The Use of History in Astronomy Education

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Session 37 -- History in Astronomy Education II
Oral presentation, Monday, 9, 1995, 2:00pm - 3:30pm

[37.01] The Use of History in Astronomy Education

Owen Gingerich (Harvard--Smithsonian CfA)

Three persuasive reasons for using historical materials in astronomy education are:

$\bullet$ The simplest concepts are introduced first in natural sequence.

$\bullet$ For non--science students, history can bridge to other interests.

$\bullet$ The historical perspective shows the changing and iterative nature of scientific explanatory structures.

To illustrate these points, this invited review paper will present a series of specific examples from my core science course, ``The Astronomical Perspective,'' believed to be Harvard's longest--running course still under the same management. \ (Contrary to some students' beliefs, it does not date back to the time of Ptolemy.)

An earlier version of this presentation is described in J.M. Pasachoff and J.R. Percy (eds.), The Teaching of Astronomy: \ Proceedings of the $105^{th}$ Colloquium of the International Astronomical Union. (Cambridge, 1990), pp. 39--44.

Monday program listing