Arthur Stinner

Work in Progress

I have retired (as of July 1, 2012) and will be working on the following projects:

  1. I am working on LCP 15: "Why is the sky dark at night?", Or "Olbers' Paradox". This large context problem discusses the models of the cosmos from Copernicus to the big bang. What is interesting here is that the assumptions of each model can be used to answer this puzzle, showing that the solution does not confirm a model of the cosmos uniquely.
    1. I have completed an article based on this topic and will present a PP version in the 2013 IHPST conference (June 27) in Pittsburgh.
    2. A new article: "Quantifying Equestrian Jumping: A large context problem for physics students" to the "Alberta Journal of Science Education". It will be published next month. This article is a tribute to Eric Lamaze and his legendary stallion Hickstead.
  2. I am planning a new play which will probably be performed at the Deutsches Museum in Munich next December. The play is based on a discussion of "Olbers' Paradox", as described above.
  3. With Jürgen Teichmann: A book, tentatively entitled: The Secret Code of the Stars, based on the discovery of the Fraunhofer dark lines in the spectrum of the sun in 1817, and how this accidental discovery eventually led to the development of spectroscopy by Kirchhoff and Bunsen in 1859.
  4. Writing an article with Richard Hechter: "Using Atwood's Machine to illustrate the mathematization of Physics".
  5. A book: "Mercury: The Role of Quicksilver in the History of Science". For the general public.
  6. An article using the LEP model of conceptual change in science education.
  7. Preparation for a talk at the upcoming IHPST conference in Pittsburgh next year, with Steve Klassen: "Illustrating the use of science stories in the science classroom".
  8. I have upgraded the original unpublished text book (Science Education) I wrote with Dr. Harvey Williams about 20 years ago. I will improve the content in the future and hope to publish it. See section called Teacher Resources.
  9. A film script based on the life of Count Rumford. Would Steven Spielberg be interested?

Plans for 2010:

  1. A new "science play" is proposed, actually a science discussion, with the tentative title: "Surprises in the history of science: Anomalies and premature scientific discoveries". The discussion will be among three: A historian of science, a scientist (physics) and a philosopher of science. The philosopher of science will act as a moderator of the discussion. The tension in the discussion will be between the physicist (Harald Lesch) and the historian of science (Juergen Teichman), ably moderated by the philosopher of science (Wilhelm Vossenkuhl). The first performance is planned for the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
  2. A symposium for the 2011 IHPST conference in Greece (July/August) "Surprises in the history of science: Anomalies and premature scientific discoveries". The following have agreed to participate: Ian Winchester, Don Metz, Barbara McMillan, Juergen Teichmann. I am going to ask Kevin De Berg (Australia) and Peter Heering to participate. This means we will have example of 'surprises in the history of science' (anomalies and premature scientific discoveries) taken from physics, astronomy, chemistry and biology.

Plans for 2008/2009:

  1. Invited to Bad Honnef, Germany to be key-note speaker at a History of Physics and Physics Education conference, October 23, 2009. See my PowerPoint presentation in the Selected PowerPoint Presentations section.
  2. Invited to go to Munich to be present at the presentation of my new play about Galileo, December 16 and 17. See the History of Science and Drama section.
  3. With Juergen Teichmann: A small book, tentatively entitled: The Secret Code of the Stars, based on the discovery of the Fraunhofer dark lines in the spectrum of the sun in 1819, and how this accidental discovery eventually led to the development of spectroscopy by Kirchhoff and Bunsen in 1859.
  4. Large Context Problems (LCP): five are alrady on two websites. To be developed: Seven additional ones, to be completed by spring of 2009, three by January 1 2009 and the others by June 1 2009. The following LCPs are in progress:
    • LCP 6: Solar Energy
    • LCP 7: The Rotating Space Station
    • LCP 8: Physics on the Moon
    • LCP 9: The Age of the Earth and the Sun
    • LCP 10: Journey to Mars
    • LCP 11: Asteroid/Earth Collisions
    • LCP 12: Hitchhiking on an Asteroid
    • LCP 13: Thought Experiments and the Theory of Relativity
    • LCP 14: The Physics of Star Trek

    A Monograph for the Presentation of LCPs
    PDFView as PDF © Arthur Stinner 2008

  5. For the 2009 (July 28-August 31) XXIII International Congress of History of Science and Technology Ideas and Instruments in Social Context. to be held in Budapest: I have developed a proposal for two symposia: one with Juergen Teichmann and the other with Peter Heering. Both symposia have been accepted.
  6. A play, written with Juergen Teichmann, for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the moons of Jupiter by Galileo (Sidereus Nuncius), involving Galileo, Kepler and a bishop. First draft should be completed by about November 1. Juergen Teichmann is to play Galileo, Harald Lesch to be Kepler and Wilhelm Vossenkuhl will be the bishop (theologian). This play will be performed in the Ehrensaal of the Deutsches Museum in Munich. I am also planning to have the play performed at the next IHPST conference in Indiana (Notre Dame University), with Ian Winchester, Robert Carson, and Pierre Boulos. They were also involved in the presentation of my play "An Evening with Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton" that was performed in Calgary last year at the IHPST conference.
  7. Work with new project in "The history of science for science teachers", proposed by Catherine Lange of Buffalo University.


  1. To teach modern physics to future physics students: Selected Nobel-Lectures in physics: an article and then perhaps a book.
  2. A book: "Mercury: The Role of Quicksilver in the History of Science". For the general public.
  3. A film script based on the life of Count Rumford. Would Steven Spielberg be interested?

Plans for 2007/2008:

I have completed 5 large context problems (LCP):

  • LCP 1: Intuitive Physics and Motion
  • LCP 2: Motion and the Pendulum
  • LCP 3: The Physics of the Large And Small
  • LCP 4: Wind Energy
  • LCP 5: The Flight of the Space Shuttle

These can be downloaded from two websites: and from the Manitoba Crystal website. I am planning to complete 5 more LCPs by next summer.

Additional plans for 2008:

  1. Our DM group will go to the Island of Kos in the Aegean Sea in May. We will have lectures and workshops on ancient Greek medicine (Kos was the birthplace of Hyppocrates). Dr. Peter Roemisch, a Munich physician and amateur historian, is organizing this trip.
  2. Our Winnipeg group is organizing two small conferences, one in Athens (first week of July) and another in Munich (third week in July). See our website:
  3. I will give paper at the July conference on "Historical Experiments in the Physics Classroom" at the annual "American Association of Physics Teachers" conference in Edmonton.
  4. Planning a workshop at the SAG conference in the fall (Winnipeg) with Rick Wiebe, a chemistry teacher and doctoral candidate at the University of Manitoba in science education. The topic will be: "The Role of Mercury in the development of Chemistry".

Plans for 2007:

  1. Complete my DVD on large context problems (LCP).
  2. I have been asked by the editor of Physics in Perspective, John Rigden, to write a report about a recently published book "The Martians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century" by the Hungarian chemist Istvan Hargittai.
  3. I have been asked to write an article about using drama in science by the editor of the Canadian Theater Review. The guest editor for this special issue on "Science Technology and Theater", is Jenn Stephenson (Queen's University, Kingston, Ont.).
  4. Juergen Teichmann and I are planning to present a paper at the IHPST conference in Calgary in June of 2007. The paper will be about the relationship between experiment and theory based on the beginnings of spectroscopy and the theoretical developments in chemistry and astronomy. The timeline is from Fraunhofer to Kirchhoff.
  5. I am planning a book that combines the three strands of guiding ideas that lead to astronomy, chemistry, and physics. These are introduced by three famous quotes:
    "It is difficult to imagine what course chemistry would have taken had there been no Mercury (quicksilver)" (The chemistry historian L. Goldwater).
    "Without the pendulum there would have been no 'Principia'." (R. Westfall, eminent Newton scholar).
    "Only by studying Mars will we arrive at the secrets of the solar system" (J. Kepler).
    I will be presenting these guiding ideas for astronomy, chemistry and physics and trace the history from Plato's injunction to explain the motion of Mars to the present study of planetary science. The history of the pendulum begins with Aristotle and ends with an investigation into chaos theory. The history of mercury begins with the ancients and ends with the construction of a revolving giant cylinder containing mercury to produce a perfect parabolic reflecting surface for astronomical observation.
    I have written about, studied and taught the content for this presentation. All I need to do is write it down. My wife Ann will do the pictures and drawings.

Plans for July 2006 to July 2007:

  1. I am on a twelve months sabbatical, from July 1, 2006 to July 1, 2007. I am working on two books: One on large context problems (see "Outline of Book") and the other "The Story of Mercury". The content of the LCPs can be seen as a PDF by clicking here.
  2. Our group will be in Munich and then in Oldenburg in July. See our group's website for the programs.

I have completed the following projects:

  1. Juergen Teichmann has organized a group visitation to Samos, Greece for May, 2007. Most of those who went to the solar eclipse in March of 2006 will be going (see Pictures). We will have lectures and excursions to the famous tunnel of Eupalinos, and a day trip to Ephesus in Turkey. I have written a little play about Aristarchus of Samos, meeting Archimedes on the beach, which will be performed on the beach. Juergen Teichmann will be Aristarchus and Harald Lesch Archimedes. Harald was Einstein and Juergen played Newton in my Einstein drama in 2005 at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. (Pictures will be added next fall).
  2. A play about Einstein, in connection with the Annus Mirabilis celebration of 2005, in collaboration with Juergen Teichmann, Director of Programs at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. This play was performed (in German) at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, October 26 and again on October 3, 2005. The title of the play is: "Einstein contra Newton". The play is available on a DVD. Please see
  3. A DVD, entitled: "From Bernstein to the Electron", a series of original experiments in electricity and magnetism presented by Juergen Teichmann of the Deutsches Museum. English is provided by Arthur Stinner. This DVD is available through the Deutsches Museum.
  4. A book entitled: "From Intuitive Physics to Star Trek", to be published by Springer publications. The first draft of the book has been completed.
  5. An article entitled: "Thought Experiments, Einstein, and Physics Education", written with Don Metz, will appear in the Dec./Jan. issue of Physics in Canada. (The proof of the article is available in PDF in the publications section).

Recent publication and articles accepted: (these have now been completed)

  1. I am the co-editor of two special issues by Science & Education as well as the "International Pendulum Project", (with Michael Matthews and Colin Gauld). See: Science & Education Special Edition, Vol. 13 No 4-5, 2004. Also see website: The International Pendulum Project (IPP). Both, the special issue of the IPP of Science & Education, and the Book version have been published by Springer.
  2. Metz, D. and Stinner, A. (2004). A new perspective for the teaching of physics in the 21. century. Alberta Science Education Journal, V. 36, 2, 8-15.
  3. Accepted for publication in Science & Education: Representing science through historical drama: Lord Kelvin and the Age of The Earth Debate. Written with Debborah Begoray, University of Victoria. This article has been published and is available from Springer electronically.
  4. Special Edition of Science & Education: Selected papers taken from the IHPST conference held in Winnipeg, 2003. Co-editor with Michael Matthews and Don Metz. (In press).
  5. Special Edition of Interchange: Large Context Problems and Thought Experiments in Science Education. Co-editing with Ian Winchester and Stephen Klassen. (In press).

Plans for 2005-2006: (these plans have been completed)

  1. Will be at the Deutsches Museum in Munich for the performance of my play about Einstein the week of October 26 of this year.
  2. Planning a public lecture: "Journey to Mars...", based on the article published this year by Physics Education, in February of 2006 at the Faculty of Education.
  3. Going to the solar eclipse in March of 2006 to Turkey with a group organized by Jurgen Teichmann.
  4. My group (see our website is organizing two workshops on the "History of Science and Science Education". One week at the University of Oldenburg and one week at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, the first two weeks in July of 2006.

Plans for 2005: (these plans have been completed)

  1. I will be at the Deutsches Museum in Munch (with my wife Ann), from about May 1. to July 1. I will be working with Dr. Juergen Teichmann, Professor of the History of Science and Director of Education. (I can be reached through Juergen Teichmann's office (49 89 2179 278)
  2. I will attend the 8th IHPST conference in Leeds, England (see our website) from July 14 to July 18.
  3. A group of us (Juergen Teichmann, Michael Eckert, David Cassidy, Peter Heering, Barbara McMillan, Ian Winchester and two-thee others) will present a symposium on "The History of Science and Science Education" at the 22. History of Science Congress in Beijing, from July 20-24, 2005.