Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 2, Issue 1, Foreword (Jun., 2001)
Science as Story: Science Education by Story
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Science Education by Story

I recently was given two story books about science. The first was by Michael Guillen and was entitled Five Equations that Changed the World (Hyperion, 1995), and the second, by Dava Sobell, was Gallileo's Daughter (Fourth Estate, 1999). It is a pity the first author chose only equations that are associated with men, but the significance of women in their lives is very clear in the stories. The second book is built around a woman who was quite essentially important in one of the best-known historical dramas of science, that has so often been presented without any reference to her.

If I say one of the equations in the first of my books was Einstein's E=mc2, readers may like to hazard a guess what the other four equations are. Each of the five stories deals with three aspects that make sub-stories in themselves. The first is the story of the person who produced the equation, what was his background, how did he come to be engaged in this problem area, and what happened to him subsequently. Secondly, there is the story of how the science unfolded to lead to the famous equation, and finally there is the story of what the worldview of things was before the equation and how it was shaken up irreversibly when the equation finally appeared. Like any great storyteller, these three sub-plots are interwoven in ways that carry each along with the others, and continually give readers like me a sense of almost being there.


Copyright (C) 2001 HKIEd APFSLT. Volume 2, Issue 1, Foreword (Jun., 2001)