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Lanier-Shipp, ElizabethInvestigating Nature: John Bartram's Evolution as a Man of Science
Master of Arts (MA), Ohio University, 2007, History (Arts and Sciences)
As a humble Quaker in eighteenth-century Pennsylvania, John Bartram became an agent of the British Empire through his activities in natural philosophy and his association with London merchant Peter Collinson. During Bartram and Collinson’s thirty-five year correspondence, demands from people in Britain changed the roles Bartram occupied as a man of science as the two men created a botanical distribution business to supply Europe with North American specimens. Because of his personal and professional relationship with Collinson, Bartram shifted through three roles as a man of science during his lifetime. When King George III named him the Royal Botanist of North America, Bartram shifted from an informal to a formal agent of the British Empire. The story of Bartram’s transition represents the interdependency between the periphery and center of the British Empire, because the British relied on colonists like Bartram to provide knowledge about empire’s territorial possessions.

Committee:

Robert Ingram (Advisor)

Keywords:

John Bartram; Peter Collinson; British Empire; Natural Philosophy; History of Science; Atlantic World; Botany; Eighteenth Century; Commerce

Kim, Sun YoungGenetics instruction with history of science: nature of science learning
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2007, Teaching and Learning
This study explored the effect of history of genetics in teaching genetics and learning the nature of science (NOS). A quasi-experimental control group research design with pretests, posttests, and delayed posttests was used, combining qualitative data and quantitative data. Two classes which consisted of tenth grade biology students participated in this study. The present study involved two instructional interventions, Best Practice Instruction with History of Genetics (BPIw/HG) and Best Practice Instruction (BPI). The experimental group received the BPIw/HG utilizing various historical materials from the history of genetics, while the control group was not introduced to historical materials. Scientific Attitude Inventory II, Genetics Terms’ Definitions with Concept Mapping (GTDCM), NOS Terms’ Definitions with Concept Mapping (NTDCM), and View of Nature of Science (VNOS-C) were used to investigate students’ scientific attitude inventory, and their understanding of genetics as well as the NOS. The results showed that students’ scientific attitude inventory, and their understanding of genetics and the NOS were not statistically significantly different in the pretest (p>.05). After the intervention, the experimental group of students who received BPIw/HG demonstrated better understanding of the NOS. NTDCM results showed that the experimental group was better in defining the NOS terms and constructing a concept map (p<.01). In addition, the experimental group retained their understanding of the NOS two-months after the completion of the intervention, showing no statistically significant difference between the posttest and the delayed posttest of NTDCM (p>.05). Further, VNOS-C data indicated that a greater percentage of the experimental group than the control group improved their understanding of the NOS. However, the two groups’ understanding of genetics concepts did not show any statistically significant difference in the pretest, the posttest, and the delayed posttest (p>.05). This result implicated that allocating classroom time in introducing history of science neither helped nor hindered learning science content.

Committee:

Karen Irving (Advisor)

Subjects:

Education, Sciences

Keywords:

Nature of science; History of science; Genetics instruction

Mooney, Ryan E.Guiding “Big Science:” Competing Agency of Scientists and Funding Organizations in American Cold War Research
Master of Arts in History, Youngstown State University, 2015, Department of History
This research project aims to evaluate the agency of scientists participating in American Cold War research initiatives funded by the government. The aim will be to weigh the internal direction of scientific programs versus the external pressures faced from patron organizations such as the Department of Defense. The project utilizes secondary sources supported by governmental documentation as well as written and oral accounts of scientific and technical personnel involved in select research efforts. The two initiatives examined were aerospace research and its eventual adaptation to the space program, as well as nuclear testing and the national laboratories which supported it. Sources strongly suggested significant internal direction on the part of rank-and-file laboratory and technical personnel and very little pressure to orient research toward defense-related activities, despite some cooperative overlap.

Committee:

Brian Bonhomme, PhD (Advisor); Donna DeBlasio, PhD (Committee Member); Daniel Ayana, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Aerospace Engineering; American History; Military Studies; Philosophy of Science

Keywords:

history of science;history of space program;history of nuclear testing;history of aerospace research

Seker, HayatiThe Effect of Using the History of Science in Science Lessons on Meaningful Learning
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2004, Teaching and Learning
This dissertation presents a four-month study which investigated the effectiveness of curriculum materials incorporating the history of science on learning science, understanding the nature of science, and students’ interest in science. With regards to these objectives, three different class contexts were developed with three main types of historical information. In the first class context, the similarities between students’ alternative ideas and scientific concepts from the history of science were considered in developing teaching materials. In the second class context, the teacher developed discussion sessions on the ways scientists produce scientific knowledge. In the third class context, short stories about scientists’ personal lives were used without connection to the concepts of science or nature of science. Ninety-four eighth-grade students were randomly assigned to four classes taught by the same science teacher. The concepts in the motion unit and in the force unit were taught. Three of the four classrooms were taught using the contexts provided by the history of science while the fourth class was taught in the same way that the teacher had used in previous years. The effects on student meaningful learning, perceptions of the nature of science, and interest in science were evaluated at the beginning, at the middle, and at the end of the study to compare differences between historical class contexts and the Traditional Class. Results of analysis showed that the changes in meaningful learning scores for the first class context were higher than other classes but the differences between classes were not significant. The history of science affected student perceptions of the process of science and the role of inference in the process of science. Stories from scientists’ personal lives consistently stimulated student interest in science, while discussions of scientific methods without these stories decreased student interest. The positive effects of stories relating scientist’ personal life on student interest in science has major importance for the teaching of science. This research also helps to clarify different class contexts which can be provided with different types and uses of historical information.

Committee:

Arthur White (Advisor)

Subjects:

Education, Sciences

Keywords:

Science Education; Science History; History of Science; Nature of Science; Individual Interest; Situational Interest

Varga, Ian JasperFROM LIVING WORLD TO A DEAD EARTH: MARS IN AMERICAN SCIENCE SINCE THE SPACE AGE
MA, Kent State University, 2016, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of History
Since the 1960s, Mars has become a nearly constant fixture within American space science. The planet has garnered an exceptional status that puts it above other planets and space science projects, receiving far more investment from NASA than any other planet. In the twenty-first century, NASA has stated that Mars is one of its top priorities, and the planet continues to receive constant enthusiasm from the American media. This work seeks to explain Mars's rise to prominence within American space science, and, in particular, it asks why Mars has grown into such an emblematic topic over the course of five decades. In general, this set of chapters examines American Martian research from the 1960s through the year 2000 from the perspective of scientists. It concentrates on the development of interplanetary probes and missions that NASA sent to Mars during this period and the way these projects impacted American space science. Overall, this work argues that the growth of scientific interest in Mars is a result of the way scientists incorporated Martian research into broader principles within American society. Interplanetary Martian research began in the 1960s because of advocacy by a new group of scientists called exobiologists that argued that searching for life on Mars was important for science and society. This rhetoric appealed to an American culture already fascinated by notions of aliens and other habitable worlds. Exobiologists situated Martian research within American society, allowing it to garner scientific and public support despite a political climate focused on Cold War military priorities. Scientists invested in these Martian missions, such as Mariner IV, Viking, and Pathfinder, generally reinforced the importance of extraterrestrial life as the main priority in their research despite the evidence these missions provided. When Mariner IV did not portray any signs of Martian life in its images, exobiologists questioned the mission's comprehensiveness instead of altering their theories on extraterrestrial life. Likewise, when Viking's data showed Mars was lifeless, some scientists continued to believe Mars was a lucrative source of knowledge on life and its evolution. Other scientists worried that, without any sign of life on Mars, the planet was no longer a priority. The notion of Martian life, so popular with space scientists and American society, was necessary for Martian research to continue. As enthusiasm grows for further Martian projects or even manned missions, these chapters explain how Mars has become a symbol of American space science despite changing political climates. This work extends from both the height of the Cold War through its end to show that Mars depended more on social circumstances rather than political context. Overall, Mars is a useful topic for historians seeking to understand the connection between science and society.

Committee:

Matthew Crawford (Advisor); Kenneth Bindas (Committee Member); Mary Ann Heiss (Committee Member); David Pereplyotchik (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Astronomy; History; Science History

Keywords:

Mars; space science; exobiology; history of space science; history of science; Viking; extraterrestrial life;

Alcorn, Aaron L.Modeling Behavior: Boyhood, Engineering, and the Model Airplane in American Culture
Doctor of Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University, 2008, History

In the first five decades of the twentieth century, millions of American boys took up the hobby of building and flying model airplanes. For these, mostly middle-class, white youth, aeromodeling became a means to channel their fascination with the recent revolutionary developments in aviation and to participate in modernity. Adults who praised their interests, by contrast, viewed aeromodeling as more than just a timely popular pastime for boys, but as a way to encourage early technological engagement in the young and to inspire a future generation of professional inventors, engineers, and scientists. Beneath these glowing predictions about the benefits of boys' technologically inspired play, however, lay a subtext that expressed a host of anxieties about the place of boys in modern America.

As a case study in the history of childhood, of technology, and of popular culture, this dissertation situates the development of the consumer craft hobby of aeromodeling against the backdrop of the long history of American enthusiasm for technology and the highly contested landscape of childhood in the early twentieth century. In the process, I find aeromodeling's many meanings bound to widespread anxieties about the pace of technological change, the rise of consumer-oriented society, and the status of boys. Technical craft hobbies like building model airplanes reinforced gendered norms of technological engagement for boys and served as a cultural counterweight to the perception that boys risked becoming feminized by the allures of consumer culture. Ironically, these measures taken under the guise of cultivating masculine production also helped pave the way for the development of a vibrant consumer culture for children during the Great Depression. Aeromodeling, in short, provides an entry point into the history of the development of a specific consumer culture for children in the United States. In charting the social and cultural developments of this popular American pastime, this dissertation points to how middle-class Americans, old and young, negotiated the contested terrain of boyhood, as both a cultural ideal and a lived experience. In the process, this dissertation positions boys themselves, as consumers, as producers, and as users of model aircraft, as the co-creators of commercialized boy culture in the early twentieth century.

Committee:

Carroll Pursell (Advisor); Alan Rocke (Other); Renee Sentilles (Other); Todd Oakley (Other)

Subjects:

American History; American Studies; Gender; History; Science History; Technology; Transportation; Vocational Education

Keywords:

History of Science, Technology; American History; Aviation; Popular Culture; history of childhood, Childhood Studies; Boyhood; Gender Studies; Masculinity; Consumer Culture; Hobbies

Adair, Aaron MStudent Misconceptions about Newtonian Mechanics: Origins and Solutions through Changes to Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2013, Physics
In order for Physics Education Research (PER) to achieve its goals of significant learning gains with efficient methods, it is necessary to figure out what are the sorts of pre-existing issues that students have prior to instruction and then to create teaching methods that are best able to overcome those problems. This makes it necessary to figure out what is the nature of student physics misconceptions—prior beliefs that are both at variance to Newtonian mechanics and also prevent a student from properly cognizing Newtonian concepts. To understand the prior beliefs of students, it is necessary to uncover their origins, which may allow instructors to take into account the sources for ideas of physics that are contrary to Newtonian mechanics understanding. That form of instruction must also induce the sorts of metacognitive processes that allow students to transition from their previous conceptions to Newtonian ones, let alone towards those of modern physics. In this paper, the notions of basic dynamics that are common among first-year college students are studied and compared with previous literature. In particular, an analysis of historical documents from antiquity up to the early modern period shows that these conceptions were rather widespread and consistent over thousands of years and in numerous cultural contexts. This is one of the only analyses in PER that considers the original languages of some of these texts, along with appropriate historical scholarship. Based on the consistent appearance of these misconceptions, a test and interview module was devised to help elucidate the feelings students have that may relate to fictitious forces. The test looked at one-dimensional motion and forces. The first part of the interview asked each student about their answers to the test questions, while the second part asked how students felt when undergoing three cases of constant acceleration in a car. We determined that students confabulated relative motion with the experience of force; students claim to feel a force in the direction of relative motion even when the actual force is in the opposite direction. The interview process also showed how students had both their intuitive sense of physics as well as Newtonian concepts from instruction, and how each model was activated could be influenced by questions from the interviewer. In order to investigate how changes to instructional method and pedagogy may affect students’ ability to overcome their non-Newtonian intuitions, an experimental lecturing series was devised that used individual voting machines (“clickers”) to increase class participation and dialog in a fashion that was more student-centered. The experimental section also had video recordings of the lectures as well as concept-based video homework solutions. The initial availability of the videos hindered early use, and overall students rarely used these additions. The clicker system also had technical issues due to the volume of students and an interface that was not streamlined. Nonetheless, the results showed the experimental section to have significantly greater learning gains (d > 0.5, p ~ 0.01), and we determined that this was most likely due to the clicker system.

Committee:

Lei Bao (Advisor); Andrew Heckler (Committee Member); Gordon Aubrecht (Committee Member); Samir Matuhr (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Education; Physics; Science Education; Science History

Keywords:

Physics Education Research; history of science; misconceptions; Newtonian physics; education; constructivism