Monthly Archives: May 2011

We Teach Too Much “what to think” And Not Enough “how to think”

Way back when I was a little high-school student, I recall the pride I felt when working through the nuclear reactor unit of our Grade 11 physics course. The pride derived from the featured CANDU reactor. Wow! Our little Canada … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Physics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rota On Teaching Mathematics

From Indiscrete Thoughts, by Gian-Carlo Rota: The best introduction to mathematics is not achieved by rigorous presentation. No one can learn calculus, linear algebra, or group theory by reading an axiomatic presentation. What one wishes is a feeling for a … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics | Tagged | Leave a comment

On Pulling Weeds

“A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is a profound observation about judgements and the role of words in conveying judgements. Nowadays, with our quite extensive knowledge of plants and … Continue reading

Posted in Physics | 5 Comments

Solution To “The Coconut Problem”

The coconut problem post has now been updated with a solution and some discussion here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

How Much Mathematics Should A Student Memorize? Part 4, Geometric Series

In teaching mathematics for many years, one of the things I emphasized over and over again was that students should memorize the absolute minimum necessary, and then I did my best to make explicit what this absolute minimum is. It … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Promising New Cancer Drug

Researchers led by Evangelos Michelakis and Kenn Petruk at the University of Alberta have published a study showing that dichloroacetate (DCA) is effective for treatment of certain brain cancers (see here, and also this recent Globe and Mail article). Three … Continue reading

Posted in Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lectures Suck

A friend sent me this link to a New York Times article on improving lectures in university physics classrooms. A Toronto Star article based on the same research (led by University of British Columbia Nobel laureate Carl Wieman) is here. … Continue reading

Posted in Education | Tagged , , | 4 Comments