Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 1 Memo

                Galileo’s article seeks to define acceleration. He states that we should properly describe how objects accelerate in nature. Galileo explains that a motion is said to be uniformly accelerated, when starting from rest, it acquires, during equal time-intervals, equal increments of speed. Time and speed are proportional, he also states. After Galileo defines acceleration, two people then discuss their contrasting views about what properties acceleration should be limited to. Theories, experiments and their respective results are also discussed until disagreements are settled.
                Lehrer’s article gives a terse explanation of how to acquire knowledge in separate subjects. He states that goals, specific writing, language and materials can help develop knowledge in the areas that these properties are associated. Next Lehrer writes how science education can be supported by using modeling. First, physical models can focus on one working part of a larger system while providing opportunities to work hands on and to deal with results that include human error. Next, representational models provide students to focus on conceptual ideas and work through formulas. Students can benefit from models by comparing and contrasting experiments and examples to real life systems. Finally, he closes with how models paired with data expressed in tables and graphs can support a student’s learning.
                Hazen’s chapter titled, ‘Knowing,’ summarizes the predictability of the universe we live in. Starting a few thousand years ago, human beings made predictions about our world based on observable patters. The earliest categories in which people made predictions included Astrology and Mechanics; both are parts of the larger field of Physics. Hazen then describes Isaac Newton’s Three Laws of Physics and gives examples of each. He then explains gravity and the attractive forces between planets, satellites and the objects that can be found on planets. Then, Hazen shows how the Scientific Method became an important role in all sciences; the Scientific Method guided experiments and helped modify theories. Next, Hazen categorizes scientists, the subjects that each of these scientists research and gives facts about the different groups. Finally, Hazen briefly reveals the random nature of our universe. While the universe can be observed and predictable at times, there will always remain an irregular property of our universe.
                Collectively these three articles discussed how human beings make observations and strive to define and predict these phenomena. Each article deals with people having a desire to learn and how that includes creating a language about these observations so that we may better teach what we know to someone else. Between the articles, it can be said that people do not think in the same ways nor do we speak the same languages. Science can unify people by things that are the same despite different backgrounds, observations and mathematics.

                Finally, it is in the nature of human beings to be curious about the world we live in. People constantly hypothesize and predict about our environment. Hazen and Galileo both discussed making observations and reaching a point of agreement; Lehrer gave examples about how people can better reach the results they wish to discover, regarding the world we live in. The strong interest of people to know why and how is essential to the success of our species.


  1. I agree with your point that science can bring people from many different backgrounds and languages. Models and mathematical representations can be created to make a common language, and science itself is something universal. Everyone has to follow the rules of gravity whether they know them or not. We touched on this in class last Thursday. My group started off a little hesitant because we were not sure how we wanted to present the information. Once we created a common language, we were able to complete the assignment. Science as a unifying factor should definitely be emphasized throughout the semester.

  2. I agree that science can be unifying in its capacity to transcend cultural barriers, but am concerned that developing science specific languages, while helpful for researchers of different nationalities, acts to inhibit the flow of ideas across disciplines. Imagine science as a growing, flowering organism, with the roots/trunk being shared core values/knowledge and the branches being the disciplines reaching in different directions in search of light. I understand that it is valuable for a given discipline to have an advanced, specialized language in order to grow most efficiently and branch into its own leaves and departments. But should it not also be important for scientists to periodically look up from their specialization, obtain a little perspective, and consider the application of their work in communion with the work of other disciplines? In a way contributing some of the ATP they have earned back into the strength of the core and ultimately allowing the whole organism to have more sustainable growth?


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