ERIC Number: EJ1063333
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 61
Mathematics as an Instigator of Scientific Revolutions
Brush, Stephen G.
Science & Education, v24 n5-6 p495-513 Jul 2015
In a famous 1960 paper, Wigner discussed "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences." I suggest that the effectiveness of mathematics in producing successful new theories and surprising discoveries is even more unreasonable than Wigner claimed. In this paper, I present several historical case studies to support the claim that mathematics is often responsible for instigating scientific revolutions. However, that does not mean that mathematics is always the key to the universe, and other cases where mathematization was not successful are discussed in order to problematize a naïve Platonism.
Descriptors: Mathematics Education, Case Studies, Natural Sciences, Scientific Concepts, Scientific Principles, Science Education History, Educational Development, Intellectual History, Educational Practices
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A