Analysis of Turkish General Chemistry Textbooks Based on a History and Philosophy of Science Perspective

  • Mansoor Niaz
  • Bayram Coştu


Research in science education has recognized the importance of analyzing science textbooks within a history and philosophy of science perspective (HPS). Similarly, reform documents have emphasized the importance of including HPS (Project 2061, AAAS). The objective of this chapter is to analyze general chemistry textbooks published in Turkey based on the following topics: (a) atomic structure, (b) determination of the elementary electrical charge (oil drop experiment), (c) kinetic molecular theory of gases, and (d) origin of the covalent bond. In each of the studies, both old (1964–1998) and new textbooks (2000–2006) were analyzed (n = 21–27). All textbooks are generally available in Turkish university libraries. Some of the salient results were (1) none of the textbooks mentioned the rivalry/conflict between Rutherford’s hypothesis of single scattering and Thomson’s hypothesis of compound scattering to explain alpha particle experiments and the Millikan–Ehrenhaft controversy to explain the oil drop experiment and (2) very few textbooks referred to Maxwell’s simplifying assumptions in order to postulate the kinetic molecular theory of gases and that the covalent bond (sharing electrons) had to compete with the ionic bond (transferring electrons).


Covalent Bond Ionic Bond Pauli Exclusion Principle Algorithmic Mode Historical Reconstruction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Achinstein, P. (1987). Scientific discovery and Maxwell’s kinetic theory. Philosophy of Science, 54, 409–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Achinstein, P. (1991). Particles and waves: Historical essays in the philosophy of science. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. American Association for Advancement of Science, AAAS. (1990). Science for all Americans. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS. (1989). Project 2061: Science for all Americans. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  5. Bohr, N. (1913). On the constitution of atoms and molecules. Philosophical Magazine, 26, 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brush, S. G. (1974). Should the history of science be rated. X. Science, 183, 1164–1172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brush, S. G. (1976). The kind of motion we call heat: A history of the kinetic theory of gases in the 19th century. New York: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  8. Cartwright, N. (1983). How the laws of physics lie. Oxford: Clarendon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clark, P. (1976). Atomism versus thermodynamics. In C. Howson (Ed.), Method and appraisal in the physical sciences: The critical background to modern science, 1800–1905 (pp. 41–105). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Coştu, B. (2007). Comparison of students’ performance on algorithmic, conceptual and graphical chemistry gas problems. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16, 379–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dirac, P. A. M. (1977). Ehrenhaft, the subelectron and the quark. In C. Weiner (Ed.), History of twentieth century physics (pp. 290–293). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  12. Dogan, N., & Abd-El-Khalick, F. (2008). Turkish grade 10 students’ and science teachers’ conceptions of nature of science: A national study. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45, 1083–1112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ehrenhaft, F. (1910). Uber die kleinsten messbaren elektrizitätsmengen. Zweite vorläufige mitteilung der methode zur bestimmung des elektrischen elementarquantums. Anzeiger Akad. Wiss. (Vienna), 10, 118–119.Google Scholar
  14. Ehrenhaft, F. (1914). Ueber die quanten der elektrizitaet. Annalen der Physik, 44, 657.Google Scholar
  15. Falconer, I. (1987). Corpuscles, electrons, and cathode rays: J. J. Thomson and the ‘discovery of the electron. British Journal for the History of Science, 20, 241–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gavroglu, K. (1990). The reaction of the British physicists and chemists to van der Waals’ early work and to the law of corresponding states. Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences, 20, 199–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hanson, N. R. (1958). Patterns of discovery. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Heilbron, J. L., & Kuhn, T. (1969). The genesis of the Bohr atom. Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 1, 211–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Herron, J. D. (1977). Rutherford and the nuclear atom. Journal of Chemical Education, 54, 499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Holton, G. (1978). Subelectrons, presuppositions, and the Millikan–Ehrenhaft dispute. Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 9, 161–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Holton, G. (1986). The advancement of science and its burdens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Jensen, W. B. (1984). Abegg, Lewis, Langmuir, and the octet rule. Journal of Chemical Education, 61, 191–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kohler, R. E. (1971). The origin of Lewis’s theory of the shared pair bond. Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 3, 343–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lakatos, I. (1970). Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programmes. In I. Lakatos & A. Musgrave (Eds.), Criticism and the growth of knowledge (pp. 91–195). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Lederman, N. G., Abd-El-Khalick, F., Bell, R., & Schwartz, R. (2002). Views of nature of science questionnaire: Toward valid and meaningful assessment of learners’ conceptions of nature of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39, 497–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lewis, G. N. (1916). The atom and the molecule. Journal of American Chemical Society, 38, 762–785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lewis, G. N. (1923). Valence and the structure of atoms and molecules. New York: Chemical Catalog.Google Scholar
  28. Macaroglu, E., Taşar, M. F., & Catloglu, E. (1998). Turkish preservice elementary school teachers’ beliefs about the nature of science. Paper presented at annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  29. Margenau, H. (1950). The nature of physical reality. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  30. Maxwell, J. C. (1860). Illustrations of the dynamical theory of gases. Philosophical Magazine, 19, 19–32. (Reproduced in Scientific Papers, 1965 (pp. 377–409). New York: Dover.)Google Scholar
  31. McMullin, E. (1985). Galilean idealization. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 16, 247–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Millikan, R. A. (1913). On the elementary electrical charge and the Avogadro constant. Physical Review, 2, 109–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Millikan, R. A. (1917). The electron: Its isolation and measurement and the determination of some of its properties. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  34. Millikan, R. A. (1947). Electrons (+ and -), protons, photons, neutrons, mesotrons, and cosmic rays (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  35. Millikan, R. A. (1950). The autobiography of Robert A. Millikan. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  36. Millikan, R. A. (1965). The electron and the light-quant from the experimental point of view (Nobel prize acceptance speech, 1923). Nobel lectures: Physics. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  37. Ministry of National Education. (2000). Journal of announcements of Ministry of National Education. Ankara, Turkey: National Education Press.Google Scholar
  38. National Research Council, NRC. (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  39. Niaz, M. (1994). Enhancing thinking skills: Domain specific/domain general strategies—A dilemma for science education. Instructional Science, 22, 413–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Niaz, M. (1998). From cathode rays to alpha particles to quantum of action: A rational reconstruction of structure of the atom and its implications for chemistry textbooks. Science Education, 82, 527–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Niaz, M. (2000a). The oil drop experiment: A rational reconstruction of the Millikan-Ehrenhaft controversy and its implications for chemistry textbooks. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37, 480–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Niaz, M. (2000b). A rational reconstruction of the kinetic molecular theory of gases based on history and philosophy of science and its implications for chemistry textbooks. Instructional Science, 28, 23–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Niaz, M. (2001). A rational reconstruction of the origin of the covalent bond and its implications for general chemistry textbooks. International Journal of Science Education, 23(6), 623–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Niaz, M. (2008). Teaching general chemistry: A history and philosophy of science approach. New York: Nova Science.Google Scholar
  45. Niaz, M. (2009). Critical appraisal of physical science as a human enterprise: Dynamics of scientific progress. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  46. Niaz, M. (2011). Innovating science teacher education: A history and philosophy of science perspective. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  47. Niaz, M., & Coştu, B. (2009). Presentation of atomic structure in Turkish general chemistry textbooks. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 10, 233–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Niaz, M., & Robinson, W. R. (1992). From‘algorithmic mode’ to ‘conceptual gestalt’ in understanding the behavior of gases: An epistemological perspective. Research in Science and Technological Education, 10, 53–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nurrenbern, S. C., & Pickering, M. (1987). Concept learning versus problem solving: Is there a difference. Journal of Chemical Education, 64, 508–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Osborne, J., Collins, S., Ratcliffe, M., & Duschl, R. (2003). What ‘ideas-about-science’ should be taught in school science? A Delphi study of the expert community. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40, 692–720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pauli, W. (1925). Über den Zusammenhang des abschlußes der elektronengruppen im atom mit der komplexstruktur der spektren. Zeitschrift für Physik, 31, 765–785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Porter, T. M. (1981). A statistical survey of gases: Maxwell’s social physics. Historical Studies in Physical Sciences, 12, 77–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Robinson, W. R., & Nurrenbern, S. C. (2009). Conceptual questions and challenge problems. Accessed August 24, 2009, from,
  54. Rodebush, W. H. (1928). The electron theory of valence. Chemical Review, 5, 509–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rutherford, E. (1911). The scattering of alpha and beta particles by matter and the structure of the atom. Philosophical Magazine, 21, 669–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sahin, N., Deniz, S., & Görgen, I. (2006). Student teachers’ attitudes concerning understanding the nature of science in Turkey. International Education Journal, 7, 51–55.Google Scholar
  57. Schwab, J. J. (1974). The concept of the structure of a discipline. In E. W. Eisner & E. Vallance (Eds.), Conflicting conceptions of curriculum. Berkeley, CA: McCutchan (first published in 1962).Google Scholar
  58. Thomson, J. J. (1897). Cathode rays. Philosophical Magazine, 44, 293–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Thomson, J. J. (1907). The corpuscular theory of matter. London: Constable.Google Scholar
  60. Thomson, J. J. (1914). The forces between atoms and chemical affinity. Philosophical Magazine, 27, 757–789.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Van der Waals, J. D. (1873). Over de continuiteit van den gas en vloeistoftoestand. Leyden.Google Scholar
  62. Wilson, D. (1983). Rutherford: Simple genius. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  63. Yalvac, B., & Crawford, B. (2002). Eliciting prospective science teachers’ conceptions of the nature of science in Middle East Technical University (METU), in Ankara. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 465 602).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Epistemology of Science Group, Department of ChemistryUniversidad de OrienteCumanáVenezuela
  2. 2.Yildiz Technical UniversityIstanbulTurkey

Personalised recommendations