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Old 04-28-2014, 10:11 AM
 
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Thank you for asking that question. It's one I've also had. And than you all for helpful sources.

In regard to the question, I have a related one. Am I right that most physical sciences - or many of them - have a need for a good foundation in Physics first? When I read articles in the other sciences, it seems that so often, the author is referring back to knowledge of Physics. Could you, for example, really work toward a degree in astronomy or cosmology or chemistry or even some Earth Science without first having studied Physics?
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:36 PM
Zot
 
Location: 3rd rock from a nearby star
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Science learning should go hand in hand with mathematics and even vocations. We often teach science, or discuss science as if it's something apart from our every day life. It isn't. An understanding of science, mathematics, and vocations, helps people live better lives.

Sadly in the U.S. many are mathematically and scientifically illiterate.
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Zot View Post
Science learning should go hand in hand with mathematics and even vocations. We often teach science, or discuss science as if it's something apart from our every day life. It isn't. An understanding of science, mathematics, and vocations, helps people live better lives.

Sadly in the U.S. many are mathematically and scientifically illiterate.
I understand what you are saying and you are right. There have been cases where schools did not even require the study of even the basics. But, I think our question relates to getting a bit deeper into the various sciences. A bit more than just knowing how to push buttons or that quasars sent us radio waves. Not just that we like our radios but want to know what quasars are and how they do this.

Ah, I can't explain it. Being able to read Scientific American but probably never able to read Nature. Does that make sense?
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:55 PM
Zot
 
Location: 3rd rock from a nearby star
468 posts, read 559,887 times
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Originally Posted by Hazel W View Post

Ah, I can't explain it. Being able to read Scientific American but probably never able to read Nature. Does that make sense?
Here are some examples, anecdotal, but maybe helpful.

Understanding the square cube rule, which is the volume of a thing increases and decreases at a greater rate than the surface area (volume by cube, and area by square). This can be found in calculus as differential or integral equations, going from a 2 to 3 dimensional system. Area is essentially 2 dimensional (even though it may be wrapped around a 3rd dimension, see the book Flatland for help understanding this better), volume is always 3 dimensions.

This is how grain elevators explode as an example. While grain is not normally flammable, as the volume relative to the area decrease, the potential to ignite becomes greater. We understand a bit about mists, and about atomizers (which can create mists), but understanding the science which explains some of this is helpful, and can be applied to different areas of understanding (such as the laws of current vs voltage and why we use high voltage to transmit electrical power long distances, there is a relationship between current and resistance which is a function of the square of the current). Math works to help understand the reality.

A basic understanding of integration and differentiation, just of squares and cubes would probably help kids better relate to their world.

We teach rules in elementary school, and early science about squares mostly, but don't bother to ever explain why they exist, why they work. We don't bother to explain power series or transforms either, yet we witness them in action daily.

Kids should have an understanding that math is a part of life, as is science, and is integrated to most other aspects of study.

Our discrete eduction system, trapping kids in what are essentially prisons, using ancient curricula, and grading them like eggs, along a timed assembly line is a tragedy imo.
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:05 PM
 
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I have sometimes wondered how those who didn't get this in K - 12 did eventually come into it and go on to the jobs where such knowledge is vital. I see a great leap of faith between what is taught the first 12 years and the specialization that does eventually come. How do you jump from being able to find a few constellations to astrophysics? Maybe some people just catch dreams here and there and then carry on. Maybe some fourth grader looked at world maps and decided that the continents did indeed once meet together, despite what his teacher said and then set out to prove it.

Somehow we do seem to eventually get these geniuses who fill the needs. For the rest of us, we just get curious as to what the geniuses are doing and try to pick up a bit of it - often late.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Fairfax County, VA
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Are there any science magazines that any of you would recommend?
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Joke Insurance View Post
Are there any science magazines that any of you would recommend?
Depends on your end goal. If it is to know facts, popular science, nat geo, discovery, etc. If you truly want to understand science, you need to read peer review in a methodical way. Peer review journals come in every field and every level but there are two premier journals, Science (us published) and Nature (uk published). IMO science is much easier to read as it follows the abstract, intro, method, results, conclusion format, unlike nature which typically starts with results.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Fairfax County, VA
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Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
Depends on your end goal. If it is to know facts, popular science, nat geo, discovery, etc. If you truly want to understand science, you need to read peer review in a methodical way. Peer review journals come in every field and every level but there are two premier journals, Science (us published) and Nature (uk published). IMO science is much easier to read as it follows the abstract, intro, method, results, conclusion format, unlike nature which typically starts with results.
To read those journals, will I need to have a subscription? Or could I log-in via my university and save that trouble?
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Joke Insurance View Post
To read those journals, will I need to have a subscription? Or could I log-in via my university and save that trouble?
You will most likely need to go through PubMed to access most peer reviewed journals. You should be able to do that through your Uni.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Someplace Wonderful
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Originally Posted by Joke Insurance View Post
For someone who wants to learn the basics on my own time, just for the general knowledge, are there any books and/or websites that you guys would recommend that I check out for the following?
  • Applied Sciences (includes Environmental Science, Food Science, Forestry and Urban Planning)
  • Biology (includes Anatomy, Botany, Microbiology, Paleontology and Physiology)
  • Chemistry (includes Food chemistry)
  • Earth Sciences (includes Climatology, Ecology, Geology, Lithology, Meteorology, Mineralogy and Oceanography)
  • Economics (includes Macroeconomics and Microeconomics)
  • Physics
  • Zoology (includes Entomology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Mammalogy and Ornithology)
  • Social Sciences (includes Anthropology, Archaeology, Criminology, Psychology and Sociology)
I know that is a lot that I am asking. I will definitely get around to all of them eventually, and also seeing which one really spikes my interest.

Thank you!
Under "earth sciences". 1st of all, climatology is not a real science!

For geology, I highly recommend Annals of the Former World by John McPhee It is actually a compilation of five difference McPhee books plus an essay written specifically when this anthology was publishes - The Archean Age, talking about the oldest rocks we know about. Prior to the Archean the earth was molten.

I guarantee you will enjoy every word, the geology, the geologists, the stories. And you will walk away with the fundamentals of geology and geological history. Probably available at your public library.

Last edited by chuckmann; 08-25-2014 at 09:12 PM..
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