Re-Evaluating Some of the Fundamental Educational Questions in Line with the Development in New Physics

Article excerpt


The purpose of the study is to understand whether the developments in physics after quantum theory can have an impact on educational sciences. Throughout the research quantitative paradigms was used. The qualitative data were obtained from a focus group consisted of 6 physicists working at CERN. The data were subjected to a content analysis and analyzed in 11 themes and 21 sub-themes under 4 global themes. With the help of obtained results, a discussion was conducted about the possible impacts of developments in physics after the quantum theory on the science of education, aiming to contribute to the philosophy of science in an educational framework. As a proposal for further research, the general framework of five periodic meetings was determined and it aims at bringing together experts from different disciplines such as physics, philosophy, education and art.

Keywords: philosophy of quantum theory, new physics, impacts, educational sciences.

1. Introduction

The foundation of this study is based on the interpretations of quantum theory (Albert, 1992; Brush, 1980; Healey, 1989; Hughes, 1989; Riggs, 2009; Timpson, 2010) that consists of the Basic Interpretation (Jammer, 1989), the Copenhagen Interpretation (Bohr, 1937, 1961; Heisenberg, 1958; Lackey, 1970; Pagels, 2003), Orthodoxy Explanation (Bohm, 1989), the Collapse-Free Approach, the Naive Interpretation, the Radical Bayesian Interpretation (Jeager, 2009), the Process Interpretation and Interpretational Under determination (Omnes, 1994; Riggs, 2009; Selleri,1989).

The study also considered literature about Schrödinger's wave mechanics (Healey, 1989; Parker, 2006; Schreiber, 1994), the problem of properties (Deutsch, 1997; Penrose, 1989) which includes the EPR Paradox (Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen, 1935; Lindley, 2007), the Double Slit Experiment (Mittelstaedt, 1987; Prieur and Schieder, 1987), Hidden Variables (Bohm, 1989), Measurement (Heisenberg, 1958; Coles, 2001; Maudlin, 1995; Pagels, 2003), Quantum Entanglement (Bell, 1987, 1966, 1997; Bokulich and Jeager, 2010; Bub, 2010; Khrennikov, 2010; Ozorino de Almeida, 2009; Popescu, 2010) and recent developments in physics.

2. Main text

The central research question this study aims to answer is whether the developments in physics after quantum theory can have an impact on educational sciences? To answer this question, the study examined the points of view and perceptions of scientists working at CERN concerning the following two sub-questions: (1) Can the experiences of scientists at CERN be transformed into insights that can be used in educational sciences? (2) Which fields in educational sciences might be affected by recent developments in physics? In line with the research questions, the investigated hypotheses are as follows: (1) Physicists' experiences that help us to understand new viewpoints about the post quantum world can be transferred into educational sciences. (2) Developments in physics reveal the need for a new language and way of thinking in education.

2.1. Methodology

This section presents the research design, data collection and data analysis procedures that were decided to be most suitable for addressing the formulated research questions.

2.1.1. Research Design

The study is based on qualitative approach. The qualitative research paradigm works in an opposite direction and explores the unique features and circumstances surrounding a particular case (Ernest, 1997, p. 34). Qualitative research is a highly subjective approach that requires interpretation rather than measurement. Beliefs rather than facts are the target of analysis. In this paradigm, there are no predetermined hypotheses and no restrictions on the end product. What one does is observe, intuit and sense what is occurring in a natural setting, hence the term 'naturalistic inquiry' (Merriam, 1988, p. 17).

The purpose of qualitative research is to understand and explain participant meaning deeply (Morrow, 2005, p. …