Originally posted by sonhouse
I remember that, 1979, the year my Kevin was born. Abdus Salam, didn't know his version of Isalm was banned.
Abdus Salam was quite critical of science education in Pakistan's schools.
At one time (I suspect there was an agreement between the governments
of the USA and Pakistan), MIT offered to admit as a graduate student in
physics any Pakistani who could pass (score at least 80% ) a special test of
multiple-choice questions made by Chen-Ning Yang (who was one of the
first Chinese scientists to win a Nobel Prize). (I know that American books
like to deny that Lee and Yang were Chinese and insist they were exclusively
American, but when they won the Nobel Prize in 1957, they were still citizens
of China and would not even apply for US citizenship until several years later.)
While Chen-Ning Yang had a reputation as a 'hard' professor of physics,
he thought that a good MIT student with a B.S. in physics *should* be
able to pass his test.
The test was given to scores of Pakistanis, all of whom had undergraduate
degrees in physics from universities in Pakistan. Most of them already had
graduate degrees; some of them already were working on their Ph.Ds at
universities in Pakistan. None of these Pakistanis came close to passing
the test. Indeed, some Pakistanis scored about as badly as someone who
had guessed every answer to the multiple-choice questions. Abdus Salam
regarded these results as evidence of the generally poor quality of physics
education in Pakistan's universities. Or was Yang's test simply 'too hard'?