background preloader

Nature of Science

Facebook Twitter

Even theories change. Accepted theories are the best explanations available so far for how the world works. They have been thoroughly tested, are supported by multiple lines of evidence, and have proved useful in generating explanations and opening up new areas for research. However, science is always a work in progress, and even theories change. How? We'll look at some over-arching theories in physics as examples: Classical mechanicsIn the 1600s, building on the ideas of others, Isaac Newton constructed a theory (sometimes called classical mechanics or Newtonian mechanics) that, with a simple set of mathematical equations, could explain the movement of objects both in space and on Earth.

This single explanation helped us understand both how a thrown baseball travels and how the planets orbit the sun. The theory was powerful, useful, and has proven itself time and time again in studies; yet it wasn't perfect … General relativityEven special relativity was superseded by another theory. Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? There’s a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s comic masterpiece Dr. Strangelove in which Jack D. Ripper, an American general who’s gone rogue and ordered a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, unspools his paranoid worldview—and the explanation for why he drinks “only distilled water, or rainwater, and only pure grain alcohol”—to Lionel Mandrake, a dizzy-with-anxiety group captain in the Royal Air Force.

Ripper: Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation? Fluoridation of water? Mandrake: Ah, yes, I have heard of that, Jack. Ripper: Well, do you know what it is? Mandrake: No. Ripper: Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face? The movie came out in 1964, by which time the health benefits of fluoridation had been thoroughly established, and antifluoridation conspiracy theories could be the stuff of comedy. In a sense all this is not surprising. Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division Photo: Bettman/Corbis. Sci.not.pdf. Science or not? | Separating science from nonsense. PHYS103: Module 006. Evolution Lesson: PDF packets for The Great Fossil Find. These pages are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format in order to retain their intended layout for reliable downloading and printing. Only a "thumbnail" reduced size image of the first page is showing (if more than one page is in that file).

For enlarging and copying, (and seeing other pages in that file), you will need to download the free Acrobat Reader from Adobe (unless it's already installed in your system). Then just click on the blue file name above that page. You may see the "Acrobat Exchange" (Reader application) loading, then the pages will display. You might need to shift-click and drag the lower left corner of the page to enlarge it, or click the magnifying glass on the menu bar. In any case, just click on "Print" to get a printout. If this doesn't seem to work, you might need to load and/or enable the PDFViewer plug-in by following one of these protocols: Gff.instrOH.pdf. Gff.man.pdf. Gff.nar.pdf. National-Academies-Inquiry-Lab.pdf. Student activity - The extra piece. Go to www.biotechlearn.org.nz Nature of Science Student activity - The extra piece Download Activity idea In this activity, students assemble a tangram as a square and then reassemble the tangram incorporating an additional piece they are given.

Parallels are drawn to particular aspects of the nature of science. By the end of this activity, students should be able to: use this tangram activity as an analogy to describe aspects of the nature of science such as the tentative nature of scientific knowledge explain several courses of action scientists may take when confronted with an unexpected finding give one real-world example of the tentative nature of scientific knowledge. Download the Word file and Tangram template PDF (see link above) for: introduction/background notes what you need what to do extension ideas.

Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. - Richard Feynman, 1974. Acknowledgement Reprinted with kind permission from Jason Choi. Metadata Published: 07 October 2011 Related Content. Nature of Science. To answer the question what is the nature of science? We must first answer what is science? One common answer is that science consists of three domains: A body of knowledge. A wide range of methods or processes to develop this knowledge.

A way of thinking. The nature of science constitutes this third domain and is the most abstract and least familiar of the three. The nature of science as a way of thinking refers to ‘thinking with a particular lens’ – just as the nature of history would be thinking through a historical lens. This collection unpacks the nature of science. LP5-Nature%20of%20Science.pdf. Video : What is Science? Chapter 1: The Nature of Science. Chapter 1: THE NATURE OF SCIENCE Over the course of human history, people have developed many interconnected and validated ideas about the physical, biological, psychological, and social worlds. Those ideas have enabled successive generations to achieve an increasingly comprehensive and reliable understanding of the human species and its environment. The means used to develop these ideas are particular ways of observing, thinking, experimenting, and validating.

These ways represent a fundamental aspect of the nature of science and reflect how science tends to differ from other modes of knowing. It is the union of science, mathematics, and technology that forms the scientific endeavor and that makes it so successful. This chapter lays out recommendations for what knowledge of the way science works is requisite for scientific literacy. Scientists share certain basic beliefs and attitudes about what they do and how they view their work. The World Is Understandable Science Demands Evidence. Activity: Dogs and Turnips. Evolution: Videos for Students: Evolving Ideas. Here Be Dragons: Watch Now in HD. Science and Skepticism. Scientific skepticism - Mysteries and Science: Exploring Aliens, Ghosts, Monsters, the end of the world, and other weird things.

Theory. Oddly enough, one of the most important aspects of science is also one of those most frequently misunderstood. That, of course, is the concept of a "theory. " The problem is that this is one of those words which has two meanings. There's the common meaning, which is much like what a scientist would call a "hypothesis. " Then there's the scientific meaning, which is much, much more. In order to get to the difference, we need to look a little bit at just what it means to "know" something. Knowing We learn our universe by experience; pretty much all of our useful knowledge is experiential.

As our library of fact information increases, our brains do something which is apparently deeply innate to us: they form patterns. Thus, if I asked you what you knew about ice, you'd have no hesitation telling me that ice is cold. In fact, under the right conditions, water will freeze at room temperature, so while your knowledge about ice is very useful to you, it isn't actually completely correct. 10 Characteristics of Scientists | Human Nature Concepts. Do you diligently watch Big Bang Theory reruns? Sneak into Star Trek conventions in strange cities? While TV’s Big Bang nerds are cast as socially inept, it’s likely the coolest kids would be envious of their social network. Like most things in life, it’s not what you know but how you use it. Time to rethink scientist’s bad rep. Chemist from NYC Tech Day (google???) Believing human behavior mimics the laws of science, what makes a good scientist? Here’s a compilation of the best scientists 10 characteristics. 1.

Do we love George because he’s a monkey – or because of his mischievous and enviable curiosity? 2. 3. Observing life through a kaleidoscope 4. 5. 6. 7. Ever notice how all the really cool science stuff is for kids? 8. 9. 10. Perhaps what I love most about this list is how ubiquitous these characteristics are for any person interested in a full life. Characteristics of Science. NSTA Theories and Laws. Laws and Theories Among the Common People | Staring at the Ceiling, Among Other Things. I guess it’s fair to say that the scientific community has not done so well in constructing its jargon vocabulary. That being said, it’s actually kind of sad how little people know outside of the scientific community, but are so prepared to argue for or against topics that they don’t know much about. I came across an article today that talks about the discovery of a new dinosaur, from which birds may have evolved. You can read about it here: I always like to scroll through the comments just to read what others have to say about the topics I’m reading; but reading these comments was worse than nails on a chalkboard.

Before I go on, I would like to point out that this post is not about whether or not the Theory of Evolution is true, but rather attacking the arguments that those outside of the scientific community make to justify their points. “Technically reality itself is a theory. FALSE. Like this: Study Unit : When Does a Theory Become a Law? This is something that comes up quite frequently in discussions between scientists and the general public. How much proof does it take for a theory to graduate to being a law?

Theory Law Because the words theory and law have such different meanings in the language of science, it is often a difficult question to answer, so instead, I'll start by giving you a few similar questions to answer. How perfectly do you have to build a house so that it will become a single brick? How well do you have to write to change an entire dictionary into a single word? If you are thinking that those questions don't make much sense, then you are feeling very much like a scientist who has been asked "How much proof does it take for a theory to graduate to being a law? " Ohm's Law In science, laws are simple facts and formulas that are so basic that they apply universally.

So just as houses don't become bricks, theories don't become laws. Laws tell us what happens. But what if a theory turns out to be wrong? Scientific Laws and Theories. SCIENTIFIC LAWS and THEORIES I've had a student ask me to clarify the difference between a scientific "law" and a "theory". This person asked, in part: ".. Is a law, in essence, something which has no detractors --> a unifying 'concept' for which scientists (at the present time) are in accordance with? Is a law a single idea by which all scientists, regardless of discipline, conform? " " Can a theory be looked at as a 'transitory' law (i.e., a law in waiting)? In contrast to a law, is it correct to say that there can be several scientific theories about a particular phenomena whereas a law represents a single unified agreement among all scientists".

Such questions are very common. As used in science, I think that it is important to realize that, in spite of the differences (see below), these terms share some things in common. Presumably the acceptance of laws/theories also applies across disciplines, although most "Laws" or "Theories" are discipline specific. 4) 1. Literature Cited. Magic with Physics - Pendulum Stop.

Scientists

What Science is/is not. Parts of an Experiment. Barbie Bungee. Get students' interest by asking, "Do you think the length of the cord and the size of the person matters when bungee jumping? Would it be smart to lie about your height or weight? " Allow students to offer suggestions as to why an accurate estimate of height and weight would be important to conduct a safe bungeee jump.

You may also wish to search and show a short video about bungee jumping. After a brief introduction, set up the lesson by telling students that they will be creating a bungee jump for a Barbie® doll. Their objective is to give Barbie the greatest thrill while still ensuring that she is safe. This means that she should come as close as possible to the ground without hitting the floor.

Explain that students will conduct an experiment, collect data, and then use the data to predict the maximum number of rubber bands that should be used to give Barbie a safe jump from a height of 400 cm. Distribute the Barbie Bungee activity packet to each student. Questions for Students 1. STEM Lesson Ideas: Barbie Bungee Jump.