Explaining the unexplainable: Translated scientific explanations (TSE) in public physics lectures

  • Kapon S
  • Ganiel U
  • Eylon B
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This paper deals with the features and design of explanations in public physics lectures. It presents the findings from a comparative study of three exemplary public physics lectures, given by practic-ing physicists who are acknowledged as excellent public lecturers. The study uses three different perspectives: the lecture, the lecturer, and the audience (high school physics teachers and students). It concludes with a grounded theory explanatory framework for public physics lectures. The framework demonstrates that a " Translated Scientific Explanation " (TSE) draws upon four clusters of explanatory categories: analogical approach, story, knowledge organization, and content. The framework suggests how the lecturer fits the content of the presentation to the audi-ence's knowledge throughout the lecture, taking into account the listeners' lack of necessary prior knowledge.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Contemporary physics
  • Informal education
  • Physics education
  • Popular science
  • Public lectures
  • Qualitative research
  • Science education

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  • Shulamit KaponTechnion Israel Institute of Technology Faculty of Education in Science and Technology

  • Uri Ganiel

  • Bat Sheva Eylon

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