I used to work in nanotech, with lots of very smart physicists and physical chemists. Not once during that time did I hear the word "quark" uttered. When you're working at the level of crystals, or fluids, or semiconductors, or magnets, it just never comes up.
High energy physics has been in the news a lot lately and for good reason, but most physicists work with what they call "condensed matter". If it helps, translate that as "everyday matter".
I agree it may be a bad example. Physicists these days sound more like priests. They cannot know that much about their own field, can they? When you're unsure about whether real choice is possible or not. And then you fail towards the world being "magic"? And they are not in consensus, either? The default view would imo of course be that if we had choice, all hell would have broken loose. And that a free choice actually *requires* determinism. And that any other idea would fail occams razor for the same reason that religion does. Maybe that's why Sean Carroll are debating in churches these days? =))
If you haven't seen it, I would recommend this interview with Michio Kaku, which is one of the more interesting interview I can recall to have seen.
and maybe also this one, for background:
(the last one is an interview with Gordie Rose, a guy working at D-Wave Systems, Inc. at trying to make quantum computers work. In the first interview, Michio strongly doubts Gordie Rose's work. But Google is funding this guy with like 100 millions or something.
I think these two interviews are beautiful if you watch them together and pay close attention to the details.
Not everything is about details. But I would say, especially at a time like ours, where a graphicscard bought 4 years ago, still is worth about the same amount of money as you paid for it then..and soon do double duty as electric radiator, that there has never been a time where intimate knowledge of assembly could possibly pay better off.
And I mean that on multiple levels. First of all, once trained well in assembly, it becomes easier to work with than any other language. But more important is the process that this leaves behind in your mind. Can you really know music, without working with notes? Who is smarter? Your conscience, or your subconscious? In my view the subconcious does 99% of the work. What matters is what you feed it.
I would make a qualified guess, that unless you feed your sub-conscious the tiniest details, as often as possible, it will not be able to do half as much good work as if you do. It will lift your potential, dramatically, relative to your talent. How could any serious coder want to work with anything less then the best?
I am now of the view, that unless you make assembly your first choise in languages, you will find it 10 times harder to make new ideas and discoveries in this field, and have a 100 times a harder time to implement them.