Who are you? and What's your IQ?

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AuthorTopic: Who are you? and What's your IQ?
E Equals MC What!!!!
Member # 5491
Profile Homepage #125
This topic confirms my opinion that higher education is largely a waste of time and money unless you're looking at getting a Master's or something.

Experience beats education by a long way. :)

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Sex is easier than love.
Posts: 1861 | Registered: Friday, February 11 2005 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #126
Hey, my physics classes may have been largely wasted so far, but my Latin, Greek, and English have been wonderful. And so were my other classes, by and large (except Rhetoric — ick).

And I'm hoping the physics improves. I've just had three pretty bad teachers in a row. Well, two sorta bad ones and one horrible one.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #127
No, Kelandon, that isn't a real derivation in my book. What it is is kind of dishonest, because in pre-quantum mechanics, the energy equation 1 is actually an identity, total E being nothing but the sum of potential and kinetic energy by definition. But if we interpret E as \hbar d/dt instead, this means that equation 1 no longer holds as a general operator equation, because it is only for a restricted class of functions of x and t that the time dependence will happen to be related to the space dependence in a way that satisfies Eqn 1.

In other words, the starting point Eqn 1 is actually nothing but Schroedinger's Equation itself, disguised by an unacknowledged implicit notation as something much more familiar. The exercise presented is merely that of changing notation to something less implicit. There's nothing wrong with changing notations, but this change is presented as though it were something much more profound, namely a genuine derivation of new physics from a familiar expression for total energy, and that's dishonest. I really hate this kind of crap.

[ Wednesday, June 01, 2005 22:58: Message edited by: Student of Trinity ]

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It is not enough to discover how things seem to seem. We must discover how things really seem.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
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Profile Homepage #128
Yeah, it pretty much felt like assuming the result, but I couldn't quite see exactly how. I guess that's why.

EDIT: That's funny, though. My teacher made a big deal out of disagreeing with the wording in the book that said that it would just "postulate" the Schro Eqn. He said that it was "not a postulate," that it had been proven. I just assumed that we weren't shown the real deal.

[ Wednesday, June 01, 2005 23:11: Message edited by: Thurylandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
E Equals MC What!!!!
Member # 5491
Profile Homepage #129
quote:
Originally written by Thurylandon:

Hey, my physics classes may have been largely wasted so far, but my Latin, Greek, and English have been wonderful. And so were my other classes, by and large (except Rhetoric — ick).

And I'm hoping the physics improves. I've just had three pretty bad teachers in a row. Well, two sorta bad ones and one horrible one.

Well, depends what you're looking for. If you're just wanting to learn stuff or have fun, sure, you'll get a certain amount of value out of it. As far as improving your employment opportunities goes, I stand by my original statement. Experience is much more useful than education in most non-academic fields.

Heck, even my uncle who has a Ph.D in Biology spends a big chunk of his time working on stuff completely unrelated to his field of study.

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Sex is easier than love.
Posts: 1861 | Registered: Friday, February 11 2005 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #130
Well, the Schroedinger equation has been experimentally confirmed a bazillion times; in that sense it can be called 'proven' (albeit, for those who have absorbed Hume's critique of empiricism, only in the archaic sense of 'probed'). It would be right to emphasize that it is not just something we believe arbitrarily, or assume in an unfalsifiable way that forces all our observations to conform by definition. But as a strictly logical structure, I don't know any way of obtaining Schroedinger's equation nontrivially from other ideas.

(Here I'm talking about the most general form of Schroedinger's equation, which just sets the generator of time evolution equal to the Hamiltonian over i hbar, without assuming anything about the Hamiltonian operator except Hermiticity and self-adjointness. Once you've got that very basic framework, which is even assumed in many formulations at quantum gravity, you can indeed set about deriving the particular Hamiltonian for a single non-relativistic particle, from a variety of deeper principles.)

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It is not enough to discover how things seem to seem. We must discover how things really seem.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #131
Check, please!

Could it be that intro physics at Berkeley is a weeding course?
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Skip to My Lou
Member # 40
Profile Homepage #132
Sorry if this is off topic now, but wanted to post before reading the last 5 pages.

quote:
Originally written by This Glass Is Half Stugie:


In terms of my personality and demeanor, I tend to be a mellow and moderating force in my interactions with others, and remain in a relatively calm state of mind most of the time. I'm an extrovert by nature, and tend to feel quite out of sorts when isolated from others for even a relatively short time. I am friendly and extremely tolerant, although even my patience has limits. I am not terribly responsible or mature for my age, which can be a serious liability at times. I tend to be sorely lacking in drive, will power, and motivation as well, and as a result I've suffered from some very poor academic performance of late. My self-confidence isn't quite where it should be either, which causes me some problems on the relationship front.

I am reading "Please Understand Me II" by Keirsey. He is generally considered a leading expert on temperment and personality and, after reading his book, I think what he says makes a lot of sense. How this is related: Your statement that you tend to be calm marks you as very likely to be a Rational. Interestingly, Keirsey states that he beleives Rationals mostly base their self-confidence upon their will power and ability to be resolute in what they have decided.

The more I look at other people, the more I think that Keirsey has a pretty good idea of what he's talking about.

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Posts: 1629 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #133
quote:
Originally written by Andrew Miller:

Could it be that intro physics at Berkeley is a weeding course?
It was more that my teachers sucked.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Too Sexy for my Title
Member # 5654
Profile #134
quote:
Originally written by Thurylandon:

SoT, you don't have to explain every conceivable problem ever, but you should at least explain one conceivable problem with each major equation. Deriving Schrodinger's Equation is great, but having seen the derivation sort of doesn't help when you're trying to solve for the wave equation of a particle in a finite square well if you haven't seen any application of it ever.

Yes, there were homework problems, but I did not once solve a homework problem independently during the entirety of my first two physics courses at Cal. I simply did not ever have the right equations or the right tools.

Bear in mind that I got A's in these classes. Something was direly wrong.

SoT, that's what I meant. My teacher would start a major equation for the first time and did not finish explaining it; he would just say, "You can take it from here". Nevertheless, we (me and the rest of the class) weren't able to ask him questions because he would say that we should have looked it up in the book (which had no relevant information on the topic). Sometimes he would right down wrong equations, or we would get an equation wrong at the exam and he was unable to tell us why we got it wrong.
The entire class took tutoring and only 10 out 50 people passed, and with a low grade. I got a C that messed up my entire GPA.

Ash, I agree that you don’t need a degree to be successful, but it does help a lot. Besides, not all teachers are the same. I’ve gotten really good physics and cal teachers and horrible ones (like the one mentioned above), you just got to stick with it and try to do your best.
Posts: 1035 | Registered: Friday, April 1 2005 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #135
In defense of professors, it should be noted that
university professors are not trained in teaching, and usually have no easy way of getting such training even if they want it.

More importantly, professors at universities that want to position themselves as research institutions are not really being paid to teach. Their research comes first, by a long margin. Universities can generally count on getting about the same income in tuition from undergraduate students, regardless of how good the instruction quality is. Competition for research grant money, on the other hand, is very fierce. And universities get a lot of this money: they charge affiliated researchers a flat percentage of all research grants, on the grounds that this covers all the institutional infrastructure that the research is going to be using. So, financially speaking, a university needs successful researchers much more than it needs good teachers. And it grants or denies tenure accordingly.

This means that professors are under a great deal of pressure to produce research papers and winning grant applications, and rather little pressure to teach well. There are some institutional exceptions to this rule, but many institutions that claim to be exceptions to it are not really so in practice.

Teaching takes an ungodly amount of time, especially when you're new to it, or at least new to the particular course being taught. It can take up to six hours to prepare a single fifty minute lecture for the first time, and revising it when you're teaching the course again can still take a couple of hours. Then there is all the administrative overhead of running a course -- setting and grading exams and homework, maintain web sites, etc. Finally, professors have to spend a number of hours each week in committee meetings, because a university department is like a small corporation that is run more or less as a direct democracy of faculty.

The bottom line is that junior professors running for tenure struggle constantly to accomplish their teaching obligations with the least possible investments of time. Those who let teaching take too much of their time find themselves looking for work again. And the academic job market is extremely tight.

Helluva way to run an educational railroad, isn't it?

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It is not enough to discover how things seem to seem. We must discover how things really seem.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #136
Certainly it's true that my teachers sucking wasn't entirely their own fault. They still pretty much sucked.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Too Sexy for my Title
Member # 5654
Profile #137
quote:
Originally written by Thurylandon:

Certainly it's true that my teachers sucking wasn't entirely their own fault. They still pretty much sucked.
I agree
Posts: 1035 | Registered: Friday, April 1 2005 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 5662
Profile #138
lets say it: sometimes teachers don't know exactly what they are doing. after all, aren't they Human?

the problem is that they usually do not assume their mistakes, because they think it wouldn't be right for them to be corrected by students.
Posts: 38 | Registered: Sunday, April 3 2005 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #139
Well, I guess my main point wasn't just to lower the karmic burden on professors, but to point out that professorial suction is largely a product of the university system, rather than of individual wickedness.

It certainly seems as though the system could use a profound overhaul. Trouble is that to do that, the first thing one would like to have is a clear idea of what universities are supposed to be trying to do, in the way of undergraduate education.

As several people have already pointed out, a system that originally served to boost a few doctors, clergy, lawyers and scientists into post-graduate studies, and otherwise turn upper crusters into liberally educated young gentlemen, is now being asked to give half the population or so technical training for white collar occupations. And it isn't obviously doing that great a job at it.

On the one hand, science and humanities departments have been joined by schools of business and management, whose academic credentials are frankly very dubious even in the top-tier places. On the other hand, traditional academic departments can hardly pretend that their subject matter is directly related to anything people can do for a living (at least not without a lot more than a bachelor's degree). So they claim to provide crossover training in 'critical thinking' or 'communication skills': paraphrasing Petrarch is supposed to help you to paraphrase your pointy-haired boss, I suppose. That's not a completely implausible claim, but it's not exactly easy to verify, either. Lots of room for emperor's new clothes situations.

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It is not enough to discover how things seem to seem. We must discover how things really seem.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Nuke and Pave
Member # 24
Profile Homepage #140
I guess the question is: what is the goal of undergraduate education?

If the goal is just to train technicians, computer programmers, etc, it would be more efficient to just give people a few classes in the things they'll be directly working on. (Even in a high level programming job I'll never use most of what I've learned in college.)

If the goal is to prepare people for research (work that generally requires graduate degrees), then why are so many people taking these undergrad classes? Most engineering students will not go on to get Phds.

The only practical goal of undergraduate education appears to be making a "well educated person". If that is the goal, current system is fine for providing a lot of random information.

[ Thursday, June 02, 2005 14:15: Message edited by: Zeviz ]

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Be careful with a word, as you would with a sword,
For it too has the power to kill.
However well placed word, unlike a well placed sword,
Can also have the power to heal.
Posts: 2649 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Shaper
Member # 247
Profile Homepage #141
Sure experience is the most important. But a B.Sc. will get you a long way.

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Posts: 2395 | Registered: Friday, November 2 2001 08:00
Master
Member # 4614
Profile Homepage #142
Not a long way in most fields.

Other than that, I'll just say that I'm quite excited for college when the time comes.

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Posts: 3360 | Registered: Friday, June 25 2004 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #143
quote:
Originally written by Zeviz:

I guess the question is: what is the goal of undergraduate education?

If the goal is just to train technicians, computer programmers, etc, it would be more efficient to just give people a few classes in the things they'll be directly working on. (Even in a high level programming job I'll never use most of what I've learned in college.)

If the goal is to prepare people for research (work that generally requires graduate degrees), then why are so many people taking these undergrad classes? Most engineering students will not go on to get Phds.

The only practical goal of undergraduate education appears to be making a "well educated person". If that is the goal, current system is fine for providing a lot of random information.

I'm developing an increasing suspicion that the purpose of tertiary education is not to teach you specific things, but to prove that you're capable of being taught the sort of things that you'll later need to learn. Essentially it's a long and elaborate testing procedure. The trouble with on-the-job training is that this is usually done at least partially at the employer's expense, so they don't really want people who aren't likely to benefit from it.

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Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #144
I don't think that is or should be the actual goal, but I think it is the failsafe achievement that universities get by on making. It ought to be possible to do better than this, though. I somehow learned some important things in college. Everyone should have this opportunity.

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It is not enough to discover how things seem to seem. We must discover how things really seem.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
E Equals MC What!!!!
Member # 5491
Profile Homepage #145
quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

I'm developing an increasing suspicion that the purpose of tertiary education is not to teach you specific things, but to prove that you're capable of being taught the sort of things that you'll later need to learn. Essentially it's a long and elaborate testing procedure. The trouble with on-the-job training is that this is usually done at least partially at the employer's expense, so they don't really want people who aren't likely to benefit from it.
More than that, it's not even the preferred testing procedure.

Say you're an employer, and you want to take someone on. Your options:

1) Someone you already know, and you know to be a hard worker, honest person, and eager to learn.

2) Someone with previous experience and good references.

3) Someone who's studied and has some sort of degree, but no experience.

With option 3, you don't know if they will be an easy person to work with, whether they'll adjust to real life work well, how dedicated they'll be, etc. From where I'm standing, the other two options are much more attractive to a prospective employer.

I got my job through a combination of 1 and 2. I've never had to apply for a job in my life.

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Sex is easier than love.
Posts: 1861 | Registered: Friday, February 11 2005 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #146
I have a number of friends who've found it much easier than before to get jobs due to the fact that they're students at Cal, even without a diploma. It works both ways.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #147
One of the most obvious benefits of the college degree is the job referral service. There is an implicit value to the name of the outfit issuing the diploma, and that turns into money when it opens the door to interviews. Imagine 2 folks applying for a job,
1 - A guy that went to University of Eastern Oregon, studied his ass off and minored in romance languages while getting 3.85 in his major of ChE.
2 - A guy goes to Cal Tech, naturally brilliant, but is overwhelmed with college and eventually slides by with C- average and a ChE degree.

I guarantee you that the CalTech grad will get more interviews than the UEOregon grad.

That is the mission of colleges today. Create an aura about their graduates which results in alum getting higher paychecks, and donating more back to the alma mater. This false economy raises the price of education and all corollary services surrounding eduction.

How you like them apples?
:P
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Nuke and Pave
Member # 24
Profile Homepage #148
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

I don't think that is or should be the actual goal, but I think it is the failsafe achievement that universities get by on making. It ought to be possible to do better than this, though. I somehow learned some important things in college. Everyone should have this opportunity.
What did yo learn in college? And did you learn it as part of curriculum, or just from being in college?
(I also learned a lot of important things, but they were completely unrelated to classes and related to living independently and closely encountering a lot of completely different people for the first time.)

As for the value of college's name, I haven't seen that. So far all of my jobs after the very first one have been recieved from people who either knew me from a previus job or from their friends who tought a class where I did very well.

[ Thursday, June 02, 2005 20:58: Message edited by: Zeviz ]

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Be careful with a word, as you would with a sword,
For it too has the power to kill.
However well placed word, unlike a well placed sword,
Can also have the power to heal.
Posts: 2649 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
E Equals MC What!!!!
Member # 5491
Profile Homepage #149
quote:
Originally written by Zeviz:

What did yo learn in college? And did you learn it as part of curriculum, or just from being in college?
(I also learned a lot of important things, but they were completely unrelated to classes and related to living independently and closely encountering a lot of completely different people for the first time.)

As for the value of college's name, I haven't seen that. So far all of my jobs after the very first one have been recieved from people who either knew me from a previus job or from their friends who tought a class where I did very well.

Exactly. The main benefits of tertiary education appear (to me) to be tangential ones. Learning self-motivation, basic living and organisational skills, meeting other people interested in the same field and getting known, etc. These things (I think) can be achieved more efficiently other ways.

Kel: I'm curious. These friends, did they just present their resume, get an interview, mention being a student at Cal and get hired? Or did they get these jobs through someone they met through attending Cal?

(Of course, I'm not arguing that option 3 never works. Just that options 1 and 2 work a lot better.)

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Sex is easier than love.
Posts: 1861 | Registered: Friday, February 11 2005 08:00

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