what is inquiry in the natural world
Download
Skip this Video
Download Presentation
What is “Inquiry in the Natural World”?

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 62

What is “Inquiry in the Natural World”? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 107 Views
  • Uploaded on

What is “Inquiry in the Natural World”?. Clare 102 - Inquiry in the Natural World Ted Georgian 19 January 2005. Natty-world is a great course - really!. Two simple questions:. What is the “natural world”? What does it mean to “inquire” about it?. What is the “natural world”?.

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'What is “Inquiry in the Natural World”?' - arav


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
what is inquiry in the natural world

What is “Inquiry in the Natural World”?

Clare 102 - Inquiry in the Natural World

Ted Georgian

19 January 2005

two simple questions
Two simple questions:
  • What is the “natural world”?
  • What does it mean to “inquire” about it?
what is the natural world
What is the “natural world”?

http://www.howardhallis.com/artgallery/tpoe/index.html

what s a physical object
What’s a “physical object”?

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2002/Dec/10/ln/ln12a.html

are there physical objects that we can t sense
Are there physical objects that we can’t sense?

Dogs know who’s been at the fire hydrant

are there physical object that we can t sense
Are there physical object that we can’t sense?

Do Honey bees see objects that we can’t?

Medical and Scientific Photography: An online resource for doctors, scientists and students (http://msp.rmit.edu.au/Article_01/13.html)

are there physical objects that we can t sense9
Are there physical objects that we can’t sense?

Modern instruments have greatly extended our detection abilities

can we make predictions about the natural world
Can we make predictions about the natural world?

Given a knowledge of the “laws” of physics, can you predict where this car will go if you release the parking brake?

can we make predictions about the natural world11
Can we make predictions about the natural world?

Given the same knowledge of the “laws” of physics, can you predict where a car will go if it’s hijacked by a 14-year old?

scientists ask a lot of questions like kids
Scientists ask a lot of questions, like kids

Some common questions kids ask:

  • Why is the sky blue?
  • Where do babies come from?
  • Why does the moon follow my car?

And my favorite:

  • How can a brown cow eat green grass and make white milk?

home.att.net/~rwskinner/ pictures/brown-cow-2.jpg

two different sorts of answers
Two different sorts of answers

1. Descriptions “The sky is dark blue.”

http://www.albforumi.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=16;t=000024;p=

  • Explanations“The sky is blue because …”

www.sciencemadesimple.com/ sky_blue.html

why inquire into the natural world
Why inquire into the natural world?

Two fundamental reasons:

  • Curiosity
  • Problem solving
curiosity driven science
Curiosity-driven science
  • Basic or “pure”
  • Often leads to surprisingly practical discoveries

Teflon

Lasers

DNA

Serena Parente Charlebois

Flubber (?)

X-rays

problem solving science
Problem-solving science
  • Applied or “practical”
  • Gives us substantial power over the natural world

Contraceptives

Weapons

Transgenic crops

Internal combustion engines

Computers

problem solving science18
Problem-solving science

http://www.colostate.edu/programs/lifesciences/TrangenicCrops

a complex and very general explanation is often called a model
A complex and very general explanation is often called a “Model”

Isaac Newton’s model of “Universal Gravitation”

darwin.apnet.com/ www/ap/newton.htm

www.prometheus-delft.org/ Isaac%20Newton.jpg

http://www.metaresearch.org/cosmology/cosmology.asp

newton s model of universal gravitation has been very successful
Newton’s model of “Universal Gravitation” has been very successful

Craft launched to dive into cometBy MARCIA DUNN Associated Press1/13/2005

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A NASA spacecraft with a Hollywood name - Deep Impact - blasted off Wednesday on a mission to smash a hole in a comet and give scientists a glimpse of the frozen primordial ingredients of the solar system. With a launch window only one second long, Deep Impact rocketed away at the designated moment on a six-month, 268 million-mile journey to comet Tempel 1. It will be a one-way trip that NASA hopes will reach a cataclysmic end on the Fourth of July.

Nothing like this has ever been attempted before.

Little is known about comet Tempel 1, other than that it is an icy, rocky body about nine miles long and three miles wide.

Buffalo News, 13 Jan 2005, A8

how do we investigate physical objects
How do we investigate physical objects?

perl.plover.com/yak/ regex/samples/slide004.html

www.geocities.com/ jkostaras/big_ben.jpg

what are physical objects made of
What are physical objects made of?

Here’s one early idea – “atomism”(Leucippus and Democritus, ~ 500 BC)

Trefil, J. & R. M. Hazen. The Sciences. 2nd ed. P. 163

what are physical objects made of25
What are physical objects made of?

Here’s an alternate view – “elementalism”

http://astsun.astro.virginia.edu/~jh8h/Foundations/chapter2.html

Aristotle (384 – 322 BC)

aristotle s model of physical objects
Aristotle’s “model” of physical objects

Here’s how it worked:

http://www.chem.uidaho.edu/~honors/history.html

atomism was revived in the 1800s
Atomism was revived in the 1800s

John Dalton, 1808.

A New System of Chemistry

the hypothetico deductive scientific method
The “hypothetico-deductive” scientific method

More of a description of what usually works than a set of directions that every scientist follows

Still – no better way of investigating the natural world has been invented inthe past 400 years

francis bacon 1561 1626
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
  • Stressed observation over philosophical speculation
  • Proposed a new method of studying nature
  • Argued that if we understand nature we can dominate it
steps in the scientific method
Steps in the scientific method

Step 1: Observations

steps in the scientific method33
Steps in the scientific method

Step 1 a: decide what to study

Too much

Better

http://svdp.org/santaclara/images/Car_Lot.jpg

steps in the scientific method34
Steps in the scientific method

In western New York, cars in winter!

http://www.bigfoto.com/themes/nature/winter/

http://www.heatherandpatrick.com/Kitten-Library/details.php?photoID=194

http://www.budinas.narod.ru/current/winter4/winter4e.htm

how can we answer our questions about the natural world
How can we answer our questions about the natural world?

This step uses a process calledInductive Reasoning

in which we develop a rule based on many individual examples

Step 1b: look for a general pattern

steps in the scientific method36
Steps in the scientific method

Step 1b: look for a general pattern

http://emd.wa.gov/5-ppt/trng/pubed/winterprep/starting-car-cold.htm

how can we answer our questions about the natural world37
How can we answer our questions about the natural world?

A useful hypothesis:

Step 2: Think up explanations (hypotheses) for the patterns observed

steps in the scientific method38
Steps in the scientific method

Step 2: Think up explanations (hypotheses) for the patterns observed

1. Car won’t start because the coolant is frozen solid.

2. Car won’t start because the battery is too weak.

3. Car won’t start because it wants to be in Florida and it’s sulking.

4. Car won’t start because snow banks are actually alien spaceships and the aliens have ray guns that disable cars.

ockham s razor
Ockham’s “Razor”

Start with the simplest possible explanation and go to more complex explanations only if the simpler explanations don’t work.

William of Ockham (1280 – 1347)

but the natural world isn t necessarily simple
But the natural world isn’t necessarily simple!

“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."  --  Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

sprott.physics.wisc.edu/ images/einstein.jpg

steps in the scientific method41
Steps in the scientific method
  • These two seem like reasonable hypotheses:
  • Car won’t start because the coolant is frozen solid.
  • Car won’t start because the battery is too weak.

How can we tell which hypothesis is a better explanation of our observations?

how can we answer our questions about the natural world42
How can we answer our questions about the natural world?

This step uses a process calledDeductive reasoning

in which we use the rules of logic

to generate a prediction

Step 3: Make a testable prediction

steps in the scientific method43
Steps in the scientific method

IFthe trouble starting the car is caused by the coolant being frozen,

Step 3: Make a testable prediction

THEN we should see ice when we open the radiator cap.

steps in the scientific method44
Steps in the scientific method

A good experiment:

1.2. 3.

Step 4: Make observations or do experiments to test our explanations

steps in the scientific method45
Steps in the scientific method

Observation: open the radiator cap and look.

Result: antifreeze is fine – not frozen.

Step 4: Make observations or do experiments to test our explanations

Now what???

slide46
Start

over

again!

steps in the scientific method47
Steps in the scientific method

IFthe trouble starting the car is caused by the battery being weaker at low temperatures,

Step 3: Make a testable prediction

THENreplacing the battery should enable the car to start on cold mornings

steps in the scientific method48
Steps in the scientific method

Observations: use a voltmeter to test the battery each time the car won’t start

Experiment: try a new battery

Step 4: Make observations or do experiments to test our explanations

good experiments have
Good experiments have:

Replication The experiment needs to be repeated by other people on many other cars before we can be sure it’s generally reliable.

Controls

Need 2+ identical cars

Experimental car: remove old battery and install a new one.

Control car:

remove old battery and reinstall it.

how can we test aristotle s model
How can we test Aristotle’s model?

http://www.chem.uidaho.edu/~honors/history.html

Aristotle (384 – 322 BC)

what predictions does it make
What predictions does it make?

According to Aristotle, each element has a natural resting place, and will return to it

D. Park. 1988. The How and the Why: An essay on the origins and development of physical theory. Princeton University Press, p. 49

here s an example
Here’s an example

What’s mud made of?

here s another example
Here’s another example

Observations: at first bubbling liquid comes out of the end of the wood, then yellowish flames leap up, releasing light and heat.

When the fire goes out, gray ash remains at the bottom of the fireplace. The ash helps plants grow in the garden.

What happens when wood burns?

what happens when wood burns
What happens when wood burns?

Explanation: wood is a mixture of mainly Earth and Fire, with varying amounts of Air and Water.

When wood burns, the Fire escapes as flames and rises to its natural resting place, leaving behind ash, which is mostly Earth and so nourishes plants.

how can we decide if this model is a good scientific explanation
How can we decide if this model is a good scientific explanation?
  • Let’s not burn down Murphy Hall
  • Pick an easier object to study: water
  • Do experiments rather than just observe
what does aristotle s model predict
What does Aristotle’s model predict?
  • If the electric current heats the Water, it should produce “Air”
  • The resulting Air should rise
  • Pure Water should produce only one type of Air
what actually happens
What actually happens?

Results:

  • “Air” from one tube floats, one sinks
  • One is flammable, one isn’t

Conclusion: two different types of Air were produced

what do we do now
What do we do now?

"The great tragedy of Science—the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact." Thomas Huxley

  • Give up and go to work at McDonalds
  • Modify the hypothesis
  • Develop a better explanation of the nature of matter
here s another model of water
Here’s another model of water

The mechanical model of the 1800s

so is this the right answer
So: is this the right answer?

Not since ~1900! Stay tuned for details later.

how does science make progress
How does science make progress?
  • Occurs in cycles
  • Gradually eliminates poor explanations, but ...
  • The process is never complete.

M. Johnson. 2003. Human Biology. 2nd ed. Benjamin Cummings.

ad