All across the country, the number of students majoring in physics is said to be at its lowest point since Sputnik, 40 years ago. The most important role of the college physics course today seems to be to weed out a few poor souls who might otherwise make it to medical school or some other kind of quasi-scientific training. If the profession of teaching physics were a business, we would be filing for bankruptcy. On the other hand, our assets include nothing less than the wisdom of the ages, the most important part of the body of human knowledge. Mastery of that knowledge, a fundamental grasp of how the world works, ought to be the best possible preparation for the coming century. Rather than being an endangered species, the physics major should be the wave of the future, but it isn’t, at least not yet. This talk will analyze how we got ourselves into this fix, and suggest what is needed to get ourselves out of it.

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