7/21 Translated version of Aristotle's Physics:
*http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/a/aristotle/a8ph*
\_ This is what the kids should be learnen' in school!
\_ I know you are making a joke, but in many ways Aristotle's
ideas re Physics formed the basis for Newtonian Physics
(iirc Aristotle came up w/ the idea of inertia, &c.) so
teaching children where modern science came from would be
a good thing.
\- i think teaching science is more important than where
science came from. i thought the st. john's program where
you read principia and such was sort of weird. the ancient
notations are not reasonable.
\_ I agree that teaching science is the most important
thing, but many students learn things better if they
can follow the historical development of an idea.
I also think that the LACK of historical knowledge
is one of the biggest problems in this country.
\_ One of the huge problems with presenting modern mathematics
is a culturally ingrained insistence, among mathematicians,
to present the completed edifice of knowledge. Personally,
I find math a lot easier to understand if one follows the
history of the field rather than the conceptual map of the
modern state of the field. -- ilyas
modern state of the field. Calculus, for instance, makes
a lot more sense when put in context of the physics people
were trying to solve by developing infinitesimals.
Similarly, group theory was developed to find polynomial
roots originally, etc. -- ilyas
\_ I think the claim that that will help the average grade
school student is ridiculous. The point of a math class
at that level is to teach a *skill*, not a set of facts.
I think a good math class at the gradeschool level should
be closer to a sports class than a history class. Should
baseball players be forced to learn cricket before
they play real baseball? Besides, neither the math nor
the physics taught in school is a "conceptual map of the
modern state of the field". Math stops at Newton and
physics never goes past the 1930's. I'm writing this
rant because I think fucking with the math curriculum
is very dangerous. I know people who were in school in
the "New Math" era, and most of them didn't learn
*anything*. And now there are a bunch of idiots trying
to get physics turned into some math-free freshman fluff
class so that highschool students can follow the
"logical" progression from physics to chemistry to
biology. If you haven't heard of it, look up the
"physics first" movement. Idiots.
\_ Look, I'm not saying that we replace phyiscs/math
w/ history lectures. Rather what I'm saying is that
when you teach a particular theory, just give 5
mins about where it came from. Some kids will just
get it better that way and the ones that really
care (yes, some of us NERDS actually did outside
unassigned reading for FUN) will go out and read
more aobut it.
more about it.
\_ Fine. I have no problem with history of science
as supplementary material, and yes, I spent quite
a bit of time reading that sort of thing when
I was in school as well. I was addressing the
issues of re-aranging the order in which subjects
are taught, and of teaching obsolete or otherwise
irrelevent technical material. Also, the
mainstream curriculum should not be primarily
aimed at math nerds. It should be set up so
a typical student can get competancy.
\_ You are barking up the wrong tree. I am not
a proponent of 'touchy-feely' education in
the hard sciences. I think to understand what
I am saying, you should show up for an upper
division or graduate math class sometime.
For the record, I think kids should learn what
a proof is (and start doing proofs) at the
age of 10. It boggles the mind that countries
let citizens vote while not explaining to them
what a coherent logical argument is. -- ilyas
\_ Your patronizing idiocy is impressive, yet
typical. I was a math major, have done
math research, and tought myself calculus
in 7th grade, so you can shove the
attitude straight up your ass. What is
good for a math major is *not* the same
as what is good for insuring basic
competence in math for the typical grade
school student.
\_ Do you even know what you are ranting
about anymore? Did I insult your
mathematical EPEEN, lafe? -- ilyas
\_ I am confused. I was a math major and
mathematicians (and physicists, chemists,
psychologists, economists, and others)
are fascinated with the history and
usually make it part of their courses.
Is your argument about grade school level
classes, because college classes seem to
already do what you are suggesting. --dim
\_ If you mean a historical presentation
of material, only 1 math teacher I had
ever did this (my graduate logic
instructor at UCLA). Most berkeley
math professors sucked as teachers, and
presented the material poorly. -- ilyas
presented the material poorly. Btw, the
UCLA guy's name is Itay Neeman. He is
awesome. I recommend taking anything
by him if you are ever at UCLA. -- ilyas
\_ Perhaps your last statement is
true, but it is irrelevant. A
lot of classes in different
subjects I had at Cal talked about
Archimedes, Newton, Riemann, Euler,
Descartes, Bohr, and so on.
Since science is built on the
foundations laid by others it is
hard to present the material w/o
mentioning these guys and their
contributions. Perhaps I
misunderstand what you mean
exactly. --dim
\_ My experience was very different.
The only two teachers before Cal
who talked about the history of
science/math were my Jr HS Bio
teacher and my Chem AP teacher.
And they only briefly mentioned
it. In Cal, only my 7c teacher
talked about history and that
was only bits about the A-Bomb.
I had to take Math 160 (History
of Math) to get any exposure
to math/science history.
My argument is that a historical
perspective should be included
at all levels. It shouldn't be
at the expense of the material
but rather as a way of supporting
the material and perhaps making
it a bit eaiser for students to
understand. |