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Paul Guinnessy
David Kaiser: Toil, Trouble, and the Cold War Bubble: Physics and the Academy since World War II
distinct parallels between his recent book on Feynman diagrams and Harry Potter and the Half blood prince - released on the same day - Cameron Neylon
NAAS report 'Rising above the gathering storm' - concern in US of lack of newly trained scientists and engineers versus other countries - esp China - Cameron Neylon
could have done search and replace "socviet union" for "india and china" and "national security" for " economic competitiveness" and difficult to tell difference with reports from the 50s - Cameron Neylon
showing graph of physics PhDs per year jump afterr WWII and after sputnik but crash after 1970 - Cameron Neylon
similar trends for non-physics and other countries - not related to population or baby boomers - Cameron Neylon
Relating physics enrolments to speculative bubbles. - Michael Nielsen
is this a speculative bubble a la tech stocks, tulip craze, south sea bubble - Cameron Neylon
roles of hype, amplification, and feedback loops - Cameron Neylon
Mentions book by Robert Shiller - "Irrational Exuberance" - Michael Nielsen
Shiller: emphasizes role of hype, amplification, and feedback loops. - Michael Nielsen
much effort on assessing the soviet threat in terms of technical training throughs 50s and 60s - Cameron Neylon
Hype: lots of books assessing the "Soviet Threat", and the ensuing reaction. Books were relatively careful, but much of the message got lost in the press. - Michael Nielsen
De Witt (1955) Korol (1957), De Witt (1961) - Cameron Neylon
both warned against getting lost in the 'numbers game' - Cameron Neylon
large fraction of soviet engineers not working in R&D, extreme specialisation, standards modified to fir produciton quotas, extension and correspondence students inflatingnumbers (1/2 in 1960) - Cameron Neylon
Book pictured on slide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki... - Chad Orzel
e.g. In Russia there is a difference between a metallurgist and someone who specializes in precious metals refining so its not a one to one comparison with the metallurgist educated in the US - Paul Guinnessy
US actually had higher numbers in full time students, and even including extensions students, but much higher soviet proportion of engineers and scientists - Cameron Neylon
but the figure of 2-3 times more science graduates taken out of context and pumped to the media - Cameron Neylon
Isn't his picture of Rabi actually of Gell-Mann? - Michael Nielsen
this argument amplified by physicists to use sputnik as a pretext for closing the 'manpower gap' - political amplifcation to increase the importance of physics - Cameron Neylon
Elmer Hutchisson CEO of AIP calls sputnik "an almost unprecedented opportunity" to "influence public opinion greatly" - Paul Guinnessy
huge federal funding pumped into the education at many levels - leeds to feedback - Cameron Neylon
$7 bn (in $2008) to towards 7 K graduate fellowships, 500K undergrads restricted towards "defense" fields" science, math, engineering and area studies - Paul Guinnessy
numbers themselves actually are engineering, agriculture. and health. If you focus on science and math the soviet lead falls by a factor of 10 - Cameron Neylon
1970 - the bubble bursts. - Michael Nielsen
a number of factors (rise in number of troops to send to Vietnam etc..) cause a change in political priorities so that education is no longer a priority - Paul Guinnessy
employment curve for physicists looks like a bubble in the stock market - Paul Guinnessy
Number of physics degrees similar to rise and fall of Nasdaq - Michael Nielsen
Moving on - does this actually effect teaching and knowledge generation - Cameron Neylon
Number of quantum textbooks written tracks the number of students. - Michael Nielsen
quantum mechanics textbooks, do they match the employment curve? - Paul Guinnessy
Publication of QM books tracks Physics enrollments pretty well. - Chad Orzel
Lots of philosophy in QM books, somewhat to the chagrin of future physicists - Chad Orzel
The emphasis on interpretation issues is interesting, because there's some indication that the philosophical debates (Bohr-Einstein, etc.) were actually kind of marginal. Most physicists just calculated stuff, and didn't fret about philosophy. - Chad Orzel
Philosophy vanishes by 1950s. - Michael Nielsen
Feshbach: "Enough with this musty atavistic to-do about position and momentum" (1962) - Michael Nielsen
lack of textbooks meant that physicists would type up lecture notes and provide them to colleagues for teaching aids. Useful historical resource to find out what philosophy was being taught as part of QM - Paul Guinnessy
Obtained 12 sets of notes from 52 departments granting Physics Ph.D.'s - Chad Orzel
Amount of interpretive material drops dramatically as course enrollments increase-- 13% down to 3% as enrollment went from 13 to 40 per class - Chad Orzel
.. and thus the increase in size of physics changes the content! - Michael Nielsen
Reminded of McLuhan: "The Medium is the Message" - Michael Nielsen
'the class size is the content'...? - Cameron Neylon
Cameron - nice one :-) - Michael Nielsen
Similarly, the way algebra is taught changes (much less interpretive). - Michael Nielsen
I wonder if the essay question increase of the 70's has anything to do with new pedagogical trends. The "New Math" of the 70's, for example, seems to be somewhat similar in approach. - Chad Orzel
Whole boom-and-bust cycle repeats in the 80's. I've always attributed the late-90's crash to the dotcom boom, though. - Chad Orzel
bubble repeats in 80s-90s with Reagan, star wars, but this time with foreign PhD students, fall of the Berlin War and the failure of the SSC - Cameron Neylon
Other bubbles - CS shift from theory of computation to minutiae of programming. - Michael Nielsen
I'm not sure I buy the claim that quantum information is an example of the stuff he's talking about-- Bell's theorem stuff didn't take off until technology developed to allow experimental tests, likewise, quantum computing didn't take off until Shor's algorithm and the Cirac-Zoller proposal that made a quantum computer look feasible. - Chad Orzel
Number of PhDs in biotech - big bubble! - Michael Nielsen
and coming on into Biotech...arguably close to the top of the bubble...what does this tell us about how teaching is changing? - Cameron Neylon
"More is at stake than an unstable labor market. These boom-and-bust cycles can shape what counts as 'real' science in a given time and place." - Michael Nielsen
Talks about way people like Fry, Clauser etc were just not funded to work on Bell. Not a technology issue. - Michael Nielsen
I'm still not completely convinced-- I think the real key technology is parametric downconversion sources, which don't show up until later than Aspect and those people. - Chad Orzel