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FlorinAndrei
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/28/10

Loc: California
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: JKoelman]
      #5514893 - 11/11/12 06:36 PM

Quote:

It comes across like there is a consensus here that both pop-science authors generally do a lousy job. No idea what would be the basis for that. Maybe because both authors strongly defend string theory?




Yeah, it is apparently fashionable in certain circles to just pick some random theory and bash it till kingdom come, along with everyone supporting them. High school never ends, I guess.

Both Kaku and Greene are doing an awesome job popularizing science. Neil deGrasse Tyson is another example.


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simpleisbetter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 04/18/11

Re: BBC Article... new [Re: JKoelman]
      #5514920 - 11/11/12 06:51 PM

My first instinct is to say I agree with deSitter wrt Kaku-ian and Greene-ian thought.

My second thought and more reasonable suggestion is to say I agree with deSitter. I see no reason this subject is any more important than the other physical sciences that it shouldn't continue to be taught as a part of High School Physics.


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
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Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5514992 - 11/11/12 07:49 PM

Is string theory part of the standard high school curriculum? I wouldn't have thought so.

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simpleisbetter
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Reged: 04/18/11

Re: BBC Article... new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5515032 - 11/11/12 08:24 PM

Edit - deleted first paragraph here as I now see the post you were referring to Dave, sorry.

I personally don't see Astronomy any more important than the other physical sciences, that it should take an entire separate class, rather than being taught as part of High School Physics. There are many far more important things for us to deal with, and Astronomy pales in comparison.

As for the people mentioned above, when talking to many of my friends and acquaintances outside this hobby or science, even some school teachers, they are completely turned off by what they perceive as the blind arrogance and false self-confidence of Kaku, Tyson, Greene, Hawking, and other contemporaries. More specifically, their responses to mention of those media scientists usually include blow-hards. As one who has a life outside of science and having less and less time in this hobby each day, I can see and understand their viewpoints and concerns.

Edited by simpleisbetter (11/12/12 10:27 AM)


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moynihan
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5515098 - 11/11/12 09:13 PM

I think the phrase "string theory" is a popular misnomer. It should be called the string hypotheses. There are more than one string ideas, hence the plural.

A scientific theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment." (NAS 1999)

As far as i know there are no experiments or observations confirming it to date.

A hypothesis is a statement that explains or makes generalizations about a set of facts or principles, usually forming a basis for possible experiments to confirm its viability.

Hypotheses provides a suggested solutions based on the evidence. Experimenters may test and reject several hypotheses before solving the problem. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothesis#Scientific_hypothesis

A hypothesis that survives for decades without experimental or observational evidence is still a hypothesis. Large amounts of funding do not make it a theory.

I am not saying that the string hypothesis (assuming only one variant could be correct)is wrong. I am just saying it is technically, not a theory. I do find the fact that the science press is sloppy in its verbage, to not be amusing though.

Edited by moynihan (11/11/12 09:26 PM)


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JKoelman
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/16/11

Loc: Bangalore, India
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: FlorinAndrei]
      #5515426 - 11/12/12 01:35 AM

Quote:

Yeah, it is apparently fashionable in certain circles to just pick some random theory and bash it till kingdom come, along with everyone supporting them. High school never ends, I guess.




Indeed. I find it discomforting and at the same time ironic that in less-informed circles science bashing is becoming bon ton. I say "ironic" because if doubting consensus amongst specialists is already an act of profound arrogance, increasing the stakes by accusing these specialists of arrogance becomes a laughable proposition.

Back to OP's question: yes, any child should get exposure to astronomy and more in particular to modern cosmology, and such a course should be mandatory. We all need to know our place in the universe. One might discuss details such as when best during a child's education to introduce astronomical and cosmological insights, what should be the exact contents, and whether such a class should be introduced as part of a physics course or as a separate course, but I can't even imagine a single valid objection against the general idea.


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: BBC Article... [Re: JKoelman]
      #5515890 - 11/12/12 12:07 PM

Our local school district here in western Colorado currently lumps astronomy instruction in with earth science, which in turn is lumped in with general science in the lower grades.

The district, however, has announced plans to sponsor a three-year pilot program in cooperation with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife to immerse half of the sixth-grade kids from just one middle school in a residential five-day science camp experience. Astronomy will be one of the many subjects covered, and our astronomy club has been asked to provide instruction, including an observing session under the stars.

The other half of the sixth-grade kids from that school will serve as a control group. If it can be demonstrated that the camp kids acquire and retain a greater science awareness than the kids in the control group, the program will be expanded to include all sixth graders throughout the district. As of now, the pilot program is fully funded by outside donors, including a number of environmental and other organizations.


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