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Which is the most important science? watch

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    Physics
    37
    44.05%
    Chemistry
    22
    26.19%
    Biology
    25
    29.76%

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    Physics only as I personally do not find the other two remotely interesting ....
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    (Original post by Implication)
    physics because then i can teach biology and chemistry too because they are just applied physics
    You were probably half joking, but this is actually true. I think Biology would be so much more interesting at school if it was taught as Biological Physics. Lots of mathematical modeling and quantitative data analysis ( = highly transferable skills) instead of memorising the textbook.
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    (Original post by llys)
    You were probably half joking, but this is actually true. I think Biology would be so much more interesting at school if it was taught as Biological Physics. Lots of mathematical modeling and quantitative data analysis ( = highly transferable skills) instead of memorising the textbook.
    Then we ought to just learn maths and no more :yep:

    I think probably applied maths (especially statistics) and programming are the two most essential skills we can learn in the sciences right now.
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    (Original post by The Arsonist)
    Then we ought to just learn maths and no more :yep:

    I think probably applied maths (especially statistics) and programming are the two most essential skills we can learn in the sciences right now.
    Nah, maths by itself (the way it is currently taught) is not terribly applied. Maths + Physics is the way to go because Physics shows you how to actually use maths (at least it should). :yep:

    Although there is a proposal to make teaching maths more about questioning and modeling which I personally like very much:
    https://www.computerbasedmath.org/

    Funnily enough I was going to write a blog post about this today. Better get to it.
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    (Original post by llys)
    Nah, maths by itself (the way it is currently taught) is not terribly applied. Maths + Physics is the way to go because Physics shows you how to actually use maths (at least it should). :yep:

    Although there is a proposal to make teaching maths more about questioning and modeling which I personally like very much:
    https://www.computerbasedmath.org/

    Funnily enough I was going to write a blog post about this today.
    At A Level, I did stats and mechanics at a pretty decent level and there were plenty of applications. Without the natural sciences at GCSE, etc. we could learn these skills earlier and develop modelling skills that can be used in other areas.

    I didn't study physics but now can theoretical physics though a maths degree (also biostatics and fluid dynamics).

    I'd be interested in reading it. Always enjoyed your educational ideas and our brief discussions (Trivium, etc. )

    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    But since that is not an issue, I'd say Physics is necessary for our long term survival as a species, to colonise other worlds
    Perhaps we should focus on making our own world sustainable first, before galloping off through the galaxy.

    Everybody is getting hyped about mars when we have deserts we haven't even started to use yet that are much more convenient and hospitable than the conditions in mars. Until we're self-sufficient re: resources, it seems silly to be looking out so far.
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    psychology
    :getmecoat:
    Probably chemistry or biology for me...
    Don't really like physics...
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    (Original post by The Arsonist)
    At A Level, I did stats and mechanics at a pretty decent level and there were plenty of applications. Without the natural sciences at GCSE, etc. we could learn these skills earlier and develop modelling skills that can be used in other areas.
    Oh yes, you are right. I forgot that, in England, mechanics is taught as part of maths. I agree with you on the rest as well, I'd love to have a subject that combines mathematical modeling, data analysis, programming and (you didn't mention this, but I would include it) writing, all combined to answer open-ended questions using real data. :yep:
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    Chemistry :ahee:
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    (Original post by llys)
    Oh yes, you are right. I forgot that, in England, mechanics is taught as part of maths. I agree with you on the rest as well, I'd love to have a subject that combines mathematical modeling, data analysis, programming and (you didn't mention this, but I would include it) writing, all combined to answer open-ended questions using real data. :yep:
    What kind of writing? Sounds like a silly question but I'm not sure what you'd prefer to teach. Sales techniques like copywriting and rhetoric? Scientific and business writing?
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    All Sciences are equally valued. However, if I had the choice and if I was interested in it, I'd say Physics opened the most doors to new opportunities. However, same could be said for Biology and Chemistry.
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    (Original post by The Arsonist)
    What kind of writing? Sounds like a silly question but I'm not sure what you'd prefer to teach. Sales techniques like copywriting and rhetoric? Scientific and business writing?
    Well, I currently refer to it as "quantitative writing". Depending on the question, it would be like "scientific writing" or "data journalism" - or "literate programming", but a bit more fleshed out.

    (I would teach rhetoric as well (as I think you know ), but not in the same subject.)
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    (Original post by llys)
    Well, I currently refer to it as "quantitative writing". Depending on the question, it would be like "scientific writing" or "data journalism" - or "literate programming", but a bit more fleshed out..
    That's an interesting idea that I've never really heard described before.

    Well, I'll be at google. Hopefully you've referred to it in your blog
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    (Original post by The Arsonist)
    That's an interesting idea that I've never really heard described before.

    Well, I'll be at google. Hopefully you've referred to it in your blog
    Nah, not done yet. (But there is a college in the US that offers something like it.) I'll send you a link when I'm done, would be curious to hear what you think.

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    Here's a link. I only started my blog this year, so it is still a bit experimental.
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    (Original post by llys)
    You were probably half joking, but this is actually true. I think Biology would be so much more interesting at school if it was taught as Biological Physics. Lots of mathematical modeling and quantitative data analysis ( = highly transferable skills) instead of memorising the textbook.
    i never studied biology beyond GCSE so I don't actually know much about it my answer was indeed a little tongue in cheek, but i think technically speaking it is true. there are no hard and fast boundaries between sciences, and if you repeatedly ask 'but why?' in a biology or chemistry classroom you will eventually end up talking about physics (and, of course, maths)!


    (Original post by llys)
    Nah, maths by itself (the way it is currently taught) is not terribly applied. Maths + Physics is the way to go because Physics shows you how to actually use maths (at least it should). :yep:
    Key point emboldened. A-level physics is a pile of crap precisely because the powers that be have decided to separate it from maths in order to make it accessible. The problem is that the concepts they teach you in A-level physics just don't really make sense without the appropriate mathematical tools (which are now missing). I mean really, physics without calculus? What on earth are they thinking? I was chatting to one of the admissions tutors of my School (Physics and Astronomy) a few weeks ago, and he was saying that it's got to the point where they're happy to accept undergraduates who get as low as Cs in physics now so long as their maths is strong enough. The physics you learn at A-level just isn't remotely useful for studying physics at a higher level. Most of my class (mostly physics undergrads) seem to agree.

    Strictly speaking though it isn't really true to say the maths you learn at school is not applied: there isn't any pure maths at all unless you take Further Maths, and even then there isn't much. A lot of it doesn't have direct application to an average person's every day life, but I don't think I learned anything in maths A-level that I haven't since used repeatedly in various modules at uni.
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    (Original post by Implication)
    i never studied biology beyond GCSE so I don't actually know much about it my answer was indeed a little tongue in cheek, but i think technically speaking it is true. there are no hard and fast boundaries between sciences, and if you repeatedly ask 'but why?' in a biology or chemistry classroom you will eventually end up talking about physics (and, of course, maths)!




    Key point emboldened. A-level physics is a pile of crap precisely because the powers that be have decided to separate it from maths in order to make it accessible. The problem is that the concepts they teach you in A-level physics just don't really make sense without the appropriate mathematical tools (which are now missing). I mean really, physics without calculus? What on earth are they thinking? I was chatting to one of the admissions tutors of my School (Physics and Astronomy) a few weeks ago, and he was saying that it's got to the point where they're happy to accept undergraduates who get as low as Cs in physics now so long as their maths is strong enough. The physics you learn at A-level just isn't remotely useful for studying physics at a higher level. Most of my class (mostly physics undergrads) seem to agree.

    Strictly speaking though it isn't really true to say the maths you learn at school is not applied: there isn't any pure maths at all unless you take Further Maths, and even then there isn't much. A lot of it doesn't have direct application to an average person's every day life, but I don't think I learned anything in maths A-level that I haven't since used repeatedly in various modules at uni.
    Very interesting comment, thanks. Yeah, I heard this too about A-Level Physics. Weird that even so, it's still considered one of the "hardest" subjects! I was looking at past papers at one point, and so many marks were given for definitions, it just seemed like it would be really easy.

    With maths, I meant more that you learn techniques (e.g. how to get derivatives, how to invert a matrix, how to solve simultaneous equations etc) but although all these techniques are very applicable you rarely go through full modeling problems where you would choose and apply techniques as needed (like e.g. rabbits and foxes, or something more interesting). I think I'm still wrong though, because I forgot that in England you actually teach a lot of physics in maths, and that would necessarily be applied.
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    (Original post by z33)
    yes thank you fellow human being
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    haha it's not the content - more the level of challenging. Biology is not a 'thinking' subject - it's more about memorising and knowing what happens - not playing with it/ altering it like in chemistry or questioning it and explaining it like in physics.
    Maybe at secondary school level, but definitely not the case when you're doing cutting edge research. Think about altering genomes and observing the effects, tracking the expression of miRNAs, testing the effects of different drug combinations on model
    organisms etc.


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    (Original post by llys)
    Very interesting comment, thanks. Yeah, I heard this too about A-Level Physics. Weird that even so, it's still considered one of the "hardest" subjects! I was looking at past papers at one point, and so many marks were given for definitions, it just seemed like it would be really easy.
    My A-level Physics experience was 4 years ago, but I found it incredibly frustrating. There were a fair few 'define x' questions, which were indeed easy marks for those who revised enough, but it also felt like there were a huge number of questions that you simply couldn't possibly know the answer to even if you had memorised the entire textbook and specification and could answer all textbook exercises and past exam questions comfortably. This was more the case with ISAs (the exam papers that accompanied the practical experiments) than the main papers, but they made up a significant portion of my overall grade and it was very, very annoying. Part of the reason for that may have been my honest teacher: I know at many other schools the teachers tell their class almost exactly what questions will be on the ISA papers weeks before they sit them, but mine refused to look at the paper until afterwards. This may have led the exam board to think they were 'too easy' and hence bump up the difficulty... who knows!

    Either way, I think the reason it is considered hard is partially because of the grade boundaries: basically, people do seem to do badly. I think for one of the papers I sat, you only needed to get 78% of the actual marks to get 100% of the UMS points because it was scaled down so much!

    Moreover, I think separating the physics from the maths actually makes tghe physics harder because the concepts don't really make any sense. You're forced to do the maths in hand-wavy, unsatisfying ways that really aren't conductive to logical thinking.


    With maths, I meant more that you learn techniques (e.g. how to get derivatives, how to invert a matrix, how to solve simultaneous equations etc) but although all these techniques are very applicable you rarely go through full modeling problems where you would choose and apply techniques as needed (like e.g. rabbits and foxes, or something more interesting). I think I'm still wrong though, because I forgot that in England you actually teach a lot of physics in maths, and that would necessarily be applied.
    Yeah in the statistics modules there's a heck of a lot of modelling, and you've gotta do that in mechanics too. Even in some of the core calculus problems there are some questions like that though.. I remember one question I had was to determine the amount of water at a certain time in a tank that was being filled but also had a hole in the bottom. That involved finding a way to express the problem mathematically (differential eqn), solve the problem mathematically (solve the deqn) and then express the solution naturally (translate the maths). It's good to be exposed to problems like those.

    That said, I do kind of agree with you a bit and I feel that the same is very much true even at the university level. The exams I sit from the School of Mathematical Sciences tend to follow a 'template' much more, and very often we see the same questions as previous years but with different numbers, functions etc.! This seems to be less the case with my exams from Physics, where there seem to be more 'extend what we learned in class' questions without the handholding. But then, Physics have a policy where they only release one or two years worth of past paper solutions... sometimes we only have that many for maths, but occasionally we have as many as 5 or 6...

    ...however, I'm not sure that is a bad thing and the way maths do things might be better. I don't think exams are actually a very good format for assessing those kind of 'extend what we learned' problems: this can be much better achieved through courseworks and longer project-style pieces of work, where you are free to read around the subject and do appropriate research etc.
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    (Original post by Mathemagicien)
    I disagree; I think the questions are certainly more than possible with good understanding, but there is a huge problem with students and teachers cheating in ISAs.
    I won't disagree... it's perfectly possible I was an arrogant A-level physicist who thought he was better than he was
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    (Original post by Implication)
    I won't disagree... it's perfectly possible I was an arrogant A-level physicist who thought he was better than he was
    Or its possible that your teachers didn't bother ensuring you understood the material

    At my school (and probably most others), the focus is solely on passing the exams, not on actual understanding... they will not stray an inch from the curriculum. Sad state of affairs
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    (Original post by llys)
    You were probably half joking, but this is actually true. I think Biology would be so much more interesting at school if it was taught as Biological Physics. Lots of mathematical modeling and quantitative data analysis ( = highly transferable skills) instead of memorising the textbook.
    In order to achieve this, it means the government have to to pretty much force students to start learning GCSE and A-level materials much early in secondary schools (e.g. in yr7/8), as these topics are very advanced (degree level pretty much).

    I personally think that Biology is taught wrong at school and thus made to be far more about memorisation . Since my Biology teacher hates that, she's been teaching us biochemistry along with it and pretty much gives hard application questions each week (especially for genetics).
 
 
 
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