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Concept Summary Batesville High School Physics. Natural Philosophy  Socrates, Plato, Aristotle  Were the “authorities” in Western thought from about.

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Presentation on theme: "Concept Summary Batesville High School Physics. Natural Philosophy  Socrates, Plato, Aristotle  Were the “authorities” in Western thought from about."— Presentation transcript:

1 Concept Summary Batesville High School Physics

2 Natural Philosophy  Socrates, Plato, Aristotle  Were the “authorities” in Western thought from about 500 BCE to 1600 AD  Believed that there was a perfect world, but this world isn’t it

3 Natural Philosophy  Aristotle’s “perfect world” was accessible only through thought and contemplation.  Observation or experiment on this dirty, nasty imperfect world was useless in understanding “timeless truth.”

4 Beginnings of Science  Science, as we know it, evolved from “natural philosophy” (literally “thinking about nature”) starting about the year 1600 due to the work of Galileo, Bacon, and many others.

5 Scientific Progress  In the last 400 years, scientists have made incredible strides in their efforts to understand our universe (although there is still much to know).  Scientific progress has brought about technological progress that Galileo could not have imagined.

6 Scientific Methods  The progress of science has not been due to adherence to a simple-minded step-by-step process, as many elementary texts would have you believe.

7 Scientific Methods  To quote our text (p. 2):  “The success of science has more to do with an attitude common to scientists than with a particular method. This attitude is one of inquiry, experimentation, and humility before the facts.”

8 Scientific Methods  Something to keep in mind:  Since science is such a huge and complex enterprise with no central governing body, just about any generalization about science and scientific methods is not going to be strictly true.  Many people naively expect certainty and absolute truth from science - science doesn’t have any of that.

9 Science Terminology  We need a common science vocabulary in order to communicate effectively with one another.  Keep in mind that the scientific meaning of a word is often different than its everyday meaning.

10 Observation  An observation is something you notice.  May be casual or even accidental  May be formal - experimental data are observations.  Not all observations are correct - people make mistakes.

11 Scientific Observations  The primary way we have to tell if an observation is correct is to repeat it, and have other competent people repeat it.  Therefore, scientific observations must be repeatable.  Non-repeatable observations are called “anecdotal evidence”.

12 Scientific Facts  An observation that many competent observers agree is correct is a fact.  All scientific facts are not correct - people make mistakes.

13 Facts are NOT Immortal  If further observations show that a fact is not correct, it must be replaced.  This often happens when new technology becomes available to make observations that could not be made before.

14 Aren’t Facts True?  Often people naively assume that “facts” must be absolutely true - but how can we know this?  Facts are true to the best of our current ability to tell - but that is all we can really say about them.

15 Conclusions  A conclusion is a decision based on observations, facts, or experimental data.

16 Scientific Laws  A scientific law is a powerful summary of many facts.  Laws describe what happens, they don’t generally explain why they happen.  Laws can often be expressed very conveniently and concisely in mathematical form.

17 Hypotheses  A hypothesis is an educated guess about why something happens.  A scientific hypothesis must be testable by observation - there must be observations that we can make to tell whether the hypothesis is correct or not.  A hypothesis that is not testable is called “speculation”.

18 “Falsifiability”  An experimental test that could show that a hypothesis is wrong (if it’s wrong) is a much more useful test than a test that can only confirm the hypothesis.  Some scientists insist that scientific hypotheses have such tests - they must be “falsifiable”.

19 Scientific Theories  As experimental evidence (observations) accumulates, we can become more confident that a hypothesis is true.  A theory is a synthesis (powerful combination) of well-tested hypotheses.

20 Theory  Scientific theories tend to explain why scientific laws operate the way they do - theories are often called “models”.  Physical theories tend to be highly mathematical in nature.

21 Theory  The word “theory” is probably the most misused science term - certainly by laymen, but even by scientists!

22 The Process of Science  In science, evidence for the truth of any idea is experimental observation - not tradition, authority, or anything else.

23 The Process of Science  This process of testing facts, conclusions, laws, and theories with experimental observations NEVER ENDS.

24 The Process of Science  In science NOTHING (well, hardly anything) is ever “proven once and for all”.

25 Science & Technology  Science is about discovering new things about nature, and about how nature works.  Technology is about using scientific discoveries to make (hopefully) practical structures and devices for society.

26 Science & Technology  Science uses technology, and technology uses science.  Although science and technology are not the same, neither could exist for long without the other.

27 The End


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