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Two ideas to add to the discussion

Flora's picture

This recent New York Times article uses some very different language to describe modern physics. I was most struck by this part:
Each speaker tried to wow the crowd with yet another discovery. “It was like the Texas chili cook-off or the Iowa State Fair apple pie bake-off,” Dr. Schewe said. “What’s your secret ingredient? That’s what it seemed like.”

Also, after beating up on capitalist business concerns earlier, I would like to steal an idea from them: the cross-functional team. Perhaps the answer is an interdisciplinary approach to social or intellectual problems. This intervention might eliminate the hierarchy, as Rebecca wanted.

sky stegall's picture

so this class is invading my life...

everywhere i look i find more and more to think about and integrate into my understand and perception of this course and its topics.  after reading the novels over break, and after having some conversations with different people about the class, the issues, and such diverse things as movies, war, adn graduate school, i keep coming back to the idea of responsibility in science.  feynman spoke of the irresponsibilty for the world he felt when working on the bomb, and while that seems appalling, it's understandable too.  karen barad writes about responsibility to meaning and interpretation, that we cannot leave them by the side of road and rocket on ahead in our calculations.  my mother tells me another of my cousins is being deployed to iraq in one week and i wonder what responsibility he feels.  i'm reflecting on the recent departmental search and writing a letter to my department, the provost, the president and etc about the department's responsibility to us as the students, and to itself as a member of a larger community.  and i can't help but remember texts in this class that spoke of the crime of physics' focus on "irresponsible" subjects like the grand unified theories (so i think about "properties of light" and the horrific consequences of an irresponsible physics community). and i wonder if we're all using the same word when we talk about responsibility, and if maybe (since we clearly aren't), that's a part of the problem we could solve now.