Category Archives: Academia

The Common Core: How Bill Gates Changed America

James Joyner points us to a Washington Post article on how Bill Gates somewhat single-handedly pulled off a dramatic restructuring of American public education, via promoting the Common Core standards. There is much that is fascinating here, including the fact … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 54 Comments

Talking Back to Your Elders

When I was young and as yet unformed as a theoretical physicist, cosmology was in a transitional period. We had certainly moved beyond the relatively barren landscape of the 60′s and 70′s, when pretty much the only things one had … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Science | 59 Comments

On Templeton

A few recent events, including the launch of Nautilus and this interesting thread on Brian Leiter’s blog, have brought the John Templeton Foundation (JTF) back into the spotlight. As probably everybody knows, the JTF is a philanthropic organization that supports … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Religion, Science and Society | 124 Comments

Snowmass Young Physicists Survey

Modern experimental particle physics is a high-budget, long-time-scale operation, which requires a great deal of planning. Fortunately there is a process in place, dubbed Snowmass after the scenic location in Colorado where meetings were traditionally held. (Funding agencies subsequently decided … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Science | 1 Comment

Online Complexity Course from Santa Fe

MOOCs are all the rage these days. That would be Massive Open Online Courses, for those of you still stuck in 2007. Apparently Bucky Fuller was pushing the idea back in the early Sixties? These days, with everyone spending most … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Internet, Science and the Media | 11 Comments

Guest Post: Marc Sher on the Nonprofit Textbook Movement

The price of university textbooks (not to mention scholarly journals) is like the weather: everyone complains about it, but nobody does anything about it. My own graduate textbook in GR hovers around $100, but I’d be happier if it were … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Guest Post, Words | 40 Comments

Boycott Elsevier

While I have the blog open, let me throw in a quick two cents to support the Boycott Elsevier movement. As most working scientists know, Elsevier is a publishing company that controls many important journals, and uses their position to … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Science and Society | 59 Comments


Zachary Ernst, a philosopher at the University of Missouri, has written up an aggravating tale of sexism in academia. (Via New APPS. I initially mistakenly said Ernst was at the University of Wisconsin, which is where he went to grad … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 25 Comments

All-Male Conferences

We all know that certain areas of academia exhibit a profound gender imbalance — philosophy, it turns out, is nearly as bad as physics. Interestingly, one often sees major conferences organized in which the ratio of men to women on … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Women in Science | 41 Comments

NSF Tries to Make Family/Career Balance Easier

Among the various difficulties that women experience when they embark on a scientific career, a big one is how to balance the challenges of work with raising a family. (In principle men could face the same challenges; in practice the … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Women in Science | 25 Comments