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Medical Researcher Rediscovers Integration 473

Posted by timothy
from the it's-all-mathy dept.
parallel_prankster writes "I find this paper very amusing. From the abstract: 'To develop a mathematical model for the determination of total areas under curves from various metabolic studies.' Hint! If you replace phrases like 'curves from metabolic studies' with just 'curves,' then you'll note that Dr. Tai rediscovered the rectangle method of approximating an integral. (Actually, Dr. Tai rediscovered the trapezoidal rule.). Apparently this is called 'Tai's Model.'"
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Medical Researcher Rediscovers Integration

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  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:10AM (#34457408)
    This Article 1. doi: 10.2337/diacare.17.2.152 Diabetes Care February 1994 vol. 17 no. 2 152-154
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, to be fair to the poster, the blog entry regarding the paper is only under 4 years old (March 2007)

    • by pieisgood (841871) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:18AM (#34457456) Journal

      Really it should be under idle, it's just the fact that the dude forgot all about calculus and went back and remade the approximate method of integration. His hubris must be punished by way of an Internet meme.

      • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:48AM (#34457582) Homepage Journal

        >>His hubris must be punished by way of an Internet meme.

        Tai me up?

        Tai your shoelaces?

        Could probably do something with Tai meaning "Red Snapper" in Japanese, or "Wife" in Chinese, but that might be a bit too highbrow for an internet meme.

        In any event, it's not hubris to get excited about something you invented that you didn't know existed before. It's ignorance. I once explained to a CS professor this method I'd found for finding the greatest common divisor of two integers, and he cut me off by saying that Euclid had figured it out 2300 years ago. :p

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:55AM (#34457610)

          No better way to learn than to discover it yourself. You'll never forget Euclid's algorithm, but I have to look it up every time.

          • And this is how MATH should be taught. Lead people to discover the truths. When they discover it for themselves, it is memorable, and the sign of true enlightenment, rather than education.

            We should be enlightening our children not educating them. Education is just "indoctrination" to scholarly principles, the recitation of useless facts without understanding or passion.

            I still have no idea what a quadratic formula is used for. Don't bother telling me, because I don't care at this point. I learned it long ag

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Asmodae (1155077)

              And this is how MATH should be taught.

              Maybe some bits can and should be taught that way, but the body of knowledge in mathematics is too large to try and teach any significant portion that way. It's taken humanity many lifetimes to discover what we know, one person doesn't have that long. Rediscovering something can be really cool on a one off basis, but there isn't time to do that for the entire body of knowledge nor should we try. Discovery is about the need to know and understand and the drive to sate that need. It's hard to teach those q

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          In any event, it's not hubris to get excited about something you invented that you didn't know existed before. It's ignorance.

          The two are not mutually exclusive. Going so far as to publish a paper describing something he is expected to have learned in high school or at least in college is over the top.
          Its pretty bad that the peer review didn't catch it either...

          • Or perhaps he knew exactly what he was doing?

            Tai: So as you can see I used this method to calculate the surface underneath the graph, and as you can clearly see the results show that....
            Fellow MD1: Wait, what method? That looks pretty sciency!
            Fellow MD2: Cool method, did you think of it yourself?
            Tai: Huh, I just calculated the surface underneath the graph, it's basic calculus you know?
            Fellow MD1: Calculus schmalculus, did you think of publishing your method
            Fellow MD2: Yeah you should totally publis
          • Education is not the same as enlightenment.

            The sad thing is, he probably had some level of Calculus in school, and probably memorized the formulas and rules, did the math and answered the questions and got a passing grade, all without understanding. Education doesn't require understanding, it is just indoctrination of scholarly principles.

            Don't blame him for the error, blame the system that allowed it to happen.

        • In any event, it's not hubris to get excited about something you invented that you didn't know existed before.

          The hubris is in publishing it without doing any research first.

          What's really piteous is that the reviewers didn't catch it.

      • by Dave114 (168228) on Monday December 06, 2010 @04:24AM (#34457744)

        The really scary bit is the 137 citations that Google Scholar reports for this paper. (Link to the Canadianized version of Google Scholar [google.ca])

        • by jank1887 (815982) on Monday December 06, 2010 @09:34AM (#34458974)

          I peeked at one or two of the articles citing this paper:

          "The glucose and insulin responses to the OGTT were analyzed by calculating the area under the curve (AUC). The AUCs for glucose (AUCglucose) and insulin (AUCinsulin) were determined according to the Tai procedure for the metabolic curves (25)."

          DOI:10.1373/clinchem.2004.043109
          http://dx.doi.org/10.1373/clinchem.2004.043109 [doi.org]

          I wonder if this is sort of an inside joke now. Rather than saying we used the trapezoidal rule to approximate XYZ, everyone in the field now says "we used the Tai procedure". It sounds so much more 'official'. Remind me to reinvent the central limit theorem tomorrow.

          And this doesn't help the people trying to fight the stigma that biology isn't a 'hard science'.

          • by the gnat (153162)

            And this doesn't help the people trying to fight the stigma that biology isn't a 'hard science'.

            The problem isn't that biology isn't a "hard science" (although some branches are pretty soft), the problem is that most MDs aren't real scientists. Ask any biology grad student what it's like to teach pre-meds and you'll get an earful. It's difficult for me to take the profession seriously any more; my employer and I combined are paying $700 per month in case I get sick and need to be treated by some overpaid

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by VShael (62735)

        Brilliant. So an American high school student watches the bullets fall from his friends clip as he fires on a random teacher, and thinks "I shall call it Gravity, yo."

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        you assume he knew calculus before he started. In terms of relevance to us today, I see this kind of thing all the time in computing - why bother using the standard mechanism of performing a task when tyou can reinvent the wheel all over again. From the innumerable number of programming languages, to open source projects, to just my co-worker making up his own string class (gah!!)

        Sometimes I wonder if its a lack of education (or more likely experience), or just bone-headed stubborness to understand anything

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The first link is even more amusing than the paper itself. Look at the number of citations the paper received!!! I mean, WTF???

    • Not only that, but the mathematical technique he describes is centuries old!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2010 @04:51AM (#34457868)

      Diabetes Care February 1994 vol. 17 no. 2 152-154

      That this study was stating the obvious was also noted 16 years ago. Unfortunately, often these follow up comments are very hard to find. Seeing all these comments, the article perhaps should have been pulled.

      Diabetes Care. 1994 Oct;17(10):1223-4; author reply 1225-6. Comments on Tai's mathematic model. Wolever TM. Comment on: * Diabetes Care. 1994 Feb;17(2):152-4. PMID: 7821151

      Diabetes Care. 1994 Oct;17(10):1224-5; author reply 1225-7. Tai's formula is the trapezoidal rule. Monaco JH, Anderson RL. Comment on: * Diabetes Care. 1994 Feb;17(2):152-4. PMID: 7677819

      Diabetes Care. 1994 Oct;17(10):1225. Modeling metabolic curves. Shannon AG, Owens DR. Comment on: * Diabetes Care. 1994 Feb;17(2):152-4. PMID: 7821152

      Diabetes Care. 1994 Oct;17(10):1223; author reply 1225-6. Determination of the area under a curve. Bender R. Comment on: * Diabetes Care. 1994 Feb;17(2):152-4. PMID: 7821150

    • by Graff (532189) on Monday December 06, 2010 @05:29AM (#34458026)

      There's a great ancient method for estimating curves that we used to use all the time in instrumental analysis.

      1. take a strip of paper that has a graph on it
      2. cut out two pieces
        1. the area under the curve that you want to measure
        2. a rectangle a certain amount of units high and wide
      3. weigh each piece of paper
      4. multiply the height and width (in the units you are measuring) of the rectangular piece
      5. divide that by the weight of the rectangular piece
      6. multiply that by the weight of the curve piece

      You now have the area under the curve!

      It's a lot quicker and easier than most other methods for estimating the area if you are dealing with a complex curve. Of course now that computers are used to gather the data instead of strip charts it's even easier for the computer to just add up the magnitude of all the data points and multiply by some constant to get a decent estimate.

  • by wagadog (545179) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:12AM (#34457418) Journal

    While boat-builders use Simpson's rule on hull surfaces to estimate the displacement...with a slide rule and a sharp pencil.

    Oh, but they're trained in Union apprenticeship programs and so could not *possibly* be as bright or talented or well-trained as a Doctor who went to University. And see? This Doctor has a publication! He must deserve 10X the salary of a boat builder.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hikaru79 (832891)
      Okay, I realize you're probably just trolling here, but you do realize that he reinvented integration, not just learned how to solve a couple of integrals, right?

      It says something sad about the state of interdisciplinary communication that this was considered worthy of publication, but if you think it reflects poorly on his intelligence, you're missing the point.
      • by eggnoglatte (1047660) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:24AM (#34457496)

        Given that this is highschool - level math, I'd say "reinventing" it primarily shows a shocking lack of education (for a doctor).

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:29AM (#34457506)

          Or evidence of having cheated his way through school like well over half of premeds [citation needed].

        • by Chemisor (97276)

          In US high schools you are not required to take calculus. Students going to college usually take it, but the rest prefer not to.

      • by FrootLoops (1817694) on Monday December 06, 2010 @04:12AM (#34457690)

        ...he reinvented integration...

        "Reinvented" is putting it a bit strongly, at least from the abstract of the paper (I, shockingly, don't have access to the Diabetes Care journal to see the full extent of the "discovery"). As well as I can gather, he noticed the area of a curve can be approximated by making a bunch of rectangles underneath it, and that you can be "clever" and add a triangle above the rectangles to get an even better answer. That's not even close to reinventing integration. To be honest, it's not even integration in a formal sense; no idea of limits seems to be used, for instance, or boundedness, infinite sums, or infimums/supremums.

        Did he, say, find the fundamental theorem of calculus and derivatives, along with a few formulae like the binomial theorem which gives the usual power rule? Is he able to compute some integrals symbolically? If so, I'd be impressed. But, and without being able to read the article itself, he seems like a guy who got tired of counting cells on graph paper and noticed he could do a little better by drawing trapezoids.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by robosmurf (33876)

        This isn't integration. This is a numeric technique for estimating the area under the curve (the trapezoidal rule). This is a somewhat different branch of mathematics to integral calculus, which deals in the infinitesimal limits to provide exact results. You can't use integral calculus here, as there is no formula to integrate, only experimental results.

        It looks like this area is indeed in need of some interdisciplinary communication: what they really need is for a statistician to come up with a robust form

    • by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday December 06, 2010 @09:23AM (#34458912)

      You subscribe to the common (and completely erroneous) delusion that doctors make a lot of money. While sure it might sound great to say your income is 400k a year as a specialist, and completely ignore the 10+ years of school it took to get there, the student loans, and since medicine is not really a career you can work your way through, that's 10 years of no income too. THEN give half of it to the government in taxes. THEN give half of THAT to the insurance companies for liability insurance. THEN pay for all your supplies. And then you can afford a modest lifestyle.

      Love,

      A physician.

      • Doctors tend to complain that they can only afford a "modest lifestyle" but tend not to understand what they have is generally well above "modest."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by grep_rocks (1182831)
        Boo hoo - I spent 7 years after college getting a PhD in Physics and then did a post-doc after that - and I don't know of many Physicists making 400k a year or even half that, I spend my time desiging x-ray machines that doctors use and I have spent quite a bit of time watching them use the machines - as far as I can tell they are glorified technicians, they do the same type of procedure every day, which mostly involves manual dexterity, they don't have a clue how their equipment works, and on several occas
      • by stdarg (456557) on Monday December 06, 2010 @12:25PM (#34460672)

        I don't think it's possible for you to be paying $200k in taxes with an income of $400k and deductions of $100k for insurance premiums and another positive amount for supplies. Assuming $50k in supplies, and living in California with a 9.3% state income tax, your total income tax burden (including self-employed SS/Medicare) is about $110k, not even close to $200k. That would make take-home, after-tax pay $140k. If you live in Florida with no state income tax, your take home pay is about $165k. If you can't get rich off of that over the course of your career, you are doing it wrong, simple as that. Marry someone who is better at handling money than you.

        Maybe your doctor friends are so rich that you have lost track of what "modest lifestyle" means to most people vs you?

        • by jsac (71558)
          "If you can't get rich off of that over the course of your career, you are doing it wrong" -- remember, this discussion was started by an article in which a med school graduate and research scientist reinvented the trapezoid method of integration, presumably because he never learned it in math class. So we're not talking math geniuses here.
  • by haystor (102186) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:15AM (#34457432)

    ABSTRACT:

    Method for dissipation of influenza symptoms through prolong dietary restriction versus current methods of hypercaloric intake treatment of cold virus carriers.

    • by julesh (229690) on Monday December 06, 2010 @04:37AM (#34457808)

      Method for dissipation of influenza symptoms through prolong dietary restriction versus current methods of hypercaloric intake treatment of cold virus carriers.

      If you can find a way of making that Method and apparatus..., you could probably get a patent.

    • by pitchpipe (708843)

      ABSTRACT:

      Method for dissipation of influenza symptoms through prolong dietary restriction versus current methods of hypercaloric intake treatment of cold virus carriers.

      CONCRETE:

      Composite construction material composed of cement (commonly Portland cement) and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate (generally a coarse aggregate made of gravels or crushed rocks such as limestone, or granite, plus a fine aggregate such as sand), water, and chemical admixtures.

  • Not so simple... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rbayer (1911926) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:15AM (#34457436)
    First, does anyone have a link to the actual article? TFS only seems to include an abstract. Second, this was published in 1994. Third, while it may simply seem that the author is rediscovering integration, the field of numerical integration is actually a rather rich one. It's all well and good to say "take an antiderivate and evaluate at the endpoints", but for a function that is found experimentally this is essentially nonsense. While the submitter here claims that this article is simply rediscovering the trapezoid rule, there's actually no such evidence given in the Abstract--algorithms for determining how big of rectangles/trapezoids/etc to use in your calculations is actually an active area of research (albeit usually for the multidimensional case) and it is possible that this researcher did actually discover a better algorithm for deciding how to do the numerical approximations.
    • Damning Followup (Score:5, Informative)

      by FrootLoops (1817694) on Monday December 06, 2010 @04:53AM (#34457874)
      Tai's article was printed in February of 1994. An author comment printed in the October 1994 issue is titled "Tai's formula is the trapezoidal rule." [nih.gov] I don't have full text access to either, but the title of the followup is not encouraging.
      • Re:Damning Followup (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) on Monday December 06, 2010 @09:02AM (#34458760)
        Actually there appears to be no less than three follow-up commentaries to that article in the same issue.

        Apart from the one you mentioned there's R Bender, "Determination of the area under a curve." and T M Wolever, "Comments on Tai's mathematic model.".
        In my experience, an article has to be pretty damn bad to get any kind of commentary against it, but three? That basically means it's just as crazy as we think it is.

        And sure, numerical integration is a rich field, but real advances in numerical integration aren't published in "Diabetes Care".
        Doesn't have to be a math journal, physics or comp sci could be just as plausible, but a medical journal? Not really.
  • Sure, it's math that has been known by math and physics types for centuries, but what is truly impressive is that a medical researcher, in other words someone who, if they still remember any math is chemical math or statistical math oriented actually managed to handle a topic such as this.

    What I think is most odd about this is that no-one in his peer review group noticed that this is actually relatively trivial calculus. My nephew has recently applied to study medicine in the university and I was more than
    • Not if he had 1.21 Gigawatts first.
    • by Splab (574204) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:42AM (#34457546)

      Apparently most slashdotters do math on a daily basis. I can't recall the last time I needed to do integrals - in fact, if you had asked me 5 minutes ago how to calculate the area under a curve, I would have needed a trip to google/wolfram to look it up.

      Can't really fault someone who isn't doing it on a daily basis for not knowing the "obvious" answer.

      • by iamhassi (659463)
        "Apparently most slashdotters do math on a daily basis. I can't recall the last time I needed to do integrals - in fact, if you had asked me 5 minutes ago how to calculate the area under a curve, I would have needed a trip to google/wolfram to look it up."

        I haven't done any calculus in XY years but I guarantee you if someone asked "how do I figure out the area under a curve" I'd eventually answer "Calculus", at least before I wrote a medical journal about it and submit it for peer review. I mean he quot
    • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:48AM (#34457584)

      There is a great short story by Jorge Luis Borges, called "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote," wherein the titular character sets out of to write Don Quixote. The fact that Don Quixote was written by Miguel de Cervantes centuries ago is irrelevant. Pierre Menard does not try to copy Cervantes' work, and in fact he avoids reading it to make sure that it does not affect his own authorship. Instead, Menard goes out and makes it so that his combined life experiences inspire him to write a creative work, pulled out of his own imagination, that just so happens to conform, word-for-word, to the original text of Don Quixote. He is not the first to write it, but neither is he plagiarizing. He completes his masterpiece shortly before his death, and it goes largely unnoticed....

      The story goes into a critical review of the piece and claims that due to the author's particular circumstances, it is artistically superior to the original Don Quixote.

      This reminds me of that.

  • by Fractal Dice (696349) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:22AM (#34457482) Journal
    Nothing spoils the joy of having an original idea more than discovering it's actually a basic concept of another discipline.
  • Doing well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ravenacious (1655221) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:34AM (#34457514)

    Tai's model is obviously doing well its field, it has 38 citations with the last being in 2010.

  • by wramsdel (463149) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:36AM (#34457526)

    Did it ever occur to anyone that the author is nothing more than a publication troll, seeing what exactly he can get away with? It's possible that the joke's on the journal, not the author.

  • No calculus? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wickerprints (1094741) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:37AM (#34457528)

    I don't know what kind of academic curriculum a student could choose these days that would permit them to pursue a career in medical research without ever having learned basic calculus at SOME point. I mean, when I was in high school, having taken AP Calculus AB was more or less a requirement for applying to almost any reasonably competitive four-year university. How do you enter a pre-med program without even knowing what an integral or derivative is? It seems completely implausible to me, given how competitive these programs have become. Moreover, that this author somehow thought it novel to estimate the area under a curve via trapezoidal approximation is not nearly as bewildering as the fact that they should have had the basic research skills to find that their "discovery" amounted to something that is regularly taught to high school kids. To me, that's the real scandal--that someone who can write a journal article doesn't know or care to look for prior research.

    • Re:No calculus? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:51AM (#34457594) Homepage Journal

      The scary part is this sentence:
      "Other formulas widely applied by researchers under- or overestimated total area under a metabolic curve by a great margin".

      • by Delgul (515042)

        And it becomes really, really scary when you realize that this is the level of calculus applied to life-saving techniques in medical science. It can probably explain a lot of medical failures made every year...

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:39AM (#34457534) Homepage

    About 40 papers supposedly reference this one.

    Of course, I can't read them, because they're behind a paywall. The rights to the paper are owned by the American Diabetes Association, which supports something called the "Washington DC Principles for Free Access to Science" [dcprinciples.org]. This is a lobbying group against free access to scientific publications. They've been fighting open publication since 1994. Here's their latest output, opposition to the Federal Research Public Access Act, which would force all Government-funded research papers onto public servers.

  • No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hax4bux (209237) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:41AM (#34457542)

    Life scientists don't get the same calculus we get as engineers.

    This summer I helped a MD discover that factorials yield largish integers. At first I thought he was mocking me but it turned out that he really was serious.

    Turns out that MD's are ordinary mortals after all.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2010 @04:00AM (#34457634)

      It's like that joke: what is 2+2?

      Engineering student: (punching into a calculator) 4.000000000001

      Math student: (after five months) I don't know, but I can prove it converges.

      Premed: (immediately, from memory) The Gettysburg Address!

      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday December 06, 2010 @05:43AM (#34458078)

        Theory: All odd numbers above 1 are prime.

        Proofs by discipline:

        Philosopher: 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, therefore by induction all odd numbers are prime.
        Physicist: 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is experimental error, 11 is prime...
        Computer Scientist: 3 is prime, 3 is prime, 3 is prime, 3 is prime, 3 is prime...
        Engineer: 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is prime, 11 is prime...
        Statistician: In the same of odd numbers: 3, 5, 11, 13, and 29 they are all prime so all odd number are prime.
        Artist: 1 is prime, 2 is prime, 3 is prime, 4 is prime...

  • Ugh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anza (900224) on Monday December 06, 2010 @03:50AM (#34457590)
    Things that are ridiculous about this paper:

    1) The man names the method after himself. I can see the smug look on his face when he figured out how to integrate, and decided to name his newfound discovery after himself. That's a big no no in science.
    2) It's been cited 137 times since it was published. Most recently in June. That means that there has been ~137 people that cited it without seeing that it's just an integral.
    3) It completely reaffirms the whole stereotype of the premedical student memorizing everything they need to get into medicine but understanding nothing.
    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by robosmurf (33876) on Monday December 06, 2010 @05:12AM (#34457950)

      Actually, from the abstract this looks like a moderately interesting paper. Also note that the slashdot summary is (as often the case) wrong. You can't solve the problem the paper is referring to with integral calculus.

      The curve that the paper is talking about is an experimental result, not a formula. All you have are the experimental samples from the curve. Without a formula, you CAN'T do integration, and must rely on a numerical technique. What he's 'invented' here is the trapezoidal rule. He'd do even better with something like Simpson's rule, but that might be impossible to apply if the sample points are not evenly spaced. Similar problems occur for the various Runge-Kutta methods.

      Although the numerical technique that claims to be invented here is indeed a basic numerical technique, the paper is interesting for pointing out that the even cruder numerical techniques that have been used before are overestimating the curve area, and that is an interesting result.

  • it's everywhere (Score:5, Insightful)

    by t2t10 (1909766) on Monday December 06, 2010 @04:01AM (#34457644)

    You may laught at this, but you find the same thing in all fields. Programming language designers are writing papers on decades old language features, user interface researchers are getting lots of citations for decades old ideas or gimmicks from scifi movies, and theoretical computer science authors are woefully ignorant of statistics and machine learning. Mathematicians and physicists aren't immune either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My sister, a librarian, was laughing when relating a story of software engineer explaining to them the concept of meta-data with respect to a library collection. He acted as if this was a concept well beyond their grasp. She finally moved the discussion along by saying "You mean it's like a card catalog, and the records are like the cards in the card catalog?"

  • by mathfeel (937008) on Monday December 06, 2010 @04:14AM (#34457700)
    As a physics grad student, I TA a LOT of life-science, pre-med students for introductory physics. In these courses, calculus is not necessary. Considering how horrific an average student performs when confronted a problem requiring more than 3 lines of algebra manipulations, I would not be surprised if there's a statistic somewhere more than half of MDs cannot do first-year college level math. I also tutored people taking the MCAT, again, calculus not necessary.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday December 06, 2010 @06:02AM (#34458138) Homepage
      That's OK, when I was a grad student in Molecular and Cell Biology, we of course had to TA the 100 level intro course which, of course, was on the pre med track. The faculty was on this kick that college students could not express themselves so they decided that all of the tests were to be exposition style. Sentences and paragraphs and the like.

      We hated that. As it turned out, the faculty's supposition was correct. The majority of students could not write a simple declaratory sentence, much less a coherent paragraph. Grading them was a nightmare, especially the premeds who would cry and moan over 1 or 2 points. Try as we might, I doubt that we taught them a whole lot (either English or Molecular Biology)

      Then at least some of them went to Medical School.

      But medicine these days is a really a long, drawn out vocational school. There is very little 'Science' and even less 'Humanity'. It is memorize and practice. To a large degree this is unavoidable - there is a huge volume of baseline knowledge to acquire in a relatively short period of time. But given that the premedical experience is likewise short on science and humanities, your average physician really does not have the broad educational experience that many folks assume they do.

      Calculus? That's some form of kidney stone, right?
  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Monday December 06, 2010 @04:24AM (#34457742)

    got a published article with a lot of citations in a high impact factor journal.

    I'm sure he gives a shit what you think about it.

  • by Catmeat (20653) <mtm&sys,uea,ac,uk> on Monday December 06, 2010 @05:15AM (#34457966)
    Q. How does a chemist integrate a curve?

    A. They cut out the plot and weigh the piece of paper. Then compare this with the weight of a piece of paper of known area.

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