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Old 11-26-2023, 02:36 PM
 
Location: moved
13,534 posts, read 9,522,212 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
...There's a great scene in the movie Margin Call where Zachory Quinto's character explains he has a PhD from MIT but he works for the (undefined Wall Street financial corp) because it pays better. Cool movie by the way. Most of the field of data analytics grew out of Astrophysicists and Particle Physicists developing the analytics tools to handle enormous data sets.
Yes, very much so. Consider that in China or the former USSR, promising young people who went into science/engineering would have stayed in science/engineering, perhaps working for the defense sector, the space program or the like. They wouldn't have gone into finance or business... not only because the latter opportunities didn't exist, but because they weren't prestigious. Imagine a young Soviet couple going out on a date, in 1960. The young man is a mathematician working for the nuclear program. That would have been a so much more - how shall I put it... attractive? - career, than if he'd been say the director of a furniture store.

American culture is different. America prizes business and commerce. The best scientific minds eventually segue into commerce. Those who remain in science, succeed by being effectively the best at business - namely, garnering the most funding, which attracts the best students, who write the best papers, which means the best prospects for more funding. The young mathematician would only be attractive if he's a co-founder in some AI start-up.

Knowing this, a smart American teenager might say, "Why should I study algebraic topology, when instead I could just get a BSE in data-science, then an MBA, and go on to make a killing?" And so, we find that the algebraic topology professor is from India, or China, or even Iran.
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Old 11-26-2023, 02:43 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
101,978 posts, read 106,508,841 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
This really talks right to the point of this thread. We've created an image that scientists are abnormal, maladjusted, geniuses just on the edge of going completely nuts. I ask kids what image they think of when they think about a scientist. They picture a goofy looking guy with wild white hair like Einstein or someone with thick glasses and a lab coat with lots of bubbling bright colored liquids.

They don't picture someone like Dr Becky Smethurst
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DLylJZBBLo or Katherine Johnson. It's exciting when the light goes on in their eyes that a scientist looks like them if they want to be one.

Most don't picture someone like Neil deGrasse, either. He's inspired scads of kids to love science, astronomy, astrophysics. He's a real role model. Kids rarely have a teacher like that in school.
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Old 11-26-2023, 02:48 PM
 
10,325 posts, read 11,261,870 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShootingStar992 View Post
As someone who went to public schools in an average semi rural middle class part of America during the 2000s I don't recall anyone I knew from my school years who went into science and engineering.

I don't recall anyone from my elementary school years saying they dreamed of being an astronaut let alone a scientist or engineer.

I heard the 1960s "Space Race" inspired many of the youth of America during that era to go into science and engineering and they ended up giving us the tech boom of the 1990s.

It seems like American society in the 90s and 2000s were more excited by Hollywood level wealth and materialism rather than build a better future.

Could 90s and 2000s America done a better job at inspiring youth to go into science and engineering?
Lol. To say that America has done a bad job at inspiring youth to go into science and engineering would be to imply that America has done any job at inspiring youth to go into science and engineering, which with relatively scant few exceptions it has not.

Unfortunately, doing a bad job seemingly would be a vast improvement over the ‘job’ that America currently does and historically has done in inspiring youth to go into science and engineering.

The tough reality seems to be that America as a country is so ridiculously far, far, far away from effectively inspiring careers in STEM that it would be hysterically absurdly laughably insane if it wasn’t so tragically true.

What America seems to do best is inspire youth to want to be professional athletes and celebrities while actually preparing them for lives of endless financial struggle and frustration as financially illiterate citizens who may grow to be so frustrated that they may want to destroy the country.

And America’s noted educational failures (with the failure to inspire youths to go into STEM careers being amongst those numerous educational failures) cannot be blamed on the schools alone but even more so can be blamed on a national social culture that seemingly often values wealth and celebrity seemingly while actively devaluing and discouraging education and hard work.
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Old 11-26-2023, 06:58 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
10,169 posts, read 13,670,220 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShootingStar992 View Post
As someone who went to public schools in an average semi rural middle class part of America during the 2000s I don't recall anyone I knew from my school years who went into science and engineering.

I don't recall anyone from my elementary school years saying they dreamed of being an astronaut let alone a scientist or engineer.

I heard the 1960s "Space Race" inspired many of the youth of America during that era to go into science and engineering and they ended up giving us the tech boom of the 1990s.

It seems like American society in the 90s and 2000s were more excited by Hollywood level wealth and materialism rather than build a better future.

Could 90s and 2000s America done a better job at inspiring youth to go into science and engineering?
STEM, STEAM, and now I think STREAM are pretty heavily promoted these days. Interesting since there is quite a lack of understanding of science among a lot of people these days.
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Old 11-27-2023, 09:01 AM
 
19,385 posts, read 17,580,496 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
Do we have data, on what percentage of STEM majors ends up not pursuing a STEM career, simply because it's too unstable or insufficiently remunerative? Or what percentage of STEM undergrads eschew grad school, because it detracts too much from viable career goals? Or for that matter, how many math or physics PhDs just end up working for Wall Street?

From my vantage point, one of the fiercest competitive environments in the US jobs market, is for a fresh STEM PhD (excluding of course computers) to find a technical job in his/her field, that pays well, treats the employee with dignity, and actually uses said person's scientific training.



Far, far better would be to have the researcher either work directly for the federal civil service, or for an FFRDC (JPL, Lawrence Livermore,...). But now my fellow libertarians will disavow me, and brand me a socialist...
1. I'm sure such data exists.

2. It should surprise no one that some STEM majors end up working in other areas. Anecdote time an engineer friend spent one heck of a career as a, "sales-engineer" according to him that meant 97% sales and 3% engineering.

2.1. I'm not sure why anyone is bothered by the fact that lots of say engineers end up in management requiring MBAs or whatever.

2.2. Another friend is Ph.D in physics (molecular) worked in the field and taught. He was then offered and took a job by one of the specialty consulting companies at about 4x the base pay with lots of incentives. I don't see anything wrong with that either.

3. I'm not sure anyone is claiming that STEM educational careers are for everyone, easy, pave paths to easy street or make regular guys look like Brad Pitt. However, I've seen my wife, three of her siblings, our kids, our daughter in law, and lots of friends and kids of friends leverage STEM educations in excellent careers all maintained dignity etc.

4. I think we'd agree that Sandia, JPL, LL and similar efforts are needed and do fantastic work. But I'd note that most are public, private and academic beings. Typically there is governmental oversight and participation, management through special purpose corporations and most research managed and executed by professors and grad students from partner universities.
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Old 11-27-2023, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,704 posts, read 30,713,605 times
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I'm 37, so was kind of at the front of the computer revolution in schools. I was always interested in computers, and hung around nerdy kids, so maybe my perspective is skewed.

Most of my friends from back then are in some kind of tech or engineering field. My best friend was in a mechanical engineering program before his substance abuse issues took over. Another good friend has had various software engineering positions in biomedical companies. Another friend is a high school physics teacher.

My best friend's sister has a PhD in CS, focusing on user experience and design. Her ex-husband is a software engineering manager for a public Ivy's hospital system.

I work in IT. Most of my friends have sort of technical interest or background.
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Old 11-27-2023, 11:28 AM
 
6,894 posts, read 6,956,386 times
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That ignores the fact that in many STEM fields, the starting salary is decent, but does not increase much during your career, at least not for the typical employee.
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Old 11-27-2023, 11:45 AM
 
6,894 posts, read 6,956,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Most don't picture someone like Neil deGrasse, either. He's inspired scads of kids to love science, astronomy, astrophysics. He's a real role model. Kids rarely have a teacher like that in school.
I'm glad that you mentioned Neil deGrasse Tyson. I watched a talk show, Star Talk, with him and (of all people) Katy Perry. Katy Perry mentioned how she never had any good teachers in school. Neil deGrasse Tyson mentioned how his favorite thing about being a scientist is not knowing all of the answers. And then it hit me. The difference between a scientist vs a science teacher is that scientists, such as Dr. Tyson, are happy to not know all of the answers, whereas science teachers feel the need to always know everything, and can't admit otherwise.

I remember my father commenting back when I was in high school that I seem to never get along with my science teachers. I think because I would often ask questions beyond the curriculum, and they would just yell at me. I mentioned on this forum about my AP Chemistry teacher back in 12th grade. He told us which elements were diatomic, and among others, he said "All Group 17" (that's former group VIIA) and then listed all the elements from Group 17, but did not mention Astatine, which was in Group 17 on the Periodic Table he gave us. He then yelled at me and accused me of "making an astatine of myself". Years later, I looked online, and it seems that astatine's half-life is too short for scientists to determine if it's diatomic or not. But of course my teacher could not just admit that.

I think that K-12 STEM teachers push away students who are truly curious about STEM, and they just focus on the students who don't really care but just want to check a box on their transcript. Somebody like Neil deGrasse Tyson would have been happy to admit he did not know the answer to my question. But, unfortunately, people like him do not typically teach K-12 STEM.

Another example of pushing away real STEM people are teachers like my 8th grade math teacher, who wanted everything done her way, and gave 0 credit for any other way, and did not focus on understanding of the math. You can argue she did a good job of teaching discipline, but that's separate from STEM. Another example is the teachers who do things like 0 credit for the wrong number of significant figures, 0 credit for numbers rounded wrongly, or 0 credit for minor mis-spellings. Those are all very discouraging to students.

Another problem is that the attempts to target girls and women may be turning off real STEM people of both genders. I have heard that in order to encourage girls, many K-12 science teachers grade lab reports based on how pretty they are rather than based on content. But that is just going to annoy and discourage real STEM people of both genders.

I've also mentioned the problem that so many college STEM professors focus on weeding students out rather than teaching and encouraging them. But most on this forum seem to support that practice. Also, when girls are favored in K-12 school, they will run into that weedout professor in college who does not care when gender you are. Since their knowledge would be less than their K-12 grades suggest, I can see girls being disproportionately weeded out in college. Yet even the feminists on this forum seem to support weedout.
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Old 11-27-2023, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Texas Hill Country
23,237 posts, read 13,532,874 times
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Maybe we are telling them the wrong thing. What if we told them how engineering trains the mind? That with such a mind, they can be anything they want.

Ie, "Here is the text book on that subject. With an engineering trained mind, you can take almost any text book and know it in a week to a month.".

Granted, there are limitations such as, for me, it has to be a text book, I don't do that hot reading off a computer screen. I do have weak subjects.

But once people learn that I have an engineering degree from TAMU, that is the way they have treated me. "Here is the text book, be up on the subject in a week.".
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Old 11-27-2023, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Central Mass
4,500 posts, read 4,751,663 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShootingStar992 View Post
Could 90s and 2000s America done a better job at inspiring youth to go into science and engineering?
No. That's all that has been pushed for the last 30 years. STEM has been highlighted to the expense of every other degree.

Anecdotes are just that. Your rural high school in the 00s had zero science or engineer grads. My rural high school in the 90s had less than 5 grads the DIDN'T go into science or engineering. Almost everyone of my friends are either an engineer for an automaker or in hard sciences.
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