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Different Senses of Entropy—Implications for Education

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Author(s): Jesper Haglund | Fredrik Jeppsson | Helge Strömdahl

Journal: Entropy
ISSN 1099-4300

Volume: 12;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 490;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: science education | thermodynamics | entropy | semantics | cognitive linguistics | polysemy

ABSTRACT
A challenge in the teaching of entropy is that the word has several different senses, which may provide an obstacle for communication. This study identifies five distinct senses of the word ‘entropy’, using the Principled Polysemy approach from the field of linguistics. A semantic network is developed of how the senses are related, using text excerpts from dictionaries, text books and text corpora. Educational challenges such as the existence of several formal senses of entropy and the intermediary position of entropy as disorder along the formal/non-formal scale are presented using a two-Dimensional Semiotic/semantic Analysing Schema (2-D SAS).

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