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November 07, 2011

Majoring in the sciences


I was curious to know what people thought of this article in the New York Times. Obviously this does not pertain to Astro 101 directly, but it does pertain to classes in astronomy, and science in general.

Posted by jonmm at November 7, 2011 05:28 PM


I think the reason is that, as the article hints, the people who would usually get 800 scores on the SAT and who would become engineers are so smart, that they can make money in almost any field, so it is usually more beneficial for them to try a little less hard and be less stressed overall in life. The problem is now that even people with the potential to do well as engineers and mathematicians aren't finding the benefits worth the work, and that may be a fault of the educational system for spreading students too thin. For this reason, many students who think they want to work with the sciences are thrown into a field that burns them out too fast. It seems that only the people who truly have a gift for this kind of science and math work will be the only ones who stay in the field, and this is a very small amount of people overall-- the others become small fish in a very big pond among students who are even more naturally talented than they are, and they want to do something where they can be at the top of the class, like the Notre Dame student who was once an engineer but switched to English. Advanced science and math are not easy subjects, and it may not be that students aren't interested in them, but that only a very small, elite group of students are genius enough to stick to the subject for the long haul.

Posted by: drdod at November 10, 2011 06:37 PM

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