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Re: [Phys-l] Premed Requirements Commentary

Wow, we physics teachers are really in sad shape.

We want premed students (and others) to learn to think critically, do research (take and analyze data), and understand physics. Yet many on this list have been saying (now and earlier) that our courses don't succeed at any of those things.

Why don't we just quit and go do something else for a living?

A different point with same conclusion... We have discussed the pros and cons of "physics first." Without intending to rehash that, we should at least recognize that the basic premise behind physics first is that physics is the foundation (with perhaps math as the sub-foundation), then chemistry is built on top of that, cell then plant then animal biology are on top of chemistry, then human biology/medicine are at the top. Doctors are supposedly working at the top.

Now even we physicists seem to be saying that math, physics, and chemistry courses are not actually needed to work at the top. People wanting to work at the top can just pop in at that level and start working there. The foundation is not necessary.

Why don't we just quit and go do something else for a living?

Oh, by the way, seeing as how over half of the students in my physics class are premeds, and the rest are chemistry and biology pre-teachers, one thing I point out once in a while is that perhaps some of them should stay in physics or chemistry and work on energy and environmental concerns. Otherwise, sometime soon, the medical doctors won't have any patients to treat and the teachers won't have any students to teach. But that's a whole 'nother issue.

Michael D. Edmiston, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics and Chemistry
Bluffton University
Bluffton, OH 45817