GIREP Thematic Group: Mathematics in Physics Education

(by GESCHE POSPIECH, TU Dresden, Germany)

The goal of physics education consists in conveying the principles and concepts of physics as complete as possible to the students. The description of physical processes by mathematical means is one of the most characteristic traits and most powerful tools of physics. In order to investigate these interrelations from an educational perspective, many questions arise. The overarching question is: Can the domain of mathematical structures improve the understanding of physical concepts and if so, in which way? What interplay of mathematics and physics is appropriate to teach topics of modern physics in school level? In this connection it is important to stress that a broad meaning of the term “mathematics” is needed: it includes all kinds of structuring and ordering physical processes: using abstract methods like idealization and modeling as well as using a broad range of mathematical elements such as diagrams, graphs and formalized sketches (e. g. arrows) and equations.

In order to address this complex theme from different perspectives and theoretical frameworks international efforts have to be made. Therefore all people interested in this subject “Mathematics in Physics education”, are invited to contribute to the Thematic Group or join the Group during the GIREP Meetings and Conferences. The following aspects might be possible:

In establishing this thematic group we are looking forward to ideas concerning open questions, to workshops or meetings and to research contributions as well as critical remarks. All people interested in these questions are invited to put forward their ideas and to start a discussion about this subject.

Please email to gesche.pospiech[at]