Generating explanations for an emergent process

The movement of sand dunes

Lauren Barth-Cohen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The movement of sand dunes in the desert is an emergent process; the overall movement of a dune is influenced both by the random interactions among individual sand particles and by the process of wind adding and subtracting sand. People often misconstrued emergent processes as deterministic processes containing central causality. I present a case study of how one person, an adult, who was not an expert in physics, articulated and refined her explanation of the movement of sand dunes. She began with centralized causality but ended with an explanation containing the cogent emergent ideas. This case study is noteworthy in exemplifying the dynamic process of generating an explanation. The interviewee went through four different explanations at three different levels (macro, micro and mid-level) and concluded with an explanation that simultaneously addressed the movement of sand dunes at all three levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIP Conference Proceedings
Pages77-80
Number of pages4
Volume1289
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 Physics Education Research Conference, PERC - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Jul 21 2010Jul 22 2010

Other

Other2010 Physics Education Research Conference, PERC
CountryUnited States
CityPortland, OR
Period7/21/107/22/10

Fingerprint

dunes
sands
deserts
physics
interactions

Keywords

  • Clinical Interview
  • Complexity
  • Explanation
  • Fluid Dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Barth-Cohen, L. (2010). Generating explanations for an emergent process: The movement of sand dunes. In AIP Conference Proceedings (Vol. 1289, pp. 77-80) https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3515253

Generating explanations for an emergent process : The movement of sand dunes. / Barth-Cohen, Lauren.

AIP Conference Proceedings. Vol. 1289 2010. p. 77-80.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Barth-Cohen, L 2010, Generating explanations for an emergent process: The movement of sand dunes. in AIP Conference Proceedings. vol. 1289, pp. 77-80, 2010 Physics Education Research Conference, PERC, Portland, OR, United States, 7/21/10. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3515253
Barth-Cohen L. Generating explanations for an emergent process: The movement of sand dunes. In AIP Conference Proceedings. Vol. 1289. 2010. p. 77-80 https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3515253
Barth-Cohen, Lauren. / Generating explanations for an emergent process : The movement of sand dunes. AIP Conference Proceedings. Vol. 1289 2010. pp. 77-80
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