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Coelho, Ricardo Lopes – Science & Education, 2014
In the theory of heat of the first half of the nineteenth century, heat was a substance. Mayer and Joule contradicted this thesis but developed different concepts of heat. Heat was a force for Mayer and a motion for Joule. Both Mayer and Joule determined the mechanical equivalent of heat. This result was, however, justified in accordance with…
Descriptors: Science Education, Heat, Scientific Concepts, Energy
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Coelho, Ricardo Lopes – Science & Education, 2013
It is generally accepted nowadays that History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) is useful in understanding scientific concepts, theories and even some experiments. Problem-solving strategies are a significant topic, since students' careers depend on their skill to solve problems. These are the reasons for addressing the question of whether problem…
Descriptors: Logical Thinking, Introductory Courses, Scientific Concepts, Problem Solving
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Coelho, Ricardo Lopes – Science & Education, 2012
There has been much research on principles and fundamental concepts of mechanics. Problems concerning the law of inertia, the concepts of force, fictitious force, weight, mass and the distinction between inertial and gravitational mass are addressed in the first part of the present paper. It is argued in the second that the law of inertia is the…
Descriptors: Scientific Concepts, Science History, Mechanics (Physics), Science Experiments
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Coelho, Ricardo Lopes – Science & Education, 2010
Some physicists have pointed out that we do not know what force is. The most common definition of force in textbooks has been criticized for more than two centuries. Many studies have shown that the concept of force is a problem for teaching. How to conceive force on the basis of the concepts and criticism of force in the works of Newton, Euler,…
Descriptors: Textbooks, Physics, Motion, Scientific Concepts
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Coelho, Ricardo Lopes – Science & Education, 2009
Some physicists have pointed out that we do not know what energy is. Many studies have shown that the concept of energy is a problem for teaching. A study of the history of the concept shows that the discoverers of energy did not find anything which is indestructible and transformable but rather that the concept of energy underwent a change of…
Descriptors: Textbooks, Motion, Energy, Physics
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Coelho, Ricardo Lopes – Science & Education, 2007
The law of inertia is a problem in teaching due to the impossibility of showing the proposition experimentally. As we cannot do an experiment to verify the law, we cannot know if it is correct. On the other hand, we know that the science based upon it is successful. A study in the history of mechanics has shown that there are different foundations…
Descriptors: Mechanics (Physics), Motion, Science Instruction, Scientific Principles