For The Love of Physics By Walter Lewin

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From the Nucleus to Deep Space

It’s amazing, really. My mother’s father was illiterate, a custodian. Two generations later I’m a full professor at MIT.

I owe a lot to the Dutch educational system. I went to graduate school at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and killed three birds with one stone.

Right from the start, I began teaching physics. To pay for school I had to take out a loan from the Dutch government, and if I taught full time,

at least twenty hours a week, each year the government would forgive one-fifth of my loan. Another advantage of teaching was that I wouldn’t have to serve in the army.

The military would have been the worst, an absolute disaster for me. I’m allergic to all forms of authority-it’s just in my personality-and I knew I would have ended up mouthing off and bbing floors.

So I taught math and physics full time, twenty-two contact hours per week, at the Libanon Lyceum in Rotterdam, to sixteen-and seventeen-year-olds.

I avoided the army, did not have to pay back my loan, and was getting my PhD, all at the same time. I also learned to teach.

For me, teaching high school students, being able to change the minds of young people in a positive way, that was thrilling.

I always tried to make classes interesting but also fun for the students, even though the school itself was quite strict.

The classroom doors had transom windows at the top, and one of the headmasters would sometimes climb up on a chair and spy on teachers through the transom. Can you believe it?

AuthorWalter Lewin
LanguageEnglish
Pages300
PDF Size2.8 MB
CategoryEducational

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