Alejandro Gangui

University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires F.D., Argentina

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Publications (59)147.08 Total impact

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    Alejandro Gangui, Esteban Dicovskiy, Maria Iglesias
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    ABSTRACT: In this chapter, we present some reflections about the learning process -and its implications in the teaching- of notions related to the phases of the Moon.
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    Guillermo Sequera, Alejandro Gangui
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    ABSTRACT: The Tom\'ar\~aho is an ethnic group of the Paraguayan Chaco who maintained close contact with nature and developed original ways of explaining and understanding it. This article presents the first results of an interdisciplinary project seeking to provide a detailed analysis of different astronomical elements in the imagined sky of the Tom\'ar\~aho.
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    Alejandro Gangui, Eduardo L. Ortiz
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    ABSTRACT: Observing the early years of the 1920's, it is possible to detect a fracture in the perception of relativity theory in Argentina, characterized by the publication of a series of strictly scientific studies on this theory, in parallel with presentations aimed at the general culture. In this work, we attempt to relate this fracture with the advances made by Anti-Positivist ideas in the higher echelons of Argentine culture. The new philosophical approach configured a new vision of science that questioned the traditional methodology of the experimental sciences and attributed to the theoretical sciences a more prominent role than they had in the past. In this work, we present a detailed account of a 1923 paper by Jos\'e B. Collo and Te\'ofilo Isnardi, two young Argentine physicists trained in Germany, which is a representative contribution to this new trend.
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    Guillermo Sequera, Alejandro Gangui
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    ABSTRACT: The small community of the Tomárâho, an ethnic group culturally derived from the Zamucos, have become known in the South American and world anthropological scenario in recent times. This group, far from the banks of the Paraguay river, remained concealed from organized modern societies for many years. Like any other groups of people in close contact with nature, the Tomárâho developed a profound and rich world-view which parallels other more widely researched aboriginal cultures as well as showing distinctive features of their own. This is also apparent in their imagery of the sky and of the characters that are closely connected with the celestial sphere.This paper is based on the lengthy anthropological studies of G. Sequera. We have recently undertaken a project to carry out a detailed analysis of the different astronomical elements present in the imagined sky of the Tomárâho and other Chamacoco ethnic groups. We will briefly review some aspects of this aboriginal culture: places where they live, regions of influence in the past, their linguistic family, their living habits and how the advancement of civilization affected their culture and survival. We will later mention the fieldwork carried out for decades and some of the existing studies and publications. We will also make a brief description of the methodology of this work and special anthropological practices. Last but not least, we will focus on the Tomárâho conception of the sky and describe the research work we have been doing in recent times.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 01/2011; 7(S278). DOI:10.1017/S1743921311012488
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    Alejandro Gangui, Maria Iglesias, Cynthia Quinteros
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    ABSTRACT: We perform a situational diagnosis in topics of astronomy of pre-service elementary teachers in order to try and develop didactic tools that better collaborate with their formal education. In this work we present the instrument we designed to put in evidence some of the most frequently used models on a few basic astronomical notions endowed by them. We work with an open written questionnaire comprising a limited but representative group of basic astronomical notions. We discuss the results of two first pilot tests, provided to 30 individuals, and we comment on the necessary changes applied to the instrument in order to design the final questionnaire, which was then provided to another group of 51 pre-service elementary teachers. A detailed qualitative analysis of the answers revealed many well-known alternative conceptions, and others that seem new. We find that prospective teachers have a hard time in trying to explain the movements of the Moon and its phases. They also meet difficulties to recognize and explain a couple of astronomical elements that make part of our ordinary language, like the origin of a shooting star and the real identity of the "lucero" (i.e., planet Venus). Amongst the answers offered to explain the causes of the seasons, we found a singular causality, which we think has not been sufficiently emphasized in the literature so far. Many of the inquired people did not advance an explicative model -a cause: say, the tilt of the Earth's axis- to justify a particular phenomenon -the effect: the seasons on the Earth-, but rather made use of another phenomenon/effect, in the present case related to the climate, in order to explain the seasons. However, as we know, this phenomenon/effect (the climate) has a strong astronomical component. We present here the full results of the first two tests and of the final instrument employed, and we draw some conclusions. Comment: Article in Spanish, PDF document; Published version available at http://saum.uvigo.es/reec/ . A previous analysis of our results, in English, can be found at http://arxiv.org/abs/1006.0179
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    Alejandro Gangui, Maria Iglesias, Cynthia Quinteros
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown that not only primary school students but also their future teachers reach science courses with pre-constructed and consistent models of the world surrounding them. These ideas include many misconceptions which turn out to be robust and hence make difficult an appropriate teaching-learning process. We have designed some tools that proved helpful in putting in evidence some of the most frequently used alternative models on a few basic astronomical notions. We have tested these tools with preservice elementary teachers from various normal schools in Buenos Aires and made a first analysis of the results. The collection of data recovered so far shows that some non-scientific conceptions are indeed part of the prospective teachers' (scientific) background and that, therefore, the issue deserves special attention during their formal training. Comment: to appear in The Role of Astronomy in Society and Culture: Proceedings of the IAU Symposium 260, D. Valls-Gabaud and A. Boksenberg (eds), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, IAU Symposia Series
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 06/2010; DOI:10.1017/S1743921311003164
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    Alejandro Gangui
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    ABSTRACT: Astronomical and cosmological knowledge up to the dawn of modern science was profoundly embedded in myth, religion and superstition. Many of these inventions of the human mind remain today stored in different supports: medieval engravings, illuminated manuscripts, and of course also in old and rare books. Comment: to appear in The Role of Astronomy in Society and Culture: Proceedings of the IAU Symposium 260, D. Valls-Gabaud and A. Boksenberg (eds), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, IAU Symposia Series
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 11/2009; DOI:10.1017/S1743921311003346
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    Alejandro Gangui, Maria Iglesias, Cynthia Quinteros
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    ABSTRACT: A didactic sequence of activities on some topics of Astronomy, related mainly with the length and orientation of shadows cast by a gnomon, the movement of shadows during daytime in different seasons of the year, and finding the true astronomical North, is fully developed. It also includes a discussion of observations from different frames of reference and of some topics in the history of science to enrich a debate among students, as well as the construction of a simplified model for the apparent displacement of the Sun, and of a sundial, and their use as resources to discuss some common misconceptions found in students. Multiple suggestions and clear guides are given for teachers of secondary education to implement theses activities in their classes. Comment: Article in Spanish, PDF document; Published version available at http://cms.iafe.uba.ar/gangui/didaastro/ch/ . Posted here as a contribution to the International Year of Astronomy 2009
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    Albert Einstein, Alejandro Gangui, Eduardo L. Ortiz
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    ABSTRACT: Honorable Rector, Honorable Professors, and Students of this University: In these times of political and economic struggle and nationalistic fragmentation, it is a particular joy for me to see people assembling here to give their attention exclusively to the highest values that are common to us all. I am glad to be in this blessed land before a small circle of people who are interested in topics of science to speak on those issues that, in essence, are the subject of my own meditations.. [abridged].
    Science in Context 04/2009; · 0.29 Impact Factor
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    Alejandro Gangui, Eduardo L. Ortiz
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    ABSTRACT: In 1922 the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) Council approved a motion to send an invitation to Albert Einstein to visit Argentina and give a course of lectures on his theory of relativity. The motion was proposed by Jorge Duclout (1856-1927), who had been educated at the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule, Zurich (ETH). This proposal was the culmination of a series of initiatives of various Argentine intellectuals interested in the theory of relativity. In a very short time Dr. Mauricio Nirenstein (1877-1935), then the university's administrative secretary, fulfilled all the requirements for the university's invitation to be endorsed and delivered to the sage in Berlin. The visit took place three years later, in March-April 1925. The Argentine press received Einstein with great interest and respect; his early exchanges covered a wide range of topics, including international politics and Jewish matters. Naturally, the journalists were more eager to hear from the eminent pacifist than from the incomprehensible physicist. However, after his initial openness with the press, the situation changed and Einstein restricted his public discourse to topics on theoretical physics, avoiding some controversial political, religious, or philosophical matters that he had freely touched upon in earlier interviews.. [abridged].
    Science in Context 04/2009; 21(3). DOI:10.1017/S0269889708001853 · 0.29 Impact Factor
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    Alejandro Gangui
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    ABSTRACT: First part of a didactic sequence of activities on some topics of Astronomy, related mainly with the day and night cycle and the seasons, including the construction of a simplified solar system model and its use as a resource to discuss some common misconceptions found in students. Multiple suggestions and clear guides are given for teachers of the first two years of secondary education to implement theses activities in their classes.
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    Alejandro Gangui
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    ABSTRACT: Second part of a didactic sequence of activities on some topics of Astronomy, related mainly with the real shape of the Earth, the gravitational interactions between our planet and other celestial bodies, and the resulting movement of the rotational axis of the Earth, leading to the precession of the equinoctial points. All elements are given for the construction of a simplified Sun-Earth system model, with a zodiacal band surrounding it, in order to show in a pedagogical manner how precession involves a shift of the zodiacal constellations in time.
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    Alejandro Gangui
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    ABSTRACT: In no other epoch of Western history like in the Middle Ages, cosmology was so key an element of culture and, one way or another, the motion of the heavens ended up impregnating the literature of that time. Among the most noteworthy poets we find Dante Alighieri, who became famous for his Commedia, a monumental poem written roughly between 1307 and his death in 1321, and which the critics from 16th century onwards dubbed Divina. In this and other works, Dante pictures the cosmic image for the world, summing up the current trends of Neoplatonic and Islamic traditions. The Barolo Palace in the city of Buenos Aires is a singular combination of both astronomy and the worldview displayed in Dante's poetic masterpiece. Some links of the Palace's main architectural structure with the three realms of the Comedy have been studied in the past. In this note we consider its unique astronomical flavor, an issue which has not been sufficiently emphasized yet.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 12/2008; 5:346 - 353. DOI:10.1017/S1743921311002511
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    Alejandro Gangui
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    ABSTRACT: Common wisdom says that cosmologists are smart: they have developed a theory that can explain the “origin of the universe”. Every time an astro-related, heavily funded “big-science” project comes to the media, naturally the question arises: will science –through this or that experiment– explain the origin of the cosmos? Can this be done with the LHC, for example? Will this dream machine create other universes? Of course, the very words we employ in cosmology reinforce this misconception: so Big Bang must be associated with an “explosion”, even if a “peculiar” one, as it took place nowhere (there was presumably no space before the beginning) and happened virtually in no time (supposedly, space-time was created on this peculiar –singular– event). Right, the issue sounds confusing. Let us imagine what kids may get out of all this.We have recently presented a series of brief astronomy and cosmology books aimed at helping both kids and their teachers in these and other arcane subjects, all introduced with carefully chosen words and images that young children can understand. In particular, Volume Four deals with the Big Bang and emphasizes the notion of “evolution” as opposed to the –wrong– notion of “origin” behind the scientific model. We then explain some of the pillars of Big Bang cosmology: the expansion of space that drags away distant galaxies, as seen in the redshift of their emitted light; the build-up of light elements in a cooling bath of radiation, as explained by primordial nucleosynthesis; and the existence and main features of the ubiquitous cosmic microwave background radiation, where theory and observations agree to a highly satisfactory degree.Of course, one cannot attempt to answer the “origins” question when it is well known that all theories so far break down close to this origin (if there was actually an origin). It is through observations, analyses, lively discussions and recognition of the basic limitations of current theories and ideas, that we are led to try and reconstruct the past and predict the future evolution of our universe. Just that. Sound science turns out to be much more attractive when we tell the truth of what we really know.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 12/2008; 5:666 - 669. DOI:10.1017/S1743921311002985
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    Alejandro Gangui, Eduardo L. Ortiz
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    ABSTRACT: We consider the attitude of astronomers in Argentina in connection with the new problems posed by relativity theory, before and after GR was presented. We begin considering the sequence of "technical" publications that appeared and use it to attempt to identify who were the relativity leaders and authors in the Argentina scientific community of the 1910-1920s. Among them there are natives of Argentina, permanent resident scientists, and occasional foreign visitors. They are either academic scientists, or high school teachers; we leave aside the {\it philosophers} and the {\it aficionados}. We discuss the scientific facts and publications they handled, the modernity of their information and the "language" they use to transmit their ideas. Finally, we consider astronomers proper; first Charles Perrine, an astronomer interested in astrophysics, contracted by the government of Argentina in the USA as director of its main observatory. He became interested in testing the possible deflection of light rays by the Sun towards 1912; his Argentine expedition was the first to attempt that test. Perhaps Perrine was not so much interested in relativity as in testing the particular astronomical effects it predicted. In any case, he attempted the test with the acquiescence and financial support of the Argentine state, and as a leading member of its official scientific elite. We contrast his very specific and strictly scientific efforts with those of our second astronomer, Jos\'e Ubach, SJ, a secondary school teacher of science at a leading Buenos Aires Catholic school who reported in response to Eddington's expedition. Finally, our third astronomer is F\'elix Aguilar, who made an effort to contribute to the public understanding of Einstein's theories in 1924, when Einstein's visit to Argentina had become a certainty. [abridged]
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    Alejandro Gangui, Maria Iglesias, Cynthia Quinteros
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    ABSTRACT: The present situation of the teaching-learning relationship in astronomy is rarely investigated in our country. This is so, even when it is widely recognized that astronomy is an integral discipline, at the crossroads of advances in physics, geology, chemistry, etc. In this project we aim at contributing with the situational diagnosis in topics of astronomy of preservice elementary teachers, and to try and develop didactic tools that better collaborate with their formal education. We work with an open written questionnaire, designed to put in evidence some of the most frequently used models on a few basic astronomical notions. We here describe the main questions included in the test, and show our first results and some conclusions after having addressed the questionnaire to a number of preservice elementary teachers.
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    Maria Iglesias, Cynthia Quinteros, Alejandro Gangui
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    ABSTRACT: Both the basic educational contents for students and study programs for science teachers include several topics in physics and astronomy, from the simplest ones to others as advanced as nuclear fusion to explain stellar evolution and space-time geometry for an approach to modern cosmology. In all these subjects, and most often in the simplest ones, alternative conceptions emerge, as both groups reach science course with preconstructed and consistent models of the universe surrounding them. In this work we present a series of basic questionings that make us reflect on the present situation of the teaching-learning relationship in astronomy within the framework of formal education. We then briefly explain our project aiming at finding the real learning situation of both students and prospective primary-school teachers in astronomical topics and, from the expected results of it, we point towards the need to develop didactic tools that could contribute to improve formal education in astronomy issues.
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    Alejandro Gangui, Eduardo L. Ortiz
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    ABSTRACT: In an article published by Mauricio Nirenstein in 1925, a few months after the visit of Albert Einstein to Argentina, the author wrote various comments and references relative to the scientist's visit. In particular, Nirenstein mentioned a personal conversation he had with Einstein in which the sage expressed many interesting ideas on the epistemology of physical sciences. In a note to that article, it was indicated that Einstein would have left in the hands of Nirenstein some notes of a speech he wanted to deliver at the University of Buenos Aires. From 1931 onwards there appeared in a few journals of this city, different versions of what became known as the "inedito" of Einstein. In this paper we discuss both the facts and the individuals. We analyse briefly the "inedito" and we compare it with the two introductory lectures Einstein delivered at the University of Buenos Aires and at the Faculty of Science.
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    Alejandro Gangui
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    ABSTRACT: Models constructed by scientists to explain the world often incorporate their actual individual conceptions about different physical phenomena. Likewise, prospective teachers reach general science courses with preconstructed and consistent models of the universe surrounding them. In this project we present a series of basic questionings that make us reflect on the present situation of the teaching-learning relationship in astronomy within the framework of formal education for elementary school teachers. Our project main aims are: 1) to contribute to finding out the real learning situation of preservice elementary teachers, and 2) from these studies, to try and develop didactic tools that can contribute to improve their formal education in topics of astronomy. In spite of being of chief importance within the science teaching topics, mainly due to its interdisciplinarity and cultural relevance, researches in didactics of astronomy are not well represented in our research institutes. FULL TEXT IN SPANISH
    01/2007;

Publication Stats

682 Citations
147.08 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2000–2010
    • University of Buenos Aires
      • • Centre for Training and Research in Teaching Science
      • • Institute of Astronomy and Spatial Physics (IAFE)
      • • Department of Physics (FI)
      Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires F.D., Argentina
  • 2008
    • Buenos Aires Ciudad
      Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires F.D., Argentina
  • 1999
    • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
      Bruxelles, Brussels Capital, Belgium
  • 1997–1999
    • French National Centre for Scientific Research
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 1993–1996
    • Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati di Trieste
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy