Pb 1 What Is Science Understanding Science-Books Pdf

PB 1 What is science Understanding Science
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Discovery The spark for science, Eureka or aha moments. may not happen frequently but, they are often experiences that. drive science and scientists For, a scientist every day holds the. possibility of discovery of com, ing up with a brand new idea or. of observing something that no, one has ever seen before Vast.
bodies of knowledge have yet to be built and many of the most basic questions about. the universe have yet to be answered, What causes gravity. How do tectonic plates move around on Earth s surface. How do our brains store memories, How do water molecules interact with each other. We don t know the complete answers to these and an overwhelming number of other. questions but the prospect of answering them beckons science forward. EVERYDAY SCIENCE QUESTIONS, Scientific questions can seem complex. e g what chemical reactions allow cells, to break the bonds in sugar molecules. but they don t have to be You ve prob, ably posed many perfectly valid scientific.
questions yourself how can airplanes fly, why do cakes rise in the oven why do ap. ples turn brown once they re cut You can, discover the answers to many of these. everyday science questions in your lo, cal library but for others science may not. have the answers yet and answering such questions can lead to astonishing new. discoveries For example we still don t know much about how your brain remem. bers to buy milk at the grocery store Just as we re motivated to answer ques. tions about our everyday experiences scientists confront such questions at all. scales including questions about the very nature of the universe. Discoveries new questions and new ideas are what keep scientists going and. awake at night but they are only one part of the picture the rest involves a lot. of hard and sometimes tedious work In science discoveries and ideas must be. verified by multiple lines of evidence and then integrated into the rest of science. a process which can take many years And often discoveries are not bolts from. the blue A discovery may itself be the result of many years of work on a particu. lar problem as illustrated by Henrietta Leavitt s stellar discovery. Photo of Spiral Galaxy M81 provided by NASA ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team STScI AURA photo of water provided. by Andrew Davidhazy, 2013 The University of California Museum of Paleontology Berkeley and the Regents of the University of California www understandingscience org. STELLAR SURPRISES, Astronomers had long known about the existence of variable.
stars stars whose brightness changes over time slowly. shifting between brilliant and dim when in 1912 Henrietta. Leavitt announced a remarkable and totally unanticipated. discovery about them For these stars the length of time. between their brightest and dimmest points seemed to be. related to their overall brightness slower cycling stars are. more luminous At the time no one knew why that was the. case but nevertheless the discovery allowed astronomers. Henrietta Leavitt to infer the distances to far off stars and hence to figure. out the size of our own galaxy Leavitt s observation was a true surprise a dis. covery in the classic sense but one that came only after she d spent years care. fully comparing thousands of photos of these specks of light looking for patterns. in the darkness, The process of scientific discovery is not limited to professional scientists working in. labs The everyday experience of deducing that your car won t start because of a bad. fuel pump or of figuring out that the centipedes in your backyard prefer shady rocks. shares fundamental similarities with classically scientific discoveries like working out. DNA s double helix These activities all involve making observations and analyzing. evidence and they all provide the satisfaction of finding an answer that makes sense. of all the facts In fact some psychologists argue that the way individual humans. learn especially as children bears a lot of similarity to the progress of science both. involve making observations considering evidence testing ideas and holding on to. those that work, Photo of Henrietta Leavitt provided by the American Association of Variable Star Observers AAVSO. 2013 The University of California Museum of Paleontology Berkeley and the Regents of the University of California www understandingscience org. A science checklist, So what exactly is science Well science turns out to be difficult to define precisely. Philosophers have been arguing about it for decades The problem is that the term. science applies to a remarkably broad set of human endeavors from developing la. sers to analyzing the factors that affect human decision making. To get a grasp on what science is we ll look at a checklist that summarizes key char. acteristics of science and compare it to a prototypical case of science in action Ernest. Rutherford s investigation into the structure of the atom Then we ll look at some oth. er cases that are less typical examples of science to see how they measure up and. what characteristics they share, This checklist provides a guide for what sorts of activities are encompassed by sci. ence but since the boundaries of science are not clearly defined the list should not be. interpreted as all or nothing Some of these characteristics are particularly important. to science e g all of science must ultimately rely on evidence but others are less. central For example some perfectly scientific investigations may run into a dead end. and not lead to ongoing research Use this checklist as a reminder of the usual fea. tures of science If something doesn t meet most of these characteristics it shouldn t. be treated as science, Science asks questions about the.
natural world, Science studies the natural world This in. cludes the components of the physical, universe around us like atoms plants eco. systems people societies and galaxies as, well as the natural forces at work on those. things In contrast science cannot study su, pernatural forces and explanations For ex. ample the idea that a supernatural afterlife, exists is not a part of science since this af.
terlife operates outside the rules that govern, the natural world. Anything in the natural world from exotic ecosystems to urban smog can be. the subject of scientific inquiry, Cococino National Forest photo by Gerald and Buff Corsi California Academy of Sciences Jupiter photo by NASA JPL. Space Science Institute photo of smoggy skyline by EPA fungus photo by Dr Robert Thomas and Dorothy B Orr. California Academy of Sciences, 2013 The University of California Museum of Paleontology Berkeley and the Regents of the University of California www understandingscience org. Science can investigate all sorts of questions, When did the oldest rocks on earth form. Through what chemical reactions do fungi get energy from the nutrients they. What causes Jupiter s red spot, How does smog move through the atmosphere.
Very few questions are off limits in science but the sorts of answers science can pro. vide are limited Science can only answer in terms of natural phenomena and natu. ral processes When we ask ourselves questions like What is the meaning of life. and Does the soul exist we generally expect answers that are outside of the natural. world and hence outside of science, A SCIENCE PROTOTYPE RUTHERFORD. AND THE ATOM, In the early 1900s Ernest Rutherford studied among. other things the organization of the atom the fun, damental particle of the natural world Though atoms. cannot be seen with the naked eye they can be studied. with the tools of science since they are part of the natu. Rutherford s story continues as we examine each item. on the Science Checklist To find out how this investiga. tion measures up against the rest of the checklist read. Ernest Rutherford, Rutherford photo from the Library of Congress. 2013 The University of California Museum of Paleontology Berkeley and the Regents of the University of California www understandingscience org. Science aims to explain and understand, Science as a collective institution aims to.
produce more and more accurate natural ex, planations of how the natural world works. what its components are and how the world, got to be the way it is now Classically sci. ence s main goal has been building knowl, edge and understanding regardless of its. potential applications for example investi, gating the chemical reactions that an organic. compound undergoes in order to learn about, its structure However increasingly scientific.
research is undertaken with the explicit goal, of solving a problem or developing a technol. ogy and along the path to that goal new, knowledge and explanations are constructed. For example a chemist might try to produce, an antimalarial drug synthetically and in the. process discover new methods of forming, bonds that can be applied to making other chemicals Either way so called pure or. applied research science aims to increase our understanding of how the natural. world works, The knowledge that is built by science is always open.
to question and revision No scientific idea is ever. once and for all proved Why not Well science is, constantly seeking new evidence which could reveal. problems with our current understandings Ideas that. we fully accept today may be rejected or modified in. light of new evidence discovered tomorrow For exam. A coelacanth, ple up until 1938 paleontologists accepted the idea. that coelacanths an ancient fish went extinct at the time that they last appear in the. fossil record about 80 million years ago But that year a live coelacanth was discov. ered off the coast of South Africa causing scientists to revise their ideas and begin to. investigate how this animal survives in the deep sea. Despite the fact that they are subject to change scientific ideas are reliable The ideas. that have gained scientific acceptance have done so because they are supported by. many lines of evidence These scientific explanations continually generate expecta. tions that hold true allowing us to figure out how entities in the natural world are like. ly to behave e g how likely it is that a child will inherit a particular genetic disease. and how we can harness that understanding to solve problems e g how electricity. wire glass and various compounds can be fashioned into a working light bulb For. example scientific understandings of motion and gases allow us to build airplanes that. reliably get us from one airport to the next Though the knowledge used to design air. planes is technically provisional time and time again that knowledge has allowed us. to produce airplanes that fly We have good reason to trust scientific ideas they work. 2013 The University of California Museum of Paleontology Berkeley and the Regents of the University of California www understandingscience org. A SCIENCE PROTOTYPE RUTHERFORD AND THE ATOM, Ernest Rutherford s investigations were aimed at understanding a small but illu. minating corner of the natural world the atom He investigated this world using. alpha particles which are helium atoms stripped of their electrons Rutherford. had found that when a beam of these tiny positively charged alpha particles is. fired through gold foil the particles don t stay on their beeline course but are de. flected or scattered at different angles Rutherford wanted to figure out what. this might tell him about the layout of an atom, Rutherford s story continues as we examine each item on the Science Checklist. To find out how this investigation measures up against the rest of the checklist. 2013 The University of California Museum of Paleontology Berkeley and the Regents of the University of California www understandingscience org. Science works with testable ideas, Only testable ideas are within the purview of.
science For an idea to be testable it must, logically generate specific expectations. in other words a set of observations that, we could expect to make if the idea were. true and a set of observations that would, be inconsistent with the idea and lead you. to believe that it is not true For example, consider the idea that a sparrow s song is. genetically encoded and is unaffected by the, environment in which it is raised in com.
parison to the idea that a sparrow learns, the song it hears as a baby Logical reason. ing about this example leads to a specific, set of expectations If the sparrow s song. were indeed genetically encoded we would, expect that a sparrow raised in the nest of. a different species would grow up to sing a, sparrow song like any other member of its own species But if instead the sparrow s. song were learned as a chick raising a sparrow in the nest of another species should. produce a sparrow that sings a non sparrow song Because they generate different. expected observations these ideas are testable A scientific idea may require a lot of. reasoning to work out an appropriate test may be difficult to test may require the. development of new technological tools to test or may require one to make indepen. dently testable assumptions to test but to be scientific an idea must be testable. somehow someway, If an explanation is equally compatible with all possible observations then it is not.
testable and hence not within the reach of science This is frequently the case with. ideas about supernatural entities For example consider the idea that an all powerful. Science is a way of discovering what s in the universe and how those things work today how they worked in the past and how they are like ly to work in the future Scientists are motivated by the thrill of seeing or figuring out something that no one has before Science is useful The knowledge generated by science is powerful and reliable It can be used to develop new technologies

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