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The Rebirth of Cool: Toward a Science Sublime

The Rebirth of Cool: Toward a Science Sublime E. DAVID WONG We love and hate "the cool." As educators, few things are more coveted than being recognized as teaching the "coolest" class in the school. We look forward to the rare moment when students gasp in awe or scream in amazement. However, in the quiet that returns after the last student rushes out the classroom door, we may feel an uneasy ambivalence. Perhaps we admonish ourselves that serious science is substantial, enduring, and intellectual. We wonder whether our "cool" class was merely superficial, fleeting, and mindless. In this article I examine the cool--this idea we love and hate--and assert its importance in science education. I acknowledge that some experiences can be engaging but are superficial and unimportant--this is the "merely cool." By contrast, some experiences are deeply moving because we feel a growing capacity to perceive meaning and value in the world--this is the "sublimely cool." I draw from philosophy, literature, psychology, and aesthetics to build connections between cool and sublime experiences. By highlighting the surprisingly substantial connection between the cool and sublime, I hope to bring greater depth to the meaning of "cool," this imprecise, but honest, term. I also take care to define sublimely http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Aesthetic Education University of Illinois Press

The Rebirth of Cool: Toward a Science Sublime

The Journal of Aesthetic Education , Volume 41 (2) – Jun 2, 2007

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1543-7809
Publisher site
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Abstract

E. DAVID WONG We love and hate "the cool." As educators, few things are more coveted than being recognized as teaching the "coolest" class in the school. We look forward to the rare moment when students gasp in awe or scream in amazement. However, in the quiet that returns after the last student rushes out the classroom door, we may feel an uneasy ambivalence. Perhaps we admonish ourselves that serious science is substantial, enduring, and intellectual. We wonder whether our "cool" class was merely superficial, fleeting, and mindless. In this article I examine the cool--this idea we love and hate--and assert its importance in science education. I acknowledge that some experiences can be engaging but are superficial and unimportant--this is the "merely cool." By contrast, some experiences are deeply moving because we feel a growing capacity to perceive meaning and value in the world--this is the "sublimely cool." I draw from philosophy, literature, psychology, and aesthetics to build connections between cool and sublime experiences. By highlighting the surprisingly substantial connection between the cool and sublime, I hope to bring greater depth to the meaning of "cool," this imprecise, but honest, term. I also take care to define sublimely

Journal

The Journal of Aesthetic EducationUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Jun 2, 2007

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