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Science & Education
written by Edward F. Redish and Eric Kuo
Mathematics is a critical part of much scientific research. Physics in particular weaves math extensively into its instruction beginning in high school. Despite much research on the learning of both physics and math, the problem of how to effectively include math in physics in a way that reaches most students remains unsolved. In this paper, we suggest that a fundamental issue has received insufficient exploration: the fact that in science, we don't just use math, we make meaning with it in a different way than mathematicians do. In this reflective essay, we explore math as a language and consider the language of math in physics through the lens of cognitive linguistics. We begin by offering a number of examples that show how the use of math in physics differs from the use of math as typically found in math classes. We then explore basic concepts in cognitive semantics to show how humans make meaning with language in general. The critical elements are the roles of embodied cognition and interpretation in context. Then, we show how a theoretical framework commonly used in physics education research, resources, is coherent with and extends the ideas of cognitive semantics by connecting embodiment to phenomenological primitives and contextual interpretation to the dynamics of meaning-making with conceptual resources, epistemological resources, and affect. We present these ideas with illustrative case studies of students working on physics problems with math and demonstrate the dynamical nature of student reasoning with math in physics. We conclude with some thoughts about the implications for instruction.
Science & Education: Volume 24, Issue 5-6, Pages 561-590
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Cognition
= Cognition Development
= Cognitive Conflict
- Learning Theory
= Representations
= Transfer
- Problem Solving
= Representational Use
- Student Characteristics
= Affect
= Skills
General Physics
- Scientific Reasoning
Other Sciences
- Mathematics
- Lower Undergraduate
- Upper Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Article
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Educators
- Professional/Practitioners
- Administrators
- Researchers
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Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
Springer Nature
DOI:
10.1007/s11191-015-9749-7
Keywords:
embodied cognition, epistemology, math-physics integration, nature of science, philosophy of physics, physics semantics, sense making
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created May 18, 2023 by Sam McKagan
Record Updated:
June 13, 2023 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 13, 2015
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Record Link
AIP Format
E. Redish and E. Kuo, , Sci. & Educ. 24 (5-6), 561 (2015), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1007/s11191-015-9749-7).
AJP/PRST-PER
E. Redish and E. Kuo, Language of Physics, Language of Math: Disciplinary Culture and Dynamic Epistemology, Sci. & Educ. 24 (5-6), 561 (2015), <https://doi.org/10.1007/s11191-015-9749-7>.
APA Format
Redish, E., & Kuo, E. (2015, March 13). Language of Physics, Language of Math: Disciplinary Culture and Dynamic Epistemology. Sci. & Educ., 24(5-6), 561-590. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1007/s11191-015-9749-7
Chicago Format
Redish, Edward F., and Eric Kuo. "Language of Physics, Language of Math: Disciplinary Culture and Dynamic Epistemology." Sci. & Educ. 24, no. 5-6, (March 13, 2015): 561-590, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11191-015-9749-7 (accessed 26 May 2024).
MLA Format
Redish, Edward F., and Eric Kuo. "Language of Physics, Language of Math: Disciplinary Culture and Dynamic Epistemology." Sci. & Educ. 24.5-6 (2015): 561-590. 26 May 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1007/s11191-015-9749-7>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Edward F. Redish and Eric Kuo", Title = {Language of Physics, Language of Math: Disciplinary Culture and Dynamic Epistemology}, Journal = {Sci. & Educ.}, Volume = {24}, Number = {5-6}, Pages = {561-590}, Month = {March}, Year = {2015} }
Refer Export Format

%A Edward F. Redish %A Eric Kuo %T Language of Physics, Language of Math: Disciplinary Culture and Dynamic Epistemology %J Sci. & Educ. %V 24 %N 5-6 %D March 13, 2015 %P 561-590 %U https://doi.org/10.1007/s11191-015-9749-7 %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Redish, Edward F. %A Kuo, Eric %D March 13, 2015 %T Language of Physics, Language of Math: Disciplinary Culture and Dynamic Epistemology %J Sci. & Educ. %V 24 %N 5-6 %P 561-590 %8 March 13, 2015 %U https://doi.org/10.1007/s11191-015-9749-7


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