Friday, October 26, 2007

Physics For Future Presidents - Follow-Up

I mentioned about this popular lecture at Berkeley that have been available online for a while now. It seems that this lecture gets an audience from all over the world. But what was more touching is that some of the members of the armed forces serving currently serving overseas also listened to these lectures.

Now imagine this scene: I haven't showered in over 36 hours, temperatures are hitting near 110 degrees, I'm as filthy as I can ever remember being because of the blowing dust, a goat herder and his family tending their goats pass by our vehicle — once in the morning and once during the evening, going in the other direction, each time waving a white flag to make sure they aren't accidentally shot — and I've got physics going in one of my ears. Back on the base, I would take a cot outside at night and use my night-vision goggles to look at stars and constellations while listening to Professor Muller….

I continue to be amazed that some people go to great lengths to be able to study physics, even on their own, while others couldn't care less for it. Recall the story a while back about students at a Nepal university who held a protest to be able to take physics classes! The problem with most societies nowadays is that there aren't that many who realize this, or why it is important to know a bit of physics, not just for the content, but for the way it approaches a problem.

As Chief Petty Officer John David Shelton accurately noted, the course could easily be retitled as "Physics for Useful Citizens". I couldn't agree more.


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