Ain't Goin'a Study Math No More

Steve Hsu has been writing lately about Harvard's Asian problem.  Harvard's Asian problem is that it is being sued by Asian students for allegedly systematically rating them lower in "personality" in order to keep their numbers lower.  According to Wikipedia, Asians make up 5.6% of the American population, and according to Steve, 16% of Harvard and all Ivy League undergrads.  By contrast, at Caltech and Berkeley, where admissions are race blind, they make up 39% and 40% respectively.  Jews, who make up 1.5% of the US population, constitute 26% at Harvard, 23% of the Ivies, and 6% and 10% at Caltech and Berkeley.  Asians are clearly overrepresented by population but also, apparently, underrepresented by percentage of the academically talented at the Ivies.

I will let Steve, an Asian, Caltech grad and Harvard Ph.D., and the courts argue out the case of the students, but I got distracted by another post of his on performance by ethnicity of various groups on some elite academic measures (Math Olympiad, Putnam Exam, Physics Olympiad, etc.) over time.  Almost as striking as the rise of Asians over the past 70 years is a parallel decline in that of Jewish students.  American physics and math was dominated by Jewish scientists in the middle of the Twentieth Century (Think Feynman, Schwinger, Gell-Mann, Witten and so many more.)  Have Jews just lost interest in math?  Is the vast Jewish population of the Ivy League now dedicating its time to the study of finance, sitcom writing and other useless but profitable activities?


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