As a hypothetical high school student in AP physics, Hans Christian Von Bayer has written a book titled Warmth Disperses and Time Passes. He believes this history of thermodynamics is enough work in the field of physics that he should gain college credit without taking the AP exam.
One lone committee member sees enough in this unpublished manuscript that he should receive his credit. Von Bayer’s novel is a thorough account of how scientists like Maxwell, Carnot, and Lord Kelvin came to an understanding of the thermodynamic principles that govern the universe. In theory because Von Bayer understands how each scientist came to his understanding of thermodynamic principles, he should then theoretically understand the principles that these scientists hypothesized.
That’s all well and good, but that isn’t how understanding of a subject is truly achieved. I have personally sat through lecture after lecture of physical chemistry where we derive equations. With a complete understanding of the calculus of equations used in class, I should automatically be able to use them, right? Unfortunately for Von Bayer and me, understanding how something came to be does not mean you will understand the concept and be able to apply it. AP physics, as well as pretty much every other math-based class, is all about how well you can apply theory to actual problems. It does not do you any good to know how Boltzmann theorized his distribution principle if you cannot apply it to actual particles.
Additionally, thermodynamics are not the only universe governing principles that are covered in AP physics. A complete understanding of how heat and energy are related is only a fraction of the material covered in an AP physics and college level class. He does not closely examine projectile motion, electricity, magnetism, or how objects on an inclined plane will act. He briefly discussed electromagnetic waves, but this small mention is not representative of what one would learn about magnetic fields and electrical currently.
The AP test is standardized so every high school student in the United States who wishes to take the course and receive college credit must have the same level of understanding. If the College Board committee members decided to grant Von Bayer credit for physics, it would not be clear if he has met the same standard of the other high school student. This defeats the entire purpose of having a nationally standardized test, so it is highly unlikely the other committee members could be swayed to make an exception for Von Bayer.