Visiting the Blog? Here’s a Poll!

A few of my recent posts talked about how important it is to know your audience when communicating science. As it turns out, I don’t actually know much about who reads this blog. WordPress tells me which countries you come from (mostly from the US, but large contingents from several other countries, with views from 122 countries last year), and in some cases what links you clicked on to get here (lots of search engines, facebook, reddit, twitter, various other peoples’ blogs). What it doesn’t tell me, though, is what your background is.

That’s what this poll is for. Readers, I’d like you to tell me how much physics background you have. Did you only run into it in high school (if at all), or did you see some college physics too? How many of you are actually physicists? How many of you are mathematicians? (From my observations, even mathematicians with no physics experience favor very different explanations from other people with no physics experience.)

I try to make this blog accessible to as many people as I can, but I do wonder how much of my audience needs that accessibility. So whether you’re just stopping by to read a post linked on reddit, or you’re a long-time reader, vote in the poll and let me know where you stand. And if you’ve got more to say or the poll doesn’t capture some subtlety, feel free to respond in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “Visiting the Blog? Here’s a Poll!

  1. R.S.I.

    Former amplitudeologist checking in from Germany. We actually met two years back in Stony Brock in the Simons Center on a workshop organized by Zvi, Lance, and others. Talked briefly about how your family is scattered (hehe) all over the world. I left academia quite recently mainly due to family reasons but I am still interested in my former field of research. Keep up the good work!

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  2. ohwilleke

    [H]ow much physics background you have. Did you only run into it in high school (if at all), or did you see some college physics too? . . . two and a half years of undergraduate physics (in classes intended for physics majors). Since then, physics had been a hobby. I read the physics pre-prints several times a week (generally experiment, astronomy, lattice, phenomenology) have written substantial parts of several wikipedia physics articles, and have blogged about developments in physics regularly since 2005 and at a dedicated science blog since about 2010. I am currently reading parts of the textbook “Gravitation.” that I missed in my undergraduate background.
    How many of you are actually physicists? I am a lawyer and not a physicist. Many days, I think that this was a bad career choice. But, it has been fascinating to see how sausage is made.
    How many of you are mathematicians? (From my observations, even mathematicians with no physics experience favor very different explanations from other people with no physics experience.) I finished two years of college mathematics in high school and then was an undergraduate math major. I am not a mathematician. If I hadn’t become a lawyer, I might have become an actuary. Lawyers are profoundly impressed by tricks like an ability to do compound interest calculations in your head.

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  3. Wyrd Smythe

    I checked intro in college, because that’s all the formal education, but a huge amount of what I’ve learned comes from being an autodidact (which is hard to quantify). I think I’m strong on the concepts, but weak on the applicable math. (I still don’t have tensors under my belt.)

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  4. Xezlec

    I have a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. In my spare time, I often try to push my physics understanding a little further. I read a little book on the “classical” field theoretic formulation of the Standard Model that was really helpful.

    Actually, I bet a fair number of people who read physics blogs are engineers. There are probably more of us in the world than there are physics majors (since the IQ bar is a bit lower), and we get just enough physics education (i.e. Maxwell’s equations!) to become interested, without getting quite enough to be satisfied.

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