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ISSN 1870-9095

LATIN AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS EDUCATION


www.journal.lapen.org.mx Volume 2 Number 1 January 2008

A publication sponsored by Centro de Investigacin en Ciencia Aplicada y Tecnologa Avanzada del Instituto Politcnico Nacional and the Latin American Physics Education Network

LATIN AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS EDUCATION

Electronic version of this journal can be downloaded free of charge from the webresource: http://www.journal.lapen.org.mx Production and technical support Daniel Snchez Guzmn dsanchez@ipn.mx

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Cesar Mora, Instituto Politcnico Nacional, Mxico.

EDITORIAL POLICY Latin American Journal of Physics Education is a peer-reviewed, electronic international journal for the publication of papers of instructional and cultural aspects of physics. Articles are chosen to support those involved with physics courses from introductory up to postgraduate levels. Papers may be comprehensive reviews or reports of original investigations that make a definitive contribution to existing knowledge. The content must not have been published or accepted for publication elsewhere, and papers must not be under consideration by another journal. This journal is published three times yearly (January, May and September), one volume per year by Centro de Investigacin en Ciencia Aplicada y Tecnologa Avanzada del Instituto Politcnico Nacional and The Latin American Physics Education Network (LAPEN). Manuscripts should be submitted to cmoral@ipn.mx or lajpe@lapen.org.mx .Further information is provided in the Instructions to Authors on www.journal.lapen.org.mx Direct inquiries on editorial policy and the review process to: Cesar Mora, Editor in Chief, CICATA-IPN Av. Legaria 694, Col Irrigacin, Del. Miguel Hidalgo, CP 11500 Mxico D. F. Copyright 2007 Csar Eduardo Mora Ley, Latin American Physics Education Network. (www.lapen.org.mx) ISSN 1870-9095

INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE Carl Wenning, Illinois State University (USA) Diane Grayson, Andromeda Science Education (South Africa) David Sokoloff, University of Oregon (USA) Edward Redish, University of Maryland (USA) Elena Sassi, University of Naples (Italy) Freidrich Herrmann, University of Karlsruhe (Germany) Gordon Aubrecht II, Ohio State University (USA) Hiroshi Kawakatsu, Kagawa University (Japan) Jorge Barojas Weber, Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico (Mxico) Jos Zamarro, University of Murcia (Spain) Laurence Viennot, Universit Paris 7 (France) Marisa Michelini, University of Udine (Italy) Marco Antonio Moreira, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) Minella Alarcn, UNESCO (France) Pratibha Jolly, University of Delhi (India) Priscilla Laws, Dickinson College (USA) Ton Ellermeijer, AMSTEL Institute University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) Vernica Tricio, University of Burgos (Spain) Vivien Talisayon, University of the Philippines (Philippines) Zdenek Kluiber, Technical University (Czech Republic)

EDITORIAL BOARD Amadeo Sosa, Ministerio de Educacin y Cultura Montevideo (Uruguay) Carola Graziosi, APFA (Argentina) Deise Miranda, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Brasil) Eduardo Molt, Instituto Superior Pedaggico Jos Varona (Cuba) Eduardo Montero, Escuela Superior Politcnica del Litoral (Ecuador) Josefina Barrera, Universidade do Estado do Amazonas (Brasil) Josip Slisko, Benemrita Universidad Autnoma de Puebla (Mxico) Juan Evertsz, Universidad Pontificia Catlica Maestra y Maestra, Sociedad Dominicana de Fsica (Rep. Dominicana) Julio Benegas, Universidad Nacional de San Luis (Argentina) Leda Roldn, Universidad de Costa Rica (Costa Rica) Manuel Reyes, Universidad Pedaggica Experimental Libertador (Venezuela) Mauricio Pietrocola Universidad de Sao Paulo (Brasil) Nelson Arias vila, Universidad Distrital, Bogot (Colombia) Octavio Calzadilla, Universidad de la Habana (Cuba) Ricardo Buzzo Garrao, Pontificia Universidad Catlica de Valparaso (Chile)

EDITORIAL

Presentamos a ustedes el Nmero 1 del Volumen 2 del Latin-American Journal of Physics Education (LAJPE), en este ejemplar se incluyen trabajos de Chile, Cuba, Espaa, Francia, Mxico, Repblica Checa, Siria y USA. Estamos muy complacidos por el apoyo brindado por colegas de pases tan lejanos para conseguir el presente ejemplar de excelente contenido, pues se abordan temas importantes de actualidad sobre Educacin en Fsica, tales como la teora popular de enseanza de la Fsica estudiada en Norteamrica, as como el uso de la hermenutica para estudiar la relacin entre la solucin de problemas y la escritura, enfoque desarrollado en Mxico. As como los resultados de la escuela francesa sobre las reacciones de los maestros en la interaccin en la enseanza de la Fsica, el anlisis de detalles finos y el estudio de rituales en alumnos y profesores. Tambin, se presentan reflexiones interesantes para lograr un aprendizaje significativo de la Fsica, y se muestran propuestas de bajo costo para la enseanza de temas como son la Fsica trmica y de fluidos. Por otro lado, se presentan varios trabajos sobre aspectos culturales de la Fsica que son relevantes para la enseanza moderna, tales como la mecnica cuntica, la teora especial de la relatividad y las teoras multidimensionales. Se revisarn falacias histricas y conceptos errneos que es comn escucharlos en cursos regulares y tomarlos como ciertos. Finalmente, se incluye un estudio bibliomtrico de publicaciones sobre el pndulo como un ejemplo de cmo se construye la ciencia. Sin duda, la interaccin y el intercambio entre profesores de Fsica de nuestra regin y de otros continentes resulta ser una experiencia enriquecedora que es promovida por la red LAPEN (Latin American Physics Education Network). Esperamos que el esfuerzo realizado para dar a luz este nmero de LAJPE pueda servir a ms de algn profesor de Fsica interesado en mejorar su prctica docente.

Cesar Mora Editor en Jefe

Physics Classroom Engagement: constructing understanding in real time


Dewey I., Dykstra, Jr.
Physics Department, Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725-1570 E-mail: ddykstra@boisestate.edu (Received 15 October 2007, accepted 15 December 2007) Abstract
The dismal results of standard physics teaching found in the research in physics education are explained and justified by the folk theory of physics teaching. Challenging this folk theory at its core results in far superior student learning. An example of an alternative practice called student understanding-driven instruction is described. Implications for the role of the teacher and for teacher preparation are drawn, as are challenges to engaging in this alternative physics teaching practice. Keywords: Folk theory of physics teaching, student understanding-driven instruction, conceptions of real image formation.

Resumen
Los resultados lamentables de la enseanza de la fsica estndar encontrados en la investigacin en fsica educativa son explicados y justificados segn la teora popular de enseanza de la fsica. El desafo de esta teora popular en sus resultados bsicos es muy superior en el aprendizaje de los estudiantes. Se describe un ejemplo de una prctica alternativa llamada instruccin de entendimiento conducido del estudiante. Tambin, son descritas las implicaciones para el papel del profesor y la preparacin del mismo, ya que son desafos para la contratacin en esta prctica alternativa de enseanza de la fsica. Palabras claves: Teora popular de enseanza de la fsica, instruccin de entendimiento conducido del estudiante, concepciones de formacin de imagen real. PACS: 01.40.-d, 01.40.Fk, 01.40.gb, 01.40.Ha, 01.40.J-, 42.15.-i ISSN 1870-9095

I. INTRODUCTION Physics learning today


It is well documented that most students leave instruction on physics topics with no significant change in their understanding of the phenomena studied. Mounting evidence to this effect has been published for at least 30 years. A bibliography containing this evidence is on-line [1]. The bibliography, just updated in February, 2007, now has 7,700 entries. This evidence is apparently unknown to many in spite of the quantity of it published, shocking to some and rejected by others [2]. The prevailing folk theory of physics teaching explains this outcome. The folk theory of physics teaching can be defined in the following way: Physics teaching is the presentation of the established canon by approved methods for the benefit of the deserving. Very few students show evidence of receiving the canon presented to them as anything other than a kind of rote memorized catechism. This apparently is the general outcome regardless how skilled we are at the approved methods for presentation of our canon. Under the folk theory the elitist assumption is apparently very few students are deserving; that is, few students have the mental capacity and the diligence to get what is presented. This folk theory with its elitist view of people explains the
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results, exonerates teachers and students for poor performance, and boosts the egos of the deserving. Of course, numbered among the deserving are teachers of physics, physicists, and a few students. The folk theory goes unquestioned as if it is the natural order of things. Hence, many very intelligent, hard working and sincere instructors of physics have lived with these results all their careers without challenging them. In fact the results are aggressively defended [2].

Evidence to the contrary


If there were no evidence to the contrary, then the folk theory would be acceptable, because it fits the observations. Yet, there is evidence to the contrary. An alternative explanation for learning leads to a very different practice of physics teaching from which many students leave having made significant changes in understanding in significant numbers. This different practice of physics teaching rests on a different explanation of the nature and origins of knowledge and a different relationship between knowers and this knowledge. This different view of knowing and knowers comes out of the work of the Swiss Genetic Epistemologist Jean Piaget and the Radical Constructivist Ernst von Glasersfeld [3, 4]. The result of experience in this physics teaching practice is most students do demonstrate evidence they have constructed new 1
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understanding of the phenomena studied in much greater numbers than students taught under the folk theory.[5] Hence, we have evidence that generally students leave physics instruction without having changed their understandings of the phenomena studied. Out of their experiences in physics classes students also apparently generally form opinions (1) that they cannot understand physics, (2) only certain special people (the deserving) can really understand physics and (3) it is mostly just mathematics. Yet, we also have evidence that most students can indeed construct new, more powerful understandings of the phenomena for themselves. Such experiences do not support the ideas that most cannot really understand physics or that only a certain few are deserving. Thus, teaching practices consistent with the folk theory do unnecessary damage to most students and, thereby, to society. This damage is accomplished by teaching most students who experience instruction on physics topics that they are inadequate when they are not. Corollary to this damage is the students are taught to be dependent on others for truth. A society is weakened when its members are convinced they are inadequate and dependent on a few for the truth.

working understanding of the students understandings, then the students are likely to disequilibrate when they are surprised by the contrast between the actual outcome and their predictions. How can a teacher know what the students conceptions of the phenomena are likely to be? There are two major sources. One is the bibliography cited at the beginning of this paper and accumulating publications from physics education research [1]. The other is in the classroom working with the students. Most of the class time needs to be spent with students sharing their ideas about the phenomena. Obviously, this is a major departure from a folk theory driven classroom. There are many venues and media that can be used to get students to make explicit their ideas both for themselves and teachers. The most commonly used modes are speaking and writing. The writing can be informal as in notes made in class, more public as in on-line discussions, or formal as in writing assignments. Another mode to encourage collaboration is group-designed posters to illustrate the ideas of the group. Such a poster can be found in Figure 1.

III. REAL IMAGE FORMATION II. A DIFFERENT TEACHING PRACTICE


At the heart of this different physics teaching practice is Piagets notion of equilibration. Human beings tend to adjust their understanding such that predictions based on this understanding fit experiences with the phenomenon the understanding explains. When the predictions or expectations do not fit experience with the phenomenon, a disequilibrated state is the response. People who have disequilibrated, either avoid the situation, sweeping it under the carpet, or they draw near the situation to develop modifications to existing understanding that would enable expectations that better fit the experience. Hence, in order to have students develop new understandings, they have to disequilibrate. It is the physics teachers central role to establish situations in the classroom in response to which the students are likely to disequilibrate. This role is profoundly different than in the folk theory. Piaget and his colleagues studied young people making sense of their world, both physical and social. Their interest was in development, not in schooling, so he did not focus on standard school learning. They found they could best explain their observations concerning development using the idea of equilibration of cognitive structures. For the teacher the practical problem is how to induce disequilibration, when a.) only the students can disequilibrate themselves and b.) only the students can find a new equilibrium by constructing their own new understanding of the world to fit their experience. One approach is to engage students in eliciting their own conceptions by applying them to making predictions about some new experience. Then have them actually experience what happens when the prediction is tested. To induce disequilibration, their predictions should not match what actually happens. If the teacher has formulated a good
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An example of disequilibration Most people, trained in physics or not, seem to operate with the notion that an image comes as entity from luminous objects to a lens. In terms of rays, one ray comes from each point on the luminous object. The image is manipulated by the agency of the lens to appear clear and sharp on a screen. The image has a physical size all the way from the source to the screen where it appears, usually inverted, sharp and clear, as illustrated in Figure 1.

FIGURE 1. Image manipulation by a lens. This is a typical poster drawn by a group of four students when asked to use the idea of light rays to illustrate using light rays how they think the image comes to be on the screen.

This notion of image leads most people to predict that if we have a sharp image from a luminous source present on a screen, when we cover half the lens, we will only see one 2
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Physics Classroom Engagement: constructing understanding in real time

half of the image on the screen [6]. The other half will be blocked. Yet, when this is tried, the whole image remains! One can even use a card with 1.0 cm hole over the lens and move the hole around. The image will remain whole and fixed in location on the screen. How is this example used to induce students to disequilibrate? The best way is to begin with the students attending to their own conceptions of images from lenses. We show them the luminous object, lens and screen placed so that a bright, sharp, clear image is apparent on the screen, but the students are admonished not to manipulate the apparatus [7]. We ask: what would happen on the screen, if we were to cover half the lens? First, students write and sketch their own ideas on this question with an emphasis on why their answer seems reasonable at this point in time. Next, the students are invited to share their answers to the questions with each other, again with an emphasis on their justifications for their answers. The point here is not the prediction, but to elicit their conceptions concerning this particular situation. The goal is to get students to be explicit about their own ideas, to share them with their peers, and to find out about the ideas of others. After this discussion, then the students are invited to try covering half the lens with an opaque card. Because of the level of commitment to their predictions, cultivated by their efforts to justify or explain their prediction, the fact that all of the image is still there and it does not matter which part or how much of the lens remains uncovered results for many, even trained physicists, in disequilibration. The actual experience of disequilibration is far more than merely cognitive. It has an affective impact, too. When it is okay to have ones prediction not match what happens, then it is possible to draw near the experience and participate in discussion about the implications of this outcome for the explanations that supported the original predictions. Under the folk theory, the focus is on accurate reproduction of the canon. The teacher immediately corrects any departure from the canon. As such there is a premium on accurate predictions. In folk theory driven instruction students quickly learn not to predict from their own understanding, but to guess what the teacher wants. When students are freed to make predictions from their own understanding, they are free to revise their understanding when they find their predictions do not match the outcomes. In the context of a ray model of light, it is typical that students decide there must be more than one ray coming from each particular point on the luminous source. The multiple rays from any one point must be hitting all the points on the lens. How else could leaving any arbitrary portion of the lens uncovered result in the whole image on the screen? The notion that the image leaves the source as an entity is discredited. The notion that there is a single ray from any given point on the source is also discredited. At this point in the students minds there is a viable alternative to the issue of single rays from points on luminous objects, but there is yet to be developed a viable alternative to the notion of the image leaving the source as an entity. This example is but one glimpse of the process in the classroom. By stringing together a number of such
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examples, a teacher can engage a class of students in constructing for themselves multifaceted explanatory theories of a phenomenon that fit experience quite closely. Once students have constructed such a theory, they can answer questions about possibilities that go far beyond what they have directly experienced. Because students developed and tested the theories themselves, they develop skill at constructing theories. Importantly, they do not have to rationalize why they did not get what was presented. Knowledge is no longer handed down from the deserving for the deserving neophytes. Students are no longer dependent on the deserving for the truth. Everyone constructs knowledge and has the responsibility for their own constructions. Instead of leaving the instructional experienced damaged and dependent, students leave the experience empowered and with deeper understandings of the phenomena studied.

IV. DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT INSTRUCTION


The teacher faces a completely different set of issues and challenges in this practice than the teacher using the folk theory of physics teaching. Because teaching is not about transmitting the canon to the deserving, the teacher becomes dependent on students, as students are the only ones who can change their own understandings. In spite of this dependence there are things that the teacher can do which have profound effects on the students. To carry out the kind of examples above, the teacher needs to have constructed personal understanding, not just satisfied the normal content course requirements for teacher candidates in the folk theory of physics teaching. In addition, the teacher must develop a personal understanding of the ways students typically think about the phenomenato see the development of physical theory in students minds [8]. This comes first from consulting the research literature on student conceptions, but much more comes from listening to and observing the students as they talk about their ideas of the phenomena and make predictions. The very issues attended to in instruction are different. Under the folk theory of physics teaching, the canon is spelled out in textbooks. The texts determine the sequence, quantity and level of the canon presented. In lab, the experiments are all designed to show elements of this canon. On the other hand, using this different practice of physics teaching, the experiments are chosen for their potential to be experiences over which students are likely to disequilibrate. Because the canon and its organization are a distilled, streamlined and hierarchical organization of topics and examples, the canon bears no relationship to how such knowledge might be developed. The example in geometric optics illustrates the canon is worse than useless as a guide when real change in understanding is the goal. In the standard, textbook-driven treatment of geometric optics, the students would be marched through the law of reflection and Snells law. Then they would be shown the technique of drawing special rays and given the thin lens equation and asked to perform special ray constructions and do thin lens calculations. Throughout definitions of terms would be 3
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given as if the students should be able to understand and know the meanings merely because they have been told or shown. Yet, when the students understandings are probed after such instruction, as did Goldberg and McDermott [6], we find after this instruction the students notions of real images are essentially unchanged. Neither the details of the law of reflection, Snells law, special rays nor the thin lens equation play any role even in the larger more complete unit of student understanding-driven instruction of which the example is a part. The canon as described by the standard table of contents of a physics book is essentially useless when change in student understanding is the goal. Implications for physics teacher preparation The central challenge to the physics teacher, then, is how to establish the conditions under which students are likely to disequilibrate. Clearly, this task cannot be accomplished if the teacher does not know how the students think about the phenomenon to be studied. It also cannot be accomplished if the teacher does not know the experiences possible with the phenomenon to be studied. These two capacities are sadly lacking in most people who teach physics at any level. This inadequate state of affairs is not due to shortcomings of the teachers of physics, themselves. Instead it is due to shortcomings in their preparation and training to teach physics. Teacher preparation is generally driven by the folk theory. For example, in the U. S. physics teacher preparation consists of presenting the canon to the teacher candidates, generally via two of the accepted methods: lecture and scripted laboratory activities. Then the teacher candidates are shown the accepted methods of presentation and given some supervised practice in a real classroom. This basic description has not changed even under the influence of the No Child Left Behind Act, imposed by the U. S. federal government. In countries where there are formal teacher preparation programs, the training is similar. In countries where there is little or no formal training to teach, the main criterion for teacher selection is evidence of being in possession of the canon, usually via a degree in the subject. As Niedderer has written: ...a physics major has to be trained to use today's physics whereas a physics teacher has to be trained to see a development of physical theories in his students minds[8]. Sadly, the folk theory driven standard preparation does not focus the attention of the teacher candidates on the development of physical theories in the students minds. It does not even focus the teacher candidates on the development of physical theory in their own minds. So, while the standard preparation does expose teacher candidates to some of the possible experiences to be had with the phenomena, the necessary component of focus on the development of understanding is simply not there at all in their training. Thus, it is not a surprise that the result of folk theory driven training is folk theory teaching. The consequence is damage to students and society, weakening both the students and the society to which they belong. Resistance to change from the folk theory
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The cognitive and affective processes relied upon in this alternative teaching practice are believed to be explanatory of natural human functioning. These natural human functions are suppressed quite effectively by years of standard instruction under the folk theory, which is employed in the teaching of every subject. Just as they come to us with well-established conceptions of physical phenomena, students come to us with well entrenched personal explanatory theories of schooling which entail the roles and obligations of both student and teacher. This alternative practice does not fit these standard notions of schooling well at all. As a result, another issue the teacher using the alternative practice must deal with is engaging students in rethinking learning and the consequences of this different notion of learning for both the students and teachers. Hence, engaging in disequilibration over physical phenomena must occur against the background of coming to grips with reconceptualization of the learning culture of the classroom. The teacher who desires conceptual change for the students faces resistance from students, colleagues and administrators. The whole educational enterprise is driven by the folk theory of teaching. The preparation of teachers is determined by the folk theory. The evaluation of teaching for purposes of teacher advancement and salary are also dominated by the folk theory. Students are indoctrinated into a debilitating worldview through instruction driven by the folk theory. Emilia Ferreiros field is not physics, but early acquisition of reading by young children. Nonetheless, she captures the challenges very well in the following passage: Instead of asking about the method employed, it is more useful to look at the practices used to introduce the child [student] to reading [knowledge], and how this object [knowledge] is presented in the classroom. There are practices that lead children [students] to think that knowledge is something that others possess and that they must turn therefore to others to obtain it without ever participating in the construction of such knowledge [themselves]. There are also practices that make them think that what has to be known is given once and for all, as if it were a closed, sacred, and immutable set of elements that are to be transmitted but not modified. Yet other practices place the child [student] outside the knowledge, making them passive spectators or mechanical receivers who can never find the answers to the whys and wherefores that they dont even dare to formulate aloud. There is no neutral pedagogical practice. Every single one is based on a given conception of the learning process and of the object of such a process. Most probably, those practices more than the methods themselves are exerting the greatest effects in the domain of literacy [or science], as in any field of knowledge. Certain practices may appear normal and others aberrant depending upon how the relation between subject and the object of knowledge is understood and how both terms of this relation are characterized. It is at this point that psychopedagogical considerations must be supported by epistemological reflections. (Emphasis in the original) [9]. We see from the evidence in the bibliography that the folk theory-driven methods of physics instruction have 4
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little effect on students understandings of the phenomena studied. On the other hand, it is clear from the response of many students that they come to our classrooms expecting, even demanding, to be mechanical receivers of a closed, sacred, and immutable set of truths. They do not expect that they could ever participate in the construction of such knowledge themselves. Administrators and many parents insist on preserving this status quo by their action. Yet, the wisdom of Ferreiros words in our own classroom experience is clear. Resistance and road-blocks to student understanding-driven instructional practices are great, but it is nonetheless possible to employ such practices with success as demonstrated by the evidence cited above [5].

REFERENCES
[1] Duit, R., Students and teachers conceptions and science education (Institute for Science Education (IPN), University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany, 2007). Available online at: <http://www.ipn.uni-kiel.de/aktuell/stcse/stcse.html> [2] Ehrlich, R., How do we know if we are doing a good job in physics teaching?, Am. J. Phys. 70, 2428 (2002). [3] Piaget, J., The Equilibration of Cognitive Structures: The Central Problem of Intellectual Development, (translated by Brown, T. and Thampy, J. K., University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1985). [4] Glasersfeld, E. von, Knowing without metaphysics: Aspects of the radical constructivist position. In Steier, F. (Ed.) Research and Reflexivity (Inquiries into social construction) (Sage Publications, London, 1991). Available on-line at:<http://www.kjf.ca/17-TAGLA.htm> [5] Dykstra, D. I., Jr., Against realist instruction: catastrophic failure and an alternative, Constructivist Foundations 1, 49 60 (2005). Available on-line at: <http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/retrieve.c gi?paper=1.1.dykstra> [6] Goldberg, F. & McDermott, L. C., Investigation of student understanding of real image formation by a converging lens or concave mirror, Am. J. Phys. 55, 108119 (1987). [7] We use an unfrosted, electric light bulb with a shaped filament. When the bulb is turned on, the filament becomes the luminous object. [8] Niedderer, H., What research can contribute to the improvement of classroom teaching. In Nachtigall, D. K., Bartsch, H., Scholz, C. (Eds.), International Conference on Physics Teachers Education Proceedings. (Dortmund, University of Dortmund, 1992) pp. 120155. [9] Ferreiro, E., Literacy Acquisition and the representation of language. In Kamii, C., Manning, M. and Manning, G. (Eds.) Early Literacy: a constructivist foundation for whole language. (NEA Professional Library Washington, DC, National Education Association, 1991) pp. 4546.

VI. CONCLUSIONS
Physics teaching based on the folk theory by teachers trained to teach according to the folk theory is a spectacular failure at engaging students in developing new understanding of the phenomena. An alternative, student understanding-driven practice has been demonstrated to result in most students developing new understandings of the phenomena. Piagets equilibration plays a central role in this alternative instruction. The teachers role in the practice is markedly different than under the folk theory. Necessary pedagogical content knowledge for the teacher in this alternative practice is described and an example of the practice in geometric optics has been illustrated. Resistances to the alternative teaching practice are acknowledged. All students can develop new, deep and powerful understandings of the phenomena, if engaged in doing so properly. We have an obligation to the students, society and our profession to so engage the students when we teach. To accomplish this we have to question the folk theory of teaching and its consequences. Then, we need to change both the preparation of teachers and the evaluation of their work, so that we do not perpetuate the folk theory of teaching.

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Problem solving and writing II: The point of view of hermeneutics


Jorge Barojas1, 2
Department of Physics, School of Sciences. UNAM. Circuito Exterior, Ciudad Universitaria. A.P. 70542. C. P. 04510. Mxico, D. F., Mxico. 2 Member of the Seminar on Hermeneutics, at the Institute of Research in Philology, UNAM. E-mail: jbarojas@posgrado.unam.mx (Received 03 November 2007; accepted 17 December 2007)
1

Abstract
In this second paper we continue with the connections between problem solving and writing taking into accounts the perspective of hermeneutics. The problem solving protocol used in the first paper is modified in two cases: first to present the narrative of the solution provided by a writer to a physics system (the buoyancy of an iceberg) and second to approach the solution of a problem in a human learning system. As an example of the second system the development of a learning community in charge of a masters program devoted to training high school teachers is discussed. Finally, some implications of human interactions occurring in the contexts of problem solving and communicating and interpreting are considered in Physics Education. Keywords: Problem solving, Problem-based learning.

Resumen
En este segundo artculo continuamos con la relacin entre resolver problemas y escribir, ahora desde el punto de vista de la hermenutica. El protocolo de solucin de problemas considerado en el primer artculo se modifica en dos casos; primero, para presentar la narrativa que hara un escritor respecto de la solucin del problema de fsica de la flotacin de un iceberg y luego, para abordar la solucin de un problema en un sistema de aprendizaje humano. Como ejemplo ilustrativo del segundo sistema discutimos el desarrollo de una comunidad de aprendizaje que tiene a su cargo una maestra dedicada a la formacin de profesores de enseanza media superior. Finalmente, consideramos algunas implicaciones en enseanza de la fsica de las interacciones humanas que se dan en los contextos de solucin de problemas, comunicacin e interpretacin. Palabras clave: Resolucin de problemas, aprendizaje basado en problemas. PACS: 01.40.-d, 01.50-i, 01.40.gb ISSN 1870-9095

I. COMMUNICATION AND INTERPRETATION IN PROBLEM SOLVING


We write documents by using symbolic representations under certain contexts with the goal of communicating something through reading or listening. The preparation, communication and interpretation of these intellectual products imply creative designs that are highly developed outcomes of thinking. These designs evolve into written texts containing discourses to be interpreted. Written documents do not include details about the reasoning trajectories or patterns accomplished in the mind of the author; they report only what seems to be the better outcomes. However, the intention of the author must be clear and clean in a final product without ambiguity. In reading a written document two processes are of equivalent importance: the communication of a product and its interpretation.

Problem solving and writing are creative designs that have structural similarities corresponding to a plan proposed by the author. Such a plan must be grasped by the readers according to their interpretation approach. It is in this context that it might be useful to use instruments for interpreting written texts. In paper I the roles of cognitive and metacognitive reasoning skills in presenting and evaluating the design, and the construction and communication of the solutions to problems have been interpreted in connection with conceptual activities, such as formation, treatment and conversion of semiotic representation registers [1]. We must remember that a representation register is any device for recording. In order to make clear how these two dimensions (cognitive and metacognitive) are related in problem solving and writing we have described a protocol or procedure called TADIR that was applied to explain the solution of a problem in a physical system (the problem of buoyancy). We have considered the approach of a
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Problem solving and writing II: The point of view of hermeneutics

physicist who uses three kinds of languages: the natural language of everyday talking, the technical language of Physics, and the formal language of mathematics. In this second paper we deal with the same physics problem but describe what might be the narrative of the solution provided by a writer who uses the protocol TADIR with some modifications. Afterwards, we consider an adaptation of the same protocol TADIR to discuss the solution of a problem in a human learning system corresponding to a Physics Education program. The interpretation of possible solutions to both problems is done from the point of view of hermeneutics, the discipline concerning the interpretation of texts.

II. REMARKS ON HERMENEUTICS


The name hermeneutics is associated with Hermes: the Greek god of communication, the borders, the limits. It represents the crossing of paths and the coincidence of moments. Initially, hermeneutics was connected only to the comprehension and interpretation of written texts. In Plato, it was referred to inspiration and communication of messages, and in Aristotle it was conceived as a theory of expression [2]. Nowadays, the notion of text also includes dialogues, images and actions. All interpretation assumes that the author of a text has some intentionality to be expressed within a context. It comprises what has been said, exists and is done at the moment of the production of the text. The plurality of possible interpretations is a consequence of the variability of contexts determining the readers approach and the comprehension that comes out from the interpretation of the text. By following Grondin [3] interpretation has had meaning and manifestation forms in philology, art, translation, jurisdiction and in our presence in the world. The goal is to provide scenarios while looking for meanings in contexts where the interpreters act as mediators in a wide spectrum of perspectives. Different meanings can be interpreted in terms related to cognitive, ideological, historical or linguistic issues. We might refer to interpretations concerning human works or manifestation of nature in order to understand their structures and functions. The interpretation of a text implies the comprehension of both a reference and a meaning. The reference is the concrete link with facts. The meaning is the mental construct that is apprehended when we understand something. The reference is unique when the meaning is clear and distinct and when there is no place for misunderstandings. The meaning is multiple when many forms of understanding the reference are valid and convincing. However, a reference without meaning is empty and meaning without reference is useless. We require a mediation process between uniqueness of consensus and diversity of dissension depending on having only one reference and meaning or many of both of them. The main purpose of any author, as a writer or as a problem solver, is to generate written documents to be apprehended by the readers. In each case the final product
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is a concrete document that provides meaning and generates understanding by dealing with a set of questions that are presented, framed and answered. Questions and answers are interpreted depending on the meanings that the author wishes to accomplish among the readers. Scientists and engineers aim to create only one interpretation or the minimum possible options to avoid dispersion by making comprehensible the literal meaning of the text. Writers and poets in particular are more open to produce diverse interpretations of the allegoric meaning of their texts. Analogic interpretations look for a balanced situation between the two extreme forms of reading a text: the literal reading which is unique and rigorous and corresponds to only one reference or the allegoric reading which is unbounded and multiple and represents many meanings [4]. The aim is to recuperate different possible meanings and to organize them according to a hierarchy of interpretations by supporting their corresponding meanings with appropriate references under concrete circumstances. In the case of the problem related to a physical system the literal reading is the most convenient for scientists and engineers because the reference is assumed to be clear and complete. However a writer narrating how the solution has been obtained might take advantage of the allegoric reading because several meanings might be appropriate due to more diverse references. In the case of a problem related to a human learning system like a project on Physics Education the interpretation of the text explaining the solution could contain an appropriate proportion of the allegoric reading of a writers viewpoint and the literal reading of the physicists approach.

III. THE SOLUTION OF A PHYSICS PROBLEM NARRATED BY A WRITER


Scientific documents reporting the results of problem solving follow macro-structures that contain elements such as: title, authors and addresses, abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, acknowledgements, and references. Sharples [5] defines a macro-structure as a constraint that operates at a global level in order to accomplish three purposes: to frame the style and content of the manuscript, to provide links between parts of the text and internal coherence of the whole, and also to organize the readers expectations. This author also considers that the cognitive engine of writing implies cycles of engagement and reflection; the final product of the interaction of these cycles is expressed as a written discourse in a given language. Usually the structure of written documents reporting on the solution of problems in physical systems is similar to a written discourse: although it works in different domains and for different purposes, it is like a narrative or storytelling. Authors like Hoey [6], referring to Winter [7], mentions five constitution elements or items defining a written communication: situation, problem, solution, observation, and evaluation. Now we briefly describe the structure of the discourse prepared by a writer that takes into account these same five elements from the perspective of hermeneutics. We refer these elements to the cognitive
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Jorge Barojas

and metacognitive dimensions of problem solving used in a modified TADIR protocol as well as to the cognitive activities of formation, treatment and conversion involved in semiotic representation registers.

A. The cognitive dimension of a writers narrative of the solution of a physics problem The TADIR problem solving protocol has two main characteristics [8]: (1) it makes possible paths explicit showing the reasoning process leading to the solution, and (2) it relates and enriches the two dimensions worked out

in preparing the written communication: cognition and metacognition. Next, Table I shows an adaptation of this problem solving protocol to communicate a story serving to unfold the solution of the buoyancy problem previously considered in paper I. We assume that the five steps of TADIR are followed by a writer understanding Physics. As a natural language is employed to talk about Physics in here we have more possibilities for multiple interpretations of the text written by the author. Furthermore, representations forms, like equations and graphics, are seldom used in the text containing such a narrative of the solution.

TABLE I. Solution of a physics problem from a writers perspective Elements of the narrative Situation Characteristics of each element An initial step in the description is entirely written in a natural language. The question to be answered is explained in a natural language but some technical terms are introduced. The solution is presented by describing the chain of reasoning steps required for obtaining an answer and theoretical considerations and references to ancillary knowledge are given by using the technical language of the corresponding discipline. Some remarks are made in a natural language concerning the physical conditions of the system under consideration and conceptual requirements are expressed by introducing specific terms of common use in the technical language of the discipline of Physics. The description of the declared procedure to solve the problem is finally made in a natural language. The aim is to verify that a correct and complete answer has been obtained. Narrative of the writer We consider that a piece of ice called iceberg is floating on water. We want to calculate how much of the iceberg is over the surface level of water (the floating volume) and how much is submerged in water (the sunk volume). We assume that the iceberg is in equilibrium due to the balance of two forces: the downward weight of the iceberg and the upward buoyant force (thrust) which is due to the weight of an amount of water equal to the volume of ice that sinks (this is known as Archimedes Principle). We take into account that size (volume) and density of the ice characterize the iceberg, that water has a different density than ice, and that the air does not matter. Furthermore, we need to know the relationship between weight and mass, and the definition of density in terms of mass and volume. As we can get the values of the densities of ice and water, we calculate the numerical value of the ratio of the part of the iceberg that floats with regard to the part that sinks.

Problem

Solution

Observation

Evaluation

Now we propose three connections between the steps of the TADIR protocol followed by the physicist (Table 1 in paper I) and the elements of the narrative proposed by the writer previously described. In each case we also indicate the corresponding transitions between the four stages (S1 to S4) of the learning cycle described in paper I, and those relationships that can be established in connection with the three conceptual activities concerning semiotic registers (formation, treatment and conversion). (1) The components of the narrative describing the situation and the problem are associated with both the Translation and the Analysis steps in TADIR. In here the conceptual activity of formation of registers refers to the knowledge of the basic concepts of floating and sinking. To start the problem solving procedure the following transition from S1 to S2 is accomplished: first, the statement of the problem is described by using

everyday natural language (S1) and the world views of the writer interpreting the scenario of the physical system are presented in the technical language characteristic of the discipline (S2). (2) The solution component corresponds to the Design step in TADIR, mainly by describing the basic idea solving the problem (Archimedes Principle). The understanding of this principle implies the conceptual activities of treatment of those registers corresponding to the key concept of equilibrium of two forces: the downward weight of the iceberg originating the sinking which depends on the entire volume of the iceberg, and the upward buoyant force or thrust responsible for the floating which is due to the weight of the water displaced by the volume of the iceberg that is submerged. In this step the transition is from S2 to S3: after analyzing a problematic situation in abstract terms serving to
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Problem solving and writing II: The point of view of hermeneutics

describe possible scenarios that might lead to the solution of the problem (S2), theoretical model structures are applied through the use of formal languages that lead to the presentation of a design of the solution (S3). (3) Aside basic concepts, the two other kinds of knowledge elements utilized in the Design step are conceptual relationships and ancillary calculations. These two elements are related to the components of observation and evaluation and are integrated into the Implementation step of TADIR. The conceptual activity of conversion between the registers related to floating and sinking implies that each one of these registers has been previously developed at the level of treatment and that changes of representations have been accomplished. This step corresponds to a transition from S3 where formal languages are used to S4 where changes among different representation registers are performed. This transition requires the use of physical concepts and conceptual relationships such as density, mass, volume, weight and the acceleration of gravity, in order to be able to get the solution of the problem.

It also refers to the evidence showing that the answers provided by the Solution fully respond to the questions addressed in the statement of the problem. Concerning the Review of the Design Step (RD).

Observe the presence and the functioning of different elements intervening in the communication of the discourse describing the solution and regard how the conceptual activity of conversion leads to the solution of the problem. Consider the use of literary resources such as the employment of metaphors, analogies, catalysts Concerning the Review of the Implementation Step (RI).

Evaluate the initial plan for writing, compare with the final results and look for possibilities of improvement. Work on the interrelationships among the three conceptual activities relating semiotic registers (formation, treatment and conversion) and on the impact on the efficiency of the communication process that might involve factors such as patterns, insight, elegance, power, and style [5].

B. The metacognitive dimension of a writers narrative of the solution of a physics problem In this section we consider what could be presented by a writer reviewing (R) the four elements (TADI) of the problem solving protocol: RT, RA, RD, and RI. We comment on possible recommended actions to be undertaken by a writer willing to clarify from the hermeneutic perspective the reasoning process behind the communication made in a natural language. We assume that the writer reflects again on the two key elements defining the text to be interpreted: the reference (mainly through RT and RA) and the meaning (mainly through RD and RI). The four components of the last step of TADIR might have the following purposes: Concerning the Review of the Translation Step (RT).

IV. PROBLEM SOLVING IN A HUMAN LEARNING SYSTEM


Educational projects are planned and developed in a cognitive space associated with the intersection of two intellectual domains that characterize human learning systems: the building of knowledge and the organization of learning [9]. Human learning systems comprise planning, development and evaluation oriented towards promoting and coordinating learning processes in which the creation of learning communities (LCs) is fundamental. These LCs are interacting groups aiming to mainly accomplish four goals: to be informed, to organize communications, to obtain and apply knowledge, and to accomplish transformation tasks for specific purposes such as problem solving, decision making or system design. From the working point of view, LCs involve actors and resources in order to provide services, organize projects, lead processes and make products available. In order to succeed, LCs need technology and knowledge management. LCs must serve to develop self-learning skills, to wisely apply information, to promote innovation, and to improve competitiveness; briefly, to build and manage relevant knowledge [10]. In what follows we apply the TADIR problem solving protocol adapted to a human learning system and describe first and second order approximations to the solution of this problem: how can we understand and improve the functions of an LC in charge of a masters program focused on the education of high school teachers? The educational program in which we are interested is called MADEMS, which stands for the initials of its title in Spanish: MAestra en Docencia para la Educacin Media Superior (Masters Degree Program for Teacher Education at the High School Level). This is a multidisciplinary twoyear program that started in February 2004 at Universidad
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Examine the style or form of the written text used in explaining the Situation that describes the Problem and relates to the conceptual activity of formation of the required registers. Make sure that the written communication satisfies the 4C criteria that characterize an appropriate use of natural language and avoid wrong interpretations: the written text is clear, complete, correct and concise. Concerning the Review of the Analysis Step (RA)

Ponder the arguments in favor or against what has been written while reconsidering the assumptions made to solve the problem. This means to work more on the conceptual activity of treatment of the corresponding semiotic registers associated to the concepts of floating and sinking.
Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. Vol. 2, No. 1, January 2008.

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Nacional Autnoma de Mxico and comprises learning activities focusing on education as well as on the teaching of different disciplines. Up to now the program includes the following disciplines: Biology, Chemistry, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Social Sciences, and Spanish. In the near future Classical Letters, English, French and Psychology will be incorporated. More details can be found in the web page of the program: http://www.posgrado.unam.mx/madems/index.html. In order to solve our problem, which means to explain how our LC is organized, we now apply the TADIR protocol adapted to a human learning problem by making each one of its five steps explicit. TRANSLATION (T): interpret the context of the problem in terms of the elements defining the LCs and the transformational activities in which they are involved. The LC that deals with the MADEMS educational program is integrated by five working groups (WG) each one of them outlined as follows: WG1 Direction Group: the directors of the schools, centers and institutes that participate in the program; their representatives, as well as representatives of tutors and of students. WG2 Operation Group: the general coordinator of the program and assistants in charge of planning, follow-up, accounting, and information. WG3 Education Group: professors who organize courses and tutors who lead the dissertation projects of the students. WG4 - Administration Group: registrars in charge of logistics and staff responsible for registration and students follow up. WG5 Student Group: people taking courses and working towards graduation in two forms: attending lessons or getting instruction in distance education. Our LC is active in five transformational activities (TA) to which specific groups indicated in parentheses correspond: TA1 organization (WG1 and WG2), TA2 coordination (WG2 and WG4), TA3 teaching (WG2, WG3, WG4 and WG5), TA4 control (WG2 and WG4) and TA5 production (WG3 and WG5). ANALYSIS (A): provide the explicit characterization of the working conditions of the system. This second step is defined in terms of the following aspects that define how the LC works: objectives, limitations, performance criteria, production of materials, decision making procedures and connectivity arrangements related to the use of information and communication technology (ICT).

DESIGN (D): propose a first order conceptual model describing the agents and their main tasks required to solve the problem. In this third step, the working groups previously indicated deal with specific transformation activities (TA). Fig. 1 is a graphical representation of the interactions among agents, tasks, and resources required to solve the problem. This is a first order conceptual model that does not provide final solutions; it is just a schematic description of a possible path indicating how the LC might approach the problem. IMPLEMENTATION (I): report on results obtained after working on each TA by applying monitoring and control mechanisms. In this fourth step two mechanisms are applied to clarify if there is evidence showing advances or requiring adjustments in the operation of the LC. The first mechanism is monitoring and it is defined by the four elements related to the FODA methodology. FODA or SOWT stands for Fortalezas (Strengths), Oportunidades (Opportunities), Debilidades (Weaknesses) and Amenazas (Threats) [11]. Strengths (Weaknesses) refer to activities accomplished with high (low) degree of efficiency, and Opportunities (Threats) concern those events that help (hinder) the attainment of objectives. In principle, as the project makes progress, Weakness and Threats must disappear or be transformed, respectively, into Strengths and Opportunities. The second mechanism is control and it is related to the application of rubrics [12] designed to evaluate the performance of the agents forming the five working groups that belong to the LC. This is made in connection with the following four pragmatic pedagogical principles [13] adapted to our LC from those defined for science education: Make knowledge management accessible, Make thinking visible, Help LC members to learn from each other, and Promote lifelong learning among LC members. REVIEW (R): reconsider the previous four TADI steps and go further into higher order conceptual models of the solution. This last step is of metacognitive nature and implies rethinking procedures and work produced by the LC in order to get successively better solutions to the original problem: how can we understand and improve the functions of an LC in charge of a Masters program focused on the education of high school teachers? In order to get a second order conceptual model, each transformational activity is considered as a subsystem by indicating what kind of actions and results can be considered as documented evidences in connection with the tasks related to each TA; also corrective plans and additional support procedures can be incorporated. This review process is shown in Fig. 2 and detailed in Table 2.

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Problem solving and writing II: The point of view of hermeneutics

TA2

COOPERATIVE WORK

COORDINATION

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

PLANNING

TA1

TA3
INSTRUCTION

ORGANIZATION

MADEMS LC

TEACHING

DISTANCE EDUCATION

POLICY MAKING

DISSERTATION WORK

DIDACTIC MATERIALS

TA5

TA4

RESOURCES

DISSERTATION PRODUCTS

PRODUCTION

CONTROL

SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION

MEETINGS PRESENTATIONS

EVALUATION

FIGURE 1. First order conceptual model of the learning community (LC) in charge of MADEMS.

LC

TRANSFORMATION ACTIVITES

WORKING GROUPS

TASKS

DOCUMENTED EVIDENCES

First Order Model Second Order Model FIGURE 2. First and second order conceptual models of the learning community (LC).

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Jorge Barojas TABLE II. Content of a second order conceptual model

TRANSFORMATION ACTIVITIES

TASKS

ACTIONS PROVIDING EVIDENCES

PLANNING TA1 ORGANIZATION POLICY MAKING COOPERATIVE WORK KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT INSTRUCTION TA3 TEACHING DISTANCE EDUCATION DISSERTATION WORK RESOURCES TA4 CONTROL SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION EVALUATION DIDACTIC MATERIALS TA5 PRODUCTION DISSERTATION PRODUCTS MEETINGS PRESENTATIONS

Approve and follow up working plans. Promote connections and obtain grants. Provide orientation and make recommendations. Pursue both vision and mission of the program. Define objectives and goals. Promote efficiency in working groups. Use information and improve knowledge in LC. Prepare reports, talks and study cases. Define learning competences and contents. Organize cognitive activities and evaluations. Prepare test and use didactic materials. Train and support teacher assistants. Define dissertation topics and products. Guide students to finish in form and time. Distribute budget and equipment. Organize admissions and time schedules. Evaluate and support teaching performance. Detect strengths and weaknesses. Guarantee quality and pertinence. Produce, test, improve and publish materials. Guide and publish the work of students. Document and communicate the participation of students reporting on their dissertation projects.

TA2 COORDINATION

V. INTERPRETING WRITING AND PROBLEM SOLVING IN PHYSICS EDUCATION.


The human learning problem previously considered offers plenty of texts to be interpreted due to the complexity of the interactions among the actors of the program and their transformational activities and products. What follows is a summary of the applications of the TADIR problem solving protocol both from the points of view of Physics and of hermeneutics: (1) In order to communicate and interpret texts for learning purposes, two issues are important: what concepts are presented and how they are registered and used according to different re-presentations. By following Duval [14], natural languages are the most appropriate representation registers to begin and to close learning processes. This author specifically refers to mathematics, but we have extended his consideration
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to other disciplines, as well as to deal with human learning systems where plans, processes, projects and products are different from those occurring in physical systems. (2) The same conceptual object or event can be registered in terms of different representations conveying partial descriptions of the total object or event. These representations acquire meaning and are registered according to the circumstances in which those representations are used by the author and interpreted by the readers of the text. (3) In order to help students or any other reader to handle different representation registers and to develop expertise in building knowledge that is applied in problem solving, teaching must provide and coordinate learning activities that facilitate conversions from natural languages into technical and formal languages, which also means to acquire mastery in changing or transferring among the corresponding representation registers.
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Problem solving and writing II: The point of view of hermeneutics

(4) Texts in natural languages are more exposed to differences in readers interpretations than texts mostly containing expressions in technical or mathematical languages, once readers are familiar with those languages. This means that problems related to human learning systems might imply more diverse interpretations than problems in physical systems. (5) There are limits or normative constraints on the use of any language, like grammar, style, and the conceptual structures of the discipline(s) involved in each case. Anyhow, we assume that creators of texts are capable of handling those constraints and can show in their results a fertile integration of planning, inspiration and expertise. In Physics Education, the authors of the texts to be interpreted correspond to teachers and students, as well as to authors of textbooks, didactic materials, curriculum development programs and educational projects. However, it is an oversimplification of the teaching process if we assume that corresponding authors (teachers and students) consider and follow in a straightforward manner and in a rigid order the steps of the TADIR protocol or the steps of the learning cycle. The discursive practices implied in teaching procedures might involve conceptual activities regarding the semiotic representation registers considered in the learning cycle. This could imply that different possible interpretations given by the students are approximations to what teachers say and do by using different languages. Also that the teachers need to be aware of differences between the interpretation conveyed by instruction and the interpretations attained by the learners. Any approach to Physics Education from the perspective of hermeneutics does not look for universal interpretations imposed by the authority of the teacher, the text book or the program schedule. Being able to accept other options is useful in order to understand the learners and authors in terms of schools of thought, time periods, intellectual works, human needs, social requirements, Such a fruitful interplay among interpretations will be particularly rewarding as a culmination of the teaching contextualization procedure [15] which consist of three steps related to each one of the conceptual activities involved in the use of semiotic representation registers: (1) start by presenting a problematic situation in connection with the conceptual activity of formation, (2) focus on answering some leading questions implying the conceptual activity of treatment of registers, and finally (3) close with learning activities in which the conceptual activity of conversion among registers is explicitly undertaken. Communicating and interpreting the solutions of problems in physical and human learning systems requires understanding different languages. This intellectual need concerns those typological and topological aspects characterized by Lemke as verbal and visual representations integrating what he calls multimedia
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semiotics [16]. According to this author writing concerns a visual graphological-typographical semiotics. However there are other modes of meaning-making going beyond speech and writing like for instance drawings, gestures and motor activities which he refers to as graphical-operational-topological semiotics. It is in this sense that the TADIR problem solving protocol can be understood as an interpretation instrument working in the domains of typographical and topological semiotics. We are persuaded that connecting the advantages of using ICT with the cognitive and metacognitive demands of problem solving and writing from the perspective of hermeneutics can improve important issues such as the following: the creativity and efficiency in teaching and learning, particularly on line [17], promote and orient research on the didactics of science and technology [18], and make new intellectual tools and products available to problem solvers as designers working collaboratively [19]. We close this paper by referring again to Sharples [5] who reported the observation made by Pennington [20] concerning the presence of four stages in the development of children expertise using word processors: (1) after initial training children start writing easier, (2) they produce more written works, (3) after a while a qualitative change occurs when they write differently, and (4) finally they do better by adopting a cycle of composing, reflecting and revising. We do believe that the same performance chain occurs in problem solving (easier, more, different and better), through the integrated use of hermeneutical perspectives dealing with the cognitive and metacognitive activities incorporated in the learning cycles and interpreted in terms of natural, technical or formal languages connected with typological and topological semiotics. We are also convinced that in order to make that happen, educational contexts must provide students and teachers with the appropriate means and tools that improve discursive practices and their interpretations. The price of going into this complex process is time, understanding and patience; however, there is a net reward concerning the learning outcomes achieved by students.

ACKNOWLEDGENMENTS
The information concerning the publication by Hoey was kindly provided by M. L. Gloria Espern. Useful comments provided by Profs. Mauricio Beuchot and Anna Mara Pessoa are also very much appreciated.

REFERENCES
[1] Barojas, J., Problem solving and writing I: The point of view of Physics, Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. 1, 4-12 (2007). [2] Ferraris, M., Historia de la hermenutica (Siglo XXI, Mxico, 2005). [3] Grondin, J., Quest-ce que linterpretation?, Skepsis, 127-132 (2004). Also in <http://www.philo.umontreal.ca/prof/documents/Interpreta tion2004.pdf>, Oct. 2007.
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[4] Beuchot, M., Tratado de hermenutica analgica (UNAM Itaca, Mxico, 2001). [5]. Sharples, M., How we write (Routledge, London, 1992). [6] Hoey, M., Signalling in Discourse. English Language Research (University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, 1979). [7] Winter, E. O., A clause-relational approach to English texts; a study of some predictive lexical terms in written discourses, Instructional Science 6, 1-92 (1977). [8] Barojas, J., Teacher training as collaborative problem solving, Educational Technology and Society 6, 1-10 (2003) [9] Barojas, J., Comunidades de Aprendizaje y organizacin del conocimiento. In XVIII Simposio Internacional de Computacin en Educacin, SOMECE (Eds.), Zacatecas, Mxico. In compact disc (2002). [10] Barojas, J., Sierra, J. and Martnez, R., Application of a knowledge management network in distance education. In A. Mndez-Vilas, A. Solano Martn, J. Mesa Gonzlez and J.A. Mesa Gonzlez (Eds.) Current Developments in Technology-Assisted Education. V Conferencia Internacional sobre Multimedia y Nuevas Tecnologas de la Informacin y la Comunicacin en Educacin (mICTE2006), FORMATEX, Badajoz, Spain, Annex, 11-16 (2006). [11] Instituto Politcnico Nacional, Secretara Tcnica, Metodologa para el anlisis FODA (2002), <http://www.uventas.com/ebooks/Analisis_Foda.pdf>, Oct. 2007. [12] Picket, N. and Dodge, B., Rubrics for Web lessons (2007). Available in: <http://edweb.sdsu.edu/webquest/rubrics/weblessons.htm> Oct. 2007.

[13] Linn, M. C. and Hsi, S., Computers, Teacher, Peers: Science learning partners (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, New Jersey, USA, 2000). [14] Duval, R., Registres de rpresentation smiotique et functionement cognitif de la pense (Registers of semiotic representations and cognitive functioning of thinking), Annales de Didactique et de Sciences Cognitives 5, IREM Strasbourg, France (1993). [15] Barojas, J. and Dehesa, N., Mathematics for Social Scientists: Learning Cycles and Teaching Strategies. Industry and Higher Education 15, 269-277 (2001). [16] Lemke, J. L., Multiplying Meaning: Visual and Verbal Semiotics in Scientific Text. In Martin, J. R. and Veel, R. (Eds.), Reading Science (Routledge, London, UK, 1998) pp. 87-113. [17] Harasim, L., Hiltz, S., Teles, L. and Turoff, M., Learning Networks. A guide to teaching and learning on line (MIT Press, Massachusetts, USA, 1995). [18] Lijnse, P., Didactics of science: the forgotten dimension in science education research? In Millar, R., Leach, J. and Osborne, J. (Eds.), Improving Science Education. The contribution of research (Open University Press, Philadelphia, USA, 2000) pp. 309326. [19] Jones, P. M., Collaborative Knowledge Management, Social Networks, and Organizational Learning. In Smith, M. J. and Salvendy, G. (Eds.), Systems, Social and Internationalization Design Aspects of Human-Computer Interaction (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, New Jersey, USA, 2001) vol. 2, pp. 306-309. [20] Pennington, M. C., Writing the natural way on computers, Computer Assisted Language Learning, 9, 125142 (1996).

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Teaching thermal physics by touching


E. Marn
Centro de Investigacin en Ciencia Aplicada y Tecnologa Avanzada del Instituto Politcnico Nacional, Legaria 694, Col. Irrigacin, C.P. 11500, Mxico D. F., Mxico. Email: emarin63@yahoo.es (Received 22 October 2007; accepted 7 November 2007) Abstract
The study of the physical mechanisms involved in heat transfer phenomena is of great pedagogical importance due to their incidence in many aspects of our life. In this work we describe how a daily experience such as the touch of hot and cool objects with the hands can be used to learn concepts related to stationary and transient heat propagation in thermal physics courses. Keywords: Conduction heat transfer, thermal conductivity, thermal effusivity.

Resumen
El estudio de los mecanismos fsicos involucrados en fenmenos de transferencia de calor tiene gran importancia pedaggica debido a su incidencia en muchos aspectos de nuestra vida. En este trabajo describimos cmo una experiencia diaria tal como la manipulacin de objetos calientes y fros con las manos puede ser usada para aprender conceptos relacionados con la propagacin de calor en regmenes estacionario y transitorio en cursos de fsica trmica. Palabras claves: Transferencia de conduccin del calor, conductividad trmica, efusividad trmica. PACS: 44.10.+I, 66.30.Xj, 66.70.+f ISSN 1870-9095

To check the temperature of an object we frequently touch it with our hands and in a very short time interval we can tell if it is either warmer or cooler than our skin. But our perception of the temperature is often affected by several variables, such as the kind of material we touch, its absolute temperature and the time period of the experiment, among others. For example, at room temperature wooden objects feels warmer to the rapidly touch with our hands than those made of a metal, but when a sufficient time has elapsed both seem to be at the same temperature. This topic is of considerable pedagogical importance since it requires a good understanding of the physical mechanisms involved in heat transfer and can be exploited in introductory and advanced physics courses in different ways. Recently [1, 2] we have shown how the theory of heat conduction leads to the result that the relevant thermophysical parameter for the heat flux in the presence of transient heating is the thermal effusivity, , a rather unknown parameter for many people, instead of the much very well known thermal conductivity, k. We have shown how the non-stationary heat transfer theory show that if two semi-infinite regions at uniform temperatures T1 and T2 are placed suddenly in perfect thermal contact, their interface temperature, also called contact, feeling or sensation temperature, Tc, is given by

Tc =

1T1 + 2T2 . 1 + 2
= c

(1)

The thermal effusivity is defined as

= k c = k

(2)
15

where is the thermal diffusivity, k the thermal conductivity, the density and c the specific heat. An extended explanation of the physical relevance of these parameters can be found elsewhere [2, 3]. If we identify region 1 with our hand at T1=370C and the other with a touched object at a different temperature T2, using Eq. (1) and tabulated values of the thermal effusivities we can determine the contact temperature that our hand will reach upon contact. In the above mentioned works we have made calculations for the contact temperature between human skin at 370C and different bodies at 200C as a function of their thermal effusivities, showing that when touching a highly thermal conductivity object such as a metal (e.g. Cu), as metal >> skin, the temperature of the skin drops suddenly to 20 0C (as one can see from Eq. (1)), and one sense the object as being cold. On the other hand, when touching a body with a lower thermal conductivity, e.g. a woods object (wood < skin) the skin temperature remains closest to 37 0C, and one sense the object as being warm. This is the reason why a metal object feels colder than a wooden one to the touch, although they are both at the same, ambient equilibrium temperature. This is also the cause why human foot skin feels different the temperature of floors of different materials which are at the same room temperature and the explanation of why, when a person enters the cold water in a swimming pool, the temperature immediately felt by the swimmer is near its initial, higher, body temperature [4]. Now, consider the extreme situation of a man walking barefoot across the very hot sand of a beach, i.e., suppose that the touched object is very hot (Fig.1). Why does not
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the man's skin get burnt? Or this other case: How is it possible to put a very cold object, such as liquid Nitrogen, into a hand without damaging the skin? Inspired in these questions and in a paper by Byalko [5], we will show in what follows how the laws of thermal conduction can also explain such paradoxical phenomena.

However, the following question arises at this point: For long contact times, for which there is no more a transient situation, the daily experience show us that these experiments should be dangerous for the skin. How long can be the contact time so that the above described experiments can be performed with safety?
TABLE I. Thermal properties of different materials at room temperature taken from references [3] and [5].
Material Diamond Cu K Co Ni Pb Glass PVC Hard Wood Water Air Human Skin K W m-1 K-1 2300 400 102 100 91 35 1.11 0.20 0.16 0.631 0.026 0.37 106 m2 s-1 1290 116 158 24.6 23 23 0.56 0.15 1.77 0.15 0.21 0.109 Jm-2K-1s-1/2 64040 37140 8150 20150 19400 7300 1480 515 380 1589 1.6 1120 c 10-6Jm-3K-1 1.78 3.45 0.65 4.05 3.95 1.52 1.98 1.33 0.09 0.004 0.0001 3.39

FIGURE 1. An apparently impossible act: a man touching a burning iron.

First, it is worth to notice that using Eq. (1) we can easy show that the contact temperature at the body surface in contact with the object tends to be, in both cases, closer than that of the skin, as can be seen in Fig. 2, where the calculated contact temperature between human skin at 370C and bodies of different materials at 10000C (circles) and 00C (squares) as a function of their thermal effusivities is represented (see Table 1 for values of thermal properties). This is one of the reasons why our skin is not burning when we make a suddenly (transient) contact to a hotter object or freezing when touching a very cold one (despite we fill that the object is hotter or colder, indeed).
44 43 Glass 42 PVCwood 41 TC ( C ) 40 39 38 37 0 1 2
4 0

The answer has to do with the well known fact that a very thin layer of gas is produced when the skin touch very hot or cold objects [5]. In the above examples this gas is evaporated nitrogen in the case of liquid Nitrogen (note that we have taken the same illustrative example as Byalko) and vapour (mainly of water, since biological tissue contains more than 90% of this substance) exhaled when the outer layers of the skin are heated. Let us assume that this layer has a thickness L and suppose that the outer layer of skin can tolerate temperatures between 00C and 1000C without frostbitten or roasting [5]. Inside the gas layer the temperature is distributed from that corresponding to the touched cold or hot object (T1) and the contact temperature Tc. The temperature distribution can be calculated using Fouriers law
q = kT ,

(3)

Co Ni K Pb Cu

where q is the heat flux density (Heat energy per unit time and unit area). For one-dimensional steady state conduction in extended samples of homogeneous and isotropic material, such as our thin gas layer of thermal conductivity kg, Fouriers law can be integrated in each direction to its potential form. In rectangular coordinates it reads [2, 5]:
Diamond

q = k gas

Tc T1 . L

(4)

4
-2 -1 -1/2

5 )

At the same time heat will be removed from the touched surface of a semi-infinite region. A straightforward calculation [2], lead for the heat flux between the surface at TC and the inside of the skin, say at T2, to the well known result [6]:
q=

(x 10 J m K s

(T2 Tc ) . t

(5)

FIGURE 2. Contact temperatures as a function of thermal effusivity when touching with the hand at 37 0C objects of different materials at 0 0C (blue circles) and 10000C (yellow squares). Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. Vol. 2, No. 1, January 2008 16

Note that this heat flow, obtained for transient heating, is not proportional to the thermal conductivity of the material, as under steady state conditions (see Eq. (3)), but to its thermal effusivity (Care must be taken with the sign
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Teaching thermal physics by touching

of the right hand side of the above equations, for example, in Eq. (4) it must be negative for Tc>T1, since the heat flow is always directed from the region at a higher temperature to the coldest one). It must be the same than the heat flux given by Eq. (4):
k gas Tc T1 (T2 Tc ) . = L t

(6)

Then, the time required for the skin to reach the limiting values of the contact temperature given above (0 and 1000C) can be then obtained from Eq. (12) as
= 2 L2 k 2 gas
T2 Tc T T c 1 .
2

(7)

It is represented in Fig. (3) for different thicknesses of the gas layer. Note that we do not know well its exact value, although Byalko [5] has used a value of 0.1 mm for this parameter. In our estimation we have used the value of the air thermal conductivity given in Table I, because all gases have thermal conductivities of the same order of magnitude. Air, for example, is mainly composed by Nitrogen. We have taken for the skin temperature the value T2=370C and the temperature of liquid Nitrogen T1=-1960C (the corresponding limiting contact temperature will be Tc=00C) for the case of the colder object (solid curve). In the case of the hot object (dotted curve) we have taken T1=6000C (Tc=1000C).

From the figure we can observe that for gas layer thicknesses smaller than 10-3 m (a reasonable value) the time required to heat the skin to 1000C by contact with an object at 6000C is lower than 3s, enough to hop across the hot sand or to touch a hot iron. On the other hand liquid Nitrogen can be handled safely for a longer period of time which, in the figure, is about 25 s for the same layer thickness. In order to make these times longer, a gas layer of greater thickness must be achieved, as one can see from Fig. 3. I remember my mother dampening her fingers to check how hot the iron was so that clothes would not get burnt. In an empirical way she created an artificial gas layer to protect her hands. This is the situation schematically shown in Fig. 1. The here presented results, of course, are in good agreement with our daily experience, when we use our hands to touch cold and hot objects, but the analysis here presented can be used to illustrate, in a simple way, concepts related to heat transfer under stationary and nonstationary conditions. Hopefully this paper will aid in broaden this theme to a wider audience.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The author greatly acknowledges Prof. D. C. Agrawal for sending him the paper of A. Byalko. He also thanks A. Cisneros-Marn for kindly provide the Fig. 1. This work was partially supported by COFAA and by Project SIP 20070490, both from IPN.

1000 100

REFERENCES
(s)
10 1 0.1 0.01 0.0001 0.0010 L (m) 0.0100

FIGURE 3. The time required for the skin to reach values of the contact temperature of 00C and 1000C without frostbitten or burning up respectively (see text), as a function of the hypothetical thickness of the gas layer evaporated at the surface. The solid (red) and dotted (blue) curves correspond to the case of touching a cold (-1960C) and a hot (6000C) object, respectively.

[1] Marin, E., Thermal Physics Concepts: The role of thermal effusivity, The Physics Teacher 44, 432 (2006). [2] Marin, E., The role of thermal properties in periodical time varying phenomena, Eur. J. Phys. 28, 429 (2007). [3] Salazar, A., Thermal diffusivity, Eur. J. Phys. 24, 351 (2003). [4] Agrawal, D. C., Work and heat expenditure during swimming, Phys. Educ. 34, 220 (1999). [5] Byalko, A., Hands-on (or-off??) science, Quantum 8, 4 (1997) [6] Carlslaw, H. S. and Jaeger, J. C., Conduction of Heat in Solids (Oxford Univ. Press, London, 1959).

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Some Physics teaching whispered fallacies


C. H. Wrner
Instituto de Fsica, Pontificia Universidad Catlica de Valparaso, Av. Brasil 2950, Valparaso 02, Chile. E-mail: cworner@ucv.cl (Received 24 October 2007; accepted 19 December 2007) Abstract
Some erroneous common facts that appear in a current informal learning context are discussed. In this note, it is shown several examples that illustrate this practice. Keywords: Current errors, informal learning.

Resumen
Se discuten algunos hechos comunes errneos que aparecen en un contexto actual de aprendizaje informal. En esta nota, se muestran algunos ejemplos que ilustran esta prctica. Palabras clave: Errores actuales, aprendizaje informal. PACS: 01.50.Zv; 01.40.-d ISSN 1870-9095

I. INTRODUCTION
Informal learning (sometimes called experiential learning) has been recently recognized as a useful method widely used for learning purposes. Some people asset that the use of botanical gardens, science fairs or exhibitions, museums, etc. may be used -and in fact they had been used- for the enhancement of science knowledge. Other learning situations described by this term refer to the side-by-side knowledge obtained for fellows in the same environmental situation, i.e. by high school or undergraduate students. A third situation came today in mind: it is not really necessary to have a physical neighborhood to access the information. The World Wide Web network is a source of an almost infinite quantity of informal data and facts. Furthermore, they are advocates for the thesis that, because all the information is located in the web, the main purpose of instruction is to learn to use it and not to discuss the content of this information. Last but not least, I guess that almost all you (and me) know about PCs arises from informal learning. Appealing as it is, it is not the purpose of this note to discuss the utility and pertinence of these learning resources. I simply stress the fact that we, Physics teachers, are submitted to this type of influence since the pre-net times. Also, caution must be exerted as that this type of learning must be severely tested before acceptation. In order to discuss this fact, I will present some examples of commonly believed facts, that, although have been shown false in the literature, continue to be taught by a kind of fellow-to-fellow heritage. I will call these cases myths, in a different sense that other well know (proper) myths such as the Newton's apple fall or the Galileo's free fall experiment in the tower of Pisa. These later legends are taught as really unfounded or as unreal facts (although they can be profitably used for pedagogical purposes), instead the facts we will deal with,
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are false, but with a mode that is well reflected by the Italian proverb, "si non vero, bene trovato" [1]. A recent nice account by Sawiki [2] on myths about gravity and tides triggered the present note.

II. EXAMPLES
A. The coincidence of Newton's birth with Galileo's death To be in tune with the last paragraph let us consider the common statement that the year Galileo dies, Newton was born. The myth even consigns the date: 1642. It is easy to confirm this fact: Galileo dies on January 8, 1642 and Newton was born on December 25, 1642. The fallacy stems from the fact that both dates belong to different calendars. The Newton birth's date was given in the old Julian system; instead, the Galileo' death date is expressed in the (then) new Gregorian calendar [3]. This is a net example of the fact that equal numbers do not always represent the same physical fact.

B. The flow of cathedral window glasses It is a well-known fact that atoms in glasses and liquids present a disordered state or short-range order as opposite to crystalline materials that present long-range order. Therefore, solid glasses (as the ones belonging to cathedral windows) must possess liquid properties, that is, they must flow. Surely, solid glass viscosity must be greater than ordinary liquids, but for long exposure times, the consequent deformation can be noted. Medieval glass windows seems to be the perfect target for testing purposes and it is asserted that they are wider in its lower than in its upper edges. In fact, it has been shown [4] that this effect is not
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Some Physics teaching whispered fallacies

measurable at room temperature during historical times (say, 5000 years), and therefore the thickness difference if it exist can be attributed to manufacturing defects. Furthermore, it is curious that older glass objects (ancient glass vases) do not seem to show this effect and do not appear in this myth.

variety of Intermediate gradations". Former versions forgot the last part of the sentence.

F. The Franck and Hertz experiment It is usually assumed that the well known Franck and Hertz experiment is a consequent confirmation of the quantum hypothesis first proposed by Bohr. As remarked by Franck himself, "It might interest you to know that when we made the experiments we did not know Bohr's theory. We had neither read nor heard about it" (quoted by Holton [12]). In fact, they pretend to measure the ionization energy of mercury and misinterpreted its own results [13].

C. The different rotation sense of water into a washbasin exhaust in the North and South hemispheres Vortex movements are well known phenomena in domestic bathroom environments. Claims had been whispered that due Coriolis non-inertial forces liquid spins in opposite senses in different hemispheres, in due account for the earth rotation around its North-South axis. This argument has been labeled an "old wives' tale" by Crane [5], showing that this effect would be unnoticeable if the liquid is initially quiet. What the observer visually perceives is the increase in rotation (due to angular momentum conservation) of the liquid due to the fact that its initial angular momentum is different from zero. If fact, it is possible to whirl the liquid in either sense, by simply selecting the initial angular moment of the system in a "clockwise" or "anti-clockwise" state.

G. Kinetics at T=0K Dialog from the web [14] between teacher (T) and pupil (P). - Question (T): "Well, look what happens if you set the temperature of the atoms in the box as low as it can go." - Answer (P): "The atoms are stopped." - Conclusion (T): "So that is as cold as the atoms can be. We call that Absolute Zero." This dialog between teacher and student shows one expression for the fallacy that at 0K, there is no movement at all. The origin of this error perhaps stems from the (spurious) extrapolation of the ideal gas laws to low temperatures. On the contrary, it is a standard topic in Physics texts to study the Fermi-Dirac distribution showing that even at T=0K, a free electron gas has a lot of (kinetic) energy.

D. Rmer "measurement" of the velocity of light Galileo -in his book "Two New Sciences"- proposes an experiment to measure the velocity of light. In the words of Salviati (Galileo himself) the unsuccessful experiment was not due to the instantaneous propagation of light, instead "(light propagation) if not instantaneous, ...is very swift" [6]. In 1676, Olef Rmer [7] communicates his explanation on the apparent anomaly in the measurement of the period of the Jupiters moons. This fact is usually mentioned as the first measurement of the velocity of light. In fact, Rmer does not communicate this measurement, noting only that "le retardement de la lumiere" (that is, the finite velocity of light) is a necessary condition to explain the astronomical phenomenon. Based in Rmer data, Huygens indeed published the first known figure for the velocity of light (for further comments, see the papers of Wrobleski [8] and Saito [9]).

III. FINAL REMARKS


A good pedagogical advice is "not always believe written arguments" (by the only merit of being written). A better would be "not always believe whispered arguments" (although written on the net). Informal learning is an inevitable and useful way of learning, but extreme care must be exerted on the examination of the offering evidence. Recourse to authoritative sources (although old fashioned) or better, original papers, must be considered. Finally, the author does not assume to know all these myths and therefore the reader would add his/her experiences on true/untrue explanations for known/unknown phenomena.

E. The colored rainbow "The traditional description of the rainbow is that it is made up of seven colors - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Actually, the rainbow is a whole continuum of colors from red to violet and even beyond the colors that the eye can see" [10]. Written in this quote is the correct description of the colors observed in a rainbow as appears in the cited web page. The common belief in the quantization of colors is obviously untrue. Perhaps the equivoque follows from a misquote of Newton himself [11]: "The original and primary colours are Red, Yellow, Green, Blew and a Violetpurple, together with Orange, Indico, and an indefinite
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The author acknowledges helpful discussions with G. Iommi Amuntegui and A. Romero.

REFERENCES [1] Quotations are untranslatable, but in a free version: "if it is not true, it seems to be"; or in a more literal mode, "if it is not true, it is worth to be discovered".
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[2] Sawiki, M., Myths about Gravity and Tides, Phys. Teach. 37, 438-441 (1999). [3] Babb, S. E., When was Newton born?, Am. J. Phys. 48, 421-421 (1980). [4] Dutra Zanotto, E., Do cathedral glasses flow?, Am. J. Phys. 66, 392-395 (1998). [5] Crane, H. R., A Tornado in a Soda Bottle and Angular Momentum in the Washbasin, Phys. Teach. 25, 516-517 (1987). [6] Galilei, G., Two New Sciences, translated by S. Drake (Wall & Emerson, Toronto, 1989) pp. 50-51. [7] Although not directly written by Rmer, this communication appeared in Journal des Scavants, 233-236 (1676) and an English version in Philos. Trans. R. Society, 62, 893-894 (1677). [8] Wroblewski, A., de Mora Luminis, A Spectacle in Two Acts with a Prologue and an Epilogue, Am. J. Phys. 53, 620630 (1985).

[9] Saito, Y., A Discussion of Roemer Discovery concerning the Speed of Light, AAPPS Bull. 15, 9-17 (2005). [10] http://www.eo.ucar.edu/rainbows/, Oct. 15, 2007. [11] Newton, I., A new theory about light and colours, Philos. Trans. R. Society 80, 108-112 (1672), reprinted in Am. J. Phys. 61,108-112 (1993). [12] Holton, G., On the Recent Past of Physics, Am. J. Phys. 29, 805-810 (1961). [13] Frank, J. and Hertz, G., Collisions between Electron and Mercury Vapors Molecules and the Ionization Potential of such Molecules (English translation of Verhand. Deut. Physik 16, 457-467 (1914)) in The World of the Atom, Vol. 1. (Henry A. Boorse and Lloyd Motz, Eds., Basic Books, New York, 1966). [14]http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/bec/temperature. html, Oct. 15, 2007.

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Teaching physics: research-based suggestions and teachers reactions, toward a better interaction?
Laurence Viennot
Laboratoire de Didactique des Sciences Physiques, University Denis Diderot (Paris 7), Condorcet, F-75205, Paris Cedex 13, France. E-mail: laurence.viennot@univ-paris-diderot.fr (Received 17 October 2007; accepted 30 November 2007) Abstract
How to favour a better interaction between research in physics education and practice? It is argued that this challenge is widely determined by the extent of attention given to critical details, that is, some fine aspects of teaching practice that may seem unimportant at first sight although they may have important outcomes. After a first example in geometrical optics, I discuss some possible reasons for the existence of corresponding rituals at the secondary school and college levels. It is shown, with the topic of hot air balloons, that certain rituals in our teaching practices can even make physical theories seem inconsistent. Using these examples, I discuss how we might better highlight the physical phenomena under study, and I give evidence of students and teachers reactions to the proposed changes. I conclude by considering possible actions relating to teacher training and to assessment*. Keywords: Physics teaching, critical details, rituals of teaching practice

Resumen
Cmo favorecer una mejor interaccin entre investigacin en Fsica Educativa y la prctica? Es argumentado que este desafo es ampliamente determinado por el grado de atencin dada "a detalles crticos", es decir, algunos aspectos finos de prctica de la enseanza que pueden parecer sin importancia a primera vista aunque puedan tener resultados importantes. Despus de un primer ejemplo de ptica geomtrica, comento algunos posibles motivos para la existencia de rituales correspondientes en los niveles de escuela secundaria y el colegio. Se muestra, con el tema de globos de aire caliente, que ciertos rituales en nuestras prcticas de enseanza an pueden hacer que las teoras fsicas parezcan inconsistentes. Usando estos ejemplos, comento cmo podramos destacar mejor los fenmenos fsicos en estudio, y doy evidencia de las reacciones de los estudiantes y profesores a los cambios propuestos. Concluyo considerando posibles acciones que se relacionan con la preparacin de profesores y con la evaluacin. Palabras clave: Enseanza de la Fsica, detalles crticos, rituales de enseanza prctica. PACS: 01.40.Fk, 01.40.gb, 01.40.JISSN 1870-9095

I. INTRODUCTION
A general concern to attract more students towards learning science now adds up to a less recent effort towards improving students understanding in physics. Many investigations, since thirty years, bore on learners widely spread ideas and ways of reasoning, some of them being not compatible with accepted physics and very resistant to change. In the same line, students views of science have been investigated, showing a very large trend towards what is often called nave realism or supposedly equivalent expressions. Some research-based teaching sequences have been experimented and to a lesser or larger extent evaluated. What are the kinds of research findings that trainee teachers will really put in practice? What do we observe in this respect? Can we suggest some lines of analysis to understand the reasons for the often observed relative failures in this respect [1]. How to favour a fruitful
*

interaction between research and practice of physics teaching? Faced with such big questions, I have chosen, in this paper, a restricted angle of attack: that of the importance of critical details, i.e. some fine aspects of teaching practice that may seem unimportant at first sight although they may have important outcomes [2, 3]. A few years ago, Gunstone and Whites wrote [4] p. 302: The way research influences practice in education is not through discovery of a detailed and specific mode of teaching but through substantiation of principles which pervade thinking about teaching and learning. My goal is to stress that, for such a substantiation to occur, great ideas are not sufficient: A thorough attention to fine aspects of teaching practice is necessary. This topic will be illustrated by an introductory example (in optics), and discussed from the standpoint of evaluation. I will then provide other examples of critical details that are ritual in our teaching practices and I will discuss a few factors that

_____________________________________________________________________________________
This paper is based on a keynote address given at the ICPE International Conference on Physics Education: World View on Physics Education in 2005, University of New Delhi. Also, this paper served as the basis for a workshop given in the International Workshop New Trends in Physics Education, Puebla, Mexico (May 2006).

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probably contribute to explain why they are so common. I will also present some results of investigations in students and teachers that give good reasons to break with such practices. Teacher training strategies will be then briefly discussed, with a particular stress on the question of the teachers estimation of their students desires and abilities in terms of intellectual satisfaction.

II. CRITICAL DETAILS: A PRIORI CHARACTERISATION AND EFFECTS AN INTRODUCTORY EXAMPLE IN OPTICS
It may happen that, after some investigations centered on learners common ideas in such and such domains, some apparently small aspects of teaching practice appear as likely to have important effects. In such cases, negative effects are especially pinpointed. Such is the case concerning elementary geometrical imaging. A. The travelling image syndrome Some difficulties, now very well known (see for instance Fawaz & Viennot [5], Goldberg & McDermott [6], Galili & Hazan [7]), can be interpreted assuming a model of travelling image and its variants. Thus, many students think that a mask put on the centre of the lens would result in a hole in the image, as if this image had travelled (horizontally) in space as a whole. B. Evaluating a suggestion to improve students comprehension of optical imaging It is common to stress, when teaching optical imaging, the kind of classic diagram shown in Table 1b showing two construction rays only -, without taking time to

explain and illustrate the very principle of optical correspondence between a point A and its image A: any ray originating in the point source and meeting the lens is in line after this lens with the image A. This classic diagram, although correct (in Gauss conditions), is very compatible with the common and undesired students views just recalled [8]. It may suggest a global horizontal transport and/or encourage a misinterpretation of the rays drawn on the diagram: There is a risk of seeing them as constitutive of the image whereas they are mere representative of a whole set of rays originating in a point object and hitting the lens. In this respect, a recent investigation was centered on the evaluation of a possibly favorable critical detail of practice, i.e. using an introductory diagram to illustrate the role of a thin lens in optical imagery. This basic diagram (Table Ia) has two key features: Many rays and beams are represented, as well as some rays which do not impinge on the lens. These undeviated rays are shown to highlight the fact that even the whole lens concerns only a part of the flux, thus favoring supposedly - the idea that a part of the lens can form the image as well. The students with whom it was tried - 20 degree students and 60 trainee teachers had been taught optics in the previous years in an uncontrolled and probably very classic way, and they were consulted without any new information on this topic. They were divided in two groups. Two classic questions that commonly give rise to the travelling image syndrome were posed in two different versions, one for each half group. The two questions were introduced in each subgroup respectively with the classical diagram and with a diagram which was designed to be more explicit about the role of the lens. Table I displays the regrouped results obtained for one of the questions (see more details in Viennot & Kaminski [9]).

TABLE I. Answers of trainee teachers and degree students to the basic (a) and classic (b) versions of a classical question. Question: Amaskisputonthecentre ofthelens:whatcanwesee nowonthescreen? Exclusives categories Trainees Degree Together N=31 Trainees Degree Together N=29 The same thing or AB, +sometimes: less sharp, Gauss approx, less luminous Travelling image syndrome:A black spot at the centre of the screen or variants N=10 N=39 N=10 N=41 (a) Situation introduced with basic diagram (b) Situation introduced with classic diagram

26

34

17

19

14

22

Regrouped results: =17.6, p=0.001.


2

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Teaching physics: research-based suggestions and teachers reactions toward a better interaction?

The results are similar for both of populations and more than compatible with the hypothesis that the basic diagram favours a proper understanding of the imaging role of the lens. The high value of the chosen indicator (2 =17.6, p=0.001) is a surprising fact, given the very tenuous difference between the conditions in which the two samples were placed. The point in the present discussion is to stress the often unsuspected importance of reconsidering our teaching rituals, even in seemingly very tenuous details. This said, it is worth noting that evaluating a critical detail in isolation may require very specific circumstances: for instance, the same investigation at grade twelve turned out to show hardly any effect, in quantitative terms, a fact discussed in [9]. C. Some rituals of teaching practice with potentially negative effects, their possible origins The preceding example illustrates the potentially negative effects of a precise aspect of teaching practice as well as the probably positive effects of another one. A question is posed as to why some ways of doing in teaching that are to the least problematic are actually not questioned and extremely common, thus deserving the label of ritual [10]. This single example suggests many possible factors to explain this fact. To put it briefly, on teachers behalf: a disregard of learners common ideas, or a sharing of these ideas, this going with a trend to reify concepts (the travelling image punched when passing the mask), a lack of vigilance concerning over-selectivity in images (only two rays of construction), as well as a consensus to present over-simplified phenomena (no consideration of energy in elementary courses in optics). It is tempting to resort to these strategies because they are sufficient to find the

position and size of the image. Only if other teaching goals are adopted can teachers feel a need to reconsider these questionable aspects of practice. This introductory example illustrates in fact a good part of the results of the European program Science Teacher Training in the Information Society (STTIS, coord. Pinto, 1997-2001), results recalled in Appendix). The goal of this investigation was to identify the main tendencies in the ways teachers commonly transform research-based innovation that they are suggested to use. Thus a tendency to consider that seeing is understanding is resonant with that of reifying concepts. Or else a wish to work with clean facts is coherent with the common practice of presenting over-simplified phenomena, etc. To give an idea of the generality of such ways of doing, a few additional examples can be discussed, in terms of the tendencies just recalled. This will be done with the situations outlined in figures 1, 2 and 3. As mentioned in the corresponding captions, these examples illustrate respectively (in case of an easygoing treatment of these situations), Fig. 1: the trend to reify concepts see the so-called materialized rays and to disregard the fact that showing is not sufficient to understand [11]; Fig. 2: the risks attached to an over-simplified diagram (see also Colin et al. [12]); Fig. 3: the difficulties of understanding an oversimplified situation of friction, (described only at the macroscopic level, whereas a mesoscopic sawteeth model of the concerned surfaces may help students to understand propulsion via friction: see Viennot [13]).

a) A common small experiment often presented as showing b) A way to show that interpreting what is seen in a) is not rectilinear propagation of light so simply linked to rectilinear propagation of light FIGURE 1. An example of a ritual experiment (a) and of a way (b) to avoid oversimplification in this respect. In both cases what is seen is a set of shadows, NOT rays of light [14].

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a) A classic over-selective - drawing

b) A drawing more explicit

FIGURE 2. A ritual drawing to illustrate wave interferences with Youngs holes (a) and a more explicit diagram (b) which shows diffraction that occurs at the holes position, the different status of a path of light after a hole as compared to the ray of light arriving at this hole, and the backward selection used to calculate an amplitude at a point on the screen [12].

So

FIGURE 3. Analysing forces in play: In order to avoid a classic error (a), it is useful to provide a more explicit diagram (b), but this may turn out to be insufficient. Indeed when it comes to explain the interaction of friction, representing the ground as a smooth horizontal surface is not efficient, contrary to the saw-teeth mesoscopic model outlined in (c) [2].

In all these examples, as said above, there is a large extent of similarity in the possible sources of corresponding rituals. Concerning the possible outcomes, it may happen that a ritual be inefficient in promoting students understanding, as is the case of a strictly horizontal and smooth line used to represent the ground. In other cases, an aspect of teaching practice can be likely to reinforce students common ideas (the classic diagram and the travelling image syndrome), this without any patent violation of accepted physics. It may also happen that, if not cautiously explained, a situation suggest an inconsistent argument. Thus, presenting the small experiment in figure 1a and letting the students think that it shows some rectilinear rays is frankly incoherent with the fact that the source is not in line with the so-called ray. Some rituals deserve a thorough attention, in order to avoid similar risks, an idea especially illustrated in the following section.

III. THE HOT AIR-BALLOON: SOME GOOD REASONS TO OVERCOME OUR RITUALS
It is common practice to suggest that in a hot air balloon, the air pressure is the same inside and outside. Again, it will appear that what is taught is sheer inconsistency, an inconsistency which has no special relation, this time, to learners previous ideas. A classic exercise, indeed, consists in asking students to determine, for a hot air
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balloon of volume V, at what temperature T the internal air must be to achieve lift-off, given the total mass of the envelope and of the carried mass. Archimedes principle is the target of such exercises. In order to determine the relationship between the density of the internal air and its temperature, it is necessary to know the pressure inside the envelope. The text classically reads something like this: Whatever the temperature of the air in the balloon, its pressure is the same as that of the air outside it. This statement, unless it is accompanied by further specification, is very problematic. Indeed, the same pressure inside and outside near each small part of the envelope means that no net force is exerted by all of the gas. So the envelope would be drawn downwards due to the weight of the objects carried and its own weight, and could not but fall straight down [2, 15]. In this example, there is a clash between a global approach of Archimedes principle on the one hand, and a local mechanistic analysis, on the other. As will be seen below, teachers do not spontaneously detect the least problem. Traditionally, local and global points of view are not confronted, and the global approach is considered sufficient. But such an approach may entail a shift from using a mean value for the air pressure to considering implicitly this pressure as uniform. This risk is very commonly ignored, and it might be said, in this respect, that most teachers unconsciously contribute to presenting physics as dislocated theory. Such potential difficulties deserve attention. Thus, the hot air balloon can be presented with a specific treatment,
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Teaching physics: research-based suggestions and teachers reactions toward a better interaction?

with the goal of avoiding the inconsistency denounced above and, more positively, to show that physics works. What the global perspective permits us to ignore is the small difference between the gradients of pressure inside and outside the envelope. Admitting that the pressure is the same inside and outside at the aperture level (bottom), it is not consistent to say that the same balance holds at the top of the balloon. The smaller diminution of the inside pressure with altitude accounts for the fact that this pressure is larger than the external pressure at the top of the envelope, which enables the balloon to stay up in the air (Fig. 4). Of course

the cost of such an approach is not negligible, in terms of teaching time, but neither is it disproportionate. It is worth noting that, presented with the usual text (outlined above) of an exercise concerning hot air balloons, and with the question: would you add or change something in this text to make it more clear, this before any discussion, none of the consulted persons (15 first year university students, 32 degree students, 61 trainee teachers) alluded in the least to the problem pinpointed here. But, as outlined below, their had strong reactions after discussion [15].

pin > pout h pin = pout

in< out

Global viewpoint: Archimedes principle

pin= -ingh pout= -outgh


p

pin>pout

Top

Local viewpoint explaining the upward force on the balloon

FIGURE 4. Some elements to understand how a hot air balloon holds in the air [2, 15]. F: weight of the system (basket+load+balloon).

IV. STUDENTS REACTIONS

AND

TEACHERS

The just mentioned first year university students individually went through this discussion in a teachinginterview (interviewer: author). At the end, they were asked if this analysis seemed accessible to them. All answered yes, but sometimes (7/15) said they were not sure they could explain the topic themselves. Also, asked if the discussion was worthwhile, they all answered positively, with comments such as: Its always interesting to have exercises like that, sure, explanations, you dont have to give them thoughtlessly, you made me think, me, even if its difficult, its fine to thinkWe learn much moreI have learnt a lot. Some students (7/15) expressed a feeling of frustration concerning the kind of teaching they had experienced before: Why is it the first time someone tells me this? A students remark appears as especially relevant to the question of our teaching objectives: (Is such a discussion more interesting than doing the classic exercise?) absolutely... provided we are taught how to do it. Finally, students last comments were often very gratifying for the interviewer: Have you got anything else like that?
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In addition, 21 degree students were collectively asked their reactions after a similar session. The great majority [10] declared, on explicit questioning, that they had got pleasure in understanding the point addressed and that the session was worth the cost in time. The same consultation was organized for a group of 15 upper secondary school - math and science - in-service trainee teachers. These teachers attended a session about modeling and relationships between mathematics and physics. Only four of them were physicists. They were presented with the topic of hot air balloons (half an hour), many of them being unfamiliar with this topic. The usual version of the exercise was first proposed, with no reaction on their part, then the more complete discussion outlined in figure 4 was proposed. Finally they were asked to express their reactions with a short paper and pencil questionnaire. The results show that they all considered the discussion worth it for themselves (rated 3 or 4 on a scale 1 to 4), but were less confident that it would be the case for students in their last year at school. Answering the questionnaire after discussion, they suggested to make a distinction, concerning these students, between two possible teaching goals: on the one hand, having a proper idea of what physics is, on the other, understanding how a hot air balloon works. They showed more ready to take the time needed with the first of these goals in mind than with the second (6/15 against 2/15 ratings 3 or 4 on a scale 1 to 4). Globally, most of them thought that what had been good for them was not really accessible or profitable to
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Laurence Viennot

students at grade 12 whereas most of these teachers were not themselves specialized in physics. This is not the first time we have found that teachers (or older students) will agree on the value for themselves of an approach which they deny is possible or useful for younger students, this even in cases where there is evidence that the young students are quite comfortable with the suggested approach ([13] pp. 62, 11, 176; [16]).

V. CONCLUSIONS
The main target of this paper is to illustrate how urgent it is to reconsider, in the light of research results, some very common teaching practices, this more particularly if consistency is an important goal of our teaching. Despite the present development of research in science education, there are still many rituals of common teaching practice that are either not discussed, or are very resistant to change, or both. Such rituals can be misleading as regards students common ideas, or even actively generate a view of physics as inconsistent. In some cases, a common teaching practice limits the adopted approach in a way which screens the power of physics as a unifying description. To detect such rituals and detach oneself from them, general prescriptions such as taking students ideas into consideration are not sufficient. In addition, these few reflections and results provide the incentive to renounce simplified comments such as they (the students) lack critical sense. It is true that no consulted student detected the potential difficulty linked to a uniform pressure in a hot air balloon, for instance. But no teacher did. Similarly, it is very unlikely that students will spontaneously criticise an over-simplified interpretation of materialized rays, but teachers in their great majority do not show either a real vigilance in this respect. Rituals installed for a long time seem very effectively to block students and teachers spontaneous critical reflection on some topics. The reasons why such rituals are so resistant to change are multiple. They have something to do with the general tendencies of common reasoning in physics, such as thinking concepts as if they were ordinary objects (e.g.: the rays, an image; see also for the shadows [13]). They might be also be seen as reflecting what are called common transforming trends in the STTIS project (coord. R. Pinto). For instance, considering the findings of this project an item such as observation is valued at the expense of explanation is more than compatible with the kind of reasoning just mentioned - if a concept is like an ordinary object, why not to show it? Another item a one-to-one linkage between a given device and a given didactic approach is observed perfectly applies to the case of the optical bench and the ritual focusing on construction rays, both favourable to inducing the travelling image syndrome. As for the quasi general lack of consideration of links mentioned in STTIS findings (see also Hirn and Viennot [11]), it is easy to see that this trend does not help one criticize over-exclusive approaches (for instance: only global, as is the case for the hot air balloon). Thus, the main question is not so much one of
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finding the origin of the observed rituals but rather of finding a way out of so many opposing factors. Of course, it is natural to suggest some good practices, in correspondence with the limiting rituals analyzed here: Instead of reifying and showing concepts (a materialized ray), we should focus on phenomena (shadows); instead of over-simplifying images (two rays in the case of Youngs holes and their seemingly individual fate), we should make more explicit the phenomena (diffraction) as well as the subtleties of the theoretical analysis (backward selection); instead of adopting a single angle of attack (global as for the hot air balloon), we should stress the links between different approaches (local and global). Other major lines of reflection and of action have not been dealt with here for the sake of brevity. The importance of a functional approach [2], for example, and the distinction and linkage between quasi-static and non quasi-static transformations [17, 18] also deserve great attention. But as far as classroom practice is concerned, the decisive actors are teachers, this whatever the value of research-based suggestions they are presented with. What could help teachers to choose more consciously what they do in teaching? Several factors might contribute to this goal. One is - classically - teacher training. Although it is far from being the only thing to consider, sound training is obviously needed. But, teachers, if mainly presented with general views on Science Education and on Science, might not clearly understand the corresponding stakes. The worst thing would be a purely verbal adaptation to academic training. In this regard, a considerable research effort remains to be made, in order to go beyond the high rate of observed failures and the scarcity of research-based and validated training materials presently available. An important condition, in this perspective, seems to keep a sharp eye on those small aspects of practice illustrated in this paper, and which seem difficult for teachers to consider. Another factor to be considered is the communication process. Trainee teachers are in a position which is analogous to that of learners at school: they cannot be seen as passive receivers. Keeping to a parallel with the case of younger learners, a problem posing approach seems a priori appropriate to orientate the design of training episodes and materials. The problem in question, I suggest, is precisely how to substantiate great principles (see Gunstone and Whites statement in introduction [4]) in detailed actions. More specifically, it may take the form of a question: given this global rationale for such and such sequence, is this particular aspect of practice compatible with this rationale? Or, more abruptly: are we coherent if we think this and do that? A sensible appreciation of coherence between global views and small actions is not straightforward, and it requires education [2]. But training is not sufficient either. As for any potential learners, teachers are strongly determined by their own feelings towards the goal of the training in which they participate. In this respect, teachers betray a strong pessimism about their students abilities. As we have sometimes
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Teaching physics: research-based suggestions and teachers reactions toward a better interaction?

heard them say, a new spotlighting of a given topic would be good for us (teachers) but not for them (their students), a fact sometimes in opposition with experimental results. If teachers do not believe it possible, it is easy to predict that, excellently trained as they may be, they will not even try to raise intellectual satisfaction in their students by the means discussed here. How to enhance teachers optimism? It is plausible that providing them with the kind of replicable evaluation outlined above, concerning lenses, might be of interest. Trainees who participated in this comparative test were very impressed by the result. But such a demonstration is rarely accessible [9]. For the rest, there is little hope for them to be convinced without trying, which means that they have found a space of time for this activity and have forgotten for a moment the usual stresses on them. In a more coercive register, a third component is the type of assessment to which students must be prepared. Thus, a recent investigation [19] concerning the French baccalaurat (at the end of secondary school) shows that no question in two years (1999 and 2000) asked for a result to be criticized: this throws a very special light on recurrent incantations about lack of critical sense. Probably, there might be more effective incentives for assessment to do a better job, if good examples of precise wording for this type of question were more abundantly provided by research. Students on their part, when offered an opportunity to think more deeply about the familiar situations mentioned above, appeared to react very positively. Most probably, their satisfaction has not much to do with the topic in itself. It seems to originate in the feeling that they can master a point, seen from different angles. So it is not so unrealistic to undertake to raise intellectual satisfaction through this type of (exigent) approach, keeping in mind the students remark: provided we are taught how to do it. This very pertinent comment is a good source of inspiration to carry out, or rather to more explicitly orientate, further research based on the ideas developed here, and to favour teachers information in this respect.

REFERENCES
[1] Gil-Perez, D. & Pessoa de Carvalho, A., M., Physics Teacher Training: Analysis and Proposals. In Tiberghien, A., Jossem, E.L. & Barojas, J. (Eds), (1998). Connecting Research in Physics Education with Teacher Education. International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, ICPE Publications, Ohio. http://www.physics.ohiostate.edu/~jossem/ICPE/BOOKS.html. [2] Viennot, L., Relating research in didactics and actual teaching practice: impact and virtues of critical details (Sci. Educ. Research in the Knowledge Based Society, 383-393, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 2003). See also materials for teacher training: materials on web site: http://www.ldsp.univ-paris7.fr/sttis_p5/index_uk.htm. [3] Viennot, L., Chauvet, F., Colin, P. & Rebmann, G., Designing Strategies and Tools for Teacher Training, the
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Role of Critical Details. Examples in Optics, Science Education 89, 13-27 (2005). [4] Gunstone, R. & White, R., Goals, Methods and Achievements of Research in Science Education. In Millar, R., Leach, J. & Osborne, J. (Eds), Improving Science Education (Open University Press, Buckingham, 2000) pp. 293-307. [5] Fawaz, A. & Viennot, L., Image optique et vision, Bulletin de l'Union des Physiciens 686, 1125-1146 (1986). [6] Goldberg, F. M. & McDermott, L., An investigation of students' understanding of the real image formed by a converging lens or concave mirror, American Journal of Physics 55, 108-119 (1987). [7] Galili, Y. & Hazan, A., Learners Knowledge in Optics, International Journal of Science Education 22, 5788 (2000). [8] Beaty, W., The origin of misconceptions in optics?, American Journal of Physics 55, 872-13 (1987). [9] Viennot, L. & Kaminski, W., Can we evaluate a critical detail of teaching practice? The case of a type of diagram in understanding optical imaging, International Journal of Science Education 28, 1867-1895 (2006). [10] Viennot, L., Physics in sequence, physics in pieces?, International Physics Education Conference What Physics should we teach?, International Commission on Physics Education and South African Physical Society, Univ. of Natal, (University of South Africa Press, D. Grayson (Ed.), Durban, 2005) pp. 77-91. [11] Hirn, C. & Viennot, L., Transformation of Didactic Intentions by Teachers: the Case of Geometrical Optics in Grade 8 in France, International Journal of Science Education 22, 357-384 (2000). [12] Colin, P., Chauvet, F. & Viennot, L., Reading Images in Optics: Students Difficulties, and Teachers Views, International Journal of Science Education 24, 313-332 (2002). [13] Viennot, L., Teaching physics (Kluwer, Dordrecht, 2003). [14] Viennot, L., The design of teaching sequences in physics-Can research inform practice? Lines of attention. Optics and solid friction. In Research on Physics Education, Proceedings of the International School of Physics Enrico Fermi (Italian Society of Physics), Course CLVI, Societa Italiana di Fisica, Bologna, (2004) pp. 505520. [15] Viennot, L., Rituals in teaching Physics and students intellectual satisfaction: what can we do? World view on physics Education in 2005. Focussing on change. Selected papers of ICPE International Conference on Physics Education, University of New Delhi (Miranda House, convener Prathiba Joly), in press, London World Scientific Publishing Co., (2005). [16] Viennot, L. & Leroy, J. L., Doppler and Rmer: what do they have in common?, Physics Education 39, 273280 (2004). [17] Rozier, S. & Viennot, L., Students' reasoning in thermodynamics, International Journal of Science Education 13, 159-170 (1991). [18] Viennot, L., Reasoning in physics. (Kluwer, Dordrecht, 2001).
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[19] Rigaut, M., Lpreuve crite de Physique au baccalaurat: analyse du point de vue du contrat didactique, Unpub. thesis, LDPES, Univ. Paris 7 (2005). [20] Viennot, L., Chauvet, F., Gomez, R., Hirn, C., Monroy, G., Ogborn, J., Pinto, R., Sassi, E., Stylianidou, F., Testa, I. (1999). Investigation on teacher transformations when implementing teaching strategies, STTIS Transversal Report (RW3), www.uab.es/sttis.htm Viennot, L. Teaching physics (Kluwer, Dordrecht, 2003).

within the framework of the TSER program (coord. R. Pinto, UAB, Barcelona), http://antalya.uab.es/crecim/websttis/index.html

APPENDIX. MAIN RESULTS OF STTIS REPORT: Investigation on teacher transformations


when implementing teaching strategies (Viennot et al. 1999: [20])

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
STTIS (Science Teacher Training in an Information Society) is a research project founded by EU, DG XII,

-Motivation
Even if jugged motivating by a teacher, be it for the pupils or for the teacher her/himself, an innovation may be transformed to a large extent by this teacher. This may appear at a declarative level, when the debate is about precise teaching actions, or, still more clearly, when such actions are observed in the classroom. -Topics dealt with versus what is recommended Some nontraditional topics are neglected, totally (friction) or partly (geometrical condition for vision). More often, there is a trend to conflate the new with the old. This may result in hypertrophy (phenomena being taught per se) and/or incoherence. This may stem from a view of teaching as necessarily following a unique, traditional, pattern, a wish to negotiate with the difficulties, an incomprehension of the (revisited) content. -Links - between different approaches or languages, between concepts and activities, conceptual paths - are not put in evidence. There is a quasi general lack of consideration of links. The recommended order (for instance from real to ideal), can be completely reversed in teacher practice. Often, concepts are taught, and activities are organized, in isolation; the fine-grained specification of a chaining between concepts is not taken-up, at the expense of the global rationale, and of conceptual coherence. -Learners previous ideas, language and learning difficulties These are acknowledged but not actually and consistently addressed. Problems with teaching materials (texts, images, activities) likely to reinforce these previous conceptions and learning difficulties are not attended to. -Students activity: the intellectual structure of the activity is not planned in the same detail as the practical aspects. This point appears, in our investigations, as a major lack. Quasi unanimously, only global descriptions of activity are stated by teachers, no fine grained specifications of chaining, links, types of questioning, orientations of debate are specified. -Prediction, experiment and comparison: an under-exploited cycle The idea of reasoned prediction before experiment is either totally absent or envisaged in a limited register: the cycle is not iterated, prediction is not directly followed by any experiment, or else is practiced in the register of motivating discovery; an interesting exception is observed concerning Color, after training. -Observation is valued at the expense of explanation. Seeing is understanding seems to be a widely spread slogan. It might go with the see what I want you to see syndrome, and be related to the following point, among other possible causes. -A wish to start from cleaned facts is observed. This feature is especially striking regarding Motion and Force: the suggested conceptual path from real to ideal is reversed, the starting point chosen by teachers excluding, in particular, friction. -A one to one linkage between a given device and a given didactic approach is observed The maintained use of a classical device drags along with it traditional strategies. The adoption of a new device can foster the - at least partial - take-up of new strategies. Designers might usefully take such linkages into account, to avoid rigidity and to favour the implementation of new strategies by backing them up with new devices. -The critical details of a didactic strategy that may deeply affect the impact of a didactic sequence are also those that are the most difficult to communicate to teachers.

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Qu podemos hacer para lograr un aprendizaje significativo de la fsica?


Michel Picquart
Universidad Autnoma Metropolitana Iztapalapa, Apdo. postal 55-534, Col. Vicentina, 09340 Mxico DF, Mxico. E-mail: mp@xanum.uam.mx (Recibido el 9 de Octubre de 2007; aceptado el 22 de Diciembre de 2007)

Resumen
Con base en cmo llegan los estudiantes a la Divisin de Ciencias Bsicas e Ingeniera (CBI) de la Universidad Autnoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa (Mxico, D. F.) y la necesidad que tenemos de formar buenos profesionales, proponemos un cambio en los cursos de fsica del Tronco General (TG). Este cambio incorpora la deteccin de las ideas previas de los alumnos y la puesta en marcha de estrategias didcticas especficas para lograr el cambio conceptual adecuado. Se sugiere, en particular, la resolucin de problemas abiertos propuestos como pequeos proyectos de investigacin para que los resuelvan en equipos. Se enfatiza tambin sobre la necesidad de una formacin pedaggica del profesorado. Palabras clave: Ideas previas, problemas como investigacin y trabajo en equipo, formacin docente.

Abstract
On basis to how come the students to the CBI division of the UAM-I and the necessity to form good professionals, we propose a change in the introductory courses of physics. This change takes into account the students misconceptions detection and new didactic strategies. It is suggested the resolution of problems as investigation and collaborative work. We also insist on the necessity of a pedagogical formation of the professors. Keywords: Previous ideas, problems as investigation and work team, training teachers. PACS: 01.40.Fk, 01.40.gb, 01.40.J-. ISSN 1870-9095

I. INTRODUCCIN
Len M. Lederman, premio Nbel de fsica en 1988 por sus experimentos sobre los neutrinos, Georges Charpak, premio Nbel de fsica en 1992 por sus trabajos sobre detectores para la fsica de partculas, en especial por la construccin de la primera cmara proporcional de hilos y Carl E. Wieman, premio Nbel de fsica en 2002 por la sntesis del primer condensado de Bose-Einstein en gases enrarecidos de tomos alcalinos, a parte del premio Nbel, tienen en comn una caracterstica ms. Despus de haber recibido este premio se dedicaron a atender problemas de enseanza aprendizaje. Len Lederman empez en 1990 un programa llamado Hands on en las escuelas de los suburbios pobres de Chicago. Planteaba que en un mundo dominado por la ciencia y la tecnologa poca gente era capaz de entender la ciencia. Adems, dijo que se poda ensear ciencia a nios de seis aos siempre y cuando se utilizaran los medios adecuados y empez un plan de formacin de maestros, la elaboracin del material didctico y de un programa.

George Charpak, que conoci a Lederman en el CERN 1 aos atrs, visit estas escuelas y se convenci de la necesidad de hacer algo parecido en Francia. Fue el principio del programa La main la pte en 1996 con la ayuda del Ministerio de Educacin y la generalizacin de la enseanza de las ciencias en las escuelas primarias francesas desde el ao 2000 [1, 2]. Aadir que este programa se ha internacionalizado ya que varios pases en el mundo lo han adaptado a su respectiva situacin. Este programa fue la traslacin en el mbito escolar de una peticin de la sociedad: Cul educacin cientfica y para cul sociedad? [3,4]. Para el iniciador de este programa, George Charpak, uno de los objetivos de la enseanza de las ciencias, es tambin formar la personalidad del nio y que sea un ciudadano. En uno de sus libros [5] escribi: [. . .] Para algunas elites, la ciencia ampla el campo de los conocimientos y suscita una admiracin siempre renovada, pero estn sorprendidos y apurados cuando descubren que nace en la sociedad un profundo desencanto por la ciencia. Este desencanto se ha acompaado por otra parte de un crecimiento en nmero y
1

Centro Europeo de Investigacin Nuclear. http://www.journal.lapen.org.mx

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Michel Picquart

en influencia de sectas que difunden doctrinas que parecen, a veces, salidas de los siglos ms negros de nuestra historia [. . .]. En la enseanza primaria, el aprendizaje de la lectura y de la escritura se apoya generalmente sobre el relato. En la secundaria, los alumnos son ms bien juzgados sobre su capacidad de argumentar sobre textos que ofrecen alternativas y opciones contradictorias. Es en esta ocasin que a menudo se opera la seleccin social [. . .]. El razonamiento cientfico ofrece un medio potente de aumentar las capacidades de reflexin, de argumentacin y de juicio de los nios. Una formacin cientfica desde la edad ms temprana ser entonces un potente antdoto a esta llaga que hace que en lugar de escoger nuestras elites dirigentes dentro de los 58 millones de franceses, se escogen dentro de un pas reducido a 10 millones de habitantes." G. Charpak hablaba para Francia pero desafortunadamente esta frase se puede adaptar a muchos pases. Carl Wieman est ms preocupado por la enseanza de la fsica universitaria y en este artculo me dedicar principalmente a este aspecto ya que en trabajos anteriores habamos hablado de lo otro [1, 2]. Wiemann form un grupo de investigacin en enseanza de la fsica en la Universidad de Colorado en Boulder [6] y a principio 2007 fue contratado por la Universidad de Columbia Britnica en Canad para desarrollar un proyecto destinado a remplazar el curso tradicional en el cual los estudiantes son llenados de informacin frecuentemente sin entenderla y sustituirlo por una forma ms interactiva de enseanza que permita una construccin slida de los conceptos. Para Wieman, la lnea de fondo es que la enseanza debe de ser ms cientfica en el sentido que las teoras sobre los procesos de aprendizaje, y lo mejor que pueden aportar debe de basarse en mediciones cuantitativas. Dice que muchos profesores adoptan la actitud opuesta, justificando su estilo de enseanza en base a uno o dos comentarios positivos que reciben de estudiantes. Estos colegas deberan de pensarlo bien ya que todos los resultados de la investigacin en ciencia de la educacin van en la misma direccin: los estudiantes aprenden muy poco en cursos tradicionales [6]. Se puede aadir que los trabajos de investigacin didctica de los ltimos veinticinco aos [7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] muestran que la enseanza tradicional, por lo esencial la clase magistral, que considera que los alumnos son vasos vacos que el profesor tienen que llenar, ha fallado en todos los pases del mundo en particular en los primeros aos de la universidad. Uno de los problemas que detecta Wieman es que los alumnos, aun los que no siguen una carrera cientfica, necesitan y pueden pensar ms como expertos. Los expertos, es decir los cientficos profesionales, ven la fsica como un grupo coherente de conceptos generales validados por el experimento a la diferencia de los novatos quienes ven la fsica como una coleccin de pedazos aislados de informacin entregada por una autoridad y totalmente cortada del mundo real. Wieman aade que entrevistando miles de alumnos, muestran que piensan ms como novatos aun despus de haber tomado un curso introductorio de fsica.
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Anteriormente a estos tres fsicos, otros premios Nbel como Piotr Kapitza y Richard Feynman mostraron tambin, en otras condiciones y otra poca, un fuerte inters por la docencia. No es objeto de este trabajo analizar los cambios que se produjeron en el estudiantado. Pero en la universidad, hemos pasado de una enseanza destinada a una cierta elite a una masificacin del acceso a la universidad. En los pases desarrollados, me parece que el cambio tuvo lugar inmediatamente despus del sesenta y ocho. Por razones diversas, en particular polticas, estos mismos cambios ocurrieron ms tarde, en algunos pases europeos, y en los pases latinoamericanos. Este cambio de la poblacin universitaria, ms numerosa, ms diversa por sus orgenes culturales y socio-econmicas no ha sido seguido de cambios en el profesorado que muy frecuentemente ha continuado con los mtodos que ellos mismos conocieron como alumnos en el periodo anterior. Estos mtodos, destinados anteriormente a una elite, siguen vlidos para esta nueva situacin? Por lo menos, pienso que la pregunta merece de ser planteada. Los cambios en la formacin del profesorado que ocurrieron en varios pases de Europa en los ltimos veinte aos no merecen de ser tomados en cuenta? Las experiencias que estos colegas vivieron no nos pueden ser tiles? Es muy frecuente or a nuestros colegas quejarse de la falta de madurez, falta de mtodos de estudio, de la pobrsima preparacin anterior de los alumnos, que no tienen el nivel, etc. Todo esto puede ser cierto, pero culpar implcitamente a los colegas de los niveles anteriores de educacin no resuelve nada, y a lo mejor sirve de justificacin de algunos colegas para no hacer nada y sobre todo no cuestionarse sobre su propia actuacin en clase: Hago lo que puedo con lo que me dan, que se salve quin pueda. Las graves deficiencias de la educacin secundaria y preparatoria en Mxico con una enseanza demasiada enfocada hacia la memorizacin en detrimento del razonamiento, cuestionan nuestro propio desempeo, y el modelo de enseanza centrada en la clase magistral del profesor, y ms aun la actitud de quien se opone al cambio. Este artculo concierne a los que estn directamente implicados en la relacin educativa y que cuestionan la idea segn la cual los aprendizajes provienen directamente de la confrontacin de un sistema cognitivo aislado (l del alumno) y de un saber experto (l del profesor). En lo que sigue, tratar de presentar algunos problemas que los alumnos enfrentan y propuestas de cambios, en particular didcticos. Uno de los problemas importantes es el de las ideas previas de los alumnos. En una primera parte regresar sobre este tema. En una segunda parte, se abordaran los cambios necesarios que se podran emprender para lograr un aprendizaje significativo de los alumnos. Finalmente, se abordar el problema preocupante de la falta de formacin profesional de los profesores universitarios.

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Qu podemos hacer para lograr un aprendizaje significativo de la fsica?

TABLA I. Resultados a dos de las preguntas de la encuesta realizada en el 2006 a los alumnos de primer, segundo y tercer trimestre, respectivamente del Tronco General de la divisin CBI de la UAM-I. Pregunta Se lanza una piedra verticalmente hacia arriba alcanzando una altura de 6 m sobre el suelo. Considerando nulo el rozamiento con el aire qu altura alcanzar otra piedra lanzada con la misma velocidad pero cuya masa es la mitad que la de la primera? a) b) c) d) 3 m, 6 m, 12 m, No s.
Trimestre 3

Respuestas
Trimestre 1

Pregunta Se lanza un objeto verticalmente desde el suelo hacia arriba.


3m 6m 12 m No se

Respuestas
Trimestre 1

Considerando nulo el rozamiento con el aire, seale cul de los esquemas representa correctamente las fuerzas que actan sobre el objeto que sube, poco antes de que ste alcance su mxima altura.
Trimestre 2

a b c

Trimestre 2

3m 6m 12 m No se
a b c

Trimestre 3

3m 6m 12 m No se

a b c

Respuesta correcta: b)

Respuesta correcta: c)

II. IDEAS PREVIAS DE LOS ALUMNOS


No se trata aqu de entrar en un debate estril sobre el nombre. Son llamadas tambin preconceptos, ciencia de los nios, errores conceptuales, representaciones alternativas, razonamiento espontneo, etc. Puede haber algunos matices entre estos nombres ya que cada uno lleva consigo algunas implicaciones tericas, pero se refieren al mismo planteamiento. Varios investigadores [15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23] han estudiado las ideas previas o los preconceptos de los alumnos en diferentes ramas de la fsica o de otras disciplinas. Muchos trabajos en didctica de las ciencias [24], en particular de la fsica, y en particular el primero en el tiempo, la tesis de Laurence Viennot [16], han mostrado que estas ideas previas, adems de traducir una incomprensin de conceptos bsicos de fsica enseados de manera repetitiva durante mucho tiempo, persisten durante muchos aos y, por lo tanto, no permiten que el alumno adquiera un aprendizaje significativo. En un trabajo reciente [25], hemos presentado los resultados de una encuesta realizada durante los tres trimestres del ao 2006 sobre ideas previas de mecnica en los alumnos del Tronco General (TG), es decir del primer ao de la Divisin de Ciencias Bsicas e Ingeniera (DCBI) de la Universidad Autnoma Metropolitana Izatapalapa (UAM-I). Nuestra universidad funciona por trimestre y tiene dos ingresos por
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ao: uno en el trimestre de primavera (mayo) y otro en el trimestre de otoo (septiembre). Para el TG, todas las Unidades de Enseanza Aprendizaje (UEA) se abren en cada trimestre. Adems, desde 2004 cuenta con un trimestre propedutico para los alumnos que lo desean o que tuvieron bajo puntaje en el examen de ingreso. Las encuestas analizadas en los tres trimestres representaban 50, 21 y 31% de los alumnos, respectivamente. En la tabla I, se presentan las respuestas a dos preguntas caractersticas de esta encuesta reflejando ideas previas aristotlicas en los alumnos. Lo notable es que la proporcin de respuestas incorrectas es ms o menos la misma de un trimestre a otro mostrando el carcter duradero de estas ideas si no se acta para combatirlas y que los alumnos adquieran los conceptos correctos. No basta la insistencia del profesor al respecto. Aun, el alumno puede adaptarse a la voluntad del profesor pero al poco tiempo recupera sus ideas errneas. Y qu pensar de lo siguiente? La misma encuesta fue realizada a catorce candidatos a plazas de profesor ayudante de fsica. Estos candidatos tienen un mnimo de 75% de crditos de la licenciatura de fsica: solamente nueve contestaron bien. Estos, como los que contestaron mal, venan de la UAM o de la UNAM, es decir que no es un problema de tal o tal universidad, es de todas. Har una citacin larga del trabajo ya mencionado de L. Viennot [15] por ser el primero que puso en evidencia este
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Michel Picquart

tipo de problemas por medio de preguntas de papel y lpiz: La idea de partida es que la manera de razonar de cada uno, en particular en fsica, no es solamente un efecto de la enseanza previa. Hay una forma espontnea de razonar que no es cualquiera y que no traduce solamente una ausencia o una deformacin de conocimientos escolares. Hemos trabajado esencialmente en dos temas de mecnica: los cambios de referenciales y las relaciones entre fuerza, energa y movimiento. Este campo de investigacin es muy adecuado ya que: - Las relaciones entre fuerza, energa y movimiento se encuentran en la base de la fsica y determinan sin duda una gran parte del comportamiento posterior de los alumnos. - Son objeto de un modelo sencillo (del punto de vista formal): la dinmica newtoniana establece una relacin lineal F = ma , entre el vector fuerza ejercida sobre una masa puntual y una caracterstica del movimiento, el vector aceleracin, que es la tasa temporal de variacin de la velocidad. - Finalmente, es evidente que este modelo formal coincide muy parcialmente con el enfoque intuitivo general, segn el cual un movimiento supone una fuerza actuando en el mismo sentido y la inmovilidad, aun pasajera, supone la ausencia de fuerza. Es entre fuerza y velocidad, ms que entre fuerza y aceleracin, que espontneamente se establecera una relacin lineal. [...] Por ejemplo, el razonamiento espontneo hace intervenir nociones que pueden encontrarse en un estudiante bajo el mismo vocablo: fuerza, energa y que tienen propiedades diferentes. [...] Este tipo de tendencia espontnea sobrevive a la enseanza. No nos compete observar lo que pasa realmente en la cabeza de un alumno, ni tampoco saber de qu se habla diciendo esto. Pero, podemos hacer aparecer conjuntos de preguntas-respuestas que se encuentran frecuentemente y que son difcilmente causados por la sola enseanza. El problema que viene despus es superar el mero catlogo y por lo tanto hacer una hiptesis sobre la manera de razonar de los estudiantes cuando van de la pregunta a la respuesta del tipo todo pasa como si. Cada pregunta-respuesta puede dar lugar a una gran cantidad de hiptesis: el texto es irrealista, los alumnos no han entendido la pregunta, tal error est inducida por la enseanza..., por el lenguaje corriente..., la dificultad es de orden matemtico, han confundido esto y esto, etc. Qu permite escoger y decidir que tal interpretacin vale ms que otra? [...] Estos razonamientos espontneos se manifiestan tambin en el desarrollo histrico de las ideas, en los nios y en muchas partes del entorno cultural actual 2 , y a final de cuentas todo el mundo razona o ha razonado ms o menos de esta forma. Los profesores mismos, cuando contestan rpidamente hacen errores del mismo tipo. [...] Una tal tenacidad proviene sin duda, en gran parte, de la relativa coherencia de este sistema explicativo. [...] Para superar estos razonamientos espontneos se necesita una intervencin de la enseanza. Pero no basta
2

llegar a yuxtaponer conocimientos escolares al sistema intuitivo sin ningn cuestionamiento. Hay que meter los alumnos en situacin de explicitar estos razonamientos y situarlos con respecto a lo que se ensea. Esta toma de conciencia y esta confrontacin son dos caminos personales en donde el alumno toma un papel activo en el proceso de abstraccin. El profesor puede solamente estimular a sus alumnos en este camino si: - l mismo tiene un conocimiento seguro del razonamiento espontneo iniciado por tal o tal situacin fsica, - dispone de instrumentos sencillos para advertir a los estudiantes. Aqu termina la citacin. Hace treinta aos que sabemos de estos problemas cundo vamos a considerar la experiencia pasada para tomarla en cuenta en nuestro propio desempeo? Antes de empezar una clase, cualquier profesor debe de preguntarse qu saben mis alumnos? Parece indispensable hacer un examen diagnstico para saber si llegan con errores conceptuales o no, y actuar para que estas vayan desapareciendo. Cmo? Es lo que veremos a continuacin.

III. PROBLEMAS COMO INVESTIGACIN


Los conocimientos se construyen en el aula y fuera del aula pero cuando un maestro prepara su clase de ciencias tiene que tomar decisiones de orden pedaggico o didctico. Siempre lo hace con respecto a ideas a priori: ideas sobre la manera de aprender del alumno, sobre la construccin del conocimiento. Estas ideas se pueden resumir en un esquema tradicional del funcionamiento de la ciencia y que fue trasladado a la enseanza desde sus orgenes. En un excelente artculo [26], D. Gil Prez de la Universidad de Valencia, hace un balance de la situacin y un estudio crtico de las innovaciones que existieron en el pasado cercano y de las nuevas ideas que se vinieron desarrollando. Lo citar: Queremos llamar la atencin, en primer lugar, contra cualquier tentacin de ver en los planteamientos constructivistas hoy en auge, la solucin a los problemas de enseanza / aprendizaje de las ciencias. Se corre, efectivamente, el peligro de que se conviertan en un nuevo eslogan superficial e ineficaz, por tanto, para la mejora del aprendizaje. Si algo comienza a estar claro hoy, precisamente, es la necesidad de romper con la idea ingenua pero extraordinariamente extendida de que ensear es fcil: cuestin de personalidad, de sentido comn o... de encontrar la receta adecuada para acabar con la enseanza tradicional. Ms an, resulta necesario comprender que tras la idea vaga de enseanza tradicional existe un modelo coherente de enseanza / aprendizaje por transmisin / recepcin de conocimientos ya elaborados [27, 28] y que la renovacin de la enseanza no puede ser cuestin de simples retoques, sino que presenta las caractersticas y dificultades de un cambio de paradigma. Una idea que se ha desarrollado en los ltimos aos, es la de un paralelo entre el aprendizaje y la investigacin, la importancia de las concepciones alternativas de los alumnos y la necesidad de orientar el aprendizaje como un cambio conceptual y no como una adquisicin ex nihilo
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El artculo es de 1978.

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puede basarse en la existencia de un cierto isomorfismo entre el aprendizaje (es decir, la construccin de conocimientos por los alumno a partir y en ocasin en contra de sus preconcepciones) y la investigacin (es decir, la construccin de conocimientos por la comunidad cientfica a partir y en ocasiones en contra del paradigma vigente) dice D. Gil. Esto significa que no basta tomar en cuenta las ideas previas de los alumnos sino que es necesario tambin un cambio de metodologa como el que ocurri entre la fsica pre-clsica y la fsica actual. Propone entonces, incluir explcitamente actividades que asocien el cambio conceptual con la prctica de aspectos claves de la metodologa cientfica, tal como ocurri histricamente. De ah, la idea del aprendizaje como investigacin. Es decir, el tratamiento de situaciones problemticas de inters. Pero cul es la definicin de problemas? En la prctica comn los problemas no lo son realmente en el sentido que son explicados como algo que se sabe resolver, en donde no hay dudas y que el profesor resuelve claramente de manera lineal, transformando la solucin en un ejemplo que hay que aprender y saber repetir en situaciones idnticas. Segn la definicin de Krulik y Rudnick [29]: Un problema es una situacin, cuantitativa o no, que pide una solucin para la cual los individuos implicados no conocen medios o caminos evidentes para obtenerla. Y qu hace un cientfico cuando se encuentra con un verdadero problema? Se comporta como un investigador. Una de las mayores crticas a la resolucin de problemas tradicionales es el hecho de incluir desde un principio datos numricos de algunas magnitudes. Esta inclusin hace que el alumno tratar de encontrar las formulas adecuadas en donde puedan aparecer estas magnitudes y as resolver el problema sin hacer ninguna hiptesis ni tampoco ninguna reflexin previa. Una solucin fcil es no incluir datos numricos, pero se necesita entonces orientar a los alumnos para abordar estas situaciones. Estas orientaciones se pueden resumir en las propuestas siguientes, coherentes con un modelo de resolucin de problemas como investigacin [26, 30]: - Considerar cul puede ser el inters de la situacin problemtica abordada. - Comenzar por un estudio cualitativo de la situacin, intentando acotar y definir de manera precisa el problema, explicitando las condiciones que se consideran reinantes, etc. - Emitir hiptesis fundadas sobre los factores de los que puede depender la magnitud buscada y sobre la forma de esta dependencia, imaginando, en particular, casos lmite de fcil interpretacin fsica. - Elaborar y explicitar posibles estrategias de resolucin antes de proceder a sta, evitando el puro ensayo y error. Buscar distintas vas de resolucin para posibilitar la contrastacin de los resultados obtenidos y mostrar la coherencia del cuerpo de conocimientos del que se dispone. - Realizar la resolucin verbalizando al mximo, fundamentando lo que se hace y evitando, una vez ms, operativismos carentes de significacin fsica. - Analizar cuidadosamente los resultados a la luz de las hiptesis elaboradas y, en particular, de los casos lmite considerados.
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Este ltimo punto es equivalente a lo que Reif [31] denomina verificacin de la consistencia interna. Es interesante hacer notar que las indicaciones anteriores estn ms relacionadas con las actividades experimentales habituales y que ahora se pueden generalizar a todas las actividades de aprendizaje de las ciencias.

IV. TRABAJO COOPERATIVO


La experiencia prueba [32] que para salir del modelo por transmisin estndar, para tratar de diferenciar la pedagoga y que los alumnos sean actores de sus aprendizajes, es necesario entrar a la problemtica del trabajo en equipo. Hay que intentar modificar el ordenamiento mismo de la clase y construir un espacio a geometra variable. No para pasar del todo magistral al todo equipo, ya que no se diferencia la enseanza pasando de un modelo nico a otro modelo nico, de un integrismo metodolgico a otro. Desde hace ms de treinta aos, muchos trabajos en sicologa social han mostrado que el trabajo en equipo puede constituir un entorno socio-cognitivo susceptible de generar progresos individuales. El principio fundador est constituido por los trabajos que se reclaman de las tesis de Vygotski [33] y se encuentra tambin en trabajos de Piaget [34, 35, 36] y Freinet [37, 38]. Para explicar esto existen dos tesis (no exclusivas): la teora del conflicto socio-cognitivo interindividual, y la de la transformacin de la funcin comunicativa (interindividual) en funcin cognitiva (intra-individual). La primera se conoce desde mucho tiempo: cuando los intercambios interactivos son ocasin de conflictos (en el sentido de confrontaciones contradictorias) por el hecho de puntos de vista diferentes de los sujetos para resolver un problema, se instala conjuntamente entre ellos un doble conflicto cognitivo, el primero intra-individual ya que cada sujeto toma conciencia de respuestas diferentes de las suyas; y interindividual ya que las respuestas son diferentes; y un conflicto social ya que los sujetos necesitan coordinar los puntos de vista para llegar a un acuerdo y dar una respuesta comn. La filosofa de fondo es que el aula es un lugar que acoge a todo el mundo y considera que todo el mundo es un miembro valioso de la comunidad y que por ello es digno de ser ayudado si lo necesita. Detrs de ello est la nocin de que las diferencias individuales son valiosas, y de que a travs del dilogo, la cooperacin, la convivencia, el respecto por las diferencias y la solidaridad, se aprende mejor. Los equipos de aprendizaje cooperativo tienen una doble finalidad: aprender los contenidos y aprender a trabajar juntos, como un contenido escolar ms. Finalmente, se trata de favorecer en el aula un trabajo colectivo de investigacin dirigida [26] en algo parecido al trabajo cientfico de los expertos, en donde la confrontacin de ideas entre equipos (aqu los alumnos) y con los especialistas o la comunidad cientfica (el profesor) es la base para la aceptacin de nuevas ideas.

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Michel Picquart

V. FORMACIN DOCENTE
Aceptar nuevas ideas debera ser tambin el pan cotidiano de los profesores en cuanto a la docencia como lo es generalmente en cuanto a la investigacin. Tal vez es sobre este aspecto particular que la falta de formacin profesional y la falta de apertura se hacen sentir ms. La universidad tiene que enfrentar cambios. Hay, por ejemplo, una necesidad de formacin a lo largo de la vida, esta demanda social es muy fuerte en Europa desde algunos aos y, ya lo es, y lo ser necesariamente ms y ms en Mxico; hay nuevos pblicos que van a entrar y que entran ya a la universidad y que no siempre tienen las mismas expectativas ni las mismas necesidades de formacin que los alumnos de formacin inicial; se puede pensar tambin en nuevos dispositivos que permiten diversificar la oferta de formacin, etc. Los cambios que afectan a la universidad conciernen de la misma manera las misiones de los docentes-investigadores que son ms y ms numerosas y diversificadas. Estas nuevas misiones llevan a menudo a nuevas prcticas, a las cuales los profesores no son siempre preparados y no pueden prepararse a ellas por el hecho, en particular, de una formacin continua institucionalizada casi inexistente. Es necesario plantear la necesidad imperativa de una formacin pedaggica inicial y contina. En los prximos diez aos se puede pensar que alrededor de 50% de los docentes-investigadores se jubilaran. Los que van remplazarlos ejercern funciones que han evolucionado en algunos decenios y que van a evolucionar ms. En Francia, por ejemplo, estas funciones son la enseanza, la investigacin y la administracin, cada una con una valor diferente, en particular en el reconocimiento institucional, interno o no a la universidad. Estas tres funciones pueden ser clasificadas de la manera siguiente: la ms valorizada es la investigacin, despus la docencia y la administracin. En la UAM es muy parecido nada ms que la administracin se sustituye por la difusin de la cultura. El docente-investigador aprende actualmente su profesin esencialmente por la auto-formacin o la prctica en situacin, con todos los riesgos (para los alumnos) que esto puede representar. Podemos listar las funciones que ejerce en el desorden y de manera no exhaustiva: ensear a diferentes pblicos, en clases de laboratorio, en talleres de resolucin de problemas, en clases magistrales, evaluar a los alumnos, coordinar grupos de profesores a diferentes niveles, coordinar actividades de investigacin, etc. La mayora de estas competencias ligadas a estas actividades estn desarrolladas por la prctica, el intercambio con otros docentes, por lecturas, conferencias, etc. Rara vez, en particular, en el aspecto pedaggico, el profesorinvestigador beneficia de un acompaamiento o de formaciones especficas respondiendo a sus necesidades. En una encuesta realizada en nuestra divisin en 2004 [39] a estudiantes (751 es decir 27% del total de alumnos) y profesores (99 es decir 34% de la planta acadmica titular) aparecen algunos indicadores. En general, los alumnos califican de buena a excelente (84.4%) la preparacin de los profesores y consideran que tienen las habilidades pedaggicas para ensear (71.7%). Al mismo tiempo, mencionan que la exposicin de clase por el profesor es el
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medio ms utilizado (92.4%), y en segundo la resolucin de problemas (36.4%) son las tcnicas de enseanza de los profesores. Segn los alumnos, 39% ensayan nuevas y diferentes formas de enseanza. Dentro de las causas importantes o muy importantes de reprobacin, consideran que tienen una formacin previa deficiente (79.4%) y que les falta una preparacin de la materia (77.8%), pero 77.9% consideran tambin que hay una falta de claridad en la exposicin del profesor y 75.4% que hay una falta de correspondencia entre lo que se ensea y lo que se evala. Ahora bien, solamente 21% de los profesores encuestados consideran que sus estrategias educativas relativas al contenido de sus cursos son adecuadas y ms de 77% consideran que no siempre esto es as. De la misma manera 76% opinan que no siempre sus estrategias educativas estimulan el inters por los contenidos de sus cursos y menos de la mitad (39.4%) de los profesores est convencido que sus tcnicas didcticas coinciden con sus estrategias educativas. Los profesores estiman que las principales causas de los problemas de desempeo de los alumnos son, en este orden, la falta de motivacin e inters; la insuficiencia de la formacin previa; la insuficiencia del tiempo que dedican al estudio y los hbitos de estudio. Para terminar, en trminos generales, la mayora de los profesores (69.7%) tiene poca comunicacin con sus colegas para analizar los problemas educativos de los alumnos y proponer mejoras. Como lo podemos ver, estudiantes y profesores no tienen siempre la misma opinin sobre los diferentes problemas ilustrados en esta encuesta. Si bien todos mencionan la formacin previa deficiente es preocupante que casi 78% de los alumnos consideran que hay una falta de claridad del profesor y que ms de tres alumnos de cuatro sealan que no se evala lo que se ensea. Tal vez esta cifra se puede relacionar con los ms de 75% de profesores que consideran que sus estrategias educativas relativas al contenido del curso no siempre son las adecuadas y que no estimulan el inters por los contenidos de sus cursos. Por qu? Probablemente, que no conocen otras y que realmente hacen lo que pueden. Se podra pensar que entonces estos mismos profesores buscaran modificar estas mismas, por lo menos hablando con sus colegas, pero ellos mismos reconocen que casi 70% tiene poca comunicacin con sus colegas para analizar los problemas educativos. Desde los aos ochenta, existe en Francia una formacin mnima para los futuros docentes. En un trabajo presentado en 2004 [40], se mostr que muchos profesores que siguieron una formacin continua buscaban trucos, tcnicas, recetas pedaggicas, como si pudieran prescindir de una reflexin terica sobre la pedagoga universitaria y la didctica de su disciplina. En la Conferencia Mundial sobre la Educcin de la UNESCO [41], se aprobaron documentos que insisten en la necesidad de la formacin pedaggica bsica y permanente del profesorado universitario. El artculo 10 de la Declaracin mundial sobre la educacin superior en el siglo XXI: visin y accin dice: Un elemento esencial para las instituciones de enseanza superior es una enrgica poltica de formacin del personal. Se deberan establecer directrices claras sobre los docentes de la
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Qu podemos hacer para lograr un aprendizaje significativo de la fsica?

educacin superior, que deberan ocuparse sobre todo, hoy en da, de ensear a sus alumnos a aprender y a tomar iniciativas, y no a ser, nicamente, pozos de ciencia. Deberan tomarse medidas adecuadas en materia de investigacin, as como de actualizacin y mejora de sus competencias pedaggicas mediante programas adecuados de formacin del personal, que estimulen la innovacin permanente de los planes de estudio y los mtodos de enseanza aprendizaje. Hace cinco aos, nuestra universidad ha aprobado las Polticas operacionales de docencia [42] cuya orientacin principal es una docencia centrada en el aprendizaje con desarrollo de nuevos mtodos didcticos y trabajo colectivo. Aunque se insiste tambin en actualizacin del personal acadmico, poco ha sido realizado hasta la fecha en cuanto a la institucionalizacin por lo menos de una formacin permanente. Ensear en la universidad es una profesin que se aprende y para la cual existe una necesidad de formacin, ms o menos expresada, pero que queda por evaluar e implementar.

AGRADECIMIENTOS
El autor quiere agradecer al Dr. Luis Montao Hirose por la relectura de este artculo y por las discusiones fructferas que hemos tenido.

REFERENCIAS
[1] Picquart, M. y Carrasco Morales, I., La enseanza cientfica en las escuelas primeras francesas, Contactos 48, 18 (2003) [2] Picquart, M. y Carrasco Morales, I., Hacer ciencias para saber leer y escribir, Trabajos de la VIII CIAEF, Sociedad Cubana de Fsica, La Habana, Cuba, ISBN 9597136-19-8 (2003). [3] Astolfi, J. P., Guide du Matre (Coll. Gulliver, Nathan, Paris, 1978). [4] Astolfi, J. P., Peterfalvi, B. et Verin, A., Comment les Enfants apprennent les Sciences (Retz, Paris, 1998). [5] Charpak, G., La Main la pte. Les sciences l'cole primaire (Flammarion, Paris, 1998) p. 6. [6] New formula for science education, Physics World, January, pp. 10-11 (2007). [7] Giordan, A., La enseanza de las ciencias (Siglo XXI, Madrid, 1982). [8] Resnick, L. B., Mathematics and science learning: a new conception, Science 220, 477 (1983). [9] Novak J. D., Overview of the international seminar on misconceptions in science and mathematics. In Helm, H. and Novak, J. D. (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Seminar on Misconceptions in Science and Mathematics (Cornell University, Department of Education, Ithaca, NY, 1983) pp. 1-4. [10] Engel Clough, E. and Driver, R., A study of consistency in the use of students conceptual frameworks across different task contexts, Science Education 70, 473 (1986). [11] Driver R., Students conceptions and the learning of science, Int. J. Sci., Educ. 11, 481 (1989). [12] Cubero, R., Concepciones alternativas, preconcepciones, errores conceptuales... Distinta terminologa y un mismo significado?, Investigacin en la escuela 23, 33 (1994). [13] Palmer, D. H., Exploring the link between students scientific and nonscientific conceptions, Issues in Educational Research 8, 65 (1998). [14] Helm, H., Misconceptions in physics amongst South African students, Phys. Educ. 15, 92 (1980). [15] Viennot, L., Le raisonnement spontan en dynamique lmentaire, Rev. Fr. Pdagogie 45, 16 (1978). [16] Viennot, L., Le raisonnement Spontan en Dynamique Elmentaire (Hermann, Paris, 1979). [17] Saltiel, E. and Malgrange, J. L., Spontaneous ways of reasoning in elementary kinematics, Eur. J. Phys. 1, 73 (1980). [18] Fredette, N. and Lochhead, J., Student conceptions of simple circuits, Phys. Teacher 18, 194 (1981).

VI. CONCLUSIONES
En respuesta a la puesta en evidencia de dificultades especficas de los alumnos en los cursos introductorios [43] varios fsicos han tratado de proponer planes de estudio enfocados a una docencia ms eficiente, y como el aprendizaje es ms eficiente cuando hay una participacin activa y una interaccin entre los alumnos [26, 44, 45], nuestra propuesta es hacerles trabajar en pequeos equipos de tres o cuatro alumnos para resolver problemas de inters con carcter de pequeas investigaciones. Una de las ventajas de este planteamiento es que tratando de resolver este tipo de problemas, los alumnos deben formular hiptesis con base a sus ideas previas y las tienen que discutir en el equipo, de modo que juntos, puedan descubrir las contradicciones y, mediante un proceso de retroalimentacin llegar a un planteamiento ms real y objetivo de la situacin problema. El poder presentar sus ideas y comentarlas entre los equipos bajo la direccin del profesor que acte como un gua y defenderlas para convencer a los dems, en la bsqueda de una solucin adecuada al problema, ampla la posibilidad de reconocer los preconceptos y corregir los inadecuados. Se tiene que, por lo menos, mezclar la clase magistral con el trabajo en equipo. Lo que importa es sobre todo facilitar la intervencin de los alumnos, no esperar que hagan preguntas sino fomentar y encontrar las formas de funcionamiento en el aula para que su participacin sea ms efectiva. Finalmente, es esta estrategia que estamos probando actualmente en algunos grupos del primer trimestre del TG de nuestra divisin.

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Michel Picquart

[19] McDermott, L. C., Research on conceptual understanding in mechanics, Physics Today, July, 24 (1984). [20] Halloun, I. A. and Hestenes, D., The initial knowledge state of college physics students, Am. J. Sci. Educ. 7, 231 (1985). [21] Clement, J., Students preconceptions in introductory mechanics, Am. J. Phys. 50, 66 (1982). [22] Carrascosa, J., El problema de las concepciones alternativas en la actualidad (parte 1). Anlisis sobre las causas que la originan y/o mantienen, Revista Eureka sobre Enseanza y Divulgacin de las Ciencias 2, 183 (2005). [23] Campanario, J. M. y Otero, J. C., Ms all de las ideas previas como dificultades de aprendizaje: las pautas de pensamiento, las concepciones espistemolgicas y las estrategias metacognitivas de los alumnos de ciencias, Enseanza de las Ciencias 18, 155 (2000). [24] Campanario, J. M. y Moya A., Cmo ensear ciencias? Principales tendencias y propuestas, Enseanza de las Ciencias 17, 179 (1999). [25] Picquart, M. y Ayala, D., Lograr el cambio conceptual en fsica: un desafo mayor, Memorias del 4 Taller Iberoamericano de Enseanza de la Fsica Universitaria, La Habana, Cuba (2007). [26] Gil, D., Ciencias in Enseanza de las ciencias y la matemtica : tendencias e innovaciones (OEI, Ed. Popular Madrid, 1993). [27] Gil, D., Tres paradigmas bsicos en la enseanza de las ciencias, Enseanza de las Ciencias 1, 26 (1983). [28] Millar, R. and Driver, R., Beyond processes, Studies in Science Education 14, 33 (1987). [29] Krulik, S. and Rudnick, J., Problem solving in school mathematics (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston, Virginia, 1980). [30] Gil, D., Carrascosa, J. y Martnez-Torregrosa, J., La enseanza de las ciencias en la educacin secundaria (Horsori, Barcelona, 1991). [31] Reif, F., Understanding and teaching problem-solving in physics. In Delacote, G., Tiberghien, A. and Schwartz, J. (Eds.), Research on Physics Education: Proceedings of the

First International Workshop (ditions du CNRS, Paris, 1983) pp. 15-53. [32] Le Travail en groupe, Cahiers Pdagogiques, 424, Paris (2004). [33] Vygotski, L. S., Pense et langage, La Dispute, Paris (1997). [34] Piaget, J., Discours du directeur du Bureau international d'ducation, in Dix-septime Confrence internationale de l'instruction publique : procs-verbaux et recommandations (Bureau international d'ducation, Genve, 1954) pp. 27-28. [35] Piaget, J., Psychologie et Pdagogie (Denol, Paris, 1969). [36] Piaget, J., De la pdagogie (Odile Jacob, Paris, 1988). [37] Freinet, C., Travail individualis et programmation Bibliothque de lEcole Moderne, 42-45 (1966). [38] Freinet, C., Cooperative learning and social change: Selected writings of Celestin Freinet (D. Clandfield and J. Sivell Eds., Toronto, Canada, 1990). [39] Montao Hirose, L., Barba Alvarez A y Ramrez Mrtinez G., Anlisis de la docencia y de la oficina de atencin a alumnos de la divisin CBI (Ed. UAM-I, Mxico, 2005). [40] Beney, M. et Pentecouteau, H., La formation des enseignants du suprieur : une rponse un changement des pratiques? (Congrs AECSE, Paris, 2004). [41] Declaracin mundial sobre la educacin superior en el siglo XXI: visin y accin, UNESCO, Paris (1998),<www.unesco.org/education/educprog/wche/declara tion_spa.htm>, Sept. 2007. [42] Polticas operacionales de docencia, Actas del Colegio Acadmico, Marzo 2001. [43] Braga, L., Una alternativa para resolver el problema de los bajos rendimientos en los primeros cursos universitarios de fsica del rea de las ciencias fsicas y matemticas, Rev. Mex. Fis. 30, 347 (1984). [44] Redish, E. F., Implications of cognitive studies for teaching physics, Am. J. Phys. 62, 796 (1994). [45] Carrascosa, J., El problema de las concepciones alternativas en la actualidad (parte 2). El cambio de concepciones alternativas, Revista Eureka sobre Enseanza y Divulgacin de las Ciencias 2, 388 (2005).

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Visualizing the Doppler Effect


Marcos H. Gimnez, Ana Vidaurre, Jaime Riera and Juan A. Monsoriu
Departamento de Fsica Aplicada, Universidad Politcnica de Valencia, 46022 Valencia, Spain. E-mail: mhgimene@fis.upv.es (Received 26 October 2007; accepted 22 December 2007)

Abstract
The development of Information and Communication Technologies suggests some spectacular changes in the methods used for teaching scientific subjects. Nowadays, the development of software and hardware makes it possible to simulate processes as close to reality as we want. However, when we are trying to explain some complex physical processes, it is better to simplify the problem under study using simplified pictures of the total process by eliminating some elements that make it difficult to understand this process. In this work we focus our attention on the Doppler effect which requires the space-time visualization that is very difficult to obtain using the traditional teaching resources. We have designed digital simulations as a complement of the theoretical explanation in order to help students understand this phenomenon. Keywords: Digital simulation, Doppler effect.

Resumen
El desarrollo de las Tecnologas de Informacin y Comunicacin sugiere algunos cambios espectaculares en los mtodos usados para ensear temas cientficos. Hoy en da, el desarrollo de software y hardware hace posible simular procesos tan cercanos a la realidad como queramos. Sin embargo, cuando tratamos de explicar algunos procesos fsicos complejos, es mejor simplificar el problema en estudio usando imgenes simplificadas del proceso total eliminando algunos elementos que lo hacen difcil de entender. En este trabajo enfocamos nuestra atencin en el efecto Doppler que requiere la visualizacin espacio temporal que es muy difcil de obtener usando los recursos tradicionales de enseanza. Hemos diseado simulaciones digitales como un complemento de la explicacin terica para ayudar a los alumnos a entender este fenmeno. Palabras clave: Simulacin digital, efecto Doppler. PACS: 01.50.H-, 01.40.Fk ISSN 1870-9095

I. INTRODUCTION
In recent years, Information and Communication technologies (hereafter ICTs) are being used in many ways in teaching science. They permit interactivity, in agreement with the constructivism pedagogical principles. The students have to construct their own body of knowledge so the teacher guides the process providing the student with the necessary tools to get it [1]. Different works have shown the advantages of digital simulation in the learning process [2, 3]. Actually a lot of online multimedia material for teaching physics is available [4]. However, one should know that the pedagogical effectiveness is not directly related with the use of simulation but with its correct integration in the global instruction plan [5, 6]. As the ICTs are now in a developing process, research about the new possibilities they offer in the education field is required. Recently, our working group has developed several simulation programs designed in such a way that they underline the visualization of the physical problem [7]. In this way, the teacher is able to obtain the major benefits of the computer-based instruction.
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Learning based on models is more likely to aid comprehension than superficial memorization. Mental models play a very important role in activities related to the learning process. ICTs offer a good opportunity to develop these ideas through 3D animations immersed in virtual environments. Wave motion, in general, and Doppler effect, in particular, require the simultaneous understanding of the spatial and time dependence. Thus, the traditional teaching resourcesblackboard, slides, transparencies are not enough. If we want to show motion we need the real process or the videotape, previously recorded. Both techniques are very useful in the learning process because they allow to establish connections between theory and reality. However, in some cases, it is not possible to eliminate some elements that make it difficult to understand the essential aspects of the problem under study. This can be solved using digital animations, now possible in the ICTs context. This technique presents the following advantages: Similarly to the cinema or television, simulations produce the effect of a continuous representation in time. This is not possible with slides or transparencies.
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Marcos H. Gimnez, Ana Vidaurre, Jaime Riera and, Juan A. Monsoriu

They appear free of noise and allow us to identify the different aspects we want to emphasize. In this sense simulations can be more efficient than the real process itself. We have been working in this field designing noninteractive virtual animations that illustrate physical concepts as a complement of the theoretical explanation. In the present work we present the process we have followed in order to design digital simulations to help students in the understanding of the Doppler effect. These animations have been developed in a virtual environment using the program 3D Studio Max and formatted in digital video files.

II. DIGITAL ANIMATIONS


The goal of the simulations here presented is to visualize the Doppler effect. We consider a source of sinusoidal wave motion, S, and the observer O. One of them, or both, is in motion so that the frequency measured by the observer, v, differs from that generated by the source, . The relation between them is given by the well-known equation: v vO (1) , =
v vS

with a lower speed than that of the propagation motion and the observers stay at rest. The left-side observer measures a lower frequency than that generated in the source. The right-side observer, on the contrary, measures a higher frequency than the source does. In addition to the Doppler effect, we can use this example to demonstrate the relationship between period and wavelength. The proposed scheme can also be applied to other processes related to source motion. In Fig. 2 the source moves with the same speed as the generated waves. The wave fronts are all superimposed just in front of the source generating the wave barrier. Typical examples of this phenomenon are sound waves generated by airplanes (sound barrier) and water superficial waves generated by ships. In Fig.3, the source moves with higher speed than the generated waves. A shock wave is generated as the envelope of the wave front.

where v, vS, and vO are the propagation speed, the source speed and the observer speed, respectively. As shown in Fig. 1, the design of the simulations is based on the following characteristics: Each animation includes the top view where the wave source (dark color sphere) and one or more observers (light color spheres) in motion are shown. In many cases, the front view is also added. The wave fronts are represented as circumferences centered at the point where the wave was generated and the radius increases proportionally to the propagation speed. The dark ones represent the crests and the light ones the valleys. The front view shows the wave being generated by the vertically oscillating source, and affecting the observers. In this way the animation allows an easy comparison between the oscillation frequency of the source and the observers. This scheme offers students different points of view that cover different concepts related with the Doppler effect. The simultaneous representation of the time and space dependence improves the understanding of the magnitudes involved: period, frequency, wavelength, and relative motion of the observer respect to the source. The different aspects can be analyzed one by one or globally. The qualitative representation can be compared with the mathematical expression given by equation (1). Following the above scheme, we have developed animations in order to study specific problems related with the motion of the source, the observer, or both of them. These animations are available by e-mail request. As an example of these animations, in the particular situation shown in Fig. 1, the source moves to the right
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FIGURE 1. Frame of a digital animation of the Doppler effect where the source moves to the right with a lower speed than that of the propagation and the observers stay at rest.

FIGURE 2. Frame of a digital animation related with source motion (wave barrier) where the source moves with the same speed as the generated waves.

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Visualizing the Doppler Effect

want to emphasize in order to get a better understanding of it. In the present work, we have presented the design of digital animations for the explanation of the Doppler effect. The scheme consists basically of showing the top and front views of the wave fronts generated by the source. The wave front travels in a homogeneous medium and generates oscillations in the observers. This scheme makes it easier the understanding of the Doppler effect and other related problems like sound barrier or shock waves.

REFERENCES
[1] Duffy, T, and Jonassen, D., Constructivism and the technology of instruction (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey, 1992). [2] Grayson, D. J. and McDermott, L. C., Use of the computer for research on student thinking in physics, Am. J. Phys. 64, 557-565 (1996). [3] Esquembre, F., Computers in physics education, Comput. Phys. Commun. 147, 13-18 (2002). [4] Altherr, S., Wagner, A., Eckert, B., and Jodl, H. J., Multimedia material for teaching physics (search, evaluation and examples), Eur. J. Phys. 25, 7-14 (2004). [5] Hestenes, D., Who needs physics education research?, Am. J. Phys. 66, 465-467 (1998). [6] Steinberg, R. N., Computers in teaching science: To simulate or not to simulate?, Am. J. Phys. 68, S37-S41 (2000). [7] Vidaurre, A., Riera, J., Gimnez, M. H, and Monsoriu, J. A., Contribution of digital simulation in visualizing physics processes, Comput. Appl. Eng. Educ. 10, 45-49 (2002).

FIGURE 3. Frame of a digital animation related with source motion (shock wave) where the source moves with higher speed than the generated waves.

III. CONCLUSIONS
The understanding of wave motion requires space-time visualization, which is very difficult to obtain using the traditional teaching resources blackboard, slides,... because these techniques only allow to show static images. Some other techniques such as experiments (real or in video) mix different aspects involved in the process and it is difficult to show the essential aspects that the teacher wants to transmit. This problem can be solved with digital animations that provide a continuous time representation of the physical phenomenon and, on the other hand allow us to clean the process showing only the aspects we

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La balanza electrnica: la opcin ms rentable para realizar distintas prcticas de laboratorio de fsica de fluidos
Jess Delegido, Manuel Dolz, Mara Jess Hernndez y Alejandro Casanovas
Departamento de Fsica de la Terra i Termodinmica , Universitat de Valncia, Av. Vicent Andrs Estells, 46100 Burjassot (Valencia). Espaa E-mail: delegido@uv.es (Recibido el 18 de Diciembre de 2007; aceptado el 9 de Enero de 2008)

Resumen
Las prcticas de laboratorio son una importante herramienta pedaggica para los estudiantes de fsica de cualquier licenciatura de ciencias o ingeniera. Las prcticas de fsica de fluidos son especialmente costosas y a veces no muestran la fsica del proceso. Puesto que la balanza electrnica mide masas y fuerzas con precisin, puede ser utilizada de distintas maneras para estudiar los fluidos. Basndose en el principio de Arqumedes y midiendo el empuje sobre un slido, nos permite medir las densidades de slidos y lquidos. Midiendo la fuerza sobre una esfera metlica en un fluido en movimiento, la balanza nos permitir calcular la fuerza de Stokes y la viscosidad de un fluido, y adems podremos distinguir entre fluidos Newtonianos y no Newtonianos. Y midiendo la fuerza de arranque de un anillo metlico de la superficie de un lquido, nos va a permitir medir su tensin superficial. En este trabajo se muestran distintos experimentos sencillos y didcticos, de bajo coste econmico, que nos permiten estudiar todas las caractersticas fundamentales de los fluidos. Palabras clave: Prcticas de laboratorio, fsica de fluidos, densidad, viscosidad, tensin superficial.

Abstract
Students laboratory work is a significant pedagogical tool for the physics teaching in natural sciences or engineering. Experiments on fluids physics are often obscure to show the physics of the process and expensive. Masses and forces are accurately measured by electronic balances and can be adapted to the study of fluids; e.g., to measure the densities of solids and liquids measuring the push on a solid and applying the principle of Archimedes or to measure the Stokes force on a sphere in a fluid in movement and the viscosity of the fluid, and even to distinguish between Newtonian and non Newtonian fluids. The tear-off force of a metallic ring placed on the surface of a liquid allows us to determine the surface tension. In this paper several inexpensive and simple didactic experiments are proposed to study the fundamental properties of fluids. Keywords: Laboratory experiments, fluid physics, fluid mechanics, density, viscosity, surface tension. PACS: 01.50.My, 01.50.Pa, 47.15.Rq, 47.50.Ef. ISSN 1870-9095

I. INTRODUCCIN
La fsica de fluidos forma parte de los programas de fsica de la mayora de los estudios de ingeniera y de licenciaturas de ciencias puras y de ciencias de la salud. Sin embargo, a veces se introducen conceptos abstractos difciles de entender por los estudiantes. Para ayudar a resolver este problema son muy tiles las prcticas de laboratorio pues permiten a los estudiantes manipular y observar el comportamiento de los fluidos, por lo que las prcticas tienen un alto contenido pedaggico [1, 2]. Sin embargo, las prcticas de fsica de fluidos son a veces de alto coste econmico pues utilizan instrumentos muy caros como puedan ser remetros o tensimetros, que adems tienen el inconveniente de que el estudiante no ve cmo el aparato transforma un fenmeno fsico, como el rozamiento de un fluido en un cilindro o el arranque de un slido de la superficie de un lquido, en una
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medida que aparece en la pantalla electrnica del instrumento. El objetivo del presente artculo es hacer una revisin de distintas prcticas de laboratorio diseadas por la Unidad de Investigacin de Reologa Aplicada de la Universitat de Valncia, que, utilizando como principal instrumento de medida la balanza electrnica, permita obtener las propiedades ms importantes de los fluidos, tanto en reposo como en movimiento. Dichas prcticas estn hechas de forma que su montaje sea econmico y sobre todo que sean didcticas y permitan a los estudiantes ver la influencia de cada variable en el fenmeno fsico considerado, y vienen realizndose varios aos, siendo muy bien valoradas por nuestros estudiantes. Dividiremos las prcticas en cuatro grandes grupos: por un lado el estudio de la densidad de slidos y lquidos a partir del principio de Arqumedes, en otro grupo el estudio de la tensin superficial de un lquido y las variables que influyen en ello, en un tercer grupo, el
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La balanza electrnica: la opcin ms rentable para realizar distintas prcticas de laboratorio de fsica de fluidos

estudio de la viscosidad de un fluido y de la fuerza de rozamiento viscosa en un slido que se mueve en el seno de un fluido, y por ltimo el estudio de la viscosidad basado en la ley de Poiseuille. En estos dos ltimos casos, los experimentos diseados nos va a permitir adems distinguir entre fluidos newtonianos y no newtonianos, e incluso obtener modelos matemticos para la caracterizacin reolgica, con lo que los estudiantes ven todos los pasos del mtodo cientfico [3, 4].

La prctica se completa midiendo tres trozos distintos de hueso y tres trozos distintos de aluminio y realizando el clculo de errores para obtener la densidad del hueso y del aluminio con su error. B. Prctica n 2: densidades de lquidos Tradicionalmente, la medida de la densidad de un lquido se realiza con la balanza de Mohr, instrumento diseado nicamente para este propsito. Nuestra propuesta no incluye ningn gasto extra, pues se trata de medir la densidad de un lquido utilizando el mismo montaje anterior, pero ahora sumergiendo un objeto de volumen conocido. En el mercado se pueden encontrar inmersores pero tambin pueden ser fabricados de forma sencilla con cualquier material de alta densidad que se pueda cortar y lijar fcilmente. Nosotros hemos construido unos con un volumen de 10 cm3 de forma que al introducirlos en el lquido que se encuentra en una probeta sobre una balanza tarada, miden directamente la densidad del lquido en g/cm3 sin ms que dividir lo que marca la balanza por 10. Para que la prctica sea ms completa, se aplica el anterior mtodo de medida al problema de buscar la relacin entre concentracin de agua con sal y su densidad, y la determinacin de la concentracin en sal de una disolucin problema. Para ello se preparan varias disoluciones de sal en agua de concentraciones conocidas, se mide su densidad y se representa grficamente la densidad en funcin de la concentracin, ajustndolos a una recta por mnimos cuadrados. A partir de la ecuacin de la recta, midiendo la densidad de una disolucin problema de sal en agua, se calcula su concentracin. En la Figura 2 se muestra la recta obtenida por un grupo de estudiantes de Farmacia del curso 2007-2008.

II. DENSIDAD DE SLIDOS Y LQUIDOS


Aunque existen distintos mtodos de medida de la densidad tanto de slidos como de lquidos, las dos prcticas mostradas a continuacin se basan en el principio de Arqumedes de manera que sirvan tambin para entender dicho principio. Estas prcticas se llevan realizando durante muchos aos, con ligeras modificaciones, en la asignatura de fsica de 1 de la Licenciatura en Farmacia y de Ingeniera Qumica de la Universidad de Valencia.

A. Prctica n 1: densidades de slidos Se trata de medir la densidad de cuerpos irregulares (distintos trozos de hueso o de aluminio). Para ello se pesa cada cuerpo, Mc , y despus se introduce en un frasco lleno de agua destilada situado sobre la balanza previamente tarada (Figura 1).

(kg/m )
3

1140 y = 999,8 + 7,925x R= 0,99753 1120

1100

FIGURA 1. Montaje experimental Prcticas 1 y 2.

1080

Por el Principio de Arqumedes, el agua ejerce un empuje hacia arriba igual al peso del lquido desalojado y por el principio de accin y reaccin de Newton, el cuerpo ejerce una fuerza igual y hacia abajo sobre el agua, por tanto lo que mide la balanza es la masa de lquido desalojado, M, de forma que la densidad, , se calcula

1060

1040

1020

Mc Vc

Mc M / a

Mc M

a ,

1000

(1)

10

15 C (%)

20

en donde a es la densidad del agua, que se puede suponer 1 g/cm3 o se puede interpolar a partir de una tabla de densidad del agua en funcin de su temperatura.
Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. Vol. 2, No. 1, January 2008 41

FIGURA 2. Densidad en funcin de la concentracin de distintas mezclas de agua y sal.

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III. TENSIN SUPERFICIAL DE LQUIDOS


La medida de la tensin superficial se realiza con equipos especializados muy costosos, que no siempre se pueden adquirir para un laboratorio de estudiantes. Se ha propuesto [5] un montaje experimental que permite medir la tensin superficial de un lquido con buena precisin y que se puede montar en cualquier laboratorio con bajo coste econmico. Adems ayuda a los estudiantes a entender el concepto de tensin superficial pues ellos ven la superficie que se rompe y miden la fuerza necesaria con ayuda de la balanza electrnica. El montaje experimental se muestra en la Figura 3. La balanza electrnica (B) tiene un gancho del que se cuelga un anillo de aluminio sujetado con tres hilos. El lquido se introduce en un recipiente con forma de embudo (E) que tiene una llave de paso (P) en su parte inferior. El embudo con el lquido se sujeta mediante un soporte (T). El lquido se recoge en un recipiente (R).

F = 4 R ,

(2)

en donde es la tensin superficial del lquido. Sin

embargo, se observa experimentalmente que la fuerza no sigue exactamente esta ley y que, debido a factores de curvatura de la superficie, que el estudiante puede llegar a visualizar, la longitud a tener en cuenta no es la longitud del anillo, sino una longitud efectiva, Lef, que se puede calcular experimentalmente midiendo la fuerza necesaria en el caso de un lquido de tensin superficial conocida, a partir de la frmula

= F .
Lef

(3)

De manera que una vez calculada la longitud efectiva, se puede medir la tensin superficial de cualquier lquido sin ms que aplicar (3). Como lquido de referencia para calcular la Lef, utilizamos la acetona, pues el agua tiene el inconveniente de que cualquier impureza (el mismo polvo del ambiente) hace variar sensiblemente su tensin superficial. De esta manera, midiendo la fuerza necesaria para arrancar el anillo de la acetona, y calculando la tensin superficial de la acetona por interpolacin de la tabla (I), se calcula Lef.
TABLA I. Tensin superficial de la acetona en funcin de la temperatura.

Temperatura (C) 0 20 40

acetona/aire (N/m)
0,0262 0,0237 0,0212

FIGURA 3. Montaje experimental para medir la tensin superficial de un lquido.

La prctica se completa midiendo la tensin superficial de varios lquidos y estudiando cmo intervienen distintos factores en la tensin superficial, por ejemplo la temperatura o la presencia de sustancias tensioactivas.

El proceso de medida es el siguiente: con el anillo horizontal colgado de la balanza y fuera del lquido, se tara sta. Con la llave de paso P cerrada, se llena el embudo E con el lquido problema hasta una altura media. Se sujeta en la pinza del soporte T y se sube hasta que la superficie del lquido queda tocando al anillo, sumergido unos 2 mm y centrado de forma que est alejado de las paredes. Cuando el lquido est en reposo se abre la llave de paso P dejando salir el lquido lentamente. Mientras un estudiante observa el lquido, otro observa la pantalla en donde la balanza marca la fuerza que el lquido va ejerciendo sobre el anillo: dicho valor ir aumentando progresivamente ya que cada vez ser menor el empuje sobre el anillo. Despus se observar un ligero descenso y bruscamente marcar de nuevo cero. El estudiante tiene que anotar la ltima medida antes de caer a cero, que corresponde a la fuerza necesaria (multiplicando por 9,8 la masa marcada expresada en kg) para vencer la fuerza que acta sobre el anillo debido a la tensin superficial del lquido. Si el anillo tiene de radio R, la fuerza necesaria para separar el anillo de esta superficie sera, tericamente
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IV. VISCOSIDAD DE LQUIDOS A PARTIR DE LA FUERZA DE ARRASTRE DE STOKES


La viscosidad es una propiedad que indica la resistencia de los fluidos a fluir y que est relacionada con el rozamiento entre capas del fluido. Se define por la ley de Newton de la viscosidad:

Fx dv = x Axy dz

= ,

(4)

en donde es el esfuerzo de cizalla F/A, la viscosidad y la velocidad de cizalla. Es comn en los laboratorios de primer curso universitario la medida de viscosidades de lquidos newtonianos, cuya viscosidad no depende de , como alcohol, agua, acetona, etc., con viscosmetros de vidrio de tipo Ostwald. Existen, sin embargo, otros fluidos cuya viscosidad cambia al variar . Estos reciben el nombre de fluidos no newtonianos. Muchos de estos fluidos
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responden a una ley potencial, o modelo de Ostwald-de Waele en vez de

= K n .

n =1 newtoniano n 1 no newtoniano

(5)

Las representaciones = f( ), llamadas reogramas, son lineales en los newtonianos y curvas en los no newtonianos. El estudio de estos ltimos requiere viscosmetros que permitan variar la velocidad de cizalla, como los rotatorios, cuyo coste los hace casi inaccesibles en un laboratorio de primer curso. En este trabajo se presenta una alternativa mucho menos costosa basada en la medida, con una balanza electrnica, de la fuerza ejercida por un fluido sobre una esfera metlica. La fuerza F ejercida sobre una esfera que se mueve en el seno de un fluido es proporcional a la viscosidad del fluido, , al radio de la esfera, R, y a la velocidad relativa con la que se mueve, v. Dicha fuerza se describe mediante la ley de Stokes F=KRv. (6)

grupo har el experimento con un lquido de viscosidad conocida y esferas de distintos radios. Midiendo la fuerza de arrastre para distintas velocidades se obtendrn rectas de distintas pendientes. Otro grupo puede medir la fuerza de arrastre para una esfera fija, con fluidos de distinta viscosidad para distintas velocidades. Igualmente se obtendrn rectas de distintas pendientes (Figura 5). Adems, representando grficamente dichas pendientes en funcin de la viscosidad, se obtiene una recta cuya ecuacin sirve para determinar el valor de K.

La constante de proporcionalidad K para el caso de un medio fluido infinito y una esfera slida, es 6, segn se obtiene de la ecuacin de Navier-Stokes para nmeros de Reynolds Re << 1. En el sistema experimental diseado por nosotros [6] que se muestra en la Figura 4, la balanza electrnica permite medir con precisin la fuerza que acta sobre una esfera colgada de su gancho inferior, como consecuencia del arrastre del fluido que se desplaza a su alrededor. Para ello, se hace fluir el lquido a travs del tubo T abriendo la llave A, y se mide la velocidad de descenso v de la superficie libre del fluido en el recipiente CF. Para medir esta velocidad, utilizamos una escala graduada en mm, S, dispuesta sobre el frasco CF y con un cronmetro medimos el tiempo entre dos marcas cuando el rgimen se ha estabilizado. Este montaje permite variar la velocidad del fluido abriendo ms o menos la llave A. El sistema experimental diseado, nos permite realizar dos prcticas distintas dirigidas a estudiantes de Ciencias o Ingeniera. Por una parte, la prctica nmero 1 sirve para deducir de forma experimental la ley de Stokes, mientras que la nmero 2 estara orientada hacia la distincin entre fluidos newtonianos y no newtonianos, la elaboracin de reogramas y la caracterizacin reolgica de fluidos.

FIGURA 4. Montaje experimental para el estudio de la viscosidad de un lquido.

A. Prctica n 1: deduccin experimental de la ley de Stokes El montaje de la Figura 4 permite variar todas las magnitudes que intervienen en la ley de Stokes (frmula 6). Se puede disear una prctica simplemente para comprobar esta ley, o para deducirla de un modo constructivista. Para ello se propone a los estudiantes elaborar hiptesis sobre cuales son las magnitudes de las que depende la fuerza de arrastre de un fluido sobre una esfera. Distribuidos en grupos, cada grupo puede estudiar la influencia de una magnitud dejando fijas las otras: un
Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. Vol. 2, No. 1, January 2008
43 FIGURA 5. Fuerza de arrastre sobre una esfera en funcin de la velocidad v de fluidos de distinta viscosidad.

Para la realizacin de la prctica se pueden utilizar varias disoluciones de glicerina en agua que permiten obtener distintos lquidos newtonianos de diferente viscosidad. Se comienza con una disolucin, y despus de medir, se aade agua obteniendo mezclas ms diluidas y menos viscosas. Los valores de viscosidad de las distintas disoluciones utilizadas se muestran en la Figura 5. Se han
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utilizado 3 esferas de acero de 5, 7, 5 y 10 mm de radio. Con estos datos se puede demostrar que el valor de K es muy prximo a 6 [6].

newtonianos n = 1, el valor obtenido para la glucosa permite afirmar que se trata de un lquido newtoniano [7].

B. Prctica n 2: elaboracin de reogramas y distincin entre fluidos Newtonianos y no Newtonianos El montaje experimental de la Figura 4 permite variar la velocidad relativa del fluido respecto a la esfera. Utilizando una esfera fija, y midiendo la fuerza sobre dicha esfera en un determinado fluido para distintas velocidades, podemos observar distintos comportamientos teniendo en cuenta la ecuacin (5), considerando que el esfuerzo de cizalla es proporcional a la fuerza de arrastre medida en la balanza electrnica, mientras que la velocidad de cizalla es proporcional a la velocidad relativa v [7]. El experimento se puede realizar con glucosa lquida y con una dispersin acuosa de goma xantana al 0,25%, que es un polmero viscosizante [8]. Se mide cada fluido a distintas velocidades de cizalla, y se calcula su viscosidad utilizando la ecuacin (6). En la Figura 6 se aprecia la constancia de la viscosidad de la glucosa (lquido newtoniano) con el aumento de la velocidad del fluido, mientras que para la xantana, polmero que forma dispersiones no newtonianas, el comportamiento es muy diferente, pseudoplstico, ya que = f(v) es una curva que va disminuyendo al aumentar la velocidad.
/ Pa s
4

V. VISCOSIDAD DE LQUIDOS OBTENIDA A PARTIR DE LA LEY DE POISEUILLE


El estudio del flujo de fluidos reales a travs de tuberas reviste un considerable inters tanto en Ciencias Bsicas como en Ciencias Biomdicas o diferentes reas de Ingeniera. La ley que regula el flujo laminar a travs de un tubera cilndrica para nmeros de Reynolds pequeos se debe a Poiseuille y se expresa en la forma

G=

R4 P , 8 L

(7)

en donde G es el gasto cbico o volumen fluido por unidad de tiempo, R y L el radio y la longitud de la tubera respectivamente, la viscosidad del fluido y P la diferencia de presiones establecida entre los extremos del tubo. Para estudiar dicho flujo, proponemos el montaje de la Figura 7 que permite la variacin de esas cuatro magnitudes [9]. Consiste en un frasco contenedor CF donde se sita el lquido a medir y un frasco receptor RF donde se recoge el lquido que pasa por el tubo T, en un tiempo t. En este ltimo frasco se puede modificar la presin, que se mide en un manmetro M, mediante un sistema regulador de vaco. El tubo T se puede cambiar fcilmente, mediante las tuercas R de ambos frascos, permitiendo emplear longitudes o dimetros diversos. El frasco RF se debe poder separar del resto del montaje con gran facilidad. Para conectar RF al sistema de vaco o a la atmsfera se usa la llave B. Se disponen de varios tubos de longitudes y radios distintos. Para medir, se sita un lquido de viscosidad y densidad conocida en el frasco CF y se tara el frasco RF. Se conecta el sistema de vaco y se lee en el manmetro M la diferencia de presin P. Se abre la llave A y el lquido se derrama en RF despus de pasar por T. Al cabo de un tiempo t, se cierra la llave A y se pesa RF. Con estos datos, y conocida la densidad del lquido, se calcula el gasto G.

0 0 1 2 3 v / 10 m s
3 -1

FIGURA 6. Viscosidad aparente en funcin de la velocidad de la superficie libre del fluido en CF. () Glucosa lquida, () 0.25 % Xantana.

La grfica nos permite distinguir perfectamente el diferente comportamiento de los fluidos newtonianos y no newtonianos. Adems, los ajustes de las curvas mediante una funcin potencial como la ecuacin (5), permite obtener el valor de n, resultando n = (0,96 0,05) para el caso de la glucosa y n = (0,40 0,01) para la dispersin de xantana. Teniendo en cuenta que para fluidos

FIGURA 7. Montaje experimental para deducir la ley de Poiseuille.

Este montaje permite realizar dos prcticas distintas: tanto para deducir la ley de Poiseuille de forma parecida a como lo hizo el propio Poiseuille, como para obtener reogramas
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newtonianos. A. Prctica n 1: deduccin experimental de la ley de Poiseuille Para el desarrollo de la prctica, en primer lugar, el profesor ha de plantear el problema: debido a sus mltiples aplicaciones, es interesante conocer una ley para calcular el gasto en una tubera. Proponemos a los estudiantes elaborar hiptesis sobre la cuestin: de qu depende ese gasto? Al cabo de un tiempo de reflexin y discusin es fcil llegar a la conclusin de que buscamos una funcin
G = f(P, R, L, ).

G /10-8m3 s-1

= f( ) y poder distinguir entre fluidos newtonianos y no

25

20

15

10

0 0 2 4 6 8 10
-4

12

R /10 m

(8)

Puesto que el montaje experimental nos permite la variacin de las cuatro variables, la prctica consiste en medir el gasto manteniendo fijas tres variables de ellas cada vez y variando la cuarta, de forma que podamos estudiar su dependencia en (8). Por ejemplo, para analizar la dependencia del gasto con la viscosidad se han medido 6 concentraciones distintas de glicerol en agua con un mismo tubo y una misma P. En la Figura 8 se observa, al ajustar los datos mediante una funcin y = k/x, que el gasto ser inversamente proporcional a la viscosidad.
G /10 m s
-1

FIGURA 9. Representacin grfica del gasto (G) en funcin del radio R para tubos de igual longitud y una misma disolucin de glicerol.

Con todo lo anterior se puede concluir que la ecuacin (8) ha de ser de la forma

G=K

R 4 P . L

(9)

30

Introduciendo todas las medidas en (9) se puede calcular K. El valor obtenido con nuestros datos ha sido K = 0,41 0,04 que es, dentro del margen de error, igual al valor /8 = 0,393 propuesto por Poiseuille [9]. B. Prctica n 2: elaboracin de reogramas de fluidos Newtonianos y no Newtonianos El montaje experimental anterior nos permite calcular la viscosidad de un fluido para distintas velocidades de cizalla. Sin embargo, para representar un reograma, debemos conocer el esfuerzo de cizalla y la velocidad de cizalla. Para ello, usaremos la frmula de la distribucin de velocidades en el interior de un tubo cilndrico. En una tubera cilndrica de radio R, la velocidad, v, de un fluido de viscosidad a una distancia r del centro de la tubera, viene dada por la siguiente expresin [10] que puede ser deducida en clase, incluso para estudiantes universitarios de primer curso:
v (r ) = P (R2 - r 2 ) , 4L

-8

25

20

15

10

5 0 0 0,2 0,4 0,6 0,8

/ Pa s

FIGURA 8. Representacin grfica del gasto (G) en funcin de la viscosidad () en un tubo de 30 cm de longitud y 0,91 mm de radio.

(10)

De igual manera, variando la longitud de la varilla y manteniendo constantes las otras variables, se demuestra la relacin inversa del gasto con dicha longitud. Para estudiar la dependencia con el radio del tubo, se ha medido una determinada muestra con la misma P y utilizando tubos de igual longitud y diferente radio. Los resultados se muestran en la Figura 9. En ella se observa que los datos experimentales se pueden ajustar a una funcin del tipo G = k R4. Por ltimo, manteniendo fijo el lquido y un tubo cualquiera y variando P, se puede demostrar que la dependencia del gasto con la diferencia de presiones es lineal.

de forma que se puede calcular la velocidad de cizalla junto a la pared de la tubera, derivando la expresin anterior para r = R

2 r P dv =4L dr R

R P , 2L

(11)

y teniendo en cuenta la ecuacin (4), el esfuerzo de cizalla se puede calcular como

R P . 2L

(12)

Las anteriores ecuaciones nos permiten calcular y de cualquier fluido, y por consiguiente la obtencin del
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reograma que proporciona su caracterizacin reolgica [11]. Se han preparado dos dispersiones acuosas de concentraciones 0,25 y 1 % peso/peso de goma xantana, que como hemos concluido anteriormente, tiene comportamiento no newtoniano, y dos disoluciones de glicerina en agua al 90 y 80 % de concentracin peso/peso, que presentan un comportamiento newtoniano. Se les pide a los estudiantes que, en grupos, elaboren un protocolo para poder medir las variables reolgicas necesarias para hacer los reogramas de estas cuatro preparaciones que nos permitan conocer su comportamiento reolgico, a la temperatura estudiada. La forma ms sencilla sera la de escoger un tubo de geometra bien definida (R y L) y mediante el montaje de la Figura 7, variar la diferencia de presin P entre sus extremos y medir al gasto correspondiente en cada caso. Se pueden obtener unos 8 o 10 puntos experimentales uniformemente separados. El siguiente paso sera la confeccin de una tabla en cualquier hoja de clculo, como Excel o Kaleidagraph, que de forma automtica, introduciendo los valores de P y de G nos calcule la viscosidad con la ecuacin (7), la velocidad de cizalla, , con la ecuacin (11) y el esfuerzo de cizalla (aunque este no es imprescindible) con la ecuacin (12). A continuacin se construyen los reogramas representando la viscosidad en funcin de . Con un tubo de longitud L = 40 cm y radio interno R = 1 mm, y P entre 6000 y 50000 Pa los resultados obtenidos se presentan en la Figura 10, mientras que para las dos disoluciones de glicerina se obtienen dos rectas horizontales.
0,05 (Pa s)

de las principales caractersticas de los fluidos: la densidad, la tensin superficial y la viscosidad. Se han presentado distintos montajes experimentales utilizando una balanza electrnica, con un alto contenido pedaggico y fciles de implementar en un laboratorio de estudiantes con poco gasto econmico. Los montajes del estudio de la densidad, permiten medir densidades de slidos y lquidos y observar la ley de accin-reaccin de Newton y el principio de Arqumedes. En el montaje para el estudio de la tensin superficial, el estudiante puede ver y medir la fuerza de arranque de un anillo con un sencillo montaje que sustituye a los caros tensimetros. Otro montaje nos permite medir la fuerza de arrastre de un fluido sobre un slido, deducir la ley de Stokes, medir la viscosidad y elaborar reogramas, cosa que se suele realizar con los viscosmetros rotatorios en cursos especializados. Y por ltimo, otro montaje nos permite estudiar el flujo en tuberas, deducir la ley de Poiseuille y tambin la caracterizacin de los fluidos a partir de reogramas.

REFERENCIAS
[1] Hofstein, A and Lunetta, V. N., The laboratory in science education: Foundations for the twenty-first century, Science Education 88, 28-54 (2004). [2] Jimenez, L., Font, J. and Farriol, X., Unit Operations Laboratory Using I11-Posed Problems, Int. J. Engng. 19, 717-720 (2003). [3] Aufschnaiter, C. and Aufschnaiter, S., University studentsactivities, thinking and learning during laboratory work, Eur. J. Phys. 28, S51-S60 (2007). [4] Planinsic, G., Project laboratory for first-year students, Eur. J. Phys. 28, S71-S82 (2007). [5] Dolz, M., Delegido, J., Hernndez, M. J. and Pellicer, J., An inexpensive and accurate tensiometer using an electronic balance. An experiment on surface tension and critical concentration, Journal of Chemical Education 78, 12571259 (2001). [6] Dolz, M., Casanovas, A, Delegido, J. and Hernndez, M. J., An experimental setup to verify Stokeslaw using an electronic balance, Revista Mexicana de Fsica 50, 29-32 (2004). [7] Dolz, M., Delegido, J. Casanovas, A. and Hernndez, M. J., A low cost experiment on Newtonian and nonnewtonian fluids, Journal of Chemical Education 82, 445447 (2005). [8] Ferguson, J. and Kemblowski, Z., Applied Fluid Rheology (Elsevier Applied Science, London, 1991). [9] Dolz, M., Hernndez, M. J., Delegido, J. and Casanovas, A., A laboratory experiment on infering Poiseuilles law for undergraduate students, Eur. J. Phys. 27, 1083-1089 (2006). [10] Sears, F. W. and Zemansky, M. W., Fsica (Ed. Aguilar, Madrid, 1981). [11] Steffe, J. F., Rheological methods in food process engineering (Freeman Press, US, 1996).

0,04 0,25 % 0,90 % 0,03

0,02

0,01

0 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000

(1/s)

7000

FIGURA 10. Viscosidad, , de las dos dispersiones de goma xantana para distintas velocidades de cizalla, .

VI. CONCLUSIONES
La balanza electrnica es un instrumento muy preciso, disponible en cualquier laboratorio de estudiantes, que permite la realizacin de distintas prcticas para el estudio

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Aprendiendo cmo se construye la ciencia: el caso del pndulo


Joan Josep Solaz-Portols1, Magdalena Moreno-Cabo2,Vicent Sanjos Lpez3
1 2

IES Benaguasil/ C.A. F. Toms y Valiente de la UNED. Valencia. Espaa. B.P.M. de LEliana. Valencia. 3 Departament Didctica Cincies Experimentals. ERI-Polibienestar, Universitat de Valncia. E-mail: jjsolpor@yahoo.es

(Recibido el 12 de Diciembre de 2007; aceptado el 9 de Enero de 2008)

Resumen
En este trabajo se lleva a cabo un anlisis bibliomtrico de una bibliografa de trabajos relacionados con el pndulo. Se determinan indicadores de la actividad cientfica, en concreto, nmero de publicaciones, productividad de los autores y de colaboracin en las publicaciones. Adems, se evala el porcentaje de trabajos en las lenguas mayoritarias (Francs, Latn, Italiano, Ingls y Alemn). De los resultados obtenidos se concluye que: a) El crecimiento del nmero de trabajos en el perodo considerado es exponencial; b) La productividad de los autores no sigue la ley de Lotka; c) El ndice de firmas por trabajo es muy bajo (1,1); d) El Francs es la nica lengua que se mantiene hegemnica prcticamente durante todo el perodo 1629-1885; e) El Latn, muy potente hasta finales del XVIII, desaparece en el siglo XIX coincidiendo con el espectacular crecimiento del Ingls y el Alemn. La evolucin de las lenguas de los trabajos se analiza en funcin del contexto histrico en los correspondientes pases. Palabras clave: Construccin de la ciencia, pndulo, bibliometra, nmero de publicaciones, productividad de autores, colaboracin en las publicaciones, lenguas de los trabajos.

Abstract
In this paper is carried out a bibliometric analysis on a bibliography of works related to the pendulum. We have determined indicators of scientific activity, particularly, number of publications, authors productivity, and collaboration in the publications. Moreover, we have evaluated the percentage of works in the majority languages (French, Latin, Italian, English, and German). From the results that we have obtained we conclude that: a) The growth of the number of works is exponential in the analysed period; b) The productivity of authors does not follow Lotkas law; c) The signatures/work index is very low (1,1); c) French is the only language that is kept hegemonic during practically the whole period 1629-1885; d) Latin, very powerful until the end of the 18th century, disappears in the 19th century in agreement with spectacular growth of English and German. Evolution of the languages of the works is analysed depending on the historical context in the corresponding countries. Keywords: Science construction, pendulum, bibliometry, number of publications, authors productivity, collaboration in the publications, languages of the works. PACS: 01.65.+g, 45.20.D-, 01.30.-y ISSN 1870-9095

I. INTRODUCCIN
Se ha puesto de relieve la notable influencia que los estudios con el pndulo ejercieron en el desarrollo conceptual de la mecnica, y que dichos estudios resultan ser de gran inters didctico y epistemolgico [1]. Para hacernos una idea de la importancia instrumental que tuvo el pndulo, baste con sealar que el nmero de referencias bibliogrficas sobre su teora y aplicaciones citadas en Bibliographie du pendule por Wolf [2], asciende aproximadamente a unas mil trescientas en el perodo comprendido entre el ao de publicacin en Florencia de la obra de Galileo Dialogo intorno ai due massimi sistemi del mondo, Tolemaico e Copernicano y 1885. Indicaremos, en
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relacin con estos trabajos publicados, que en ellos aparecen cientficos tan sobresalientes como: Galileo, Huygens, Newton, Hooke, Halley, Mariotte, Bernouilli, Celsius, DAlambert, Poisson, Foucault, Stokes, etc. Como deja entrever Khun [3], Galileo fue el descubridor del pndulo. Aunque mucho antes del nacimiento de Galileo muchas personas haban visto oscilar un objeto del extremo de una cuerda hasta que finalmente quedaba en reposo, Galileo rompi con el paradigma aristotlico y vio el pndulo como un cuerpo que segua un movimiento peridico. A partir de ese momento, el pndulo tuvo un sinnmero de aplicaciones en la ciencia y en la tcnica [4]. Adems, el pndulo, uno de los instrumentos ms humildes de nuestros laboratorios, nos ofrece la
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posibilidad de llevar trabajos prcticos como pequeas investigaciones. Esto es, trabajos prcticos concebidos para efectuar una investigacin dirigida, coherente con la metodologa cientfica, y que estimule el pensamiento divergente de los alumnos y la libre manifestacin de opiniones a travs de la emisin de hiptesis o el diseo de experimentos [5]. Por otro lado, hemos de tener presente que la transmisin de la ciencia centrada en las leyes y los conceptos, descontextualizada y hurfana de su tiempo histrico, produce el mito de la neutralidad, es decir, la creencia simplista de que el conocimiento cientfico se construye se construye al margen de cualquier influencia espuria [6]. Asimismo, es bien sabido que los estudiantes que aprenden ciencia impregnada de historia de la ciencia mejoran la asimilacin de conceptos cientficos y generan actitudes positivas hacia la ciencia [7]. Es por todo ello que en el presente trabajo llevaremos a cabo un anlisis bibliomtrico de las publicaciones relacionadas con el pndulo en el perodo comprendido entre 1629 y 1885, que puede tener implicaciones didcticas: comprender el modo en que se construye la ciencia, conocer ciertos aspectos de la forma en que los cientficos trabajaban (productividad de los autores, colaboracin en los trabajos y lenguas que utilizaban); y sacar a la luz las interacciones de ciencia, tecnologa y sociedad.

Tomo IV de la Collection de Mmoires relatifs a la Physique, publicadas por La Societ Franaise de Physique. Este tomo IV, Mmoires sur le pendule, contiene una introduccin histrica y una bibliografa de trabajos sobre el pndulo. La bibliografa recoge artculos, libros, informes de instituciones cientficas y disertaciones; y proporciona el nombre de los autores, el ttulo del trabajo y un breve resumen del mismo. Se determinaron indicadores de la actividades cientfica, en concreto, nmero de publicaciones, productividad de los autores y de colaboracin en las publicaciones [8]. Adems, se realiz una bsqueda de las lenguas mayoritarias en los trabajos. Para ello, se llev a cabo el cmputo de publicaciones por perodos de diez aos, se contabiliz los distintos trabajos que public cada autor, y se calcul el porcentaje de trabajos en las lenguas mayoritarias en perodos de veinte aos.

III. RESULTADOS
La Figura 1 recoge la representacin grfica de la suma de trabajos publicados en relacin con el pndulo en perodos de tiempo de diez aos (el primer perodo slo incluye siete aos, desde 1629 hasta 1635). Como puede observarse en la Figura 1, el crecimiento de las publicaciones parece ajustarse a una funcin exponencial. De hecho, el anlisis de regresin lineal entre el logaritmo del nmero de publicaciones y el perodo de tiempo, nos proporciona un coeficiente de correlacin lineal r = 0.93, valor que viene a confirmar el carcter exponencial de la relacin entre el nmero de publicaciones y el tiempo entre los aos 1629 y 1885.

II. METODOLOGA
Dispusimos para nuestro trabajo de una fuente secundaria consultada en la Biblioteca de las Facultades de Ciencias de la Universitat de Valncia. Esta fuente secundaria es el N de Publicaciones
300 250 200 150 100 50 0
45 16 17

Periodos de diez aos


FIGURA 1. Representacin grfica del nmero de publicaciones relacionadas con el pndulo contadas en perodos de diez aos.

La Figura 2 representa la distribucin del nmero de autores segn el nmero de publicaciones relacionadas con el pndulo para todo el perodo de tiempo considerado. La

curva establece el nmero de y autores que han publicado x trabajos.

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N de autores

700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

N de publicaciones
FIGURA 2. Representacin grfica del nmero de autores en funcin del nmero de trabajos que publican.

Se constata, a partir de la Figura 2, que slo un pequesimo nmero de autores public en el perodo de tiempo considerado ms de cinco trabajos relacionados con el pndulo, mientras que ms de seiscientos no publicaron ms que un nico trabajo. Por otra parte, el anlisis de regresin lineal entre el logaritmo del nmero de autores y el logaritmo del nmero de publicaciones, nos proporciona un coeficiente de correlacin lineal r = 0.998 y una pendiente de la recta de 11,43. Por tanto, la curva se ajusta de manera aproximada a la ecuacin y = k / x11,43. Porcentaje de Publicaciones

Efectuado el cociente entre el nmero total de publicaciones entre 1629 y 1885 (1324 trabajos) y el nmero total de autores (1388), nos permite obtener el ndice de firmas por trabajo, que resulta ser de 1,1. Finalmente, la Figura 3 nos proporciona el porcentaje de publicaciones en cada una de las cinco lenguas ms utilizadas (Francs, Italiano, Latn. Ingls y Alemn) en perodos de veinte aos (el primer perodo slo incluye diecisiete aos, desde 1629 hasta 1645).

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Francs Italiano Latn Ingls Alemn

18 45
49

16 4

FIGURA 3. Representacin grfica del porcentaje de trabajos en las cinco lenguas mayoritarias en perodos de veinte aos.

Varias circunstancias son destacables de esta ltima representacin grfica. En primer lugar, el Latn, que fue una lengua de comunicacin cientfica de primer orden como el Francs- comienza su declive hacia 1785, hasta prcticamente desaparecer en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX. El Ingls, minoritario hasta finales del siglo XVIII, se convierte en una de las tres lenguas de la ciencia en el siglo XIX. El Alemn, no utilizado hasta la primera mitad del siglo XVIII, se transforma en la lengua de la Fsica en el final del siglo XIX. El Francs, es la nica lengua que se mantiene como mayoritaria durante todo el perodo de tiempo considerado. El Italiano, de ser lengua mayoritaria en los primeros aos de publicaciones sobre el pndulo, evoluciona posteriormente a minoritaria. Por ltimo, sealaremos que el Espaol, que no figura en esta representacin grfica por ser lengua muy minoritaria
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Perodos de veinte aos

como lo es tambin el Portugus-, aparece en la primera mitad del siglo XVIII (un trabajo) y, a lo largo de los aos computados del siglo XIX, contabilizamos un total de cinco trabajos.

IV.CONCLUSIONES Y DISCUSIN
El crecimiento exponencial de las publicaciones a lo largo del perodo de tiempo que se ha tenido en cuenta en el presente trabajo, revela el dinamismo de las reas de conocimiento relacionadas con el pndulo. En consecuencia, parece cumplirse en este perodo la ley normal del crecimiento de la ciencia propuesta por Solla Price [9]. Sin embargo, no podemos dejar de apuntar que

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este modo de crecimiento de la ciencia no puede servir de apoyo a una concepcin acumulativa de la ciencia [10]. Como denuncia T. S. Khun [3] existe una tendencia persistente a hacer que la historia de la ciencia parezca lineal o acumulativa, obvindose las rupturas o cambios profundos que se producen en toda ciencia. Resulta destacable comentar que el nmero de trabajos comienza a crecer de manera importante a finales del siglo XVIII, poca de gran difusin de la ciencia y de ingreso de crecientes masas de jvenes en centros de instruccin superior. Esto tuvo como consecuencia la divisin de trabajo entre los cientficos y la especializacin en las distintas ramas del saber, lo que favoreci el aumento de nuevos descubrimientos en cada campo de investigaciones [11]. En cuanto a la productividad de los autores, de los resultados del presente trabajo puede concluirse que no se cumple en este caso la ley cuadrtica inversa (y = k / x2 ) o ley de Lotka [12]. La curva obtenida para el decrecimiento del nmero de autores en funcin del nmero de trabajos que publica se ajusta mejor a la ecuacin y = k / x11,43. Esto es, tiene un decrecimiento mucho ms rpido (superior a cinco veces ms rpido) que el previsto por Lotka en su ley. Esta desviacin puede justificarse atendiendo, sobre todo, al elevadsimo nmero de autores que slo publica un trabajo. Este hecho, tambin viene reflejado en el bajsimo ndice de firmas por trabajo (1,1), que contrasta con la media de firmas por trabajo que se registra en la actualidad para las ciencias: entre 2,5 y 3,5 [8]. El crecimiento del nmero de trabajos relacionados con el pndulo en lengua francesa coincide con los comienzos de la ilustracin y el progreso cientfico que se produce en los albores del siglo XVIII [13], y que posteriormente conduce a la primaca de Francia en el campo de la investigacin cientfica en el perodo que sigue a la Revolucin Francesa (entre los siglos XVIII y XIX). Como apunta Bernal [14]: la Revolucin francesa y las guerras napolenicas no provocaron un descenso de la actividad cientfica, sino ms bien un impulso considerable de la misma. Por otro lado, el descenso del porcentaje de publicaciones en Latn en el inicio del siglo XIX, es coincidente con el auge de publicaciones en Ingls y Alemn. Sobre este punto, cabe sealar que en la primera mitad del siglo XIX se produce la rpida difusin a Inglaterra y Alemania del espritu tcnico-cientfico, que haba singularizado en exclusiva a Francia, y que iba indisolublemente ligado al proceso de industrializacin de estos pases [11]. Por tanto, no debe resultarnos nada extrao que ambos pases llegaran a ocupar puestos de primer orden en el rea de conocimientos de la Fsica en la

segunda mitad de dicho siglo, dado que se atrajo a la investigacin cientfica a muchos jvenes.

REFERENCIAS
[1] Solaz-Portols, J. J. & Sanjos, V., El papel del pndulo en la construccin del paradigma newtoniano, Enseanza de las Ciencias 10, 95-100 (1992). [2] Wolf, C., Bibliographie du pendule (En Wolf, C. (Ed.) Collection de mmoires relatifs la Physique, publis par la Socit Franaise de Physique. Tome IV Mmoires sur le pendule, Gauthiers-Villars et Fils, Paris, 1889) pp. 1-42. [3] Kuhn, T. S., La estructura de las revoluciones cientficas (11 Reimpresin, Ediciones FCE, Madrid, 1987) pp.187 y 216. [4] Wolf, C., Introduction historique (En Wolf, C. (Ed.) Collection de mmoires relatifs la Physique, publis par la Socit Franaise de Physique. Tome IV Mmoires sur le pendule, Gauthiers-Villars et Fils, Paris, 1889) pp. 43298. [5] Solaz-Portols, J. J., Una prctica con el pndulo transformada en una investigacin, Revista Espaola de Fsica 4, 87-94 (1990). [6] Vzquez, A. & Manassero, M. A., Caractersticas del conocimiento cientfico: Creencias de los estudiantes, Enseanza de las Ciencias 17, 377-395 (1999). [7] Solaz-Portols, J. J. & Moreno-Cabo, M., Enseanza/aprendizaje de la ciencia versus historia de la ciencia, Educacin Qumica 9, 80-85 (1998). [8] Sancho, R., Indicadores bibliomtricos utilizados en la evaluacin de la ciencia y la tecnologa, Revista Espaola de Documentacin Cientfica 13, 842-865 (1990). [9] Solla Price, D. J., Hacia una ciencia de la ciencia (Ariel, Barcelona, 1973) p.55. [10] Kragh, H., Introduccin a la historia de la ciencia (Ariel, Barcelona, 1989) p. 243 [11] Geymonat, L., Historia de la filosofa y de la ciencia. T. 3 El pensamiento contemporneo (Ariel, Barcelona, 1985) pp.110 y 178. [12] Callon, M., Courtial, J. P., & Penan, H., Cienciometra. La medicin de la actividad cientfica: de la bibliometra a la vigilancia tecnolgica (Ediciones Trea, Gijn, 1995) p. 44. [13] Geymonat, L., Historia de la filosofa y de la ciencia. T. 2 Del renacimiento a la Ilustracin (Ariel, Barcelona, 1985) p. 261. [14] Bernal, J. D., Historia social de la ciencia, I. La ciencia en la historia (5 Edicin, Ediciones Pennsula, Barcelona, 1979) p.389.

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Qu es la luz?
Arnaldo Gonzlez Arias
Depto. Fsica Aplicada, Universidad de La Habana, San Lzaro y L, La Habana, Cuba. E-mail: arnaldo@fisica.uh.cu (Recibido el 24 de Octubre de 2007; aceptado el 18 de Diciembre de 2007)

Resumen
A veces es posible encontrar en la Fsica definiciones que, a fuerza de tratar de simplificar, confunden en vez de ilustrar. Tal cosa sucede con la luz, donde no es raro encontrar definiciones errneas. La luz se comporta en unos casos como onda y en otros como partcula, con la rara particularidad de que, cuando se comporta como partcula, su energa depende de la frecuencia definida segn el incompatible modelo ondulatorio. Posee las caractersticas de las ondas y de las partculas conjuntamente, pero no como una simple suma de ambos entes; es algo ms que eso. No obstante, la falta de una definicin precisa no ha impedido que la tecnologa moderna haya creado un sinnmero de dispositivos pticos como el lser, la fibra ptica, las microcmaras de video o las recientes pantallas planas de plasma para TV. Se han intentado otros muchos modelos, algunos de ellos muy complicados, pero hasta el momento ninguno ha funcionado satisfactoriamente. Palabras clave: Modelo ondulatorio y corpuscular naturaleza de la luz.

Abstract
Sometimes in Physics is possible to find definitions that, trying to simplify the most, mislead instead of clarify. That happens when defining light, where you can easily find wrong definitions. Light behaves sometimes like a wave, and sometimes like a particle, with the oddness that, when behaving as a particle, its energy depends on the frequency defined by the non-compatible wave model. Anyway, light comprise both wave and particle characteristics together, but not as a simple addition; it is something more. However, the lack of a precise definition has not been an impediment for the creation of a number of devices by the modern technology such as lasers, optical fibers, micro video cameras or the recent plasma TV. Many other models have been tried, some of them very sophisticated, but at the moment no one has worked satisfactorily. Keywords: Wave and corpuscular model, nature of light. PACS: 01.40.gb, 01.30.y, 42.25.Bs ISSN 1870-9095

La vemos, pero... sabemos lo que es?

I. INTRODUCCIN
Los fenmenos de la naturaleza que la Fsica trata de esclarecer usualmente resultan ser muy complejos. De ah que la posible explicacin o representacin de estos fenmenos slo admita ser simplificada hasta ciertos lmites. Si esos lmites se traspasan, ya no ser posible reflejar la realidad correctamente. Es por eso que en la fsica el facilismo y la sobresimplificacin usualmente van de la mano de los errores conceptuales. As, a veces es posible encontrar definiciones errneas que, a fuerza de tratar de simplificar, confunden en vez de ilustrar. Por poner un ejemplo, la enciclopedia WEB www.wikipedia.org afirma que la luz es una onda electromagntica, compuesta por partculas energizadas llamadas fotones. Tal definicin se refiere a una propuesta ya hace mucho descartada, que consista en suponer a la luz compuesta de dos entes; una partcula o fotn cabalgando de alguna forma sobre la onda acompaante. As sera posible culpar a la onda del comportamiento de la luz en los fenmenos de interferencia y difraccin (ver seccin II) y
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a la partcula del comportamiento en los llamados fenmenos corpusculares (seccin III). El problema con esta proposicin result ser que primero habra que demostrar que la luz efectivamente est compuesta por dos entidades superpuestas, en vez de ser una sola cosa. Y como nadie ha logrado alguna vez separar experimentalmente la partcula de la onda, siendo el experimento una de las bases fundamentales del mtodo cientfico, el modelo demostr ser completamente intil [1]. En realidad, no es posible dar en pocas palabras una respuesta inequvoca a la pregunta qu es la luz?, pues al menos hay dos posibles -aproximadas y paradjicasrespuestas. Una de ellas sera que la luz es una onda, algo similar a las ondulaciones que se forman y propagan en la superficie del agua cuando se le arroja una piedra o se le perturba suavemente con la mano. Lo que no estara del todo mal. La otra sera que la luz es un flujo de partculas compactas -los fotones-, muy similar a lo que se observara al lanzar hacia una pared un puado de garbanzos. Y tampoco estara muy mal. Pero Cmo es posible que algo se parezca a la vez a las ondas que se forman en el agua y a un puado de
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garbanzos viajando por el aire? Pues el asunto funciona de esta manera. Para llegar a obtener nuevos conocimientos, la fsica usualmente trabaja con modelos o representaciones idealizadas de lo que an se desconoce 1 . Y existen una serie de fenmenos pticos que pueden explicarse satisfactoriamente cuando se considera el modelo ondulatorio de la luz. En los cursos de fsica estos fenmenos se agrupan usualmente bajo el ttulo de ptica ondulatoria 2 . Otros fenmenos no aceptan este modelo, sino el incompatible modelo corpuscular.

como la interferencia o la difraccin que slo pueden ser explicados sobre la base de este modelo (como, por ejemplo, la formacin de franjas claro-oscuras al pasar la luz por una rendija estrecha (ver figura 2). Y cuando decimos explicados significa que no slo es posible predecir con toda exactitud lo que ocurrir en determinada situacin especfica, sino tambin, los resultados numricos que se obtendrn (como pueden ser las distancias entre franjas, la intensidad de las mismas, o cmo vara todo esto con la frecuencia). Existe una gran analoga con las ondas mecnicas, donde tambin es posible encontrar los fenmenos de interferencia y difraccin.

II. EL MODELO ONDULATORIO DE LA LUZ


Segn este modelo, la luz es una onda electromagntica, similar a las ondas que se generan y propagan en la superficie del agua, pero aqu lo que oscila no es ninguna superficie, sino un complejo revoltijo de campos elctricos y magnticos. Estos campos continuamente se generan unos a otros, a la vez que se propagan en el vaco o cualquier otro medio con una velocidad caracterstica, de aproximadamente 300000 km/s. Tambin se acostumbra hablar de radiacin electromagntica, ya que a partir de una determinada fuente u origen la luz se irradia en todas direcciones, independizndose de la fuente que la cre. El nmero de veces que esos campos cambian de sentido en un segundo es la frecuencia de la radiacin, designada usualmente por la letra griega (n), y es del orden de miles de millones o ms veces por segundo. El ojo humano es capaz de detectar la radiacin electromagntica en un determinado intervalo de frecuencias; las ms altas corresponden al azul y al violeta, mientras que la ms baja corresponde al rojo.

FIGURA 2. Patrones de difraccin al iluminar una cuchilla con luz azul monocromtica.

III. EL MODELO CORPUSCULAR DE LA LUZ Sin embargo, tambin existe otro conjunto de fenmenos que no pueden ser explicados sobre la base de la teora ondulatoria, pero que se logran explicar satisfactoriamente cuando se emplea el incompatible modelo corpuscular (a veces en este caso se habla de ptica corpuscular). El ejemplo clsico es el efecto fotoelctrico, muy relacionado con el funcionamiento de las celdas solares, de amplio uso en la tecnologa moderna. Segn ste modelo, un corpsculo de luz o fotn es capaz de chocar con un electrn y entregarle toda su energa, ponindolo en movimiento. El electrn adquiere as suficiente energa como para recorrer un circuito y generar una corriente elctrica, que puede ser utilizada con diversos fines. No es posible explicar el surgimiento de esa corriente, ni sus principales caractersticas, a partir del modelo ondulatorio. Una onda est dispersa en el espacio y, entre otras particularidades, no hay forma de que pueda condensar su energa en un instante y en un punto como exige el efecto fotoelctrico, prcticamente instantneo.

FIGURA 1. Esquema de una onda electromagntica en un instante dado (muy simplificado).

La figura 1 representa un esquema muy simplificado de una onda electromagntica en un instante dado. El smbolo (lambda) indica la longitud de onda (distancia entre dos crestas), E y H los campos elctrico y magntico y vp la direccin de propagacin. Existen fenmenos
1

Es comn que los no familiarizados con los mtodos de la fsica confundan los modelos con la realidad. 2 La ptica Geomtrica (lentes, prismas, espejos) no necesita de modelos para establecer sus leyes empricas.
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Qu es la luz?

metal

fotn = h

electrn

Ahora bien; y cul es la energa del fotn? Pues, sencillamente, = h, donde h es una constante de valor conocido (la constante de Planck) y la frecuencia. Qu frecuencia? La de la radiacin. Pero cul radiacin? No estamos analizando el modelo corpuscular? No es la frecuencia un parmetro del otro modelo, del ondulatorio? Pues s. Y en esto precisamente consiste la dualidad partcula-onda, que siempre se menciona al explicar las propiedades de la luz.

FIGURA 3. El efecto fotoelctrico

partcula. Con la particularidad de que cuando se comporta como partcula, su energa depende de la frecuencia, definida segn el modelo ondulatorio. El asunto se las trae, verdad? Pero es as como funciona. El modelo (o los modelos) llegan justamente hasta aqu. No dan para ms. Sin embargo, esto no ha impedido que en la tecnologa moderna existan un sinnmero de dispositivos pticos basados en esta teora dual, tales como los lseres de todo tipo, las fibras pticas, las microcmaras de video o las recientes pantallas planas de plasma para TV. Y a nadie se le ha ocurrido otro modelo que combine las caractersticas ondulatorias y las corpusculares? Por ejemplo, un pequeo paquete compacto de ondas que se mueva como una partcula? Se han intentado muchos modelos con caractersticas parecidas, algunos de ellos muy complicados, pero hasta el momento ninguno ha funcionado satisfactoriamente. Por ahora, no queda ms remedio que continuar con la dualidad. Y olvidarse de las ondas compuestas por partculas de Wikipedia. Se aceptan nuevas ideas.

REFERENCIAS
[1] Crowell, B., The Modern Revolution in Physics, Book 6 in the Light and Matter series of free introductory physics textbooks, available at <www.lightandmatter.com>, 19982005. [2] Mason, G. W., Griffen, D. T., Merrill, J. J., and Thorne, J. M., Physical Science Concepts (Brigham Young University Press, USA, 1997). .

IV. A FIN DE CUENTAS... QU ES LA LUZ? Es partcula o es onda? Quizs lo mejor sera decir que ninguna de las dos. La luz es la luz. Posee caractersticas de onda y de partcula conjuntamente, pero es algo ms que cualquiera de ellas por separado [2]. Hoy da se acepta que la luz posee propiedades duales. En unos casos se comporta como onda. Y en otros como

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Deduction of the De Broglie's relation =h/p from the classical electrodynamics


N. Hamdan, M. Falhe and H. Aktaa
Department of Physics, University of Aleppo, Aleppo-Syria. E-mail: nhamdan59@hotmail.com (Received 3 November 2007; accepted 14 January 2008)

Abstract
It is well known that De Broglie enables the use of the relativistic mechanics and depending on a number of assumptions to discover his relation =h/p, which led further to the creation of the theory of quantum mechanics (QM). However, after De Broglie's approach famous contradictions have appeared between De Broglie's theory and the Special Relativity Theory, also there were a number of suggestions in order to solve these contradictions. According to the suggested method in our papers it was remarked a serious part of the contradictions, and by following this method, we will present a new approach to derive the relation =h/p, starting from classical electrodynamics without any contradictions between Special Relativity Theory (SRT) and De Broglie's theory. Keywords: De Broglie wave mechanics, Lorentz force Law, special relativity theory.

Resumen
Es conocido que De Broglie permite el empleo de la mecnica relativista y dependiendo de un nmero de suposiciones descubrir su relacin =h/p, que condujo ms adelante a la creacin de la teora de la mecnica cuntica (QM). Sin embargo, despus del famoso enfoque de De Broglie han aparecido contradicciones entre la teora de De Broglie y la teora de la Relatividad Especial, tambin hubo sugerencias para resolver estas contradicciones. Segn el mtodo sugerido en nuestros artculos fue remarcada una parte seria de las contradicciones, y siguiendo este mtodo, presentaremos una nueva aproximacin para obtener la relacin =h/p, partiendo de la electrodinmica clsica sin ninguna contradiccin entre la Teora de Relatividad Especial (SRT) y de la teora de De Broglie. Palabras claves: Mecnica ondulatoria de De Broglie, Ley de fuerza de Lorentz, teora especial de la relatividad. PACS: 03.30.+p, 03.50.De, 03.65.-w ISSN 1870-9095

I. INTRODUCTION
The development of QM was introduced in 1900 by Max Planck in his new hypothesis, namely: energy exchange between resonator and radiation takes place only in integer multiples of hf, where h is a new fundamental constant. This was known as the Plancks hypothesis for the quantization of the black bodys emission

limit, in no time the need for this hypothesis for the electron emerged.

II. BOHRS QUANTIZATION FOR THE ATOMIC ORBITAL

HYPOTHESIS

E = nhf ,

n =1, 2 ,...

(1)

Five years later Einstein was able to generalize the Plancks hypothesis from the black bodys emission to the electromagnetic field, he described it according to small particles (photons), which are distinct by frequency, and every photon carries the energy

N. Bohr extended this hypothesis to contain an electron and to give a curing explanation for the hydrogen atom spectrum, whose analysis showed that only light at certain definite frequencies and energies were emitted, and the experiments show that the spectrum of the hydrogen atom contains a separated line, and satisfies this equation
f

E = hf .

(2)

1 1 , n m
2 2

(3)

However, Eq. (2) contradicts with many experiments which were explained using the wave-theory for the electromagnetic field. Nevertheless, Einstein was able to explain the photoelectrical effect using Eq. (2) after the fail of wave-theory in explaining it. Later, Plancks hypothesis for the quantization didnt stop on the electromagnetic fields
Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. Vol. 2, No. 1, January 2008. 54

where m, n are hydrogen atoms levels. The classical theory of emission was unable to explain Eq. (3), this led Bohr to postulate that the circular orbit of the electron around the nucleus is quantized, that is, its angular momentum could only have certain discrete values, these being integer multiples of a certain basic value. First, let us follow the usual pathway where Bohrs quantization is introduced. Bohr
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Deduction of the De Broglie's relation =h/p from the classical electrodynamics

started from the hypothesis which says that the electron of the hydrogen atom moves in a circular orbit around the nucleus, and in this way the potential energy is the electrostatic energy

III. SPECIAL RELATIVITY AND DE BROGLIE THEORY


After the creation of the electromagnetic theory of light, it become possible to formulate the laws of the corpuscular properties of radiation and the wave properties of the corpuscular as

V =

4 0 r

(4)

where r is the radius of the electronic orbit. Using Newtons second law for the electron moving in a circular orbit, and thus subject to Coulombs law, we have
m v2 e2 (5) = , r 4 0 r 2 this allows us to calculate the kinetic energy of the electron in such an orbit 2 1 1 e 2 (6) T = mv = , 2 2 4 0 r

p = h = k , k = 2 ,
as well as

(12a)

E = hf = , p = h = k .

(12b)

therefore, the total energy for the system is


E =T +V = 1 e
2

2 4 0 r

(7)

Substituting Eq. (2) in Eq. (3), we write

E=R

1 1 2 , 2 n m

(8)

It was clear to De Broglie [1, 2] that the electromagnetic field demonstrates particles properties after it was demonstrating waves properties according to wave-theory, Thats why De Broglie wanted to create a theory which contains both properties of wave and its particle counterpart in light, and he understood Eq. (12b) as following: The quantities E and p specify the properties of a particle (photon), while the quantities and specify a wave properties, which means that Eq. (12b) connects between the wave and particle properties of the light, and he asked himself why we dont generalize Eq. (12b) for an electron and getting Eq. (11) as a result. So De Broglie, postulated the validity of relation (12b) for a particle with rest mass mo through his hypothesis of the periodic phenomenon", i.e.:
h f 0 = m0 c 2 .

where R is the Rydberg constant. Comparing Eq. (8) with Eq. (7) we find

(13)

1 , n2

(9a) (9b)

r n2 ,

Eq. (8) implies that the change in energy from the level n to the level m causes an emission or absorption of the electromagnet energy as photons, as well as Eq. (9a) means that the energy levels of the electron are quantized, where Eq. (9b) says that the electron can move only on noncontinuous specified orbits. All these contradict the classical theory of emission. Lets now see how the momentum quantization relation of the electron is derived. Eq. (5) indicates that

The frequency fo is to be measured, of course, in the rest frame of the particle; with Eq. (13) De Broglie connected between two different things: The left side shows that the matter is a type of energy, while the right side shows that the energy is a type of matter. The starting point for De Broglie was applying the Special Relativity Theory (SRT) [3] on Eq. (13), since he considered that if it was correct for a rest particle then it must be correct for a moving particle. So Eq. (13) is correct for the rest frame S related to the particle, and for an observer in the frame S which is in uniform motion with constant velocity u and uOx, then Eq. (13) must have the form

h f = m c2 .

(14)

m vr r .

(10)

To let this equation agree with the experimental information the proportionality constant was taken on the form =h/2, and by substituting Eq. (9b) in Eq. (10) we then have

De Broglie, assumed that E = hf does hold for the relativistic electron. On the other hand, the relation E=moc2(1 - v2/c2)-1/2 for the electron in SRT implies that E increases with the velocity, so does, the frequency of moving electron yields an increased frequency
f = f0 1 v c2
2

mvr =n .

(11)

(15a)

We see that the analysis of the hydrogen spectrum, Eq. (3), plus the Planck- Einstein hypothesis of energy, Eq. (1), leads that the angular momentum of the electron is quantized, Eq. (11). The importance of Eq. (11) emerges from the generalization of the quantization over matter, after it was monopolized on energy.

However, as is well known in SRT, if the clock has a frequency fo in the rest frame of particle, its frequency, according to the so-called time dilation, when it is moving at a velocity v in frame S

f = f0 1
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v2 . c2

(15b)

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N. Hamdan, M. Falhe and H. Aktaa

Evidently, Eq. (15b) is just opposite to Eq. (15a), indeed accounting for time dilation leads to slow down "moving clock" frequency. Thus, it is clear that some additional assumption is needed to overcome such a fundamental contradiction. To find the way out of this paradox De Broglie assumed that f in Eq. (15b) is not the frequency of a clock moving with the particle, but the frequency of a wave accompanying the particle propagating with velocity vp in the direction of motion. The fact that its velocity vp = c2/v is necessarily greater than the light speed c, shows that it can not represent transport of energy.

in all inertial frames) by writing them in terms of Lorentz scalars, 4-vectors, tensors. We consider an electron with proper velocity u moving into the 4-d electromagnetic fields described by

A = ( A4 , A j ) =

(Vc ,A ,A ,A ) .
x y z

The Lagrangian of a relativistic electron, Eq. (18) in 4-d form is:


L = c 1 or
Ldt = c[m0 c + e A u ] ds , = c[m0 c u + e A ] dx .
2 v2 m0 c + e A u , c2

IV. DE BROGLIE METHOD TO DERIVE THE RELATION =h/p


In his work [1] De Broglie stress the importance of Fermat's as well as Hamiltons principles, from which, the wellknown de Broglie relation =h/p, as a consequence. We shall see now how he matching between the Fermats principle and the principle of Hamilton to derive his wellknown relation =h/p. De Broglie have found from the study of the mechanics and wave propagation that the application of the Fermats principle on the phase wave
B

De Broglie then defined the 4-d vector J by the relation J = mocu2 + eA, the statement of least action in Eq. (17) then gives:
B

J dx = 0 .
A

(19)

d =0,
A

(16)

similar to the application of the Hamiltons principle on the moving particle:


B

We shall study now phase wave propagation using a method parallel to that of the principle of Hamilton. To do so, we take phase wave depending on space-time coordinates x. Writing also d in the relationship (16), according to the 4-d form
d = dx , x

S = L (q , q , t ) dt = 0 ,
A

(17)

where L is the Lagrangian of a relativistic electron moving in electromagnetic fields described by the vector potential A and the scalar potential V.

where = ( t k r ) . Thus the Fermat's principle, Eq. (16), becomes according to the 4-d form the following
B

L = m0 c 2 1

v + e Av eV . c2
2

dx = 0 . x

(20)

(18)

The matching between the Fermats principle and the principle of Hamilton had not been achieved by De Broglie in only writing both relations (16) and (18) in the 4-d form. We consider now the matter of relativistic dynamics for an electron. If we have the metric in the form ds2 = (dx4)2 (dx1)2(dx2)2(dx3)2, where space coordinates are labeled x1, x2 and x3, the coordinate ct is denoted by x4. Then the 4-d velocity u, of an electron is
u = dx , ds

By comparing the spatial and temporal parts of relations (19) and (20) we find

J4 =

, x4

Ji =

. xi

(21)

However, De Broglie gave the physical interpretation of the 4-d vector J as energy-momentum vector

J4 =

E , c

J i = pi .

(22)

= 1, 2,3, 4 .

Thus, if we apply Eq. (21) to the phase wave = (t-kr), we have

In modern physics, the relativistic postulates that were presented by Einstein became the base to represent the relativistic transformation equation. According to Einstein, the mathematical equations expressing the laws of Nature must be covariant, that is, invariant in form when we make a Lorentz transformation of the coordinates. In the 4-d formulation we ensure covariance of equations (same form
Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. Vol. 2, No. 1, January 2008. 56

, = = c x4 (ct )

= k. xi

Now from Eq. (22), and by taking into account the last relation, we obtain

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Deduction of the De Broglie's relation =h/p from the classical electrodynamics

E = c c

E= ,

(23a)

(23b) pi = k p= k , where p = mv. Eqs. (23) are relations of the electron wave just as the relations (12) are relationships of the wave of photon. In particular, the relation (23b) is the famous De Broglie's relation
p= k

h . p

(24)

Eq. (11) can be derived now as a result of using the famous De Broglie's relation, Eq. (24). For all physical systems whose coordinates are periodic functions of time there is a quantum condition for each coordinate expressed as

pdr = nh .
In our case, we have p = =

k , i.e.,

dr = nh .
h 2 l = nh l = n , 2

For the electron moving in a circular orbit around the nucleus


k l =n h

and by using Eq. (23b) and l=2r, we get rp = nh/2, that is, L = rp = n, obtaining therefore the same result of Bohr, Eq. (11).

V. NEW METHOD TO DERIVE THE RELATION =h/p FROM CLASSICAL ELECTRODYNAMICS


In 1925, L. De Broglie proposed the idea of matter waves, which was that any particle is associated with a so-called pilot wave: The momentum of one and the wave-vector of the other are proportional and the coefficient of proportionality is a universal constant. Any particle of the 4d energy-momentum p = (E/c, p) is "associated with" a wave of 4-d wave-vector k = (w/c, k) proportional to p, and this 4-d equality breaks down into a scalar component and a vectorial component usually stated using only the magnitude p of the vectorial momentum p = |p|, namely: E = , p = k . The above relations make the phase wave vp equal to E/p. For a particle of rest mass mo and mechanical velocity v, we have E2 = c2p2 + c4mo2, therefore 1/vp2 = (v/c2)2. This establishes an extremely simple relation between the phase wave and mechanical velocity as vp v = c2. Since the appearance of De Broglie theory, which was formulated through SRT's relations, an obviously contradictions between them was raised. Wave mechanics, now a fundamental part of quantum theory, does not allow for interpretation of the wave function as a physical (real) wave, due to the difference between phase velocity vp and group velocity vgr = v of de Broglie waves. This situation has been the subject of much scientific
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controversy, discussion, and attempts at resolution. The first of these attempts can be attributed to J. P. Wesely [4], who supposed a real wave function instead of the complex wave function in traditional quantum theory. And he could prove that the phase velocity equals the particle velocity. Another attempt in this context is by M. Wolff [5], he analyzes a spherical wave structure for the moving electron, and he formulates SRT free from the usual contradiction, then he concludes the compatibility between SRT and de Broglie theory. Recently, R. Ferber [6] has showed that the following relation vpv = c2 is a result of using the Lorentz transformation, and not a result of de Broglies hypothesis. A. P. Kirilyuk [7] also derived all major laws and physical entities, including De Broglie version and relativistic dynamics, as intrinsically unified manifestations of the underlying complex-dynamic interaction process. In several recent papers [8, 9] we showed that choosing new sets of postulates, including classical (pre-Einstein) physics laws, within the main body of the SRT and applying the classical relativity principle, enables us to cancel the Lorentz transformation from the main body of SRT. And these enable us to derive all the famous dynamic equations for the charged particle like the relativistic mass and to derive Einsteins equation E = mc2 from classical physical laws. As a result de Broglie relations were deduced from classical physical laws and emphasize the incompatibility between SRT and particle dynamics [10, 11, 12]. These incompatibilities arise because the Lorentz transformation and its kinematical effects have the primacy over the physical law in deriving the relativistic dynamical quantities. As in the paper [8] we present a derivation of relativistic Lagrangian starting from classical Lorentz force, without calling upon the usual approaches in relativistic mechanics
L = m0 c 2 1 v2 + e Av eV . c2

(25)

Now we need to clarify that Eq. (25) will show the electron wave nature, without matching between Hamilton and Fermat principles and without writing Eq. (25) in 4-d form. As we know that Hamilton function in the classical mechanic is given by

H =v

L L. v

(26)

Substituting Eq. (25) into Eq. (26) gives


H = v (mv + eA ) + m 0c 2 1 v2 evA + e . c2

It can be proved easily that mc2 = mv2 + moc2(1-v2/c2)1/2 (see the refs. [10, 11, 12]), so we have
H = mc 2 + e ,

(27)

and by squaring Eq. (27) we find


2 (H e ) 2 = m 2c 4 = c 2 p 2 + m 0 c 4 .

(28)

Finally, by the differential of Eq. (28) gives HdH = c2 pdp or

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N. Hamdan, M. Falhe and H. Aktaa

(29) dH = vdp , It is well known that the Hamilton function represents energy H = hf = , then Eq. (29) may be written as d = vdp/; using the definition of the group velocity vg = v = d/dk we find dp , (30) dk = and by integration of Eq. (30), considering the initial condition where v = 0 so k = 0, and will get the famous equation p h (31) = . k= p

VI. CONCLUSION
It is true, in De Broglie's thesis that he started his analysis from SRT. Hence he starts from the Lagrangian for an electron moving in relativistic velocity to derive Eq. (24). We demonstrated that if we start from the same Lagrangian which has been derived from the classical electromagnetic base, it will give us the mentioned relation, Eq. (31).

REFERENCES
[1] De Broglie, L., On the Theory of Quanta, english translation by Kracklauer, A. F., Annales Fondation Louis de Broglie, (2004).

[2] De Broglie, L., The current Interpretation of Wave Mechanics, A critical Study (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1964). [3] Einstein, A., On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, Ann. Phys. 17, 891 (1905). [4] Wesley, J., Classical Quantum Theory, Apeiron 2, 2732 (1995). [5] Wolff, M., Beyond the Point Particle A wave structure for the electron, Galilean Electrodynamics 6, 8391 (1995). [6] Ferber, R., A Missing Link: What is behind de Broglies periodic phenomenon?, Found. Phys. Lett. 9, 575586 (1996). [7] Kirilyuk, A. P., Quantum chaos and fundamental multivaluedness of dynamical functions, Annales de la Fondation Louis de Broglie 21, 455-480 (1996). [8] Hamdan, N., Abandoning the Ideas of Length Contraction and time dilation, Galilean Electrodynamics 14, 83 88 (2003). [9] Hamdan, N. Hariri, A. K. and Lpez-Bonilla, J. L., Derivation of Einsteins Equation, E = mc2, from the Classical Force Laws, Apeiron 14, 435-453 (2007). [10] Hamdan, N., On the Interpretation of the Doppler Effect in the Special Relativity (SRT), Galilean Electrodynamics 17, 29-34 (2006). [11] Hamdan, N., The Dynamical de Broglie Theory, Annales Fondation Louis de Broglie 32, 11-25 (2007). [12] Hamdan, N., Derivation of the de Broglie's Relations from the Newton Second Law, Galilean Electrodynamics 18,108-111 (2007).

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Sobre las dimensiones extras espaciales


Csar Mora y O. Pedraza
Centro de Investigacin en Ciencia Aplicada y Tecnologa Avanzada Unidad Legaria del Instituto Politcnico Nacional, Legaria #694. Col. Irrigacin, CP.11500, Mxico D. F. E-mail: cmoral@ipn.mx

(Recibido el 5 de Octubre de de 2007; aceptado el 7 de Diciembre de 2007)

Resumen
En este artculo damos una introduccin a los escenarios de dimensiones extras. Empezamos por definir el concepto de dimensin y enfatizamos el hecho de por qu en Fsica es importante trabajar con teoras que requieren de un espacio tiempo de ms de cuatro dimensiones. Presentaremos los dos modelos ms importantes de los mundos brana. Finalmente, se dar un ejemplo en el cual se considera una sola dimensin espacial extra. Palabras claves: Cosmologa, teora de cuerdas, teoras multidimensionales.

Abstract
In this article we give an introduction to the scenarios of extra dimensions. We begin by defining the concept of dimension and emphasize the fact why in Physics is important to work with theories that require a space-time of more than four dimensions. We show the two models most important of the brane worlds. Finally, we give an example in which consider only one extra spatial dimension. Keywords: Cosmology, string theory, multidimensional theories. PACS: 01.55.+b, 01.30.-y, 95.10.-a, 98.80.-k ISSN 1870-9095

I. INTRODUCCIN
En la Fsica la idea de dimensiones extras se remonta por lo menos a principios del siglo XX y tiene su origen en la bsqueda de una teora que permita unificar la fuerza electromagntica y gravitacional. Hoy en da este objetivo se mantiene, aunque ampliado a incluir todas las fuerzas conocidas en la naturaleza (electromagntica, dbil, fuerte y gravitacional). No hay una respuesta definitiva a esta cuestin, no obstante, las teoras de cuerdas, englobadas en la teora M [1], se consideran el mejor candidato para este fin. Por otro lado, consideramos que es importante introducir temas de Fsica de frontera de una manera accesible para profesores y alumnos de los niveles educativos anteriores a la universidad y en carreras de ingeniera, en parte con el fin de despertar la curiosidad de los alumnos para conocer algunos de los ltimos avances y para innovar el curriculum de Fsica [2]; ya que por la misma naturaleza de la ciencia se tiene que es una necesidad actualizar la Fsica escolar, y esto se puede hacer introduciendo temas que en los ltimos aos han revolucionado a la Fsica y a la tecnologa, pero que han quedado fuera de los contenidos regulares de los cursos de Fsica por considerarse demasiado tcnicos[3]. Ejemplos de omisin de temas trascendentales en el curriculum de Fsica son, la teora de la relatividad general y la mecnica cuntica, que diversos autores han sealado, recalcando que seguimos enseando la misma Fsica de hace 300 aos [4]. No obstante su complejidad, algunas teoras como las de
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unificacin despiertan inters, y sin embargo no son incluidas en los cursos de Fsica, posiblemente puedan ser consideradas a travs de seminarios o clubes cientficos. Motivados por ello, presentamos una breve revisin sobre el tema de las dimensiones extra espaciales y su importancia en la Fsica actual. El artculo est organizado como sigue, en la Seccin II tratamos en concepto de dimensin espacial, en la Seccin III menciona por qu se necesitan dimensiones extras, la Seccin IV trata sobre mundos brana, en la Seccin V abordamos la cuestin sobre si es posible detectar las dimensiones extra, finalmente en la Seccin VI presentamos nuestras conclusiones.

II. EL CONCEPTO DE DIMENSIN ESPACIAL


Pero qu entendemos por dimensin? Podemos explicar esto de una manera simple. De la figura 1 observamos que la lnea (unidimensional) necesita de un nmero o coordenada para poder identificar un punto sobre ella. Para un plano (bidimensional) necesitamos de dos nmeros o coordenadas para identificar cada punto. Para un espacio tridimensional, cada punto tiene tres coordenadas, es decir, la dimensin de un espacio puede pensarse como el nmero de coordenadas que necesitamos para especificar la localizacin de cada punto en dicho espacio.
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identificar la presencia de estas dimensiones extras mediante algn experimento.

FIGURA 1. Coordenadas en una, dos y tres dimensiones.

Sin embargo, a partir de que Einstein dio a conocer la teora especial de la relatividad [5] en 1905, el tiempo se integra como una dimensin ms, es decir, nuestro mundo tiene entonces tres dimensiones espaciales y una temporal. La historia de las dimensiones extras, como suele llamrseles, comienza con los trabajos de Gunna Nordstrm [6], Theodor Kaluza [7] y Oskar Klein [8] en el primer cuarto del siglo XX, estos dos ltimos introdujeron, de manera independiente, una quinta dimensin como un intento para unificar las interacciones gravitacional y electromagntica (nicas fuerzas conocidas en ese tiempo). En los trabajos de Kaluza-Klein se considera a la quinta coordenada compacta, qu significa esto? esto significa que la quinta dimensin es enrollada en un crculo, un circulo muy pequeo cuyo radio es del tamao de la escala de Planck 10-33 cm. Las dimensiones extra son entonces dimensiones pequeas tanto que no pueden verse. Para entender mejor la idea de dimensin pequea veamos la figura 2. En ella se encuentra un equilibrista sobre una cuerda. El equilibrista puede desplazarse sobre la cuerda, es decir, para l su mundo es la cuerda (un mundo unidimensional). Sin embargo, si sobre la cuerda se encuentra una hormiga sta puede desplazarse sobre la cuerda y alrededor de ella, es decir, existe otra dimensin, con la diferencia de que la dimensin adicional se cierra, en otras palabras, es compacta y muy pequea. Por lo tanto, el equilibrista no puede ver la dimensin extra, por ser muy pequea.

III. POR QU SE NECESITAN DIMENSIONES EXTRAS?


En la seccin anterior se mencion que el Modelo Estndar (ME) unifica a la fuerza electromagntica, dbil y fuerte pero no a las interacciones gravitacionales. Actualmente la teora de cuerdas parece ser un buen candidato para unificar los efectos gravitacionales con las interacciones del ME de forma consistente a nivel cuntico. En la teora de cuerdas los elementos bsicos de la materia (leptones y quaks) dejan de ser descritos como partculas puntuales y son descritos por objetos unidimensionales llamadas cuerdas. En esta descripcin cada modo de vibracin representa una partcula distinta (figura 3). En la teora de cuerdas hay un modo que tiene las propiedades del gravitn, lo cual significa que la gravedad est incluida en la teora.

FIGURA 3. Diversos modos de vibracin representan una partcula diferente. El tamao de las cuerdas es muy pequeo (10-33 cm), mucho ms pequeo que el electrn.

Las cuerdas pueden ser cerradas o abiertas, como lo muestra la figura 4.

FIGURA 2. Para una persona la cuerda parece unidimensional, mientras que a una distancia ms cerca la cuerda parece bidimensional. La dimensin extra es un crculo muy pequeo que no se puede observar.

FIGURA 4. En la teora de cuerdas las cuerdas pueden ser abiertas o cerradas.

Despus de un receso de casi medio siglo la idea de dimensiones extras resurge en las teoras de supergravedad [9], y posteriormente en las teoras de cuerdas, hoy incluidas dentro de la llamada teora M [1]. En todos estos casos el intento ha consistido en unificar la gravitacin con el Modelo Estndar el cual a su vez incorpora la interaccin electromagntica, dbil y fuerte. El inters por considerar escenarios con dimensiones extras radica en la posibilidad de
Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. Vol.2, No. 1, January 2008 60

Originalmente la primera teora de cuerdas fue formulada sin supersimetra y requera de un espacio tiempo de 26 dimensiones para su consistencia. Aqu las dimensiones espaciales adicionales eran compactificadas implementando la idea de Kaluza-Klein e inaccesibles a bajas energas (es decir se espera que sus efectos ocurran a escalas de energas del orden de la masa de Planck MPlanck). Esta teora no contena grados de libertad ferminicos. Esta teora recibe el nombre de cuerda bosnica. En 1984 Michael Green y John Schwartz y otros autores se percataron de que cuando se incorporaba la supersimetra a la teora de cuerdas la
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Sobre las dimensiones extras espaciales

mecnica cuntica no tena problemas con los infinitos. A esta teora se le denomin de supercuerdas y requiri de un espacio tiempo de 10 dimensiones para su formulacin, donde nuevamente las seis dimensiones extras eran compactificadas de acuerdo con la idea de Kaluza-Klein (KK). A esta serie de eventos suele llamrsele la primera revolucin de las teoras de cuerdas. Uno de los obstculos principales para poner a prueba la teora de cuerdas consiste en que la escala de energa, masa de Planck MPlanck=1.21019 GeV, (aqu c=1) en la que sus efectos se manifiesten, est abrumadoramente fuera del alcance de los aceleradores de partculas actuales. A finales de 1990 Joe Polchinski [10] y otros autores mostraron que las teoras de cuerdas contienen adems objetos extendidos. Estos son llamados Dp-branas, D por Dirichlet, y p es el nmero de sus dimensiones espaciales. Por ejemplo, en la figura 5 se muestran tres objetos; una 0brana es una partcula puntual, una 1-brana es una cuerda y una 2-brana es una membrana.

Inspirados por la teora de cuerdas se han propuesto modelos denominados mundos brana que adoptan la idea de dimensiones espaciales extras. En estos modelos se estudia la contribucin de las dimensiones extras a procesos fsicos. Aunque ha sido estudiado el problema de conectar esos modelos con la teora de cuerdas, esto aun sigue siendo un proceso muy complejo. Sin embargo, debido a que an no es posible obtener predicciones fenomenolgicas contundentes de la teora de cuerdas es viable explorar estos modelos como una primera aproximacin a la fenomenologa de cuerdas. Los modelos de mundos brana resurgieron con gran impacto despus de los trabajos de Arkani-Hamed, Dimopoulos y Dvali (ADD) [15] y de Randall y Sundrum (RS) [16] en 1998 y 1999, respectivamente. En estos modelos nuestro mundo es considerado como una hipersuperficie llamada brana cuya dimensin es 3+1, es decir, tres dimensiones espaciales y una temporal, la cual reside en un espacio tiempo hiperdimensional de dimensin D=4+n, aqu 4 representa la dimensin de nuestro mundo cuatro dimensional y n el nmero de dimensiones espaciales adicionales. Una caracterstica de los mundos brana radica en que la gravedad se propaga en todo el espacio tiempo hiperdimensional, mientras que los campos del ME estn localizados en ella. Qu entendemos por localizacin de campo del ME? Por localizacin entendemos que las interacciones electromagnticas, dbiles y fuertes, as como la materia de nuestro universo deben estar atrapadas en una superficie hiperdimensional llamada brana. nicamente la gravedad puede escapar de esta superficie y propagarse a travs del volumen del espacio tiempo de dimensin D, como puede verse en la figura 6.

FIGURA 5. La evolucin de una partcula, cuerdas y brana en un espacio tiempo hiperdimensional describen una lnea de mundo, hoja de mundo y volumen de mundo.

El inters en las p-branas radica en el hecho de que poseen simetra de norma. Dicha simetra se origina debido a que uno de los extremos de la cuerda abierta finaliza en la brana. Consistente con esta idea Petr Hovara y Edward Witten [11] consideraron teoras de cuerdas con dos 10-branas encajadas en un espacio tiempo de 11 dimensiones. A bajas energas la gravedad se propaga en todo el espacio-tiempo multidimensional mientras el resto de los campos se localiza en las branas (en la siguiente seccin especificaremos ms la nocin de localizacin). Es importante enfatizar que estas ideas haban aparecido en aos anteriores independientemente de las teoras de cuerdas en los trabajos de Rubakov y Shaposhnikov [12] y de Akama [13]. En estos casos, el confinamiento es implementado a travs del acoplamiento de la materia a campos escalares. Motivado por estos trabajos Visser mostr que la materia puede tambin ser confinada debido a la gravedad de la brana [14].

FIGURA 6. La superficie llamada brana representa nuestro mundo cuatro dimensional en donde la materia y las interacciones del ME estn confinadas en ella. La direccin perpendicular representa la dimensin extra. La gravedad es la nica que puede escapar y propagarse en todo el bulto (volumen del espacio tiempo de dimensin D).

IV. MUNDOS BRANA


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La localizacin de la materia a lo largo de la brana explica por qu la fsica a bajas energas es efectivamente cuatro
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dimensional para todas las interacciones excepto para la gravedad y por lo tanto estas dimensiones extras no pueden verse. Existen diferentes mecanismos que permiten localizar los campo del ME en la brana, el ms simple es considerar la gravedad de la brana [16], tambin se consideran simetras especiales en las dimensiones extra llamadas orbifold [17] se consideran defectos topolgicos como tipo vrtices [18] y pared [19]. En el escenario ADD se desprecia la tensin de la brana (densidad de energa por unidad de tres-volumen de la brana) y se consideran dimensiones extras compactas grandes; similarmente al caso de KK, pero difiriendo de este en que el tamao de las dimensiones extras R no necesita ser microscpico. En este modelo el tamao de las dimensiones extras es dado por R=MEW-1(MPl/MEW)n/2=1032/n-17 cm. (1) Aqu MEW es la escala electrodbil (1013 GeV), MPl es la masa de Planck (1019 Gev) y n el numero de dimensiones extras. Tomando n=1 en la ecuacin (1), R es del orden de 1015 cm, lo cual llevara a conflictos con las observaciones del comportamiento del sistema solar. Para n=2, R es del orden de milmetros. En contraposicin el modelo RS parte del uso de la tensin de la brana produciendo gravedad y en presencia de una constante cosmolgica. La solucin de las ecuaciones de Einstein en estas condiciones incorpora adems condiciones de frontera apropiadas a la presencia de una o dos branas conocidas como condiciones de Israel [20]. Notablemente es posible encontrar una solucin que preserva la invariancia de Poincar cuatro-dimensional. En este tipo de modelos las dimensiones extras no tienen lmite de tamao.

FIGURA 7. El momento en la quinta coordenada es discreto. El campo est sujeto a las condiciones de frontera mostrada.

Es decir, el momento tiene la forma p=(p0 ,px, py, pz, p5), aqu como en relatividad tenemos p2=0 y usando la signatura (+ - - -) implica que p02=px2+py2+pz2+p52 E2= px2+py2+pz2+mn2. (2) Aqu c=1. Cmo podemos entender la ecuacin (2)?, desde el punto de vista de un observador situado en la brana (el cual representa nuestro mundo cuatro dimensional), el momento discreto de la quinta coordenada se asemeja a una partcula masiva, cuya masa es dada por mn=n/R, con n=0,1,2, (3) Esta partcula puede ser el gravitn, el fotn o un campo escalar. Estos estados forman una torre llamada torre de Kaluza-Klein, la que se muestra en la figura 8.

V. SE PUEDEN DETECTAR LAS DIMENSIONES EXTRAS?


Debido a que la gravedad es la nica que puede escapar de la brana (existen otros modelos de dimensiones extras llamadas dimensiones extras universales en donde al menos el campo electromagntico puede tambin escapar de la brana), podemos usar sta interaccin para detectar la presencia de las dimensiones extras. Es decir, la gravedad debe cambiar su forma funcional usual. Es conveniente primero mostrar un ejemplo; por consiguiente consideremos el modelo de ADD, incluyendo una sola dimensin extra grande espacial. En este modelo la dimensin extra es compacta (est enrollada en un crculo), por tanto el momento a lo largo de la dimensin extra est cuantizado, como se muestra en la figura 7, y toma los valores p5=n/R, mientras que el momento tridimensional es continuo.

FIGURA 8. Torre de estados de Kaluza-Klein.

A bajas energas (E < 1/R) solamente las partculas sin masa pueden ser producidas, mientras que a energas (E >1/R) las dimensiones extras pueden manifestarse. Aqu nuevamente hemos tomado c=1 y =1. Conociendo el espectro de Kaluza-Klein, se puede calcular el potencial gravitacional entre dos partculas de masas m1 y m2 localizadas en la brana, este potencial es gobernado por el intercambio del modo cero (n=0) y el resto de los modos (n 0). El potencial gravitacional es dado por [21,27] -RnGm1m2/rn+1 V(r)= -Gm1m2/r r<<R , (4) r>>R .

Aqu G es la constante de gravitacin universal, n el numero de dimensiones extras, r es la separacin entre las dos masas
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Sobre las dimensiones extras espaciales

m1 y m2. En la ecuacin (4) estamos suponiendo que todas las dimensiones extras tienen el mismo tamao R. Esto motiv el desarrollo de experimentos de gran precisin para detectar alguna desviacin de la ley de la gravitacin de Newton que permita descubrir (o descartar) la existencia de dimensiones adicionales. Estos experimentos se realizaron en el rango de milmetros [22]. Tambin se ha estudiado la fenomenologa a bajas energas de algunos escenarios de dimensiones extras; el efecto Casimir [23] y el corrimiento Lamb [24], entre otros.

REFERENCIAS
[1] Miemiec, A. and Schnakenburg, I., Basics of M-theory, Fortsch.Phys. 54, 5-72 (2006). [2] Sher, M. and Sullivan, K. A., Experimentally probing the shape of extra dimensions, Am. J. Phys. 74, 145 (2006). [3] Hartle, J. B., General relativity in the undergraduate physics curriculum, Am. J. Phys. 74, 14 (2006). [4] Marolf, D., Resource Letter NSST-1: The nature and status of string theory, Am. J. Phys. 72, 730 (2004); Rosner, J. L., Resource Letter: SM-1: The standard model and beyond, Am. J. Phys. 71, 302 (2003). [5] Einstein, A., On the electrodynamics of moving bodies, Annalen Phys.17, 891-921 (1905). [6] Nordstrom, G., On the possibility of unifying the electromagnetic and the gravitationalelds, Phys. Z. 15, 504506 (1914). [7] Kaluza, Th., Zum unitatsproblem der physik (on the problem of unity in physics) (Sitzungsber Preuss. Akad.Wiss. Berlin, Math. Phys. 1921), pp. 966-972. [8] Klein O., Quantum Theory and Five-Dimensional Theory of Relativity, Z. Phys. 37: 895-906 (1926). [9] Van Nieuwenhuizen, P., Supergravity, Phys.Rept. 68, 189-398 (1981). [10] Polchinski, J., Dirichlet-branes and ramond-ramond charges, Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 4724 (1995), [hep-th/9510017]. Polchinski, J., Lectures on d-branes, (1996), hep-th/9611050 [11] Horava, P. and Witten, E., Heterotic and type i string dynamics from eleven dimensions, Nucl. Phys. B 460, 506524 (1996), [hep-th/9510209]. Horava, P. and Witten, E., Eleven-dimensional supergravity on a manifold with boundary, Nucl. Phys. B 475, 94-114 (1996), [hepth/9603142]. [12] Rubakov, V. A. and Shaposhnikov, M. E., Do we live inside a domain wall?, Phys. Lett. B 125, 136-138 (1983). [13] Akama, K., An early proposal of 'brane world', Lect. Notes Phys. 176, 267-271 (1982), [hep-th/0001113]. [14] Visser, M., An exotic class of kaluza-klein models, Phys. Lett. B 159, 22 (1985), [hep-th/9910093]. [15] Arkani-Hamed, N., Dimopoulos, S. and Dvali, G. R., The hierarchy problem and new dimensions at a millimeter, Phys. Lett. B 429, 263-272 (1998), [hep-ph/9803315]. [16] Randall, L. and Sundrum, R., An alternative to compacticationm, Phys. Rev. Lett. 83, 4690-4693 (1999), [hep-th/9906064]. [17] Muck, A., Pilaftsis, A. and Ruckl, R., An introduction to five-dimensional extensions of the standard model, Lect. Notes Phys. 647, 189-211 (2004). [18] Randjbar-Daemi, S. and Shaposhnikov, M., QED from six-dimensional vortex and gauge anomalies, JHEP 04, 16 (2003), [hep-th/0303247]. [19] Rubakov, V. A. and Shaposhnikov, M. E., Do we live inside a domain wall?, Phys. Lett. B 125, 136138 (1983). [20] Berezin, V. A. Kuzmin, V. A. and Tkachev, I. I., Dynamics of bubbles in general relativity. Phys. Rev. D 36, 2919 (1987). [21] Ito, M., Newton's law in brane worlds with an infinite extra dimension Phys. Lett. B 528, 269-273 (2002). [22] Hoyle, C. D. et al., Sub-millimeter tests of the gravitational inverse-square law: A search for 'large' extra dimensions, Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 1418-1421 (2001), [hep63 http://www.journal.lapen.org.mx

VI. CONCLUSIONES
Se ha mencionado que la principal motivacin para considerar dimensiones extras, fue el hecho de unificar a la gravedad con las otras interacciones. Como sabemos el candidato ms viable para este fin es la teora de cuerdas, la cual naturalmente requiere dimensiones extras. La idea o nocin de dimensiones extras est profundamente influenciada por la teora de cuerdas, es decir, introduce el concepto de compactificacin, localizacin de campos del ME empleando defectos topolgicos o en puntos fijos del espacio compacto, branas, entre otros. Recientemente se han desarrollado herramientas tericas al desarrollar teora de campos en escenarios de dimensiones extras. Por ejemplo, se han desarrollado herramientas de rompimiento espontaneo de simetra y supersimetra, como los mecanismos Scherk-Schwarz [25] y Hosotani [26], entre otros. Toda la riqueza matemtica y conceptual desarrollada en este contexto permite reconsiderar varios problemas que no han sido resueltos completamente en el contexto cuatro dimensional (ver [27]). Estos son: el problema de jerarqua, es decir cmo explicar la enorme diferencia entre, la escala de Planck y la escala electro dbil. Problemas convencionales de teoras de gran unificacin, el tiempo de vida media del protn, relaciones de masas. El problema de la constante cosmolgica, entre otros. Finalmente, concluimos con las siguientes observaciones: a) Las dimensiones extras grandes tienen una motivacin fundamentalmente terica. b) Los escenarios de dimensiones extras pueden ayudar a resolver algunos problemas de la fsica de partculas (problemas de jerarqua, rompimiento espontaneo de la simetra). c) Los escenarios de dimensiones extras tienen implicaciones fenomenologas en nuestro mundo cuatro dimensional. Como desviaciones de la ley de gravitacin de Newton para cuerpos masivos en la brana, entre otras.

AGRADECIMIENTOS
Este trabajo fue realizado mediante el apoyo del proyecto de investigacin SIP-20071482. Los autores son becarios EDI y COFAA-IPN, y agradecen a R. Snchez por los comentarios y sugerencias para mejorar el manuscrito.
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ph/0011014]. Hoyle, C. D. et al., Sub-millimeter tests of the gravitational inverse-square law, Phys. Rev. D 70, 042004 (2004). [23] Linares. R., Morales-Tecotl, H. A. and Pedraza, O., Casimir effect in a six-dimensional vortex scenario, Phys. Lett. B 633, 362-367 (2006). [24] Morales-Tecotl, H. A., Pedraza, O. Pimentel, L. O., Low-energy effects in brane worlds: Liennard-Wiechert potentials and Hydrogen Lamb shift, Gen. Rel. Grav. 39, 1185-1202 (2007).

[25] Scherk, J. and Schwarz, J. H., Spontaneous breaking of supersymmetry through dimensional reduction, Phys. Lett. B 82, 60-64 (1979). [26] Hosotani, Y., Dynamical mass generation by compact extra dimensions, Phys. Lett. B 126, 309-313 (1983). [27] Feruglio, F., Extra dimensions in particle physics, Eur. Phys. J. C 33,114-128, (2004), [hep-ph/0401033]. PerezLorenzana, A., An introduction to extra dimensions, J. Phys. Conf. Ser. 18, 224-269 (2005), [hep-ph/0503177]. Burgess, C. P., Extra Dimensions and the Cosmological Constant Problem (2007) [hep-ph/0708.0911].

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64

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On the Relativistic Concept of the Dirac's electron Spin


N. Hamdan1, A. Chamaa1 and J. Lpez-Bonilla2

Department of Physics, University of Aleppo, Aleppo-Syria. SEPI-ESIME-Zacatenco, Instituto Politcnico Nacional, Edif. Z-4, 3er. Piso, Col. Lindavista CP 07 738 Mxico DF
2

E-mail: nhamdan59@hotmail.com (Received 3 November 2007; accepted 10 January 2008)

Abstract
Despite the success of the Dirac equation, the incorporation of the special theory of relativity into quantum mechanics predicts some paradoxes, like that the spin prediction from Dirac equation can be only identified with non- relativistic approximations (Pauli and Foldy-Wouthysen), as well as the spin predication is a relativistic quantum phenomena because the spin prediction is a necessary requirement of the relativistic quantum mechanics only. In this paper we show that the derivation of the spin and its magnetic moment can be done with a pure classical treatment. Since we start from the classical physical laws and the classical relativity principle to get the linear Schrdinger equation as a result the derivation of the spin and its magnetic moment can be done with a pure classical treatment. This approach result a Schrdinger equation, in which we show that the spin of the electron is a non relativistic quantum phenomenon too. Keywords: Dirac equation, electron spin, non relativistic Quantum Mechanics.

Resumen
A pesar del xito de la ecuacin de Dirac, la incorporacin de la teora especial de relatividad en la mecnica cuntica predice algunas paradojas, como la prediccin del spin de la ecuacin Dirac que puede ser identificada solamente con aproximaciones no-relativistas (Pauli y Foldy-Wouthysen), as como el pronstico del spin que es un fenmeno cuntico relativista porque la prediccin del spin solo es un requerimiento necesario de la mecnica cuntica relativista. En este artculo mostramos que la derivacin del spin y su momento magntico puede ser realizada con un tratamiento puramente clsico. Ya que comenzamos de las leyes fsicas clsicas y del principio de relatividad clsico para obtener la ecuacin de Schrdinger lineal como un resultado, se puede realizar la derivacin del spin y su momento magntico con un tratamiento puramente clsico. De esta aproximacin resulta una ecuacin de Schrdinger, en la cual mostramos que el spin del electrn ya no es un fenmeno relativista cuntico. Palabras clave: Ecuacin de Dirac, spin del electrn, mecnica cuntica no relativista. PACS: 03.30.+p, 03.50.-z, 03.65.-w, 03.65.Pm. ISSN 1870-9095

I. INTRODUCTION
In 1926 while Schrdinger was publishing his nonrelativistic single particle wave equation [1], Dirac [2] was searching for a relativistic invariant form of the oneparticle Schrdinger equation for electrons starting from the relativistic equation, which was known as Klein Gordon equation (KGE). However, at that time several objections emerged against the KGE as a single particle equation because its solutions allowed negative probability densities, besides there was the possibility of negative energies and their solutions did not have clear spin dependence. In 1928 Dirac published an equation [2, 3] which was presented as a definite solution to the above mentioned problems where he has shown that the spin belongs to the relativistic wave equation. The integration of the special relativity theory with quantum mechanics has yielded many paradoxes that remained unsolved that it
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was impossible to directly write a non-relativistic equation for spin-1/2 particles and that it could therefore only be derived as a non-relativistic limit of the relativistic Dirac equation. So it was known in standard quantum mechanics that the spin of electron has only relativistic nature. However, in 1984, this supposition was questioned by W. Greiner [4] when he derivates the spin from the nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, i.e., he derivates the spin from the Schrdinger equation. In this paper we obtain additional advantage concerning the same result of Greiner, where we revealed that the spin of the electron and its magnetic moment can be derived from the modified Schrdinger equation without using any kind of approximations (non-relativistic limit of Dirac equation), and that the derivation of the spin and its magnetic moment can be done with a pure classical treatment. 65
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II. THE RELATIVISTIC DIRAC EQUATION AND THE PAULI EQUATION AS A NONRELATIVISTIC LIMIT OF THE DIRAC EQUATION
The early twentieth century saw two major revolutions in the way physicists understand the world. The first one was quantum mechanics itself and the other was the theory of relativity. Important results also emerged when these two theories, i.e., quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity were brought together and one of these results is the Dirac equation which leads to the spin of an electron that was known as a relativistic effect. When calculating kinetic energy relativistically using Lorentz transformation instead of Newtonian mechanics, Einstein discovered that the amount of energy is directly proportional to the mass of body:

an intrinsic magnetic moment for the electron and gives its correct value only when it is obtained as the nonrelativistic limit of the Dirac equation. In the Dirac equation for the relativistic charged particle moving in a constant magnetic field
i e = c p A + m0c 2 , t c

(7)

we can follow Pauli's approach by eliminating small components to derive the Pauli equation. We consider a two-component representation, where the four-component spinor is decomposed into two spinors b and s ,each one with two components
= b, s b = 1, 2 s = 3. 4

(8)

E = mc 2 ,

(1)

where E is the total energy and m the relativistic mass. The energy and momentum of a particle momentum are then related by the principal equation governing the dynamics of a free particle:

In the non-relativistic limit, the rest energy, moc2 becomes dominant; therefore, the two component solution is approximately

b ,s = e

im 0c 2t

b0,s .

(9)

E 2 = c 2 p 2 + m0 c 4 ,

(2)

Substituting Eq. (9) into Eq. (7), and using Eq. (6), it gives
i i 0 e b = ci A s0 , c t

where c is the speed of light, mo is the rest mass of the particle and p is the momentum. Following Dirac, we take into account the time dependent of Schrdinger equation:

(10a)

0 e s = ci c t
i 0 s t

A b0 2m0 c 2 s0 , (10b)

= H , t

(3)

m0 c 2 s0 ,

(11)

using (2) and (3) Dirac assumed that


2 = c 2 p 2 + m0 c 4 . i t

and with this last approximation, Eq. (10b) becomes to


e 0 = ci A b0 2m0 c 2 s0 , c

One of the conditions imposed by Dirac in writing down a relativistic equation for the electron was that the square of that equation will give the Klein-Gordon equation. Imposing the additional condition of linearity of in the components of p led Dirac to following relation
i = H D , t

which gives
e i A c 0. s0 = b 2m0c

(12)

(4)

The lower component s0 is generally referred to as the 'small' component of the wavefunction 'large' component 0 . p , relative to the

where

H D = c (p) + m 0 c 2 ,

(5)

Substituting the expression s0 given by Eq. (12), into Eq. (10a), we obtain
e e i A i A 0 c c 0. b = b i t 2m0

0 k = k

k , 0

k = 1, 2,3,

I 0 , 0 I

(6)

and I is the two-by-two identity matrix. In standard quantum mechanics, it is not possible to directly extend the Schrdinger equation to spinors, so the Pauli equation must be derived from the Dirac equation by taking its non-relativistic limit. This is in particular the case for the Pauli equation which predicts the existence of
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Finally, by using the well-known identities


(a)(b) = ab+ i(ab) ,

we deduce that, being B=A the magnetic field,


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On the Relativistic Concept of the Dirac's electron Spin

i e A 0 e c 0 b = B b . i t 2m0 2m0 c

(13)

j = j

( j = 1, 2,3) , 0

4 =

I 0 . 0 I

(20)

The Pauli equation for the theory of spin was derived as a non-relativistic limit of the relativistic equation and it was well known in standard quantum mechanics as a direct proof of the fundamentally relativistic nature of the spin. As we shall verify, the modified Schrdinger equation will lead directly to the Pauli equation and therefore to the spin of the electron without using the non- relativistic limit, with the same results as in Dirac's theory of the relativistic electron.

IV.

DERIVATION OF MODIFIED SCHRDINGER EQUATION FROM THE CLASSICAL PHYSICAL LAWS AND ITS SOLUTIONS
In several recent papers [5, 6] we suggested another way to account for the Lorentz transformation and its kinematical effects in relativistic electrodynamics as well as in relativistic mechanics. And by following the same approach we derived Einsteins equation as well as the De Broglie relation from classical physical laws such as the Lorentz force law and Newtons second law [7, 8, 9]

III. DERIVATION OF LINEAR SCHRDINGER EQUATION


It is well known that the nature of spin defies non relativistic QM. Therefore a statement was known that the spin must have to do with special relativity although its connection is not entirely understood. In contrast to this statement, W. Greiner [4] has followed the Diracs approach where he started from the same premise: the p2 must be linear in Schrdinger operator K = E 2m 0 momentum. Then Greiner writes the free Schrdinger equation K = 0 as
= (AE + Bp +C ) = 0 ,

Et = mc 2 ,
p= h

(21a) (21b)

We showed also that Eq. (21a) could be written as


Et = mv 2 + m0 c 2 1 v2 , c2

(22)

and from the last relation we have by definition the kinetic energy

(14)

where the operator would be linear in momentum, thus there must be an operator such that
= A E + B p +C ,

v2 Ek = Et m0 c 2 = mv 2 + m0 c 2 1 1 2 , c
and for non-relativistic velocities, v<<c, Eq. (22) reduces to
Et = Ek + m0 c 2 = 1 m0 v 2 + m0 c 2 . 2

(15)

so the multiplication of Eqs. (14) and (15) result again the Schrdinger equation
= 2m 0 K .

(23)

(16)

According to Eq. (16) Greiner determines the matrix A, B and C. He obtained the linear Schrdinger equation
(AE + Bp +C ) = 0 ,

(17)

where
0 0 , C = i 0 2m0 I , A = i I 0 0 0

(18)

and
B5 = iM , B = M , = 1 to 4 ,

(19)

as well as

0 I = M 1 . M = I 0

Greiner gets also that the

have the usual representation

In the paper [10], D. Ward, S. Volkmer started from the classical electromagnetic wave equation as well as the basics of Einsteins special theory of relativity. And by extending this wave equation for photons, generalize to non-zero rest mass particles they get the free Schrdinger equation. So following a similar approach to that used in [10], i.e., by starting from the classical physical laws and the classical relativity principle we get also the linear Schrdinger equation, i.e., Eq. (17) without using Einsteins special theory of relativity as in [10] did. Therefore, we can go beyond the mathematical similarities of the classical and quantum theories of the electron if we recognize that we get Eqs. (21) and (23) without using of Einsteins special theory of relativity this being the new input. Since our work carries D. Ward's work a step further by deriving Eqs. (21) and (23) without using the special relativity theory and we obtain also the same result of Greiner, i.e., Eq. (17). As a result the derivation of the spin and its magnetic moment can be done with a pure classical treatment. Our starting point is Eq. (17), but first we rewrite the matrices A, B and C as follows 67
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iI A= M 0

0 , 0

(24a) (24b) (24c)

For a given E from Eqs. (28) follows that


0 =
j p j 2m0i

0 0 , C=M 0 2miI

0 ,

(31)

and from Eqs.(28) and (31) we find


E0 = ( j p j ) 2 2m0

0 j . Bj = M j 0

0 . .
0

(32) can take one of

Setting Eqs. (24) in Eq. (17), and multiplying by M -1, we get


iI 0 0 E = 0 j 0

Using Eq. (30) in Eq. (32), we find that the representations


0 = , 0
1

0 0 . p + 0 2m 0iI 0

(25)

We shall continue to find the eigenfunctions of the new linear Schrdinger equation to prove that there is contradiction with Dirac's conceptions of relativistic spin of electron. That means we will show that the new linear Schrdinger equation is an equation for describing the spin of electron. Solutions to Eq. (25) are plane waves which can be written in the following form
( x, t ) ( x) iEt ( x, t ) = N =N e , ( x, t ) ( x)
( x )

or
0 = , 1 and from the above calculations we deduce that
(x , t ) (x , t ) = N =N (x , t ) 0 i ( px Et ) . i p 0 e 2m 0 (33)

(26)

By calculating the normalization constant N for positive energy solution, we obtain


N = 2m 0 . E + 2m 0

where N is the normalization constant, and (x ) is a four component spinor. Substituting Eq. (26) in Eq. (25), and considering that
( x) 0 = e ( x) 0
ipx

If we consider the free electron motion along the zdirection, then the two states that represent free moving electron are
1 2m0 0 i ( pz Et ) , e E + 2m0 i z p 1 2m 0
0 2m0 1 i ( pz Et ) . e E + 2m0 i z p 0 2m 1

where
0 = 1 , 2

1 p ,+ 2

(34a)

and
0 = 3 , 4

1 p , 2

(34b)

are two-component spinors, we find that


iI E 0 0 0 0 j 0 0 0 0 (27) + 2m0i = p j 0 0 0 0 0 I 0 j

These are just the wave functions that can describe the spin up, and the spin down. For each value of p there is one positive eigenvalue, Eq. (30), and two eigenfunctions, Eqs. (34), in according with eigenvalue Eq. (25).

it implies the two equations


iE 0 j p j 0 = 0 ,

(28a) (28b)

j p j 0 + 2m 0i 0 = 0 ,

V. INTERACTION WITH THE MAGNETIC FIELD- THE PAULI EQUATION


The most important result of the relativistic Dirac equation was presenting a theoretical description of the electron spin and its magnetic moment, which means that the predictions of electron spin is the property of the Dirac equation only. That is not true for many reasons: If one derives the spin of the electron and its magnetic moment from the non relativistic linear Schrdinger equation, Eq. (25). The predictions of electron spin did not occur directly from the Dirac equation, but using approximation like the non relativistic limit of Dirac
68
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which have solution if


iE j p j 2m 0 i

j pj

=0,

(29)

and by using the same known identities, that used above, then Eq. (29) goes into

E=

p2 . 2m 0

(30)

Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. Vol. 2, No. 1, January 2008

On the Relativistic Concept of the Dirac's electron Spin

equation to get the Pauli equation with the proper value of the spin of the electron and its magnetic moment from the non relativistic Pauli equation As we know, the momentum p is replaced in the same way to include the effects of electromagnetic fields, and if we only consider the effect of a magnetic field B then the momentum is replaced as p p e A , and Eq. (25) c becomes
iI 0 0 0 (35) 0 0 e E = 0 p c A + 0 2m iI , 0 0

linear Schrdinger Hamiltonian s. From Eqs. (24) and (25) we can define the linear Schrdinger Hamiltonian s
Hs =p +D ,

(40)

where
0 0 , D = 0 2miI

0 . 0
s

The orbital momentum L doesnt commutes with


[ H s , L ] = [ p + D , L ] = i ( p) ,

(41)
s,

which implies
p e A (x , t ) iE (x , t ) 0 c + = 2im I (r , t ) , (36) 0 e 0 p A (x , t ) c

however, to find an operator which commutes with remind the operator B in Eq. (24c):
0 , B = 0

we

and its commutator with

is (42)

and
e iE p A = 0 , , c e p A + 2 m 0 i = 0 , c

[ H s , B ] = 2i( p) .
(37a) (37b) it satisfies Now if we define Dirac spin operator as

S=

B,

(43)

therefore
p e A c (x , t ) . E (x , t ) = 2m 0
2

[ H s , S ] = i ( p) ,
(38) and from commutators (41) and (44) we see that:

(44)

[ H s , L + S ] = [ H s , J ] = i ( p) i ( p) = 0 ,
which means that the operator

Using the well-known identities, we get


2 e e e p A = p A B , c c c 2

J = L + S ,

(45)

we recover finally an equation for the two- component spinore p A 2 (x , t ) e c B (x , t ) , (39) = i 2m 0 2m 0c t which is the Pauli equation with a spin g-factor of 2, the same result as in Diracs theory, is derived from the non relativistic linear Schrodinger equation, this means that the electron has a magnetic moment e /2mo and the magnetic moment interacts with an external magnetic field, the corresponding contribution to the energy is - B. An important characteristic of Eq. (39) is that we did not use any kind of approximation to reach it, i.e., we did not use the condition (11) to eliminate the lower component of the wavefunction , here the component of eliminates itself without any approximation. In Schrdinger theory the orbital angular momentum L commutes with the Hamiltonian H = p 2 / 2m , this is not the case in Dirac theory, since the Dirac Hamiltonian is linear in momentum and the total momentum J = L + S commutes with it. For this reason, it is conventional to choose an operator similar to J which commutes with the

commutes with s. It shows also that the total angular momentum, Eq. (45), is given similarly as in Dirac theory.

[(

VI. CONCLUSION
Despite successes of the Dirac equation, there remain a number of misunderstandings about this equation. The first misunderstanding about Dirac equation is the spin of electron which is well known as a relativistic effect. Although of this the spin prediction from Dirac equation can not be allowed directly without approximations methods i.e.; the non-relativistic limit of the relativistic Dirac equation to get the Pauli equation which predicts the existence of an intrinsic magnetic moment for the electron and gives its correct value only when it is obtained as the non-relativistic limit of the Dirac equation. The second misunderstanding about Dirac equation is zitterbewegung. In the Dirac relativistic equation for the spin 1/2 particle, there is a velocity operator v = c j . It is believed that this operator is inadequate in two aspects: The first one is that its eigenvalues are +c and -c with c being the light speed in a vacuum. The other is that it is not proportional to the linear momentum. In the papers [12, 69
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13] it had been shown that the velocity of the particle obtained from the modified Dirac equation always moves with velocity v as observed in the laboratory, and this result eliminate the problem of the zitterbewegung. In contrast to it stands the wrong statement, which attribute spin to relativistic characteristics and that nonrelativistic quantum mechanics is a theory of spinless particle. Recently, many Authors have argued that the Schrdinger equation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics describes not a spinless particle as universally assumed, but a particle in a spin eigenstate [11, 12, 13]. The spin of electron can be derived gradually from the non relativistic linear Schrodinger equation, and everything result automatically as it is shown in the present paper.

REFERENCES
[1] Schrdinger, E. Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem, Ann. der Physik 384, 361-376 (1926); 384, 489-527 (1926); 385, 437-490 (1926); 386, 109-139 (1926). [2] Dirac, P. A. M., The Quantum Theory of Electron, Proc. R. Soc. London A 117, 610624 (1928). [3] Moyer, D. F., Origins of Diracs Electron, 19251928, Am. J. Phys. 49, 944949 (1981). [4] Greiner, W., Quantenmechanik I, (Band 4) (Verlag Harmi Deutsch, Thun, 1984) pp. 303312.

[5] Hamdan, N., Abandoning the Ideas of Length Contraction and Time Dilation, Galilean Electrodynamics 14, 83-88 (2003). [6] Hamdan, N., Newtons Second Law is a Relativistic law without Einsteins Relativity, Galilean Electrodynamics 16, 71-74 (2005). [7] Hamdan, N., Derivation of the de Broglie's Relations from the Newton Second Law, Galilean Electrodynamics 18,108-111 (2007). [8] Hamdan, N., The Dynamical de Broglie Theory, Annales Fondation Louis de Broglie 32, 1-13 (2007). [9] Hamdan, N., K., Hariri, A. and Lpez-Bonilla, J., Derivation of Einsteins Equation, E=mc2, from the Classical Force Laws, Apeiron 14, 435-453 (2007). [10] Ward, D. and Volkmer, S., How to Derive the Schrdinger Equation, arXiv:physics/0610121, (2006). [11] Gurtler, R. and Hestenes, D. Consistency in the formulation of the Dirac, Pauli and Schrdinger Theories, J. Math. Phys. 16, 573584 (1975). [12] Bakhoum, E. G., Fundamental Disagreement of Wave Mechanics with Relativity, Physics Essays 15, (2002). [13] Hamdan, N., Altorra, A. and Salman, H. A., The Classical Zitterbewegung, accepted for publication in Galilean Electrodynamics.

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Conference: 20 Years of the Young Physicists Tournament at Czech Republic


Zdenek Kluiber and Ivo Volf
Department for Physics and Computer Science, Pedagogical Faculty, University of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. E-mail: zdenek.kluiber@email.cz (Received 07 November 2007, accepted 3 December 2007)

Abstract
In 2007 the Young Physicists Tournament (YPT) celebrated 20 years of its international lifetime. Between September 10th and 13th 2007 the Department of Physics and Informatics of the Faculty of Education of the University of Hradec Kralove (FE UHK), the Czech Committee of the Young Physicists Tournament, the Committee for Talents of the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists (UCMP) and the First Private Language Grammar School in Hradec Kralove (FPLGS HK) organised in Hradec Kralove the conference with international participation called 20 Years of the Young Physicists Tournament. Keywords: Tournament of Physics, search for talented students, evaluation.

Resumen
En 2007 el Torneo de Fsicos Jvenes (YPT) celebr 20 aos de su tiempo de vida internacional. Entre el 10 y 13 de septiembre el Departamento de Fsica e Informtica de la Facultad de Educacin de la Universidad Hradec Kralove (FE UHK), el Comit Checo del Torneo de Fsicos Jvenes, el Comit para Talentos de la Unin Checa de Matemticos y Fsicos (UCMP) y la Primera Escuela Privada de Gramtica del Lenguaje en Hradec Kralove (FPLGS HK) organizaron en Hradec Kralove la conferencia con participacin internacional llamada 20 Aos del Torneo de Fsicos Jvenes. Palabras clave: Torneos de Fsica, bsqueda de alumnos talentosos, evaluacin. PACS: 01.10.Cr, 01.10.Fv, 01.10.Hx ISSN 1870-9095

I. INTRODUCTION
Between September 10th and 13th 2007 the Department of Physics and Informatics of the Faculty of Education of the University of Hradec Kralove (FE UHK), the Czech Committee of the Young Physicists Tournament, the Committee for Talents of the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists (UCMP) and the First Private Language Grammar School in Hradec Kralove (FPLGS HK) organised in Hradec Kralove the conference with international participation called 20 Years of the Young Physicists Tournament. The conference took place in ceremonious and newly renovated premises of the FE UHK. The UHK rector J. Mikulecka and Academy of Science of Czech Republic (CR) chairman V. Paces took patronage over the conference. English was the official language of the conference. In 2007 the Young Physicists Tournament (YPT) celebrated 20 years of its international lifetime. We can mark it as a very difficult competition in physics that corresponds with physicists real work. It advances the team work and that is why the participants contrary to other competitions are the teams of secondary school pupils. It is sympathetic that in really most of the countries, that have participated till now, the national
Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. Vol.2, No. 1, January 2008

societies of physicists significantly participate on its organisational reinsurance too. In the present history of this competition the Czech Republic has significantly contributed to the competitions development especially by fair and successful participation of national teams we can say that the CR belongs to five most successful teams in competitions present international history. The Czech team leaders share actively in the international development of the competition by their theoretical and methodological works which are related to participating the competition and methodology of processing the problems entered [1, 2, 3, 4]. The conference was focused not only on the balance of the YPT development history but also on the pragmatic perspectives connected with the future development. Z. Kluiber was the conference chairman; I. Volf was the International Scientific and Program Board chairman. The conference was visited by 25 specialists from seven countries and farther the DPI FE UHK postgraduates and students, FPLGS HK pupils and other persons concerned and guests. The main themes of discussions were: 1. The competition conception and organisation. 2. The competition problems and presentation of the problems solutions. 71
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Zdenek Kluiber and Ivo Volf

3. The rating of teams and individuals. 4. National and international experiences. 5. The perspectives of the competition. After the conference had been opened the UHK rector J. Mikulecka and AS CR vice-chairman P. Vlasak had their speeches too the first scientific lecture was referred by F. Janouch from the University of Stockholm. In his speech he initially named the YPT competition positives for obtaining young people for the physics studies; then the scientific part of his speech was focused on especially energetic balance on our planet, forms of retrieval and use of energetic sources and prognoses in the future. The conference proceeding got also greetings from: J. Kocourek, the deputy of the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports of the CR, S. Zajac, the UCMP chairman or J. Ridky, the director of the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences. Student J. Hron, the first winner of the Czech Head Prize in the Hope category, briefly characterised his experiences from the work of pupils in a team that participated in the YPT. The IYPT Executive Committee president G. Tibell from Sweden referred the essential speech focused on the history of 20 years existence of the IYPT. He appreciated the CRs participation on the IYPTs advancement. The World Federation of Physics Competitions vice-president Z. Rajkovits referred about fundamental experiences from organising the competition in Hungary and she also presented main data about solving several competition problems. Some other problems were discussed by L. Skrapis, also from Hungary. G. Hofferek from Austria, S. Simeonova from Bulgaria and F. Kundracik from the Slovak Republic introduced in their speeches their experiences from organising the competition and its progression in their countries. The IYPT Executive Committee General Secretary M. Plesch from Slovakia formulated tasks for the perspective improving the quality of the IYPT competition. P. Ferko from Slovakia took a think on a deepness of physics cognition or corresponding formulating and solving physical problems respectively. I. Stefancinova from Slovakia and I. Volf made a summary analysis of physical problems solved by primary and secondary pupils. V. Kulich from the CR formulated his experiences from work with physics talented pupils from the position of a physics teacher; grammar school vice-director. O. Kourimska from the CR introduced a very complex physical problem attaching biology and sketched out the conception of solving it. S. Panos from the CR took a think on the conception of rating a team member and a team as a whole in the IYPT competition. J. Vesely from the CR paid attention to an international seminar of secondary school pupils, who are interested in scientific activities; M. Cvrcek from the CR dealt with questions of modelling and applying during the IYPT problems solutions; L. Palkovicova from Slovakia focused her contribution on highlighting the cardinal aspects of work with pupils in scientific activities. J. Cesakova from the CR pointed out the influence of project teaching for preparation of future IYPT solvers. Z. Kluiber evaluated some experiences from
Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. Vol.2, No. 1, January 2008

the world presentation of young peoples scientifictechnical projectsthe Intel ISEFin relation to the IYPT future development. P. Pavlicek and E. Jedlickova from Opava Grammar School (CR) compared of work conception and results of pupils in the IYPT competition with present-day main general educational goals of the grammar school. V. Pecina and D. Hruska, the UHK Faculty of Education students (CR), characterised their personal experiences from the YPT national final. I. Volf pointed out the relationship of the IYPT and other international physics competitions [5, 6]. U. Woznikowska-Bezak and P. Wolak from Poland documented the history of single years of the IYPT and the competition progression in Poland. A. Kopynova and V. Juranek from the FPLGS HK presented very quality information about work and results of their secondary school and about participation of pupils in science competitions. Z. Kluiber, who takes part in international competitions periodically, balanced the IYPT results in the CR during passed two decades. The conference came to following conclusions: The IYPT is significant specific international competition of secondary school pupils in physics that significantly orients them for studying physics, technology and natural sciences. The IYPT as a competition proceeds differently in different countries, the common goal is to get pupils familiarised with the precise work of physicists and the conception of team solution of a physical problem. The IYPT has got expectations for further development. New teams from new countries are entering the competition, e.g. China, Nigeria, Iran etc. The conference was an important inspiration for work of all who are interested in the IYPT competition. Pupils of the FPLGS HK took a very attentive care of the abroad conference participants; they took them around the historical town centre of Hradec Kralove and arranged a very valuable concert for them. The conferences culturalsocial event then was the visitation of Hradek chateaux in Hradec Kralove neighbourhood. The conference proceedings will be issued, where all the conference papers will be included. The proceedings will be administered to all IYPT participating schools in the CR and will become another theoretical and practical aid for the IYPT developmentit will be distributed to all deputies of participating countries at the 21st IYPT in Croatia in 2008. Thus the Czech Republic has contributed to future development of the IYPT competition. Especially the conference participants from the CR enriched the rows of Czech physicists.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We would like to thank V. Jehlicka, the UHK PF dean, for his personal contribution and support to conference arrangement. 72
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Conference: 20 Years of the Young Physicists Tournament at Czech Republic

NOTE
The 20 Years of the Young Physicists Tournament conference took place within the scope of the LA 270 MSMT CR project.

REFERENCES
[1] Kluiber, Z. et al., The Development of Talents in Physics (Prometheus, Prague, 1995). [2] Kluiber, Z., 10th International Young Physicists Tournament (Hradec Kralove, MAFY 1998).

[3] Simeonova, S., IYPT - International Young Physicists Tournament (Sofia, Zvezdi, 2006). [4] Simeonova, S. and Kwon, M. H., IYPT: The International Young Physicists Tournament (Sofia, Zvezdi, 2007). [5] Volf, I., What can do the Teacher of primary or secondary School for young talented Physicists (Hradec Kralove, MAFY 2001) p. 60. [6] Volf, I., Base of pyramide, Journal of World Federation of Physics Competitions (2005).

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BOOK REVIEWS
Rubn Snchez y Csar Mora
Centro de Investigacin en Ciencia Aplicada y Tecnologa Avanzada del Instituto Politcnico Nacional, Legaria 694, Col. Irrigacin, C.P. 11500, Mxico D. F., Mxico. E-mail: rsanchezs@ipn.mx

Estudos de Histria e Filosofia das Cincias: Subsdios para aplicaao no Ensino. Cibelle Celestino Silva (org.). 381 pp. 1a Edio, Editora Livraria da Fsica, So Paulo, 2006. ISBN 8588325-57-8. En el libro en cuestin, se presenta una coleccin de trabajos de diversos autores en varias reas de las ciencias en donde se discuten aspectos de la historia de la Fsica, la Filosofa de las Ciencias, la Epistemologa, la Biologa y la Matemtica. Se abordan tpicos especiales para la educacin cientfica, y tambin se tratan temas relacionados con el mtodo cientfico, errores divulgados a travs de libros de texto, desmitificacin de temas fsicos, ejemplos y relatos de historia y filosofa que pueden ser aplicados en el aula, as como otros temas relacionados con las ciencias mdico-biolgicas. Primeramente, en el campo de la Epistemologa, Roberto de Andrade pone de manifiesto cmo los estudiantes (de todos los niveles), los maestros y el pblico en general tienen una concepcin errnea sobre la naturaleza de la ciencia y su relacin con la sociedad, algunos perciben a la ciencia como una verdad o aquello que fue ya probado. Esto obviamente no toma en cuenta que la ciencia cambia (y en ocasiones de forma radical), y que es construida por seres falibles que por su esfuerzo en comn, tienden a perfeccionar ese conocimiento, de manera que nunca poseen la garanta de tener algo definitivo. El autor enfatiza la importancia de apoyar a la enseanza de las ciencias con investigadores y material serio sobre el tema. Por ejemplo, se acostumbra reducir la historia de la Ciencia a nombres, datos y ancdotas; se tienen concepciones errneas sobre el mtodo cientfico; o bien se hace un uso indebido de argumentos de autoridades cientficas, como si se tratara de un moderno sistema de supersticin. Antonio Augusto P. Videira presenta un trabajo en donde se hace notar que antiguamente se crea en la importancia que tiene el mtodo cientfico para valorar y cuestionar la veracidad de ciertos conocimientos y que sobre todo eran los filsofos ms que los propios cientficos, los que insistan en este aspecto de la Ciencia. Menciona que tal posicin sufri un cambio durante 1950 en la llamada La nueva Filosofa de la Ciencia representada por hombres como Norwood Russell Hanson, Stephen Toulmin, Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos y Feyebarend, ellos insistan en que no hay un mtodo cientfico con las caractersticas de rigor, universalidad, unicidad, rigidez, infalibilidad, entre otras cosas: con el
Lat. Am. J. Phys. Educ. Vol.2, No. 1, January 2008 74

tiempo, el mismo concepto de Ciencia sufri cambios. Por ejemplo, Roland Omnes, menciona que cuando Bacon o Descartes hablaban de mtodo cientfico, se trataba de lo que normalmente se entiende por una regla que pudiese ser aplicada para llegar infaliblemente a ms conocimientos. Es decir, un mtodo para construir Ciencia. El autor concluye que pese a stas crticas se debe de creer en la existencia de un mtodo cientfico aunque no se consiga una definicin estricta del mismo, pues si no se procede de esta forma se corre entonces el riesgo de creer que la misma Ciencia es en s una quimera. Y piensa que en la investigacin cientfica: se podr disponer de ms de un recurso metodolgico: o pluralismo metodolgico que es una actitud ampliamente adoptada hoy en da tanto por filsofos como por cientficos. En el campo de la Fsica se muestran algunos estudios sobre accin a distancia y accin de contacto; la enseanza de la termodinmica por medio de la prctica social; la simetra de las fuerzas electromagnticas; del mundo techado de estrellas en la astronoma y la cosmologa de el Universo, el Big-Bang, leyendas y mitos sobre ciertos pasajes en la historia de la Fsica, disertaciones de Isaac Newton sobre las profecas bblicas y la existencia de dios, y la induccin electromagntica en el aula. Los cuales son de importancia para la enseanza de la Fsica, ya que ponen de manifiesto varios aspectos relacionados con la enseanza que a veces pasan desapercibidos tanto por los alumnos como por los profesores que imparten la materia. Por ejemplo, en el tema de accin a distancia contra la accin por contacto, vemos que la fuerza de gravedad ya se conoca desde haca siglos: desde tiempos de Galileo (1564-1642), se saba que los cuerpos cercanos a la Tierra, caen con una aceleracin constante que era independiente del peso que tuviera el cuerpo, su composicin qumica, o bien, su forma. Y desde Newton (1643-1727), se saba que esta aceleracin tambin es mutua, es decir, que la Tierra tambin es atraa por estos cuerpos. Newton formul esta accin entre todo cuerpo con masa mediante su famosa ecuacin de la gravitacin universal, en la cual la fuerza gravitacional es directamente proporcional a las masas de los cuerpos e inversamente al cuadrado de la distancia entre ellas: Esta fuerza se ejerce a una distancia y en forma instantnea a lo largo de la lnea que une a dos cuerpos con masa. Otro ejemplo de accin distancia, proviene de la Grecia antigua (siglo V a.C.) pues se saba que un imn permanente atrae pequeos trozos de fierro. Este fenmeno puede ser interpretado como la accin directa
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Rubn Snchez y Csar Mora

del imn sobre los trozos fierro, o como la accin de un agente intermediario (como posteriormente lo descubri Oersted en 1820, con una corriente elctrica, que generaba lo que se conoci despus como campo magntico). En otro caso, tenemos que Charles Augustin Coulomb (1736-1806), seal en 1785, que dos polos magnticos que no sean del mismo tipo se atraen y que dos tipos de polos iguales se repelen. Y tambin se menciona el caso de interaccin entre dos cargas elctricas, descrita por Coulomb como una accin a distancia, similar a la fuerza de gravedad descrita por Newton. Adems, Andr-Marie Ampre (1775-1836), mostr en la dcada de 1820 por vez primera vez que dos hilos conductores se atraen si la corriente en ambos circulan en el mismo sentido, y se repelen en el caso que las corrientes fluyan en sentidos opuestos, Ampre interpret este fenmeno, como si fueran ocasionados por una accin directa, entre los dos elementos de corriente, sin que fuesen ocasionados por cualquier agente intermedio entre ellos. Todo esto, tuvo que ser modificado, ya que en la teora de Maxwell se concibe no slo el ente de campo elctrico y campo magntico, que efecta el contacto de la antigua accin a distancia, sino que se tratan de unificar en un solo ente unificado: el campo electromagntico, que puede ya existir independientemente de sus fuentes. Tambin, la teora de la Gravitacin de Einstein llega a adoptar la idea de accin a distancia, y espontnea dndole un carcter ms geomtrico y de efecto retardado al agente intermediario que despus se llam campo. Andr K. T. Assis da una descripcin ms detallada y humanista acerca de los hechos que dieron origen al moderno concepto de campo en la Fsica actual. Por otro lado, Cibelle Celestino Silva, menciona en un trabajo que habla sobre Pierre Curie y las simetras de cantidades electromagnticas, cmo es que algunos de estos conceptos de campo electromagntico adquieren simetra, y cmo esto nos ayuda a entender mejor muchos fenmenos electromagnticos. Por ejemplo, Oersted observ que los campos elctricos y magnticos tenan diferente estructura. Curie entonces es responsable de enunciar que para que ocurra el fenmeno se necesita que haya una asimetra entre las cantidades involucradas. La parte sobre la manzana de Newton, su historia mitos y leyendas de Roberto de Andrade Martins, nos hace reflexionar sobre la importancia que tiene en la educacin, que el profesor de Fsica investigue por su cuenta, lo que comnmente se escribe en los libros sobre esta materia como trasfondo histrico; ya que puede devenir slo de un mito o cuento que se escribi aos despus de lo supuestamente ocurrido. Se critica de una manera constructiva el caso pasado, poniendo de relieve que es muy posible, que contario a lo que comnmente se cuenta; que a Newton no se le ocurri la idea de la gravitacin, cuando le cay en la cabeza una manzana. Esta historia que fue por primera vez contada por Voltaire en el ao de la muerte de Newton es de dudosa validez, ya que la sobrina de Newton, Catherine Barton que cuidaba de l le cont la ancdota de la manzana a Voltaire. Otra fuente de la historia de la manzana es John Conduitt, que trabajaba con Newton en la casa de moneda inglesa y que
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despus se cas con Catherine; su relato permaneci escrito como el de Stukeley. Ninguno de estos relatos deca que la manzana haba cado en la cabeza de Newton, ni que estaba distrado. Todos concuerdan en que Newton estara pensativo en el jardn de la hacienda de su madre en Woolthorpe. Por mencionar una de tantas incoherencias, se menciona que a Newton no se le ocurri la idea de la gravitacin en ese dudoso acontecimiento, pues este fenmeno ya se conoca desde la antigedad, haca ms de mil aos antes de Newton ya se hablaba de la gravitacin. Ms bien lo que hizo Newton fue describir con ecuaciones la naturaleza de su interaccin. En cuanto al hecho de que una manzana golpe su cabeza mientras dormitaba bajo el rbol, lo pone en duda, pues no hay evidencias concluyentes que lo respalden. En el trabajo presentado por Thas Cyrino de Mello Forato sobre Issac Newton, las profecas bblicas y la existencia de Dios. El autor hace hincapi en que hay que considerar a Newton en su verdadera dimensin no slo de hombre de ciencia de su poca, sino tambin como uno de los filsofos teolgicos ms dedicados que ha dado la humanidad. Sita la poca de Newton tambin, donde se ve la extremada preocupacin de los hombres ilustres de llevar las doctrinas divinas antiguas, a su completa realizacin, con ayuda de las nuevas ideas cientficas. Como si hubiera una preocupacin generalizada de rescatar las ideas de la existencia y los atributos de Dios. Y ver en los nuevos conocimientos la presencia divina. En el trabajo de Newton tambin se ve la influencia de la astrologa y de Paracelso, para quien la observacin y la ciencia qumica eran la base de una nueva interpretacin de los fenmenos naturales, ya que as se explicaba a la creacin como una revelacin qumica de la naturaleza. Se menciona que cuando la teora de gravitacin fue presentada por primera vez en los Principia de Newton, en 1867, recibi cuestionamientos de diversos tipos. Esto origin la divisin de su obra en varias partes, reservando sus reglas para el raciocinio en filosofa para el libro III, donde se daba la defensa del mtodo inductivo en los experimentos y observaciones, que us en combinacin con deducciones matemticas. Mtodo, tan criticado en su poca, pero a la vez tan revolucionario, que esto le vali, que en los siglos siguientes fuera considerado como parte o modelo del quehacer cientfico. (Cohen y Westfall, 2002, pp. 145-150.) El autor trata de contrarestar la imagen bizarra de Newton: de un hombre dedicado por un lado a la ciencia y por el otro a varias doctrinas contradictorias con la primera: entre las que se encontraban la alquimia, la astrologa, la cbala o la teologa; mencionando que los filsofos naturales ingleses del siglo XVII fueron influenciados por la tradicin renacentista europea, cuando ya haba declinado en la Europa continental. Los ingleses trataban de reconciliar el pensamiento de la filosofa mstica agregando elementos como la filosofa mecnica del perodo, la filosofa cartesiana, la filosofa atomista, ms all de la experimentacin y de la utilizacin de la matemtica. Consideramos esta lectura valiosa, porque nos da una personalidad ms realista de Newton,
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Book reviews: Estudos de Histria e Filosofia das Cincias: Subsdios para aplicaao no Ensino

ubicndolo no slo como un hombre, producto de su tiempo, sino tambin como un innovador que va introduciendo, un prototipo del futuro mtodo cientfico, en su poca. En la parte de la induccin electromagntica en la sala del aula de Valria Silva Daz, vemos una reconstruccin de lo que aconteca en los tiempos de Faraday, y cmo se introdujo en el campo de la investigacin de los fenmenos de induccin magntica. Describe con detalle su trabajo, y cmo logr inducir una corriente elctrica a partir de un campo magntico variable. Su trabajo no lo benefici industrialmente (o financieramente) y fue apoyado siempre por la Royal Institucin de Inglaterra, hasta el fin de su carrera. Pensamos que ste trabajo es una pieza importante para la educacin de la Fsica en el rea de electricidad y magnetismo, pues explica cmo Faraday contribuy de manera importante a la unificacin de ambas fuerzas, dando paso a la moderna teora de los campos electromagnticos. En cuanto al trabajo de Marcos Cesar Danhoni Neves titulado del mundo cerrado de la astronoma y la cosmologa de el universo cerrado del Big-Bang: Revisando nuevos Dogmas de la Ciencia Astronmica, podemos decir que es una revisin histrica de cmo las ideas antiguas de la astronoma se cambiaron a las nuevas, por ejemplo se habla de cmo la nocin de un Universo cuyo centro es la Tierra fue cambiado por uno donde la propia Tierra gira alrededor del Sol, y las ideas Ptolomicas se cambian por las de Coprnico, tambin nos habla del trabajo de Hubble y cmo fue que se dio su ley de corrimiento hacia el rojo y la idea de un Universo en expansin, tambin la consecuente idea de que el Universo actual haya nacido de una gran explosin inicial conocida como el Big-Bang. En resumen, es una lectura interesante que aborda el nacimiento de la astronoma Moderna con varios detalles. Por ejemplo da a conocer al lector, que fue Hubble quien por vez primera dio evidencia de que el Universo visible estaba ms all de los lmites de la Va Lctea y cmo dio una clasificacin de las galaxias. En el trabajo de la enseanza de la termodinmica por medio de la prctica social de Marcelo Luis Aroeira Rosella et al. Se pone de manifiesto la utilidad de emplear argumentos de problemas de carcter social, que afectan la economa de las naciones, y as despertar el inters de los alumnos por la Ciencia, dentro del aula de clases. Por ejemplo, aqu nos muestra, en qu cosiste el efecto invernadero, y cmo dicho problema puede afectar la economa de una nacin, como la de los Estados Unidos. Discute detalles del problema de este efecto de consecuencias de cambio climtico, y argumenta que el conocimiento de la Termodinmica nos puede ayudar a comprender mejor el fenmeno. Y a partir de ah buscar respuestas para tratar el problema, y evitar que se agrave. Por ejemplo, se puede implantar la cultura, de tratar de disminuir la emisin de gases, ya que el aumento en dixido de carbono en la atmsfera, lleva consigo, un aumento de la temperatura global del Planeta. Ocurre por ejemplo, que la temperatura media que el planeta ha
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mantenido por millares de aos, es de unos 15 grados centgrados. Ms en los ltimos 100 aos, esta temperatura promedio se ha aumentado en aproximadamente 0.6 grados, ms de lo normal. Esto puede parecer insignificante, pero llevado a la escala planetaria, significa un desequilibrio fuerte, trayendo consigo un aumento de un 30% de la concentracin de dixido de carbono y otros gases extraos de polucin en la atmsfera, que son el producto de la actividad humana. El efecto invernadero, es causante de provocar un desequilibrio en la energa que circunda alrededor de la Tierra y el espacio que la rodea, provocando entre otras cosas, fenmenos meteorolgicos, como huracanes, sequa de tierras (transformndolas de tierras frtiles en ridas), derretimiento de los glaciares, dilatacin trmica de los ocanos inundando regiones litorales. Menciona, las presiones polticas de la comunidad cientfica para organizar reuniones internacionales para promover la disminucin de la contaminacin, principalmente, de dixido de carbono. Por ejemplo, cita la reunin ocurrida en Kioto, Japn en 1997, que gener el protocolo de Kioto, que debera ser respetado principalmente, por los pases participantes que sean ms industrializados. Por ejemplo, este acuerdo llevado a cabo en Estados Unidos sera bueno, pues la poblacin de este pas (el 4% de la mundial), emite cerca del 25% de los gases contaminantes emitidos en el planeta entero. Vemos en este caso, un tema de bastante inters poltico, social y econmico, en donde, el entendimiento de la Termodinmica juega un papel crucial. En el rea de la Biologa se abordan temas de inters como son la botnica en la enseanza media; la historia de la ciencia y la enseanza de la Gentica y la Evolucin en la enseanza media: un estudio de caso; enseanza del sistema sanguneo humano: una dimensin histricoepistemolgica; historia del ADN y la educacin cientfica; razonamiento, experiencia e imaginacin en la ciencia: el caso de Charles Darwin. La historia de estos temas, son fundamentales para comprender el desarrollo de las ciencias modernas de la vida. Por ejemplo, tratar de entender los fundamentos en los que se basa el origen de las especies de Charles Darwin, es importante para comprender el marco histrico y social en el que se desenvuelve la Ciencia. Llevada al aula, aumenta la capacidad no slo cognitiva del alumno, sino que estimula el amor a la investigacin. En el caso de Charles Darwin, vemos que su trabajo fue el producto de las observaciones llevadas a cabo en las costas de Amrica del Sur y de algunas islas del Pacfico. Inicialmente, hizo su viaje como naturalista a bordo del Beagle (1831-1836) al servicio del Imperio Britnico, para cartografiar estas costas. El origen de las especies pone de relieve cmo las condiciones ambientales, influyeron en el proceso de seleccin natural de los seres vivos en el planeta. Aqu Anna Carolina K. P. Regner (autora del artculo) da una revisin excelente del trabajo de Darwin y cmo sigui los pasos del mtodo cientfico. Por ejemplo, tuvo que hacer una seleccin cuidadosa de casos ejemplares como base inductiva para legitimizar hiptesis explicativas.
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Rubn Snchez y Csar Mora

En el mbito de la Matemtica se tratan cuestiones sobre las ecuaciones algebraicas: un abordaje histrico sobre el proceso de resolucin de la ecuacin de segundo grado. En donde se da todo un seguimiento histrico del desarrollo de la ecuacin cuadrtica, en diversos pueblos antiguos como China, Grecia, Babilonia, India y el Mundo rabe. La obra en general es un compendio de datos y hechos histricos, que se han recopilado para apoyar una educacin ms slida de los estudiantes en las reas de la Epistemologa, Fsica y Biologa. Su uso es recomendado, por los autores de esta breve revisin, para evitar varios de los errores y que se comenten en el aula. Por ejemplo, seguir ciegamente alguna tradicin, mito o leyenda que se tenga sobre algn personaje de la Ciencia, sin aplicar un criterio de evaluacin serio, siguiendo una investigacin de los hechos histricos que dominaron la poca y el ambiente intelectual del personaje, es algo que, comnmente se percibe en los salones de clase. Generalmente el alumno cree, hace o sigue al pie de la letra, lo que el maestro dice que es correcto. Por eso se cae muchas veces en errores y mitos sobre la personalidad de varios personajes en la historia de la Ciencia. Sin embargo, realizar un examen del tema de estudio suele ser constructivo, si se puede investigar sobre la veracidad de los datos que se estn estudiando. En la Ciencia no existen paradigmas eternos, ms bien la Ciencia debe su espritu al anlisis creativo de las materias, fenmenos o circunstancias (y hasta personajes importantes) que se estn estudiando.

Por lo tanto, el profesor debe a veces incluir material adicional (como el de la revisin), para hacer una crtica de lo que comnmente viene en los libros de texto. As, se rompe toda una cadena de vicios y actitudes de fe ciega en lo que se lee, o en lo que se escucha sin anlisis. Por lo tanto, lecturas, como las aqu analizadas, son recomendables, pues ponen en cuestionamiento varias de las creencias que se tienen en el desarrollo de la Ciencia, y que en ocasiones, por desgracia, son errneas. Lecturas adicionales, como ya analizadas pueden ayudar al estudiante de Ciencias a ponerse alerta, y a formarse un criterio personal analtico y ms seguro, sobre los temas de Fsica que est cursando.enseanza-aprendizaje de la fsica, es como el subttulo lo menciona opciones didcticas para introducirse a la aplicacin de las nuevas tecnologas de la informtica en la enseanza-aprendizaje de la fsica. El libro es una obra de consulta indispensable, muy aconsejable para docentes que quieren comprometerse con los nuevos mtodos de enseanza y para estudiantes que desean aprender la fsica con las nuevas tecnologas computarizadas con que cuenta el mundo moderno. En ambos casos docentes y estudiantes, encontrarn ejemplos que les den pistas claras de todas las posibilidades que se puedan desarrollar con las nuevas herramientas que se dan a conocer y se discuten ampliamente en esta obra, sin dejar de lado, que algunos de estos casos concretos que se discuten en el libro, se puedan llevar a cabo, para que los lectores docentes o estudiantes experimenten por s mismos lo que el autores ha tratado de comunicar en palabras e imgenes.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS
X INTERNACIONAL WORKSHOP ON TEACHING OF PHYSICS
Havana Conventions Palace, Havana, Cuba March 17 to 21, 2008 The Ministry of Education of Cuban Republic and the Latin-American and Caribbean Pedagogical Institute have the pleasure of inviting you to participate at the X International Workshop on Teaching of Physics which will be held in the Havana Conventions Palace, Havana, Cuba, from March 17 to 21, 2008 Institutions and organizations that sponsor the Congress 1. UNESCO-Santiago (OREALC) 2. UNESCO-Havana (ORCALC) 3. UNESCO-Pars 4. Andrs Bello Convention 5. Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture Organization. 6. Cuban Union of Science Workers. 7. Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba 8. Science Academy of Cuba 9. Ministry of Basic Industry. 10. CUBASOLAR 11. Latin-Ameican and Caribbean Association of Teachers. 12. Cuban Physical Society 13. Cuban Association of Teachers. General Theme of the Congress Teaching and learning of natural and exact sciences in all types and educational levels in the context of the Education for the Development Sustainable Decade promoted by the ONU with special emphasis on the advances and results in this aspect. Congress activities 1. Pre-Congress courses. 2. Lectures by guest speakers 3. Poster sessions. 4. Roundtables. 5. Contributed oral papers. 6. Symposiums. 7. Workshops. General Program 1. Pre-Congrees courses 2. March 17 3. Opening 4. March 18. 5. Scientifical activities 6. March 18-21 7. Closing 8. March 21
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General Organiation (Preliminary). The activities of the general program will be in plenary sessions, workshops or symposiums. Up to now, the following symposiums and workshops are projected: SYMPOSIUM 1: Education for the Development Sustainable Decade. Importance of scientific education. SYMPOSIUM 2: Scientific education in the middle educational level and primary ages. Good practices and new perspectives. SYMPOSIUM 3: Informal scientific education. Divulgation and popularization of sciences. Olympic games in science education. SYMPOSIUM 4: Use of information and communication technologies in science education. About Pre-Congress courses These courses will be about Didactics of Science in General, Didactics of Natural Science, Didactics of Physics, Didactics of Mathematics, Didactics of Chemistry, Didactics of Biology and Didactics of Geography. Each course will have duration of eight hours and a certificate of attendance will be given to the participants. More information about Pre-Congress courses will be in The Congress WEB page: www.didacien.rimed.cu. The course will be given in the Havana Conventions Palace. Registration fee Participants: 150 CUC. Includes: congress materials, certificates, coffee, scientific activities and closing lunch. You must pay 20 CUC in addition for the pre-congress courses. Includes: course materials, and certificate. The payment of the congress and the pre-courses must be in cash in Cuba from Sunday March 16, 2008 in Havana Conventions Palace. For any further information about the Congress, visit the WEB page of the congress http://www.didacien.rimed.cu or contact directly the following persons: Carlos Sifredo Barrios Executive Vicepresident of the Congress Email: didadcien@mined.rimed.cu TEL/FAX: 567 553422 ngel Salabarra Lay Havana Conventions Palace Ave 146 e/11 y 13, Playa Email: angel@palco.cu Tel: 537 2026011 al 19, ext 1511 Fax: (537) 202 8382 Web:www. cpalco.com
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XVI INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP NEWS TRENDS IN TEACHING PHYSICS


May 22 to 25, 2008 Puebla, Pue., Mexico Each year at the end of May, the University of Puebla in Puebla, Mexico, organizes an International Workshop focused to physics teachers. Invited talks and short courses on Physics Education are given. Further information: www.fcfm.buap.mx/taller Contact the following persons: Josip Slisko: jslisko@fcfm.buap.mx, Adrin Corona: acorona@fcfm.buap.mx,

University of Birmingham, UK email: I.Lawrence@bham.ac.uk Gorazd Planinsic Secretary University of Ljubljana Faculty of Mathematics and Physics Jadranska 19, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia e-mail: gorazd.planinsic@fiz.uni-lj.si Rosa Maria Sperandeo-Mineo Treasurer Universita di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze (Edificio 18), 90128 PALERMO, Italy e-mail: sperandeo@difter.unipa.it

International Scientific Committee


Cesar Mora: cmoral@ipn.mx Constantinos P. Constantinou Conference President, Cyprus

GIREP 2008 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE


and

Theodora Kyratsi Conference Manager, Cyprus Zacharias Zacharia, Cyprus Cesar Eduardo Mora, Mexico Dean Zollman, USA Gorazd Planinsic, Slovenia Helmut Kuehnelt, Austria Ian Lawrence, UK Leopold Mathelitsch, Austria Manfred Euler, Germany Marisa Michelini, Italy Michele D'Anna, Switzerland Prathiba Jolly, India Robert Sporken, Belgium Rosa Maria Sperandeo-Mineo, Italy Ton Ellermeijer, The Netherlands Vivian Talisayon, Phillippines More information in: http://www.ucy.ac.cy/girep2008/

MPTL 13th Workshop Multimedia in Physics Teaching and Learning


University of Cyprus 18 - 22 August, 2008 The GIREP conference is one of the main international event in the field of Physics Education. Conferences are held every two years bringing together participants from all over the world, ready to share their experiences and research work in an interesting and rewarding domain. This year, the Learning in Science Group, University of Cyprus hosts the GIREP-MPTL joint meeting. The theme of the conference Physics Curriculum Design, Development and Validation, highlights an aspect of great relevance to recent innovation efforts in Physics Education: research-based curriculum design as a mechanism for unifying different approaches to enhance our knowledge of learning processes and explore the role of context, designed or circumstantial, in Physics learning and instruction.

Girep Board
Ton Ellermeijer President University of Amsterdam, Netherlands e-mail: ellermei@science.uva.nl Michele D'Anna Vice-president Alta Scuola Pedagogica, Switzerland e-mail: danna@lilo.lic.ti-edu.ch Ian Lawrence Vice-president
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LATIN AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS EDUCATION Volume 2, Number 1, January 2008


CONTENTS/CONTENIDO Papers/Artculos

Physics Classroom Engagement: constructing understanding in real time Dewey I., Dykstra, Jr. Problem solving and writing II: The point of view of hermeneutics Jorge Barojas Teaching thermal physics by touching E. Marn Some Physics teaching whispered fallacies C. H. Wrner Teaching physics: research-based suggestions and teachers reactions, toward a better interaction? Laurence Viennot Qu podemos hacer para lograr un aprendizaje significativo de la fsica? Michel Picquart Visualizing the Doppler Effect Marcos H. Gimnez, Ana Vidaurre, Jaime Riera and Juan A. Monsoriu La balanza electrnica: la opcin ms rentable para realizar distintas prcticas de laboratorio de fsica de fluidos Jess Delegido, Manuel Dolz, Mara Jess Hernndez y Alejandro Casanovas Aprendiendo cmo se construye la ciencia: el caso del pndulo Joan Josep Solaz-Portols, Magdalena Moreno-Cabo,Vicent Sanjos Lpez Qu es la luz? Arnaldo Gonzlez Arias Deduction of the De Broglie's relation =h/p from the classical electrodynamics N. Hamdan, M. Falhe and H. Aktaa Sobre las dimensiones extras espaciales Csar Mora y O. Pedraza

1-5

6-14

15-17

18-20

21-28

29-36

37-39

40-46

47-50

51-53

54-58

59-64

Continued/Continuacin

Continued/Continuacin

LATIN AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS EDUCATION Vol. 2, No. 1, January 2800


contents/contenido

On the Relativistic Concept of the Dirac's electron Spin N. Hamdan, A. Chamaa and J. Lpez-Bonilla Conference: 20 Years of the Young Physicists Tournament at Czech Republic Zdenek Kluiber and Ivo Volf

65-70

71-73

Book reviews/ Revisin de libros Estudos de Histria e Filosofia das Cincias: Subsdios para aplicaao no Ensino Rubn Snchez y Csar Mora

74-77

Announcements/Anuncios

Prximos congresos

78-79