Not-So-Special Relativity

I spent a few years at a prestigious science and engineering college in the Second Plane of Hell . Whilst fish-out-of-water makes for an entertaining film, it does not make for a successful academic career. I belonged at a science college about as much as I belonged at a music college: I can do the thing, just not well at all.

One of the things that really bumped me (and qualified as one of the many signs that I most assuredly did not belong) was the way the various theories of chemistry and physics were taught. One week we would be taught about a particular theory, say, of the atom. After learning our equations and whatnot, the next week we would be told that theory was wrong and presented with another theory. Lather; rinse; repeat.

I had a spirited argument with my roommate (who is both a good guy and a real engineer) over this. He had no problem with that approach, viewing it as something of a condensed history of the science. I felt that they should teach us the best theory they had at the time and found their approach inauthentic. I have never accepted purposefully teaching anything but the best; it feels like fraud.

Another of the reasons that I did not belong at that college is that I saw (and see) a distinction between the two approaches. The journey can spoil the destination.


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