Strings & Branes

The past week seen me struggling with SAT, and I am pretty sure I am not going to America for any sort of tertiary education, at least at this moment, after taking the test. I guess I subconsciously took the test to strengthen my resolve not to go over there (this has absolutely nothing to do with Mib though) – a decision I made previously after hoping to strengthen my Mathematics in the field of Microeconomics. Then I took on the challenge to finish Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe (book version), in a week. I am still at it, and I think I can do it. Besides getting fascinated by the beauty of General Relativity and the freaking Weird phenomena of Quantum Mechanics, I got to immerse myself in String Theory’s description of the world and challenge the limits of my imagination.

Mathematics wasn’t included in the book but just imagine my attempts to conceive the fact that every single space we are experiencing now is full of tiny dimensions curled up in Calabi-Yau Spaces that are six-dimensional. Try again to imagine that every moment you move your hands across the space, the particles may have entered and left these tiny-dimensions without you discovering. Well, all these may still be a dream given that String Theorists haven’t quite grasp the mathematics of everything necessary to explain our phenomena but all we can tell is that the Occam’s Razor hardly works in the fundamental theory of the universe given the complex nature of dimensions, resonance patterns, string tensions and relativity.

The rest of the time have me reading a couple of Economics related stuff – getting to know how playful and active was Keynes’ life, and how Milton persevered to show Velocity of money was stable and advocated passive monetary policy. Was also looking for details on how David Riccardo made a fortune but it wasn’t available anywhere. In any case, I am pretty sure economists don’t get rich based on their knowledge of economics. I was also thinking of writing a ‘Tract on Problems of Economics Education’ but I decided not to. I need to come up with a more elegant name before writing it. I have identified the outline of the essay though. Although labeled a tract, it may well be rather long. It is going to take on the rather tough stance that Economics, at least at A Levels under the Singapore education system, is heading the wrong way. Despite great macroeconomic achievements in our nation, the education fail to help students appreciate the ingenuity of our policies or for that matter, the beauty of economic analysis. It will elaborate on a few aspects that is vital but have been left out, namely ‘Social Indifference Curves’ as a tool for welfare analysis, Mathematics of competition is also left out and historical backgrounds to the debate on macroeconomic theories. All these would not only stimulate the interest of student but provide better tools, if not basis for other content to be built upon.

I would also like to highlight redundant topics that can be left out absolutely, like that of the loanable funds theory that cannot even explain interest rate determination for any economy in the world. There’s a need to really set the basis right and establish the true identity of economics. As far as I know, students like many of my peers are still unable to grasp the essence of what truly constitutes economics and how it is a science in its very own sense. Teachers of Economics will have a long way to go before shifting their emphasis from pure aiding students to score well to inspiring them to be economists – and more importantly, they will have to learn to look beyond this holy document we come to know as the ‘syllabus’ and stop discouraging students interested in pursuing the subject by saying ‘this is not important since it’s not in the syllabus’ when asked things beyond their area of expertise (which incidentally, could be just teaching students the means of attaining good marks). I guess I sounded too angsty – if you have nothing better to do besides reading this blog, you might like to check this out!


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