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Issue 3, 2014
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The significance of the origin of physical chemistry for physical chemistry education: the case of electrolyte solution chemistry

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Abstract

Physical Chemistry's birth was fraught with controversy, a controversy about electrolyte solution chemistry which has much to say about how scientific knowledge originates, matures, and responds to challenges. This has direct implications for the way our students are educated in physical chemistry in particular and science in general. The incursion of physical measurement and mathematics into a discipline which had been largely defined within a laboratory of smells, bangs, and colours was equivalent to the admission into chemistry of the worship of false gods according to one chemist. The controversy can be classified as a battle between dissociationists on the one hand and associationists on the other; between the Europeans on the one hand and the British on the other; between the ionists on the one hand and the hydrationists on the other. Such strong contrasts set the ideal atmosphere for the development of argumentation skills. The fact that a compromise position, first elaborated in the late 19th century, has recently enhanced the explanatory capacity for electrolyte solution chemistry is challenging but one in which students can participate to their benefit.

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Jan 2014, accepted on 08 Mar 2014 and first published on 10 Mar 2014


Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/C4RP00010B
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Citation: Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2014,15, 266-275
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    The significance of the origin of physical chemistry for physical chemistry education: the case of electrolyte solution chemistry

    K. C. de Berg, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2014, 15, 266
    DOI: 10.1039/C4RP00010B

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