GIREP Conference Proceedings and Selected Contributions

Munchen 1988

Proceedings of the GIREP-ICPE-UNESCO International Conference



This conference was the third in a sequence with the title “TEACHING MO- DERN PHYSICS”. Whereas the previous conferences carried the subtitles “Elementary Particles, Cosmology, and Relativity” (CERN 1984) and “Quarks, Quasars and Quandaries” (Fermilab 1986), the subtitle of this conference was “Condensed Matter”. It was intended to thus indicate the field, but a complete covering never was intended; to reach a partial covering, in an exemplary sense, the topics “Structure” (A), “Materials Science”(B), and “Electronic Properties” (C) have been chosen as thematic guide-lines.

A conference devoted to “TEACHING MODERN PHYSICS” must provide more than a mere collection of new results: It is necessary to induce an inter- action between physicists active in research on the one side, and experts in education on the other side. Whereas the research physicist in most ca- ses is fully occupied by his research work and by his communication with collegue-specialists in his own field, the teaching expert is in a hopeless position if he on his own wants to cope with the developments in all re- search sectors up to a high level. In addition, it is more and more under- stood that the teaching expert, the didactician, is not just acting as a kind of reproducer, but that he is more a kind of a translator: He must speak and understand the “language” of the researcher as well as the “language” of the educator. It was a quite new idea to create this type of conference in order to promote the necessary interaction between research experts and teaching experts, and to develop a mutual understanding of the respective “languages”.

For this reason, in addition to plenary lectures given by invited renowned research physicists, the conference-program installed various “Working- Groups”, each guided by an experienced team of physicists and educators. As a frame for the active work to be done within the groups, a collection of contributed posters, an exhibition, a bibliography and scientific excur- sions have been offered.

It was a remarkable experience to see the positive reactions on the invi- tations to give a plenary lecture at a conference of this type, and I want to express my thanks for this enormous encouragement. Also the group- leaders showed a remarkable and powerful steadinesss in doing their jobs before, during, and after the conference. In view of the large capabilities of the cooperating group-leaders it seems adviseable for a future con- ference organizer to put even more work into detailed outlinings for the preparative work to be done by the group-leaders.

The abo’ut 200 participants typically came from three different, about equally large groups:
– physicists active in research and lecturing, affiliated to universities or to research institutes,
– physicists mainly working as teaching experts in education (teacher training, curriculum development, educational research, text book authors), affiliated to universities or to institutes of education or similar, – physics teachers affiliated to schools at pre-university level.
About 43 % of the participants came from the F.R.Germany, about 31 % from western Europe (without FRG) and USA, and almost 25 % came from eastern Europe and developing countries. Almost 50 % played an active role as lecturer, or as group-leader, or as contributor of a poster or exhi- bit; the rest was engaged within the working-groups.

Our proposal for this conference, submitted to the International Commission on Physics Education of IUPAP, was supported in a most sensitive way by its chairman, Professor E.L. Jossem. With his help and advice the sponsor- ship of IUPAP and the establishment of the Program Consultative Committee was reached. Consequently, a sponsoring or a recommendation by several other institutions, groups, and companies was gained. The financial side of this sponsoring not only allowed us to partially take care of the invited participants and of participants coming from countries with weak currency, but also put us into the position to keep the registration fee on a low le- vel and still to provide circumstances favourable for productive conference work; the ideal side of the sponsoring encouraged and enabled us to put up a pretentious program and to win the cooperation of the proper repre- sentative lecturers and group-leaders .

I want to express acknowledgements and cordial thanks to E.L. Jossem and to all sponsors, but expecially to the lecturers, the group leaders, and the other contributors for their enthusiastic work during the conference as well as for their readiness to put – without too much delay – considerable work into the manuscripts compiled in this volume. As the editors we havemade only minor corrections and adjustments in some manuscripts; we have not tried, however, to adjust various degrees of content and elaboration. Thus, the reader will find an image of the spectrum of activities during the conference, ranging from the representation of specific information on the one hand to indications of the content of discussions and general sug- gestions on the other hand.

Last not least my orgamzmg team duely has to be mentioned: My co- workers H. Deger, R. Dengler and R. Worg have carried a considerable frac- tion of organisational and editorial work in a most engaged and coopera- tive way; the secretaries Mrs. A. Ochs and Mrs. S. Muller in their volumi- nous secretarial work have managed to withstand all attacks of excitement without producing any kind of breakdown; additionally, about ten students as well as Mrs. Deger, Mrs. Franke and my wife during the conference have taken care for local tasks. Thanks to all of them; in total, I consider it a lucky event to have had such a fine team for the whole organisational and editorial work, from the very beginning to the very end.

Miinchen, February l 7tb 1989

K. Luchner

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Copenaghen 1986

Proceedings of the GIREP International Conference



It i s a pleasure and an honour to welcome you to the Tenth

Internati onal Conference of GIREP . I remember the occas i on in Malve rn 1968 when about twenty people met for the first independent GIREP conference. Now, wit h 150 part icipants from many countries it i s very di fferent. Yet, in the most important way, it is the same: We have come together here for the same reason that the founders of GIREP come together in Malvern , we share a professional and

personal commitment to improving educa – tion in physics and education through physics.

GIREP exists to help us to develop and nourish that commitment. We do this
mainly through these meetings and through the publications that follow fnom them.

Our r esources are very small, but we can attract he lp from others who appre- ciate the importance of our work. So, for this meeting, Poul Thomsen has worked hard and successfully to attract such help and I would like to express our particular gratitude to the following:

– The European Space Agency who, through M. Bonnet and Mr. Longdon, are helping both with expenses of speakers and by looking after the publ ication of our proceedings . We welcome here Mr . Hunt who is with us to look after the work on the proceedings

– UNESCO who, t hrough M. Samady, continue to help us with grants to assist parti- cipants from developing countri es

– The Danish Ministry of Education and the Danish Natural Science Research Council for encouragement , support and financial help

– The Egmont H. Petersen Foundation for a very generous grant so that we can help participants with their costs

– The Royal Danish School of Educational Studi e s , where , under Poul Thomsen’s leadership, the staff have provided the essential base and the skills to organize this excellent programme in such a com- fortable environment. I would particular- ly like to welcome today the Director ofthe Royal Danish School, Professor Hen- ning Andersen, and to express to him the thanks of a ll of us for the School’ s provision of i ts staff , its faci lities and its resources to make this meeting possible.

So now I look forward with you to enjoy- ing this meeting . Copenhagen was the

venue for the Se cond Conference of GIREP: The success of that conference helped our work to develop and grow. I am sure thi s meeting wil l be similarl y successful and equally productive .

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Utrecht 1984

Proceedings of the GIREP-UNESCO International Conference



This volume contains the proceedings of the ninth GIREP-seminar on physics education which was devoted to the many faces of teaching and learning mechanics. These proceedings include not only all the unabridged invited and contributed papers, as shown in the program, but also a number of additional contributions, that had not been selected for verbal presentation.
All papers have not been refereed concerning their contents, but some editing
has been done with respect to lay-out and an all too serious mis-use of the Englis h language.
To prevent unnecessary delay such corrections have been made without further correspondence with the authors.
All speakers and contributors have got in good time some guidelines for the preparation of manuscripts. Unfortunately, many people have interpreted these guidelines in their own way, while some apparently had not read them at all.
This has caused considerable delay in the date of publication of this volume,
as the wor s t papers had t o be r etyped and corrected , I’ld like to advise contributors to future conferences, to follow possible publication guidelines
as closely as possible .
These proceedings have been organised in correspondence with the subtopics of
the conference-program.

However, as the subtopics were clearly not completely disjunct, to put it mildly, some papers could have been placed in several chapters. I can only hope that the authors concerned eventually may agree with the decisions I have taken .
Finally, this volume appears to be a very heavy one. In the guidelines a maximum of seven pages was mentioned for a contributed paper and it is quite striking to see how well this number has been chosen. Almost everybody needed about that amount!
As a result, this volume will take you many hours of reading. I hope that most of them will be really enjoyable.

The editor.

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