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Have a Theoretical Christmas With These Nerdy Snowflake Decorations

Because it’s not a holiday party without Erwin Schrödinger.

Artwork by Sandbox Studio, Chicago

They say that no two snowflakes are the same, but they all pretty much look alike to me. That’s why it was so refreshing to see Symmetry magazine’s distinctive “physics flakes,” patterns for making your own holiday snowflake decorations in the images of Nobel Prize-winning scientists. There’s ol’ crazy hair himself, Albert Einstein; Marie Curie, the original radioactive superhero (sorry, Hulk); and of course, Erwin Schrödinger, prominent dead cat enthusiast.

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Intermission: Walter Lewins' Lovely Lines

The world-renowned physics professor can't keep the noise down.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raurl4s0pjU

Walter Lewins, world-renowned professor emeritus of physics at MIT, is incredible. You might think he is incredible because he's a world-renowned physics professor, and I don't want to take anything away from that little accomplishment. But because I'm not great with physics, the part of Lewins' game I find most remarkable is that he can draw a mean line. Rhythmic, precise, and clearly well-practiced, Lewins draws lines like Mozart conducted. Or like George Costanza worried. Or like Guy Fieri diners, drive ins, and dives. He's just good at it, and it's a delight to watch him nail it on each try.

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"Will This Be on the Test?" An Overemphasis on Grades Might Be Killing the Desire to Learn

Time and again, I've seen the fixation on grades get in the way just when my students are learning how to use their minds.

As a high school science teacher, I enjoy spending my time designing instruction. It’s professionally engaging to come up with something worthy of a bit of brow furrowing. Presenting my lesson to the class gives me butterflies daily. What will they ask? What will they want to do? What knowledge can be culled from their natural curiosity?

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