Original Paper

Science & Education

, 16:775

First online:

Incommensurability and Multiple Models: Representations of the Structure of Matter in Undergraduate Chemistry Students

  • Fernando Flores-CamachoAffiliated withCentre for Applied Sciences and Technological Development, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Email author 
  • , Leticia Gallegos-CázaresAffiliated withCentre for Applied Sciences and Technological Development, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • , Andoni GarritzAffiliated withFaculty of Chemistry, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • , Alejandra García-FrancoAffiliated withCentre for Applied Sciences and Technological Development, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

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Abstract

The notion of incommensurability has provided a rationality criterion for the development of scientific theories, as well as some insight into theories developed by students while learning science. However, the relationship between the multiple models held by students and incommensurability requires further discussion. We present the results of empirical work that investigated the multiple models of the structure of the matter held by university students and we analyze these results using the notion of incommensurability. We also point out implications in the construction of students’ scientific models as they move forward in their careers.

Keywords

models incommensurability multiple representations structure of matter