Presentation on theme: "Concept Summary Batesville High School Physics. Natural Philosophy Socrates, Plato, Aristotle Were the “authorities” in Western thought from about."— Presentation transcript:
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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”.
Scientific Facts An observation that many competent observers agree is correct is a fact. All scientific facts are not correct - people make mistakes.
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.
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.
Conclusions A conclusion is a decision based on observations, facts, or experimental data.
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.
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”.
“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”.
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.
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.
Theory The word “theory” is probably the most misused science term - certainly by laymen, but even by scientists!
The Process of Science In science, evidence for the truth of any idea is experimental observation - not tradition, authority, or anything else.
The Process of Science This process of testing facts, conclusions, laws, and theories with experimental observations NEVER ENDS.
The Process of Science In science NOTHING (well, hardly anything) is ever “proven once and for all”.
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.
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.