ERIC Number: EJ1039681
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 54
A New "Idea of Nature" for Chemical Education
Earley, Joseph E., Sr.
Science & Education, v22 n7 p1775-1786 Jul 2013
"The idea of nature" (general model of how things work) that is accepted in a society strongly influences that group's social and technological progress. Currently, science education concentrates on "analysis" of stable pre-existing items to minimum constituents. This emphasis is consistent with an outlook that has been widely accepted since the late Renaissance--that characteristics of individuals depend exclusively on the properties of their microscopic components. Much of 19th and 20th century science seems compatible with that now-traditional outlook. But major parts of contemporary science (and fundamental technological problems) deal with "open-system dynamic coherences" that display novel and important characteristics. These important entities are not adequately treated by the presently-dominant idea of nature. In contrast, the notion of how the world works that contemporary science and current technological practice generate emphasizes "synthesis and self-organization" of far-from-equilibrium "dissipative structures." Arguably, eventual success in meeting the severe technological and social challenges occasioned by increasing world population will require general diffusion and appreciation of that newer overall outlook. Chemistry educators have been important in developing and disseminating the earlier worldview--they can and should provide leadership for widespread adoption of the alternative idea of nature.
Descriptors: Science Education, Science and Society, Chemistry, World Views, Scientific Principles, Science History
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A