Sunday, March 18, 2007

Testing The Boundaries of Science Teaching

Princeton University is testing a new way to teach science that incorporate interdisciplinary studies from several different subjects. Called the Intergrated Science Curriculum, the students learn ways to conduct experiments across different subject areas.

This sounds like a very challenging series of courses, but I can certainly see how something like this can be highly useful. Without even considering the material being learned, just the analytical skill being acquired out of something like this is valuable enough. I especially like the fact that one of the goals of the program is this:

By understanding the mathematical patterns that underlie physical phenomena everywhere in nature, students develop an intuition about the world that can help them approach problems in any classical scientific field.

Developing students' mathematical intuition is one of Botstein's goals, and one that is proving the most challenging to achieve.

This is the one major aspect of what it means to be a scientist, and certainly true for a physicist.

While the program is still being studied and being adjusted, I certainly hope it succeeds and becomes part of the established curriculum.


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