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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 16 (2011) pp 299-303

Escher: The Waterfall and Chemical Equilibrium. An Analogy Derived From Art for Chemistry

Armando Marín-Becerra, Andoni Garritz*, and Andrés Raviolo

†Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F. 04510, México, ‡Universidad Nacional de Río Negro y Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Bariloche, Río Negro, 8400, Argentina,
Received February 17, 2011. Accepted March 25, 2011.

Published: 31 October 2011

Abstract. The use of analogies is widely recognised as an effective teaching strategy that helps students to engage with difficult scientific concepts through a more familiar domain. Chemical equilibrium is a subject that students often find difficult to understand and, in an effort to address this problem, a simple analogy, inspired by “The Waterfall” picture by M. C. Escher, is proposed. This analogy, which is derived from art for chemistry, can be presented as a simple blackboard drawing or as an easy-to-build practical model. Both of these approaches would help to illustrate the dynamic nature of the chemical equilibrium and the controversial Le Châtelier´s principle.

Key Words: In the Classroom; general chemistry; chemical equilibrium; analogy; first-year undergraduate

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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