Becoming physicists
Paper i proceeding, 2009

This paper makes use of research into group work in a first year physics course to raise questions and argue a case concerning the induction of young scientists into the discipline of physics. In doing so it focuses our attention on academic disciplines in general, how they have been constructed, how power within them is maintained, their affect on knowledge building and how, if power is abused and knowledge stunted, they might be deconstructed. Data from videotapes of the group work is analysed to see how young physicists take their first steps within their discipline, both intellectually, in terms of subject matter, and socially, in terms of a community of practice. We make use of the work of Jan Nespor (1994) to argue that the way the first year physics students work is different from small groups in other disciplines. By investigating the ‘storylines’ that emerge in the group work (Harre and van Langenhove, 1999; Linehan and McCarthy, 2000) we are able to synthesise the various plots inherent in the students’ interaction and better understand how they situate themselves as novice physicists.


Michael Christie

Chalmers, Tillämpad informationsteknologi

Maria Berge

Chalmers, Tillämpad informationsteknologi

Åke Ingerman

Göteborgs universitet

Proceedings of the 7th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities, Hawaii

1541-5899 (ISSN)




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