Scientists are not that smart

NY mag has posted an essay by Chad Orzel about scientists and society. I found it very thought provoking, but somewhat discouraging. For example, he notes that he plays basketball and enjoys even though he will never make the NBA but “science is something you’re expected to give up unless you’re ‘really’ smart enough to make it your career.”

I first encountered Prof Orzel through his book How to Teach Physics to Your Dog. My then 14-year-old daughter read it and loved it. Alas, her next experience with physics (high school class) quenched the passion that was ignited by the book.

Professors at U. of Michigan Question Administrators’ Extra Pay

It is well known that university administrators take care of themselves. It is encouraging that some are questioning this. “Additional pay” is category for rewarding employees, think bonuses. At Michigan, additional pay has jumped from $13M to $46M in 9 year.
It is likely that this is being abused. Read about it here.

To Remember a Lecture Better, Take Notes by Hand

This year I stopped using Powerpoint slides in my lectures. Well, not completely. It can deliver some content better. Many student remarked to me that it was a better experience. No doubt the students who felt differently would be less likely to tell me that.

According to this article in the Atlantic students retain more information if notes are taken by hand than typed. Interesting. If I ditch powerpoint and ban laptops in class that would waste the expensive infrastructure the university has installed. Surely, the university conducted a study on the efficacy of this teaching methodology before investing such large sums in projectors and classroom wireless. So this study must be bogus.