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.