AP Physics


In the thought experiment where H.C. von Baeyer is 17 years old and attempted to use his unpublished manuscript, of Warmth Disperses and Time Passes, to get AP credit for OU next year was an interesting case for the scoring committee. From what I can remember during the time I took AP Physics, the test was not just testing physics formulas and concepts but the ability to critically think. After taking two classes of physics at OU as well, I can say that the goal is the same. Physics is inherently tough, with all the equations and calculus involved it seems that that is why physics is tough. But I do not believe this is the reason, simply memorizing concepts is not what will get you through with a passing grade, but the ability to think about the concepts you’ve learned and derive a solution to a complex problem by applying those concepts. So from this standpoint, I can see why four of the scoring committee would reject his manuscript off the bat, because  his ability to think critically was not tested. However, I do not believe this was the case, and neither does one of the scoring committee.

In his manuscript there are several instances where the ability to critically think has been appreciated, even if von Baeyer did not mention it directly. That is what the one individual on the scoring committee probably had seen. I believe that he would argue to the other members of the scoring committee that in his manuscript he shows signs of what the main goal of physics teaches. For example, in the recount of the formation of the second law of thermodynamics, von Baeyer talks about an individual named Sadi Carnot. Carnot was a French military engineer, and during his time with the military he had noticed that the significance of the steam engine. Carnot’s goal was to critically think about steam engines and how he believed that it was necessary to, “establish principles applicable not only to steam engines but to all imaginable heat-engines” (von Baeyer, 39). von Baeyer, although not directly showing praise, is telling how Carnot’s ability to not just use the steam engine as a day to day tool  but instead to realize its importance in the world and how that the  concept behind the steam engine can be related to a more complex solution. Continuing this example, von Bayer tells that just by thinking about a concept, Carnot developed new solutions that has eluded everyone.
 “… he tried, in his imagination, to follow the flow of the caloric as it emerged from the      coal fire and swirled around the parts of the machine. In this way he came to a startling    realization that had eluded everyone before him” (von Bayer, 41). 
This quote shows what critically thinking can lead to and this is what the argument of the scoring committee is revolved around. I believe that after reading a few more examples, similar to that of Carnot, the scoring committee would come to a consensus and allow von Baeyer to attend OU with physics credit. 

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