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Concerning Scientific Discourse about Heat Documents

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Concerning Scientific Discourse about Heat 

written by David T. Brookes, George K. Horton, A. Van Heuvelen, and Eugenia Etkina

We aim to examine communication in physics from a linguistic perspective and suggest a theoretical viewpoint that may enable us to explain and understand many physics students' alternative conceptions. We present evidence, in the context of the concept of heat, that physicists seem to speak and write about physical systems with a set of one or more systematic metaphors that are well understood in their community. We argue that physics students appear to be prone to misinterpreting and overextending the same metaphors and that these misinterpretations exhibit themselves as students' alternative conceptions. We will analyze physicists' discourse about heat and present evidence of a connection between students' alternative conceptions and the possibility that they are misinterpreting the language that they read and hear.

Published September 9, 2004
Last Modified May 18, 2012

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