Accessible Science Blogging Outside Psychology

In the spirit of open-minded exploration I have been looking around at blogs outside psychology to see what’s going on. As I mentioned earlier in the week I’m particularly interested in blogs on physics and sociology – two fine bedfellows! Nothing on sociology yet but here’s a couple of physics blogs and one where the professors ‘rate’ their students, letting out all that bottled up tension.

String theory – terrible science?
Ever since school days I’ve harboured a fascination for the deeply uncool activity of physics. I never could stomach the maths but I enjoyed turning over the concepts in my mind. So I had a poke around for any physics blogs accessible to the layperson. Not much luck I’m afraid. One blog I came across which showed some promise – in that it’s about string theory, which I’ve heard of – is ‘Not Even Wrong‘ written by Columbia mathematician Peter Woit.

The title of the blog, and accompanying book, comes from the theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli’s put down for bad science. If he considered an idea scientifically untestable, he would say it was ‘not even wrong’. Woit uses this quote in attacking string theory – a set of theories attempting to marry all the natural forces into one Grand Unified Theory. He believes string theory is just that: scientifically untestable and therefore ‘not even wrong’.

Cocktail Party Physics
Now this title is more my physics style. Written by Jennifer Ouellette and her alter-ego/avatar Jen-Luc Piquant, I’ve already come across a stack of posts here that I could easily understand, such as this one describing the physics of the recent Nobel Prize winners. It’s not surprise this blog is well-written as Jennifer is also the published author of two books describing physics to the masses.

What do the professors really think of their students?
At colleges and universities across the land there’s one time of year that the blog Rate Your Students truly dreads: student evaluations. Right from their early days Rate Your Students have been expressing their frustration at this useless exercise. To get their own back, the understandably anonymous blogging professors have been venting their collective spleens about their own students. These take the form of messages to particular students including ‘the asshole’ and ‘the spitter’.

Some of these posts are pretty dark. But fair play to the profs, they don’t reserve their scorn for their students, it is also turned inwards. Have a poke around, there’s plenty of well-written bile to enjoy.

More social psychology to come!

Next week brings more entries for the greatest social psychology studies of all time to add to the three nominations already in for Sherif, Zimbardo and, of course, the mighty Milgram. If you’ve got any particular studies you’d like to lobby for then I’m still open to representations! Comment away…

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 12 October 2007

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