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Science & Education

, Volume 28, Issue 9–10, pp 1055–1083 | Cite as

When Modern Physics Meets Nature of Science

The Representation of Nature of Science in General Relativity in New Korean Physics Textbooks
  • Wonyong Park
  • Seungran Yang
  • Jinwoong SongEmail author
Article

Abstract

The social reaction to the recent detection of the Higgs boson and gravitational waves provided evidence that public interest in modern physics has reached a high point. Although these modern physics topics are being introduced into the upper secondary physics curricula in a growing number of countries, their potential for teaching various aspects of scientific practice have yet to be explored. This article responds to this call by providing an analysis of new South Korean high school physics textbooks’ representations of nature of science (NOS), particularly as reflected in their general relativity theory section. Chapters from textbooks by five publishers are analyzed through the lens of the expanded family resemblance conceptualization of NOS. The results indicate that textbooks’ references to NOS are concentrated on aspects related to scientific knowledge, scientific practice, scientific methods, and professional activities of scientists, whereas the characteristics of science as a social-institutional system are underrepresented. In addition to this generic description, we also present a closer examination of how physics textbooks portray the story of the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration’s (LVC) gravitational-wave detection in 2015, and discuss implications for how the affordances of contemporary scientific domains such as general relativity and gravitational-wave physics for NOS instruction should be substantiated and supported by textbooks.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the reviewers, Hongbin Kim and Sibel Erduran for their insightful comments on earlier versions of this paper. This work was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2016S1A3A2925401).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

There are no conflicts of interest to declare.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of OxfordOxfordUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Department of Physics EducationSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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