As a public service, I hereby present my findings on physics seminars in convenient graph form. In each case, you will see the Understanding of an Audience Member (assumed to be a run-of-the-mill PhD physicist) graphed as a function of Time Elapsed during the seminar. All talks are normalized to be of length 1 hour, although this might not be the case in reality.
The „Typical“ starts innocently enough: there are a few slides introducing the topic, and the speaker will talk clearly and generally about a field of physics you’re not really familiar with. Somewhere around the 15 minute mark, though, the wheels will come off the bus. Without you realizing it, the speaker will have crossed an invisible threshold and you will lose the thread entirely. Your understanding by the end of the talk will rarely ever recover past 10%.
The „Ideal“ is what physicists strive for in…
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