07 January 2010

Misplaced confidence



The 7 January 2010 Nature podcast has an interview with Per Ahlberg, one of the authors describing some wonderful new old tracks – new to science, but dating from 397 million years ago. They’re fossil tracks of early tetrapods – which is the lineage including amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and bird.

About four and a half minutes in, Ahlberg says:

This is going to be in the textbooks fifty years from now.

And I thought, “Wow. He’s confident.

“I wouldn’t be so sure that textbooks are going to exist in fifty years.”

It will be a shame if we are still relying on “dead tree” compilations of old research to teach students fifty years from now.

A good summary of the tracks and their importance can be found here.

4 comments:

Philosopher's Mess said...

Good thinking. Why isn't their a push in Academics to get of textbooks? Especially with the concerns of environment, economics, and accessablity?

tshilson said...

In the near term, there is Kindle and the SONY eReader, but there is no economic benefit to using them. eTextBooks are in the same price bracket as paper books.

Zen said...

Follow-up post on these points coming next week!

tshilson said...

I bet it has something to do with the initials C-E-S! Talk about techno-envy!