How the history of physics can help us teach


  • Michael Reuben C. Solis Physics Department, De La Salle University


It is uncanny how our students echo the great wrong ideas of physics. Our students' preconceptions may be traced to ideas that were held by great thinkers such as Aristotle, Kepler, and Galileo. Since our students make the same mistakes as the great people, it pays to examine the roots of the wrong ideas that keep getting reinvented by our students.
In this workshop, we shall reexamine some of the ideas held by Galileo, and examine his precursors, both of the Aristotelian and the impetus school. We will examine what Galileo got right, and why he is justly recognized as the one who laid the foundations of kinematics. Finally, we will examine Galileo's mistakes, and find out why the science of dynamics had to await the coming of Newton. Along the way, some distortions of history will be exposed, for the benefit of future textbook writers.
A set of short lectures will be given, and short discussions. Problems will be given, worked through by the participants, and talked over afterwards.



Article ID



Panel Discussions, Workshops, and Tutorials



How to Cite

MRC Solis, How the history of physics can help us teach, Proceedings of the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas 24, SPP-2006-WS-03 (2006). URL: