Last Updated on July 6, 2009
It’s probably true that the post-WWII generations of leading physicists were less broadly educated than their pre-war counterparts (although there are certainly counterexamples such as Murray Gell-Mann and Steven Weinberg). The simplest explanation for this phenomenon would be that the center of gravity of scientific research switched from Europe to America after the war, and the value of a broad-based education (and philosophy in particular) has always been less in America.
Fascinating post on whether or not philosophy aids one in the pursuit of scientific studies.
As a self-professed “liberal arts” educated person, I feel there’s a great need to have a broad education beyond just one’s field. As a result, I see the current professional and pigeon-holed view of science education as damaging to the discipline’s overall goals of human enlightenment and understanding.