.

Then again, I grew up in a generation that still knew how to use their imaginations. We didn't have to have a ball to play baseball, so could imagine projectile motion without someone having to lob melons across a field. Granted, we had a lot of disputes over whether the batter hit a home run (the batter's version) or a foul (the pitcher's version). Oh, and yeah, we had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to get to school too. :tongue:

To be fair, I'm not going to learn Physics either way when our lessons are basically:
"Here is a nice, fancy equation to plug-n-chug with. These are what the variables stand for. Don't ask me how this equation came about, because I'm not going to tell you and treat you like a simpleton for not knowing. Now do this worksheet where every problem is the exact same thing with the numbers changed."

cyrusabdollahi said:
I think a large part of the problem is a lack of qualified teachers and a system that does not work. I have friends that came from countries in africa that did the first two years of our college level work in their high school. And thats standard over there, not a some stupid AP -BS. They learn french, english, and whatever their local language is. Im sorry to say, but the kids in high school here are just plain ole-stupid. Its that simple, and I was one of them thanks to the system. These are kids who dont have fancy TI-83 calculators.
I'm going to agree 100% with this.
 
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  • #21
JasonRox
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I personally think that we need to be talking more about MODERN PHYSICS...and sooner! Generally speaking, we spend the two semesters allocated to us talking about "old" physics, usually presented in a pseudo-historical way. If we're lucky, a few stick around for a third semester to see the MODERN stuff, with the rest dispersed to focus on something else.

I'm one of those who left!

I went into Pure Mathematics although completely different. I enjoy it a lot more.

Anyways, I was going to do a minor Physics, but I got bored going through so many mandatory courses before getting to the good stuff. I had 3 Physics courses under my belt at the time, and I believe I need 2-3 more before I can get to Modern Physics. I was like screw that, and I dropped the idea of getting a minor.
 
  • #22
JasonRox
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I think a large part of the problem is a lack of qualified teachers and a system that does not work. I have friends that came from countries in africa that did the first two years of our college level work in their high school. And thats standard over there, not a some stupid AP -BS.

So, true!

My girlfriend has a friend from Russia that came down just in time for Grade 9 High School in Canada (education is seems pretty similiar to the US). And, all the way up until Grade 12, she said she didn't learn anything new. For example, she said she already knew Calculus. For her, that was old Grade 8 material!

Or her friend from China in university mentionned that a lot of stuff in 1st year and 2nd year reminded him of the stuff done in high school.

That's just sad.

Did anyone watch "Are you smarter than a 5th grader"? No offense to Americans, but I really don't think this is helping the image of intelligence among American citizens. In fact, I think it kills it with a nuclear bomb. I never knew so many stupid people can exist with degrees with high GPA averages.

Just sad.
 
  • #23
G01
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This is one topic that easily gets me angry. I hate it when people say things such as, "Physics is useless, I'll never need it!"

That statement is so uniformed and ignorant its amazing! None of the technology we have today would be here without physicists and engineers!

I think that people in this country just dont give a crap about ANYTHING, as long as they are happy.

As long as someone has a MAGIC way to power a car, they're happy!

As long as they have one of those MAGIC ipods to listen to during physics class, they're happy!

As long as the light bulb is giving off its MAGIC glow, there happy!


I gave a speech in my public speaking class several semesters ago on how a radio worked. My professor, also a radio talk show host, said, and I quote, "Uggghhh Get through all this physics as quick as you can, George!"
"But Don't you care, I mean this is your livelyhood"
"Its MAGIC!!! Thats all I need to know."

I'm beginning to think that people should not be allowed to use technology until they understand the basics of how they work. Then people in this country (USA) will appreciate what physics has done for them, and that they will use it and the skills involved, no matter what their field is.

G01
 
  • #24
ZapperZ
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This is one topic that easily gets me angry. I hate it when people say things such as, "Physics is useless, I'll never need it!"

That statement is so uniformed and ignorant its amazing! None of the technology we have today would be here without physicists and engineers!

I think that people in this country just dont give a crap about ANYTHING, as long as they are happy.

As long as someone has a MAGIC way to power a car, they're happy!

As long as they have one of those MAGIC ipods to listen to during physics class, they're happy!

As long as the light bulb is giving off its MAGIC glow, there happy!


I gave a speech in my public speaking class several semesters ago on how a radio worked. My professor, also a radio talk show host, said, and I quote, "Uggghhh Get through all this physics as quick as you can, George!"
"But Don't you care, I mean this is your livelyhood"
"Its MAGIC!!! Thats all I need to know."

I'm beginning to think that people should not be allowed to use technology until they understand the basics of how they work. Then people in this country (USA) will appreciate what physics has done for them, and that they will use it and the skills involved, no matter what their field is.

G01

What a coincidence. You may want to http://physicsandphysicists.blogspot.com/2007/03/love-your-gizmos-thank-physicst.html" [Broken] and print out the link that I highlighted.

Zz.
 
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  • #25
G01
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What a coincidence. You may want to http://physicsandphysicists.blogspot.com/2007/03/love-your-gizmos-thank-physicst.html" [Broken] and print out the link that I highlighted.

Zz.

Very interesting link! It's cool. I definitely think that my interests in physics are definitely leaning toward the materials science, solid state, and/or condensed matter fields. Yeah I still have some narrowing down to do I know!
 
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  • #26
usahockey
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I've always been interested in math and science, and yet high school seemed to kill that interest for me...I'm a smart person, and the stuff in high school was pretty easy. I went through 4 years of high school with hardly a single challenge, or any real work done, because it was so easy for me to slack off and still get good grades, so I taught myself how to be lazy.

One thing is just that I had very few teachers who seemed to be both competent and enthusiastic/interested in what they were teaching. The few classes where I had good teachers, of course turned out to be my favorite classes. I am pretty good at math, but never put any effort in during high school because the way they approached it simply bored me. I am interested in lots of topics in biology, physics, and chemistry. I signed up for a physics class in high school, and got an entire semester of this teacher on the brink of retirement who talked about nothing but car racing and computers...he didn't even check the problems on the tests that he gave until DURING the time we took the test. Almost every test we took he would pipe up half way through "cross out numbers 10, 12, and 9, they can't be solved" or something else. After that class I never really thought much about physics again until recently.

I started reading a few things by Feynman, and also watching the Berkeley conceptual physics lectures on google...have been reading a pretty good (dated) conceptual physics book from my college's library. It's such a big difference when you actually learn the material from someone who 1) knows what they are talking about and 2) is genuinely interested in and excited about what they are teaching.

So I've been learning basics physics as much as I can on the side of my classes (currently at a community college, switched from a good university to save money as I had no clue what I was interested in after high school), as well as reviewing math, and thinking of majoring in physics now. I've always been naturally curious and interested in the everyday phenomena of just being alive and experiencing this ride of life. My main issue with college so far is that I am interested in so many things, I felt like choosing a major would limit my understanding of the world somehow. After spending lots of time reading topics in biology, chemistry, geology, social sciences, etc, physics seems to be the one field that is interesting, fun/exciting as well as innovative and important for the future, a worthwhile investment of my time, as well as possibly helping me to learn more about the physical world than any other subject.

One question. Does this lack of interest in physics make it easier for someone to be accepted into an undergrad physics major at a university, either out of high school or as a transfer? I looked up the statistics for the university I was previously at, which happens to be in the top 10 of physics programs nationally, and in a university with thousands of people, the number of physics majors was somewhere between 50-100 (closer to 50 if I recall correctly.)

One of my friends was accepted to the physics program here out of high school, with lower test scores than me, but pretty good grades I think. He ended up switching majors because he "would have failed out" if he had stayed in physics (yet he never really tried), and I suspect he mainly switched out because it would interfere with all of his partying. (frat boy now) It seems like physics and engineering intimidate people quite a bit. I think this fear has less to do with their actual ability to complete the work, but more with their motivation to actually have to work (and not be going out to bars 4 nights a week, etc.)

From what I have seen, college has just become an all-expense-paid 4 year vacation/party after high school...and you get a degree too! Not much of an actual education though. That doesn't happen until you decide that you really are interested in learning about things, and you decide to make the effort because you can't stand the idea of not learning.


Sorry for the long post/rant.
 
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  • #27
G01
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From what I have seen, college has just become an all-expense-paid 4 year vacation/party after high school...and you get a degree too! Not much of an actual education though. That doesn't happen until you decide that you really are interested in learning about things, and you decide to make the effort because you can't stand the idea of not learning.

If you go into physics or engineering, believe me, it wont be a 4 year drinking party!

It's sad that there are so many people like that though. In other majors, your statement is pretty true. College is just the thing to do, anymore. Its not about education, but about partying. Also, in many areas the Bachelor's Degree has become the new high school diploma. Though in physics this, thank God!, is not the case, at least I don't think so.
 
  • #28
Mk
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Maybe it's just the allure of what is forbidden. Maybe we should tell all the students that physics is just too "grown up" for them, and it might teach them things that would give them ideas about rebelling against authority, so we just can't allow it anymore. They'd be signing up in droves! :biggrin:
Not to personally reply to you, but if you visit Bangladesh, or India, or, Nepal, even though I haven't been there, the kids there are willing to do evil awful things to have an opportunity for a good education because they know what it means. In the US it's mandatory, and everybody goes through high school, and increasingly, everybody's going through college. You don't value it as much if you never had to do without it, maybe.
 
  • #29
Crosson
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Teachers are for motivation anyway; if these Nepalese are so motivated they will be able to learn physics from books.

Just because American schools are dumb, does not mean all Americans are dumb, it just means that the universities also take money from dumb ones.
 
  • #30
Ki Man
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I think a large part of the problem is a lack of qualified teachers and a system that does not work. I have friends that came from countries in africa that did the first two years of our college level work in their high school. And thats standard over there, not a some stupid AP -BS. They learn french, english, and whatever their local language is. Im sorry to say, but the kids in high school here are just plain ole-stupid. Its that simple, and I was one of them thanks to the system. These are kids who dont have fancy TI-83 calculators.

High school was good for learning about US history, and thats about it. I didnt care for math, science, physics or english in high school. Sad..4 years of my life wasted.

True. My dad left vietnam on a raft as a teen and went to a refugee camp in malaysia. Then immigrated to canada and had to stay with foster parents because the rest of the family was in vietnam and my grandpa was in jail, but after 2 years of high school he went to University of Toronto as EE.

Now compare that to my friends right now who complain about their classes yet dont put forth effort and complain about how 'hard' things are in school and blame it on bad teaching...

Physics isn't very popular here in the US... Out of the other people I've ever met out of all my friends and classmates, I'm the only person who wants to become a physicist, theres a handfull of engineering hopefuls, and not a single mathematician. I think there are two main factors for this... poorly qualified teachers who make the subject difficult and uninteresting, and the stereotype of science hopefuls. And, if your teacher makes a subject as hard to understand as possible, you really wouldnt want to go into that field as a career. you could barely sit through and hour of someone monologing about it, how would you ever be able to do it as a career?
 
  • #31
ZapperZ
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There is a follow-up to this.

A Nepalese student studying in Ohio wrote a letter to the editor of APS News in the May 2007 issue. He said that the number of students in the physics class at Tribhuvan University in Nepal has increased due to the demonstration shown in the picture. So their demand for greater access to physics classes has worked.

Good for them!

Zz.
 
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