Science & Society

Science and Society and how they get along.

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Location: Santa Barbara, California, United States

I'm a physicist and science consultant specialized in optics, lasers and optical engineering. This blog, StarkFX, looks at what applications physics is finding today. Or, if you are looking at my StarkEffects blog, it displays my views about and interest in the interface between society and science.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Gifted Students

I enjoyed a great piece in the Wall Street Journal by Charles Murray. It was titled "Aztecs vs Greeks" and it was a very provocative opinion article. The main point I want to mention is that we need to make more of our gifted students. Murray pointed out that the only way to develop them properly is to challenge their intellects. Doing that requires that we present them with problems and ideas that are beyond the level of the average student, which brings up a little problem. Before we can present problems beyond the average student we must accept the fact that there are people that are more intellectually capable than the average. Our society doesn't like that elitist attitude. We try to pretend that everyone is able to do anything they want to, but the facts suggest otherwise. Like it or not, there is a wide range of IQ among people and some are simply smarter and more intellectually gifted. Once we can accept that fact we will be able to create challenging curricullum for those students and develop their potential which should benefit society. Of course, the concept that every citizen, including the intellectually gifted, has a responsibility to benefit society needs to be taught as well.

The next step will be to develop every student according to their real potential based an accurate assessment of their innate intellectual abilities as well as their interests and other personal factors. The point here is, not everyone should go to college when they may be better suited to a happier career with less formal education. Rather than try to get everyone to college, we should assess what each young person will be best at and develop their full potential. That should include the developing of the intellectually gifted by challenging their minds, presenting them with intellectual challenges until they find challenges they can't get past. That is the best way to develop not only their ability but their humility which is the only way to prevent that elitist attitude we all hate. Once the brightest realize that not everything will come easy, then they will be better suited to think in ways that help society rather than just themselves.

-Troy Stark

Crowded Beach

This weekend we tried to go to the beach but it was incredibly crowded. This is the beach just north of Morrow bay with elephant seals everywhere. The drive from Santa Barbara to San Simeon is beautiful and when we got there these animals were fascinating to watch. Well, fascinating for the adults, our little girl was finished watching after 5 minutes and patiently waited for us to get over our wonder.