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A letter to Obama about the inadequacy of high school physics education

Nov 13, 2012 By Abraham

Standard high school physics curricula don’t include anything discovered since 1865. Perhaps the guy who chooses the Secretary of Education could do something about that…

(via Voices)


  1. mitch says:

    Well, of course it isn’t Obama’s fault for this. would be cool though if he would do anything about it.
    But then again, I dont’ think big parts of America actually even want to hear about the big bang theory since they’re such devout catholics and it’s not real in their eyes. at least, that’s an European view of the US.
    No offence

    1. kdude63 says:

      You know, it’s only roughly 25% of Americans who are Catholic. It’s really just the majority of America who’s Christian, Mormon, Muslim, etc.

  2. John Mahan says:

    I am not buying it. There are many things wrong with this argument. The physics before 1865 is foundational (also to other fields including all engineering, astronomy, microbiology) and even requires math beyond what most high school student will ever encounter. We really don’t have to change the courses. Just have the teacher show Brian Greene’s “Fabric of the Cosmos” for a couple days. I may not realize how bad things actually are since I had the math based physics in both high school and college. But really, did Carl Sagan revolutionize the high school classroom, or do the science geeks (I use this term in an affectionate way) just remember him because they chose to watch NOVA?

    1. Eddie says:

      Agreed. The post-1865 physics *is* very interesting and important (I just finished reading “The Elegant Universe”), but to a much narrower group of people. Almost all engineering, for example, never needs anything beyond the classical – most things we do are on a scale that quantum effects simply aren’t a concern. All the relativity, quantum mechanics, string theory, etc. is primarily of interest to theoretical physicists, while the Newtonian principles are applicable to almost everyone in some way. Some exposure would be great – help to pick up the few kids that are really interested in it.

      Don’t get me wrong – I love math and science. In all honesty most kids would be WAY better served with a good personal finance class. But heaven forbid we teach kids that it’s best to AVOID debt – our whole screwed up economy is based on it!

    1. Andrew says:

      Hit “Like so much that it made my heart feel tingly” button pushed here. Nice to see at least one other person knows the Constitution exists besides me.

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