Saturday, February 05, 2005

My kind of guy!

Donald E. Simanek is a professor of physics at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. He has a lively interest in pseudo-science, science frauds, flat-earth societies, etc. His web site has a wealth of material on debunking science hoaxes as well as a "Museum of Unworkable Devices." He gave a couple lectures in the mid 90s that I came across today. These lectures dealt with education; specifically its decline. His lectures are based on decades of observation of students in his physics courses at LHU. A sample:
I've even had students ask, with some indignation, "Why must we work so hard in a physics course to get a measly C when we can get A's in non-science courses without ever studying?" I respond, "Why should there be any course on campus you can get an A in without studying?"

I once taught a course where one student scored nearly 100% on every one of my exams, while no one else could score above 50%. Several students got up courage to confront me and complain that I was making the course "too hard for anyone." I pointed out that it was obviously not too hard for the student doing nearly perfect work. They responded, "That's not fair--he studies all the time!" They were not at all happy when I suggested they try copying his method for success.
Well worth your reading.

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