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Physics Education: The hordes are at the gates.
Improving physics education is hard enough without this nonsense.
A colleague recently sent me a link to this paper, published in The Physics Review. When I read the abstract, I was pretty sure it must be a spoof paper, published by Peter Boghossian, or one of his colleagues, to make fun of the current incursion of viruses based in the humanities and social sciences into physics.
Sadly, it isn’t though.
That this got published in a peer-reviewed physics journal is what makes this so surprising. It means there is something fundamentally wrong with the system, and it isn’t systemic racism. It is sheer stupidity combined with lethargy.
The natural tendency of academics, and scientists in particular, is to ignore this kind of nonsense and focus on their own work. But once the bar gets this low, and the flood waters are rising, you can be certain a lot of nasty effluence will be flowing out as well. And with the pressing need for better physics education at all levels (that is, better ways to actually teach physics), this garbage filling up journals and taking away precious research resources means that there is less room for the good stuff.
The standards of a field are determined by the practitioners in the field. That means it is about time that physicists started doing something about it.