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Re: [Phys-l] Premed Requirements Commentary

Gentle persons

Several comments.

1. It is neither the Physics Dept. nor the department in which the premeds are enrolled that require physics, rather it is the med schools.
Med schools are in a good position to judge bother what courses are useful and which courses are effective sorters.

2. There are still many small rural towns in which the community doctor is the local science expert. Even in cities, doctors' opinions carry some added weight. I would assume med schools are aware of this, and want incoming students to have a boarder science background.

3. Bits and pieces of physics have direct application to the practice of medicine, for example: pressure, geometric optics, forces ( muscles and bone), radiation, . . . If it is important, the students will see it in med school, but hopefully, we give them a start.

4. In most physics labs, students are confronted with little bits of the real world. I have a friend who managed a company which repaired equipment for hospitals. The number one reason for an after hours emergency call for repairs was not plugged in, and the number two was not turned on. These calls were expensive in that the repair person was being payed double time from the time the phone rang until he (There were no women working for my friend at that time) was back in bed.

5. I think, we often expect too much from our students and our own teaching for the students to fully understand physics (even at an introductory level) that we teach on the first pass. Human learning is complex. Learning facts is fairly straightforward, but integrating these facts into a world view requires a lot of trial and error thinking on the part of the learner to reach just one "Ah-ha" moment, and many Ah-ha's are needed.

6. My memory of my style of learning is that I sort of learned it the first time, but got good at in when I needed it for another class. For example, in high school, my algebraic skill where really honed when I used them in Trig. My point is that after college calculus and physics, the successful students can do simple algebra pretty well.

Roger Haar