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European Journal of Physics
written by Laurence Viennot
Statements with implicit meanings are often used in physics. The paper deals with the importance and the possible consequences of such a practice, in the specific realm of constants. The question in fact is what meanings are triggered by common statements containing the word 'constant' and the ensuing difficulties which result. The word 'constant' may evoke a range of meanings with the two following notions at each end: number, the essential being its numerical value; and a constant function of certain variables, the important thing now being the listing of these variables. In this way constants appear as a particular aspect of functions of several variables. The results of an investigation among French and Belgian students at the beginning of their studies at University are reported and analysed. The usual interpretation of the word 'constant' is biased towards the numerical aspect of this notion, at the expense of its functional meaning. Lastly a plea follows for using exercises of 'text criticism' as pedagogical tools in teaching.
European Journal of Physics: Volume 3, Issue 3, Pages 174-80
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© 1982 Institute of Physics
Additional information is available.
Accession Number:
2117756
Keywords:
constants, implicit meanings, physics, students, teaching
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created July 14, 2005 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
October 17, 2005 by Vince Kuo
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 1, 1982
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Record Link
AIP Format
L. Viennot, Eur. J. Phys. 3 (3), 174 (1982), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1088/0143-0807/3/3/009).
AJP/PRST-PER
L. Viennot, Implicit meanings in physics: students and constants, Eur. J. Phys. 3 (3), 174 (1982), <https://doi.org/10.1088/0143-0807/3/3/009>.
APA Format
Viennot, L. (1982, July 1). Implicit meanings in physics: students and constants. Eur. J. Phys., 3(3), 174-80. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from https://doi.org/10.1088/0143-0807/3/3/009
Chicago Format
Viennot, Laurence. "Implicit meanings in physics: students and constants." Eur. J. Phys. 3, no. 3, (July 1, 1982): 174-80, https://doi.org/10.1088/0143-0807/3/3/009 (accessed 27 November 2020).
MLA Format
Viennot, Laurence. "Implicit meanings in physics: students and constants." Eur. J. Phys. 3.3 (1982): 174-80. 27 Nov. 2020 <https://doi.org/10.1088/0143-0807/3/3/009>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Laurence Viennot", Title = {Implicit meanings in physics: students and constants}, Journal = {Eur. J. Phys.}, Volume = {3}, Number = {3}, Pages = {174-80}, Month = {July}, Year = {1982} }
Refer Export Format

%A Laurence Viennot
%T Implicit meanings in physics: students and constants
%J Eur. J. Phys.
%V 3
%N 3
%D July 1, 1982
%P 174-80
%U https://doi.org/10.1088/0143-0807/3/3/009
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Viennot, Laurence
%D July 1, 1982
%T Implicit meanings in physics: students and constants
%J Eur. J. Phys.
%V 3
%N 3
%P 174-80
%8 July 1, 1982
%M 2117756
%U https://doi.org/10.1088/0143-0807/3/3/009


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