Discussion in 'Science' started by phlogiston, Feb 7, 2011.

1. phlogistonStar commenter

While teaching atomic structure, I was struck by some sceptical thoughts
Would Geiger and Marsden have dismissed the few rebounding alpha particles as outliers?
Would Ramsay have dismissed the densities of pure nitrogen and nitrogen contaminated with noble gases as not statistically different?
Any other famous experiments that might suffer from an over simplified treatment of data?
P

2. phlogistonStar commenter

While teaching atomic structure, I was struck by some sceptical thoughts
Would Geiger and Marsden have dismissed the few rebounding alpha particles as outliers?
Would Ramsay have dismissed the densities of pure nitrogen and nitrogen contaminated with noble gases as not statistically different?
Any other famous experiments that might suffer from an over simplified treatment of data?
P

3. physics_suits_you

It's very easy to be cynical.
Surely we teach what is "enough" for the stage the pupil is at. My approach to data handling is different at A level to GCSE, and some of the things I did in my degree course required much more complex analysis than anything I've done since.
I often talk to pupils about maths - in Y1 it was 1 apple + 1 apple = 2 apples. In Y3 I was told 1 apple - 2 apples didn't make sense (it still doesn't) but I could do 1-2 = -1.
In Y5 I learnt about square numbers 1*1 = 1 but then -2*-2 =+4. How strange. This lead to the concept of there being more than one correct answer to some problems.
It took until Y12 to discover you can have i, an imaginary number which is the square root of -1 and which we physicists use in reactive circuits to describe the phase change between current and voltage.
Somehow I don't think Miss Smith would have made much sense if she told me that iapple * iapple would give me a negative apple. So please, don't blame modern education (although the title captures ones attention).
Incidentally, if I had "outliers" on the rare occasions when I did practical work in Y10, I would have been told I was wrong so do it again (or fiddle the results so that you get a straight line). Personally, I think that was considerably more hindersome to progress.

4. blazerStar commenter

If they had received a modern science education they would have probably chosen to do Business or Media studies for their A levels!

5. blazerStar commenter

If they had received a modern science education they would have probably chosen to do Business or Media studies for their A levels!

6. HenriettawaspNew commenter

... unless, like some of my son's friends, they actually preferred physics, chemistry, maths and further maths.

7. fiendishlycleverOccasional commenter

If they weren't guaranteed to get C grades at GCSE they might have done BTEC Science and become experts in a different field...

8. wire247New commenter

They wouldn't have spent a year looking through a tiny lens in a dark room for hours on end. It wouldn't have been exciting or engaging enough. I'm not sure Rutherford would have been able to make it relevant to thier daily lives, so he wouldn't have been able to make them to do it. All science that can not be put into a modern context is pointless don't you know.

9. wire247New commenter

Arno Penzias, Robert Woodrow Wilson won a Nobel Prize for identifying the cause of a systematic error and not just adjusting their figures to account for it. It is interesting that we are teaching the pupils that such an error is insignificant.
<font size="2">I can&rsquo;t be bothered to go into it, Google it (other search engines are available) fascinating story.