Article ID: CBB566365082

Transformations: the material representation of historical experiments in science teaching (2023)


Some experiments from the history of physics became so famous that they not only made it into the textbook canon but were transformed into lecture demonstration performances and student laboratory activities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While, at first glance, some of these demonstrations as well as the related instruments do resemble their historical ancestors, a closer examination reveals significant differences both in the instruments themselves and in the practices and meanings associated with them. In this paper, I analyse the relation between the research instruments and the respective teaching demonstrations. In doing so, I particularly distinguish between demonstrations that address the process of the actual experimental procedures, and those that focus on the outcome or results (the product) of the experiment. This distinction will be illustrated in some exemplary case studies from the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth in which both the historical experiment and the related educational devices are analysed. The tension between the historical experiment on the one hand, and the different variants of the teaching version on the other, result in the educational as well as epistemological problems that are discussed in this paper.

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Authors & Contributors
Ascher, Carol
Bächtold, Manuel
Barreto, Elton de Oliveira
Bigg, Charlotte
Cirino, Sérgio Dias
Laukötter, Anja
History of Education
American Journal of Physics
British Journal for the History of Science
European Physical Journal H
Histoire & Mesure
History of Psychology
Columbia University
Armand Colin
Teaching; pedagogy
Experiments and experimentation
Philosophy of science
Science education and teaching
Boltzmann, Ludwig
Bunge, Mario
Decroly, Ovide
Einstein, Albert
Helmholtz, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von
Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
21st century
United States
Great Britain
Soviet Union
École Normale Supérieure, Paris
Université de Paris
Université de France
Société française de physique

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