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Science Communication LOLO.00.037 www.ut.ee/BG/scom Session 2 The Nature of Science. Jack Holbrook University of Tartu. The Overall Goal. Developing an understanding of : What science is and what it is not. What science can do and what it cannot do. How science contributes to culture.
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University of Tartu
Developing an understanding of :
THE WORLD IS REAL
In other words, the physical universe really does exists, apart from oursensory perception of it.
HUMANS CAN PERCEIVE AND UNDERSTAND THE PHYSICALUNIVERSE.
In other words, we can learn about how the natural world (as opposed to the supernatural world) works andoperates.
NATURAL PROCESSES are SUFFICIENTto explain, or account for natural phenomena or events.
In other words, scientists mustexplain the natural in terms of the natural.
Scientists ASSUME THAT NATURE "OPERATES" UNIFORMLY
in both spaceand time
(unless we have evidence to the contrary).
This is known as the
Would you support the idea that ‘scientific’ means involvement of -
Observations followed by Inferences ?
Observations are important as they lead us on the path to being a successful scientist, or to gain an understanding of the real world.
Observations followed by Inferences
Could we make a mistake in our observations without realising it ?
Could we inadvertently give false information ?
Finished files are the resultof years of scientific studycombined with the experienceof years...
Are we good at making complete observations ?
You may have difficulty in observing correctly, but scientists have no problem.
Or do they ??
Let us observe more.
Can you see3 faces ?
Can you find the 13 hidden faces? Buy a poster!
But are you sure ??
May I invite everyone to leave their seat and observe from closer to the screen.Then move to the back of the room.
Science isbased on both observation and inference.
Observationsare gathered through human senses or extensions of thosesenses.
Inferences are interpretations of those observations.
But is there more to being ‘scientific’?
For example, what about being inquisitive?
(Inquisitiveness may be shown by asking questions)
Create a group of 3/4 persons.
Sit around a table facing each other in the group.
Examine (but do not touch/move) a cube which is placed on top of a plastic cup on the table.
Being inquisitive !
Now – try to justify your predictions.
And, if you have more than one prediction, identify the one your group considers to be dominant.
The previous exercise was (I hope) simple. (school students find it easy)
Does cube 3 give us any insight into the scientific approach ?
Does it suggest that we do not necessarily need to observe everything and that we can make calculated guesses from other observations ?
Make inferences on incomplete observations .
Try reading the passage below
If inference skill is a key to being ‘scientific’,
even if observation is incomplete,
what about making predictions ?
What explanation do you have for what happened? You should be able to put forward at least one explanation. Explanations from the group may not all be the same.
Select one explanation which you like. Now based on that possible explanation, predict what will happen when the second hole is uncovered.
Did the result match your prediction ?
If so, do you feel your prediction is good?
If NOT, it seems your prediction is not good.
Can you put forward another Prediction?
Now we have one more hole. Let us again make a prediction about the outcome if we uncover all 3 holes.
Taking whatever optical illusion you wish, please present this to the group (from powerpoint or from the internet, or as a live demonstration).
In doing this, please pay attention to the need to present to the audience (not the screen or the ceiling/floor) and please note the audience needs to understand the point of your presentation.