Can a Requirement for Credentials Be Overcome in Science Today?

in ask on (#3H9)
story imageIn a wide-ranging interview on Wired , Freeman Dyson notes his pride in never having been awarded a PhD, despite having achieved world-reknown for bringing the mathematics of Richard Feynman's quantum theory to life. He suggests that the PhD system is: "...good for a very small number of people who are going to spend their lives being professors. But it has become now a kind of union card that you have to have in order to have a job, whether it's being a professor or other things, and it's quite inappropriate for that. It forces people to waste years and years of their lives sort of pretending to do research for which they're not at all well-suited. In the end, they have this piece of paper which says they're qualified, but it really doesn't mean anything. The Ph.D. takes far too long and discourages women from becoming scientists, which I consider a great tragedy. So I have opposed it all my life without any success at all."

I am interested in |. answers to the following question: Why has the PhD credential become so important for careers in science and research both inside and outside academia? My best CS professor only had an undergraduate degree, for example, and I never found cause to disrespect his authority on the subjects he taught because the basis of his authority was clear in his instruction.

Teen Girls Face Charges After Beating Video Shared Online

in internet on (#3H6)
story imageThe Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has reported on a potential case of cyber-bullying in Beloiel, Quebec . In a modern twist on high-school interactions, two girls took turns beating and mauling a boy in their school parking lot while the other videotaped the confrontation on a cellphone. The boy chose not to fight back. When posted to Facebook, the video got thousands of views.

Sgt. Harry Wadup of the Richelieu-St-Laurent municipal police force said the girls are facing charges relating to issuing threats, assault and inciting violence.

While bullying does happen in many settings, and bullying in school is something we have all likely witnessed or experienced, what is the motivation for sharing bullying videos on the internet? What can an understanding of the problem do to help potential bullies not go down the "bullying" road?

John Tuzo Wilson: a Canadian who revolutionized Earth Sciences

in science on (#3GZ)
story imageThe Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (CJES) has just released its 50th anniversary special issue in honour of John Tuzo Wilson (1908-1993). Tuzo Wilson is one of the key historical figures in the dramatic change that swept the earth science community in the 1960s, when Wegener's previously-vilified theory of continental drift became widely-accepted in the form of plate tectonics .

Feature articles in the 50th issue of CJES review Wilson's scientific contributions and point to new directions in global earth science based on Wilson's legacy, but of particular interest may be Paul Hoffman's description of how Tuzo Wilson was able to discard his anti-plate tectonic model of Earth history, that he had held dear for more than 20 years, and accept the new theory of plate tectonics when it best fit the data. What does it take for scientists' to change their fundamental understanding of nature, anyway?