Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

12 October 2019

Nine Nobel Prize Predictions for 2019

(Inside Science) -- Every year, the Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, physics, and chemistry honor great advances and discoveries in science. Last year, one of our top contenders in medicine -- checkpoint inhibitors for cancer therapy -- won. We were not as successful in the other two categories. But buoyed by that modicum of success, we will again attempt to summarize nine top contenders for these famous science prizes (including one repeat from last year). 
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine -- Announced October 7

As early as 1913, researchers had noticed that certain types of cancer run in families, suggesting that the risk was inherited. That led mid-20th-century researchers to suspect that cancer risk could be encoded in the DNA. But as geneticist Maynard Olson told the University of Washington's alumni magazine Columns in 1996, most assumed that cancer risk would include many different genes and environmental factors, with each gene contributing only a small amount. 

24 September 2019

These are the best universities in the world

Kate Whiting

So vital is education to the future of society, billionaire Jack Ma has just stepped down from Alibaba to focus on it. But does it matter where you go to be educated?

The former teacher, who studied for a BA in English at Hangzhou Normal University, told the World Economic Forum he was rejected from Harvard Business School 10 times, but it didn't deter him from building a world-beating company.

Like Alibaba, universities in Ma's homeland China are starting to "expand their influence and presence on the world stage", according to the latest Times Higher Eduction World University Rankings 2020.

20 September 2019

Why Vinyl, Books and Magazines Will Never Go Away

Leonid Bershidsky

Vinyl records, paper books, glossy magazines – all should be long dead, but they’re refusing to go away and even showing some surprising growth. It’s probably safe to assume that people will always consume content in some kind of physical shell – not just because we instinctively attach more value to physical goods than to digital ones, but because there’ll always be demand for independence from the huge corporations that push digital content on us.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, vinyl album sales grew 12.9% in dollar terms to $224 million and 6% in unit terms to 8.6 million in the first half of 2019, compared with the first six months of 2018. Compact disc sales held steady, and if the current dynamic holds, old-fashioned records will overtake CDs soon, offsetting the decline in other physical music sales. Streaming revenue grew faster for obvious reasons: It’s cheaper and more convenient. But people are clearly not about to give up a technology that hasn’t changed much since the 1960s.

6 September 2019

‘Dream the Impossible’: Life Lessons from Keshub Mahindra

Keshub Mahindra, the senior-most Wharton alumnus in India, is chairman emeritus of India’s Mahindra Group, a $20.7 billion conglomerate. His father and uncle founded the company in the mid-1940s. Mahindra joined the business soon after its inception, took over as chairman in 1963, and retired in 2012 after leading the group for five decades.

For Mahindra, who is widely respected for his philanthropy, values such as being honest, compassionate, respecting everyone, and giving back to society are very important. In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton, Mahindra, 95, discusses what life has taught him and lessons he would like to share with younger generations.

This conversation is part of an ongoing series of interviews that Knowledge@Wharton is producing in collaboration with Wharton Magazine.

Excerpts from an edited transcript of the conversation appear below.

On Mentors

Small Changes, Big Gains: Low-Cost Techniques Dramatically Boost Learning In STEM Classes

Low-cost, active teaching techniques–particularly group work and worksheets–substantially improve learning in university science classes, according to a new study involving 3,700 University of British Columbia (UBC) biology students.

“Many university STEM classes continue to rely on conventional lectures, despite substantial research that suggests active teaching techniques like peer instruction and group discussion are more effective,” said UBC researcher Patricia Schulte, senior author of the study, published this week in PLOS ONE.

“But this confirms that group work significantly enhances how well students grasp and retain concepts. And strikingly, having students go through worksheets in groups–an easily implemented, low cost classroom technique–resulted in particularly strong improvements in scores.”

Increasing class time dedicated to group work just 10 per cent (five minutes in a 50-minute class) correlated with roughly a three per cent improvement in student performance. That equates to almost one letter grade, depending on the institution. Using in-class worksheets–a wide variety of structured handouts that contain a few questions or tasks related to a concept–resulted in even more significant increases in student scores.

25 August 2019

What’s In A PhD? – OpEd

By Murray Hunter
Source Link

A Doctor of Philosophy or PhD is the highest form of degree conferred by universities. The PhD exists in many forms and has varying requirements depending on country, subject area, university, and faculty. The degree is reflective of the traditional apprentice-master relationship going back to Medieval times, where a candidate undertakes a project or piece of research under a supervisor or number of supervisors to produce a thesis or dissertation that is accepted by experts in the field. The research is required to be original and push out the boundaries of knowledge in the field. 

The degree carries with it a salutation “doctor” which signifies one is now a peer in a particular field of research. Undertaking a PhD is one of the few ways one can get a salutation that is perceived to generate respect in the community. However, culture, ethics, and professional practices of using this salutation greatly varies from country to country. 

9 August 2019

Why Doctors Should Organize Meeting the challenges of modern medicine will require more than seeing patients.

By Eric Topol

In the fall of 2018, the American College of Physicians published a position paper on gun violence. “Firearm violence continues to be a public health crisis in the United States,” its authors wrote, in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The report argued that assault weapons should be banned and that “physicians should counsel patients on the risk of having firearms in the home.” When it was published, the National Rifle Association responded with a tweet: “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane.”

The N.R.A.’s tweet provoked an unprecedented response from the medical profession. Using the hashtag #ThisIsMyLane, emergency-room physicians, trauma surgeons, pediatricians, and pathologists, all of whom are involved in the care of patients with gunshot wounds, posted images of shooting victims and bloodstained hospital floors. Some shared selfies in which they were splattered with blood. “Do you have any idea how many bullets I pull out of corpses weekly? This isn’t just my lane. It’s my fucking highway,” Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist, tweeted. Melinek’s tweet went viral. Doctors appeared on television and wrote op-eds expressing their disgust with the N.R.A.

6 August 2019

Student Feature – Advice on Writing for a Think Tank

Source Link

Editors of think tank publications in the Social Sciences often encourage students and professionals to develop and share original analyses and opinions on contemporary issues around the world. However, deciding which think tank to publish an op-ed or short essay with can be daunting even for the most experienced Social Science scholars. It is important to understand what a think-tank ought to do before deciding which think tank to publish with. 

What should a think tank do?

Every year the University of Pennsylvania publishes a global think tank ranking which sparks a massive debate. Successful NGOs see in the ranking a validation of their good work, others use it for promotional purposes, critics regard it as a cheat sheet, while media and commentators critically assess the limits and the merits of such rankings.

18 July 2019

An Education Crisis for All


At a time when the world should be progressing rapidly toward the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring “inclusive and equitable quality education” for all, it faces a deepening crisis instead. To address it, the G7 and developing countries alike must offer concrete commitments that match the scale of the challenge.

WASHINGTON, DC – Aichetou, a 14-year-old girl, lives on the outskirts of Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, in Africa’s Sahel region. Every day, she makes a difficult trek through the sand to get to a school with no drinking water or sanitation, where she barely learns, owing to a lack of textbooks and trained teachers. And she is not alone: tens of millions of schoolchildren worldwide face similar circumstances, while 262 million children and youth are not in school at all.

For philanthropic institutions, the fundamental question of accountability first raised by the emergence of liberal democracy will not go away. To what extent should modern societies permit independent private agendas in the public realm and allow their advocates to pursue objectives that are not shared by governments and popular majorities?

At a time when we should be progressing rapidly toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring “inclusive and equitable quality education” for all (SDG4), the world is facing a deepening education crisis. True, some countries are making strides: in France, every child receives a compulsory education, which will soon begin at age three.

11 July 2019

Our students are not learning. But are our teachers teaching?

Shamika Ravi and Neelanjana Gupta 

Untrained teachers, irrespective of schools being adequately staffed, directly affect student performance. ASER and NAS results make it clear that this is not merely a learning crisis; the Indian school education system is going through a teaching crisis (S Burmaula / Hindustan Times)

Education at the school level has seen remarkable achievements in recent years. With the passage of the Right to Education Act in 2009 and the universalisation of elementary education, more children are successfully completing class 8. Enrolment trends from the Unified District Information on School Education suggest that the gap in enrolment rate between girls and boys has reduced. While there are no numbers to measure the functionality of basic infrastructure facilities, schools now have access to drinking water (87%), electricity connection (61%), and separate toilets for boys and girls (94%).

1 July 2019

NEP And Its Discontents – Part 2: Higher Education

by Anonymous Contributor

The tragedy about the NEP document is that it has been drafted by old fogeys who know little about today’s tech-savvy youth or what modern-day expansionist learning entails.

The document reeks of bureaucracy and not academic excellence or even innovative thinking.

Any comparison of India and Singapore on policy debates usually gets the scoffs from analysts, who point to the vastness and complexity of India vis-a-visSingapore. However, Singaporean visionaries have anticipated growth in trade, finance and now in technology and have organised their economy and society successfully. What has stopped our experts who draft policies from thinking creatively and anticipating trends? The complexity of India should not have been a hurdle to thinking!

Boston Dynamics makes robotic dogs that navigate difficult terrain and do complicated tasks with ease. Amazon is planning on drone deliveries. Khan Academy and a host of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) providers already offer fantastic courses for certification. These are not “imagined futures”, but a future that has almost already arrived. Our youngsters have embraced this future like fish to water. From accessing MOOCs and normal tutorials, to getting certifications, to accessing code from Github, Indian college students are doing it all.

30 June 2019

Draft New Education Policy – A Case Of Thinking Inside The Box

by Banuchandar Nagarajan

The draft policy has been a massive exercise. The scope and scale of issues and consultations are truly mind-boggling.

Perhaps Prof. Kasturirangan, in his wisdom from working with the government systems over the years, thought it prudent to focus on productivity reforms, while prodding slightly to look further at eclectic possibilities.

An acid test will be how much the current government itself will act on the recommendations.

How would we have thought about the year 2019 in 2004? It is a very hard exercise to undertake now. However, to aid us, we have quite a few “Vision 2020” documents made by consulting firms during the previous decade. A glimpse into those will tell us that as far as hard infrastructure --- such as roads, railways, water supply etc.,--- the aspirations expressed were mostly reasonable. Some have not still been fulfilled yet.

But when it comes to productivity-related issues such as technology and human capital, the documents have not anticipated the giant leaps. No one could have thought of a WhatsApp or an Uber. They could not anticipate the explosion of knowledge and information through social media brought about by the proliferation of smartphones and cheap Internet.

6 June 2019

How the French Turned a Tennis Court Into a Garden

By Gerald Marzorati

If a tennis stadium is a stage of sorts, what should its backdrop be? That’s a question suggested by the new show court at the Stade Roland Garros, where the French Open is under way. It’s called Court Simonne-Mathieu, after a French tennis champion of the nineteen-thirties. She was also the leader of the women’s branch of Charles de Gaulle’s Free French Forces during the Second World War. The court named after her is situated in the Serres d’Auteuil botanical garden, which has long been an uneasy Parisian neighbor of Roland Garros, at the southern edge of the Bois de Boulogne. Making your way there from the Roland Garros grounds, you can almost feel your pulse drop as you skirt Court No. 1, the circular “bullring,” and enter the botanical garden along the cobblestoned Allée de l’Orangerie. There’s a sharp diminishment of crowd noise and a glimpse of woods, and the faint scent of blooming thyme. And then there’s a low, curved construction that could, at first glance, be a big, glass-enclosed hoop house. That’s Court Simonne-Mathieu.

Liverpool’s Long Journey to Champions League Victory

By Ed Caesar

Last May, Dan Davies—a forty-eight-year-old writer and editor, and a lifelong Liverpool fan—spent several days and many hundreds of pounds travelling to and from Kiev, Ukraine, to watch Liverpool lose 3–1 in the Champions League final, to Real Madrid. A scarcity of flights and the ruthless profiteering of Kiev’s hoteliers had necessitated some baroque travel arrangements: a flight out via Amsterdam; a journey back via train to Odessa, Ukraine, followed by connecting flights through Central Europe; a makeshift bed on an apartment balcony. It was Davies’s thirty-sixth European away match following Liverpool, and his third European Cup final. It was a long way to go to watch your goalkeeper throw the game away. He told his wife and two young children that the Kiev trip would be his last such adventure.

31 May 2019

Simona Halep

By Louisa Thomas

Simona Halep first picked up a racquet when she was four years old. At fourteen, she decided to dedicate her life to tennis. At sixteen, she left her family, in the small, ancient city of Constanta, Romania, and moved into a hotel in the capital, Bucharest, in order to train at a serious academy. Her father jokingly called her his “little Rolex,” because, at a young age, she told him that she would win the big tournaments. At seventeen, she had breast-reduction surgery—a frightening procedure, which lasted nearly seven hours—in order to relieve pain in her back and help her game. As a child, Halep was so shy that it was painful for her even to speak on the phone, but she forced herself to face the cameras and the scrutiny of the media, which grew more intense with each season. Every day, she went to the gym to tend to her muscles, joints, and ligaments. When her friends went to parties, she went to sleep.

28 May 2019

The radical plan to change how Harvard teaches economics

By Dylan Matthews

If Harvard has a most famous course, it’s Economics 10.

The introductory economics class is reliablyone of the most popular courses offered to undergraduates. It’s usually taught in a massive Hogwartsian auditorium, where hundreds of students either dutifully take notes or mess around on laptops as one of the school’s star economists leads them through the basics of supply and demand.

Because Harvard has a tendency to set the pattern for other universities, Ec 10’s textbook is amassive best-seller, used at dozens of other schools, earning its author, professor Greg Mankiw, an estimated $42 million in royalties since it was first released in 1998. Mankiw’s introduction to economics has set the tone not just at Harvard but for how Econ 101 is taught across the country.

Mankiw’s textbook covers the abstract theory that underpins economics as it has been understood for decades. It is about supply and demand, about how prices can be used to match production of a good to its consumption, and about the power of markets as a tool for allocating scarce resources. Students in Ec 10 are asked to plot supply and demand curves, to solve simple word problems about what happens when the mayor of Smalltown, USA, imposes a tax on hotel rooms.

The idea is to impart a basic theory, to lay a foundation for understanding how society works. And that theory strongly implies that markets tend to work without much intervention, and that things like minimum wages might hurt more than help.

14 March 2019

What the Speed of Life Means for Security and Society

The envelope arrived with no explanation but a New York City postmark. Kathryn Bouskill tore it open and shook out a small, silvery coin. It was stamped with a “20,” she saw as she turned it over in her hand—not 20 cents, or 20 dollars, but 20 minutes.

Bouskill studies health and human behavior as an anthropologist at RAND. She and another researcher, Seifu Chonde, teamed up to examine our scramble for new technology, our headlong rush to make everything go a little faster. We are hurtling toward a time of transformation, they concluded, without asking what all this speed means for our society, our security, and our sanity.

She knew the value of that coin right away.

Do We Have "Hurry Sickness"?

5 March 2019

Warrior Pose : Building Readiness through Resilience—Yoga and Meditation

Ajit Joshi

The rigors of military service create unique stressors on uniformed Service members and their families. Better mental, spiritual, emotional, behavioral, and physical health may reduce violence and aggression, which can be unhealthy outlets for accumulated stress. Harvard Medical School yoga researcher Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa suggests that yoga and meditation change the perception of what is stressful—the indicators for measuring that are improved emotional and stress reactivity as a function of increased resilience.1 Yoga is one tool, among others, for increasing resilience and readiness. United States Army Captain Enrique Incle observes: Yoga has been a tremendous source of strength to me. It has enabled me to obtain inner peace, and control the memories which caused me anxiety for many years. Yoga is a tool for injury prevention, rehabilitation, and health promotion, and it needs to be championed because our Soldiers deserve every chance to continue to serve and stay in the fight. 

7 February 2019

The Decline of Historical Thinking

By Eric Alterman

Having ignored questions of economic inequality for decades, economists and other scholars have recently discovered a panoply of effects that go well beyond the fact that some people have too much money and many don’t have enough. Inequality affects our physical and mental health, our ability to get along with one another and to make our voices heard and our political system accountable, and, of course, the futures that we can offer our children. Lately, I’ve noticed a feature of economic inequality that has not received the attention it deserves. I call it “intellectual inequality.”

I do not refer to the obvious and ineluctable fact that some people are smarter than others but, rather, to the fact that some people have the resources to try to understand our society while most do not. Late last year, Benjamin M. Schmidt, a professor of history at Northeastern University, published a study demonstrating that, for the past decade, history has been declining more rapidly than any other major, even as more and more students attend college. With slightly more than twenty-four thousand current history majors, it accounts for between one and two per cent of bachelor’s degrees, a drop of about a third since 2011. The decline can be found in almost all ethnic and racial groups, and among both men and women. Geographically, it is most pronounced in the Midwest, but it is present virtually everywhere.

2 February 2019



Being accepted into one of the best universities in the world is a dream shared by thousands of high school students.

Aspiring lawyers flock to Harvard, engineers to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all filled with hope and excitement for the years ahead. For many, having the right university on your resume can be the difference between a high-paying job in New York and cutting your teeth in a rural town.

QS University Rankings has revealed the top 50 universities in the world in its 2019 report. The United States earned the top four spots, followed by five and six from the United Kingdom. The University of Chicago finished eighth, giving the U.S. half of the top 10.

The U.K. had another two in the top 10—both London-based—and Switzerland had one to round out the leading pack.