Monday, December 24, 2012

Oh, The Humanities!

The Maya, and Sheldon, were right. The world has in fact ended.

PASADENA – They have gathered in a modest room on a brisk Thursday night to assemble a makeshift stage, run lines and finalize light cues. Their mood is light but purposeful as "curtain time" nears.

Soon, the director leads the company in a warm-up to loosen their limbs and vocal cords. This is one of their final rehearsals at the Armory Center for the Arts in Old Town Pasadena.

Most are students at the California Institute of Technology, renowned for cultivating the minds that helped produce the personal computer and the Mars rovers, and for developing the world's future leaders in science and technology. But these students are learning how to move on stage, project to the back row and yes, put on a show.

Students here are among the brightest mathematicians and scientists, but another, lesser-known aspect of life at the Pasadena campus is an interest in the arts and humanities.

A small but slowly growing number of students are choosing majors like English and history and coupling them with a science or math major. And recently, officials changed the core curriculum, reducing the math and physics requirements from five quarters to three each as part of a total of 13 courses in math and science.

My emphasis. The world is going to hell in a handbasket, and the next generation of techers might as well be at some liberal arts school like Bennington or MIT.