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bio website lightandmatter.com
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visits member for 2 years, 3 months
seen Apr 14 at 14:22

I teach physics at Fullerton College, a community college in Southern California. I have an undergrad degree in math and physics from Berkeley and a PhD in physics from Yale. Back when I was doing research, my field was experimental low-energy nuclear physics.


Apr
14
comment Conceptual limitations of the English Language?
Voting to close as unclear. The question makes a bunch of very improbable claims about Greek and then asks if similar things happen with English.
Apr
4
comment What is the origin of “earthling”?
For more on Venus, see english.stackexchange.com/questions/153668/…
Apr
2
answered What is the difference between deep space and outer space?
Mar
31
comment Why is 'allopathy' not an accepted synonym for 'mainstream medicine'?
@JonHanna: Did you read my comments?
Mar
31
comment What is the real difference between dilation and dilatation?
Oh, and in relativity we say "time dilation," never "time dilatation."
Mar
31
comment What is the real difference between dilation and dilatation?
The term is also used in geometry, to mean a transformation that takes a line to a parallel line. In that context, it occurs in both forms, e.g., "dilatation" in Coxeter, Introduction to Geometry; but "dilation" on Wolfram Mathworld. Seems like it's simply undergoing the same process as inflammable->flammable, where speakers gradually abandon the correct Latin form because they don't understand Latin.
Mar
31
comment Why is 'allopathy' not an accepted synonym for 'mainstream medicine'?
For the reasons given in comments, I think this answer is an oversimplification.
Mar
31
comment Why is 'allopathy' not an accepted synonym for 'mainstream medicine'?
A google ngrams search on the word "allopathic" shows a big spike in the 19th century, after which the word fell into almost complete disuse, followed by a revival in the second half of the 20th century. A google book search for the 19th century shows nearly 100% usage in contradistinction to homeopathy. 20th-century usage seems much more varied. Sometimes it's used in contradistinction to osteopathy, sometimes just as a synonym for "what an MD does." It seems to be used more in India than the rest of the English-speaking world.
Mar
30
comment Why is 'allopathy' not an accepted synonym for 'mainstream medicine'?
Johns Hopkins has one of the top-ranked medical schools in the U.S. They have a web page web.jhu.edu/prepro/health/allopathic.html that explains the history of the term and states without qualification, "M.D.s practice allopathic medicine." It appears to be used non-pejoratively simply to describe what MD's do, in contradistinction to dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, and others. The talk page of the WP article en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Allopathic_medicine suggests that the term may be politicized or controversial, or maybe just that WP is being dysfunctional here.
Mar
30
comment Why is 'allopathy' not an accepted synonym for 'mainstream medicine'?
I'm confused about this. A student recently emailed me her application essay for a postbac premed program, and she used "allopathic." I didn't know the word, but I found the WP article, which made it sound like a clearly pejorative term. I warned the student that she might be making a big mistake, and she thanked me but said that that was the term used by the school itself: fullerton.edu/health_professions/professionalschool/… Googling turned up another school in this area that uses the term the same way: chapman.edu/scst/pre-health-program/helpful-links.aspx
Mar
28
comment “Callback”, “call-back”, or “call back”
The point is that when we have this type of construction involving a verb plus a preposition, and it's being used as a verb, it's two words ("Please log in."), while the noun form is a single word or hyphenated ("login screen").
Mar
27
awarded  Popular Question
Mar
25
awarded  Scholar
Mar
25
accepted What do people mean or think they mean by “not to scale?”
Mar
25
comment What do people mean or think they mean by “not to scale?”
@FumbleFingers: I agree that common sense rules out #2 for this map, and I said so in the question. That doesn't prove that #1 is the correct meaning of the phrase, nor does it mean that the person who drew the map had common sense.
Mar
25
revised What do people mean or think they mean by “not to scale?”
edited body
Mar
25
asked What do people mean or think they mean by “not to scale?”
Mar
25
comment What is a word meaning “a non-instantaneous event”?
@pelotom: What domain? Physics? Relativity?
Mar
24
answered What are some non-Greek/Latin hybrid words?
Mar
23
answered Is libre the only English single-word adjective signifying 'liberty' without also meaning 'at no monetary cost'?