What is the Nature of Science?. What qualifies as scientific knowledge and what processes characterize the development of scientific knowledge?. I There is no single set or sequence of steps that always directs a scientific investigation. There is no such thing as “the scientific method.”.
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What qualifies as scientific knowledge and what processes characterize the development of scientific knowledge?
IThere is no single set or sequence of steps that always directs a scientific investigation. There is no such thing as “the scientific method.”
Pick up any science book. Look at the Table of Contents or the Index and you will probably find a reference to “The Scientific Method.” The “Method” may include anywhere from 4 to 7 steps that represent a procedure for investigating questions of a scientific nature. The next two slides are examples of how two different texts represent the Scientific Method.
Statement of Problem
What is the question being asked of Nature?
Experiment and Observation
Collecting the data that bear upon the problem
Testing and Interpretation
Predicting the results of new
experiments on the basis
of the hypothesis
Explaining the data in terms
of a hypothesis about
how nature works
Well, yes and no. There are guiding principles, but scientists study nature in a variety of ways. What you may have learned in school science as “The Scientific Method” is not necessarily the only way that scientists do science. The next two slides describe how some well known scientists have conducted their own studies.
Keplar (1571-1630) took Copernicus’ idea of the sun centered solar system, and combined this idea with Brah’s data base of measurements. He found that Copernicus model did not quite fit the data and so created a new model that did fit the data in which planets traveled in elliptical orbits. All this when there were as yet no telescopes invented.
IIIScientific knowledge must be at least partially supported by empirical evidence. Scientific knowledge must involve the collection of data, be consistent with what we “know” about the world, and be testable.
Perceived Distance Optical Illusion
Below is an optical illusion that seems simple enough. Which distance is longer? Is the distance between the tips of the first two opposing triangles pointing away from each other (A-B) on the left longer? Or is the distance between the points of the second two triangles facing each other (B-C) on the right longer
Which distance (tip to tip) is longer (A-B) or (B-C)?You don't need me to tell you that it appears that the tips of the second two triangles (B-C)
are further apart. It also seems that the tips of the first two triangles (A-B) are closer together.If it was that easy though this image wouldn't be here would it?
The truth is that the distance between the two sets (A-B) and (B-C)
are exactly the same
IV Scientific knowledge is partially the product of the creative imagination of the scientists. All scientific knowledge combines both empirical evidence and the creative interpretation of data by scientists.
Marie Curie’s hypothesis that the behavior of uranium rays occurred because uranium atoms were made of several particles rather than being indivisible was a new idea. She imagined a new way of interpreting the data that others before her had not considered. Her ideas sparked a whole new field of research.
Jane Goodall interacted with chimpanzees in the wild to try to develop new understandings of their behavior. Previously chimp behavior had only been studied in zoos or preserves where natural activity was inhibited. She imagined a new way of conducting research on these animals that generated new knowledge.
VGiven the importance of scientists’ individual creativity, scientific knowledge is necessarily subjective to some degree. Scientific knowledge is not totally objective as is commonly believed.
What do you believe about
What scientists do when they do science?
How knowledge about the natural world is generated? The relationship between the process of doing science and the knowledge that is generated by that process? How you should teach children science?