Thought experiment A thought experiment or Gedankenexperiment (from German) considers some hypothesis, theory, or principle for the purpose of thinking through its consequences. Given the structure of the experiment, it may or may not be possible to actually perform it, and if it can be performed, there need be no intention of any kind to actually perform the experiment in question. The common goal of a thought experiment is to explore the potential consequences of the principle in question: "A thought experiment is a device with which one performs an intentional, structured process of intellectual deliberation in order to speculate, within a specifiable problem domain, about potential consequents (or antecedents) for a designated antecedent (or consequent)" (Yeates, 2004, p. 150). Overview Salviati. Although the extract does not convey the elegance and power of the 'demonstration' terribly well, it is clear that it is a 'thought' experiment, rather than a practical one. Variety Uses
Biometry details - AC What to do before attending You will either be attending the entire course or selected modules/topics, depending on who you are. Before attending the modules, you need to download and print the handouts for the particular days. Because the number of people attending varies widely from day to day, it's difficult for us to bring copies without wasting large amounts of paper, or running very short. Assessment Some of you will sit an exam, as indicated in the table below. Older Background Material Note that newer material is available through the on-line learning systems at Melbourne and Deakin. It's assumed that you have an understanding of basic statistics. Lecture Handouts NB: Download these files just before the relevant session, to be sure you have the current version of the handout. Lecture handouts are ready for you to download, print, and bring along to the relevant days. Module 1 (16-17July) Module 2 (18th and 19th July) Module 3 (25th and 26th July) Tutorials/Worksheets Tutorial Material
Technical Writing: Middle School Science Abstracts T.R. Girill , Technical Literacy Project leader, STC and LLNL Posted 04/01/2015 10:40AM | Last Commented 04/06/2015 5:29AM Teachers sometimes ask if students can or should learn abstract-drafting skills before they need them in high school. Does designing effective abstracts have a place in middle school? The Need to Learn One positive answer comes from the Common Core State Standards ( for Language Arts (literacy). A second positive answer comes from regional science fairs, which usually accept projects from students in grades 6 to 8, with an abstract for each one. A Middle-School Case Study As a extended example of revising a middle-school abstract to make it more effective using Common Core literacy skills, consider this (anonymized) case written to summarize a grade-7 student project and published on the California State Science Fair site for 2014: The Section Headings Objectives/Goals Methods/Materials Results
Occam's razor The sun, moon and other solar system planets can be described as revolving around the Earth. However that explanation's ideological and complex assumptions are completely unfounded compared to the modern consensus that all solar system planets revolve around the Sun. Ockham's razor (also written as Occam's razor and in Latin lex parsimoniae) is a principle of parsimony, economy, or succinctness used in problem-solving devised by William of Ockham (c. 1287 - 1347). Solomonoff's theory of inductive inference is a mathematically formalized Occam's Razor: shorter computable theories have more weight when calculating the probability of the next observation, using all computable theories which perfectly describe previous observations. History Formulations before Ockham Part of a page from Duns Scotus' book Ordinatio: "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate", i.e., "Plurality is not to be posited without necessity" Ockham Later formulations
How to Write a Science Fair Project Report Writing a science fair project report may seem like a challenging task, but it is not as difficult as it first appears. This is a format that you may use to write a science project report. If your project included animals, humans, hazardous materials, or regulated substances, you can attach an appendix that describes any special activities your project required. Also, some reports may benefit from additional sections, such as abstracts and bibliographies. You may find it helpful to fill out the science fair lab report template to prepare your report. Important: Some science fairs have guidelines put forth by the science fair committee or an instructor. Title: For a science fair, you probably want a catchy, clever title. Appearances Matter Neatness counts, spelling counts, grammar counts.
Meta-analysis In statistics, meta-analysis comprises statistical methods for contrasting and combining results from different studies, in the hope of identifying patterns among study results, sources of disagreement among those results, or other interesting relationships that may come to light in the context of multiple studies. Meta-analysis can be thought of as "conducting research about previous research." In its simplest form, meta-analysis is done by identifying a common statistical measure that is shared between studies, such as effect size or p-value, and calculating a weighted average of that common measure. This weighting is usually related to the sample sizes of the individual studies, although it can also include other factors, such as study quality. The motivation of a meta-analysis is to aggregate information in order to achieve a higher statistical power for the measure of interest, as opposed to a less precise measure derived from a single study. History Advantages 
Philosophy of science Philosophy of science is a branch of philosophy concerned with the foundations, methods, and implications of science. The central questions concern what counts as science, the reliability of scientific theories, and the purpose of science. This discipline overlaps with metaphysics, ontology and epistemology, for example, when it explores the relationship between science and truth. While the relevant history of philosophy dates back at least to Aristotle, philosophy of science emerged as a distinct discipline only in the middle of the 20th century in the wake of logical positivism, a movement that aimed to formulate criteria to ensure all philosophical statements' meaningfulness and objectively assess them. Today, some thinkers seek to ground science in axiomatic assumptions such as the uniformity of nature. Introduction Defining science Karl Popper c. 1980s Distinguishing between science and non-science is referred to as the demarcation problem. Scientific explanation
Strong inference In philosophy of science, strong inference is a model of scientific inquiry that emphasizes the need for alternative hypotheses, rather than a single hypothesis in order to avoid confirmation bias. The term "strong inference" was coined by John R. Platt, a biophysicist at the University of Chicago. Platt notes that certain fields, such as molecular biology and high-energy physics, seem to adhere strongly to strong inference, with very beneficial results for the rate of progress in those fields. The single hypothesis problem The problem with single hypotheses, confirmation bias, was aptly described by Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin in 1897: Despite the admonitions of Platt, reviewers of grant-applications often require "A Hypothesis" as part of the proposal (note the singular). Strong Inference The method, very similar to the scientific method, is described as: Limitations A number of limitations of strong inference have been identified. References
Inductive reasoning Inductive reasoning (as opposed to deductive reasoning or abductive reasoning) is reasoning in which the premises seek to supply strong evidence for (not absolute proof of) the truth of the conclusion. While the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is probable, based upon the evidence given. The philosophical definition of inductive reasoning is more nuanced than simple progression from particular/individual instances to broader generalizations. Rather, the premises of an inductive logical argument indicate some degree of support (inductive probability) for the conclusion but do not entail it; that is, they suggest truth but do not ensure it. Many dictionaries define inductive reasoning as reasoning that derives general principles from specific observations, though some sources disagree with this usage. Description Inductive reasoning is inherently uncertain. An example of an inductive argument: For example: Example
Reason Psychologists and cognitive scientists have attempted to study and explain how people reason, e.g. which cognitive and neural processes are engaged, and how cultural factors affect the inferences that people draw. The field of automated reasoning studies how reasoning may or may not be modeled computationally. Animal psychology considers the question of whether animals other than humans can reason. Etymology and related words In the English language and other modern European languages, "reason", and related words, represent words which have always been used to translate Latin and classical Greek terms in the sense of their philosophical usage. The original Greek term was "λόγος" logos, the root of the modern English word "logic" but also a word which could mean for example "speech" or "explanation" or an "account" (of money handled).As a philosophical term logos was translated in its non-linguistic senses in Latin as ratio. Philosophical history Classical philosophy
Deductive reasoning Deductive reasoning links premises with conclusions. If all premises are true, the terms are clear, and the rules of deductive logic are followed, then the conclusion reached is necessarily true. Deductive reasoning (top-down logic) contrasts with inductive reasoning (bottom-up logic) in the following way: In deductive reasoning, a conclusion is reached reductively by applying general rules that hold over the entirety of a closed domain of discourse, narrowing the range under consideration until only the conclusion(s) is left. In inductive reasoning, the conclusion is reached by generalizing or extrapolating from, i.e., there is epistemic uncertainty. Note, however, that the inductive reasoning mentioned here is not the same as induction used in mathematical proofs – mathematical induction is actually a form of deductive reasoning. Simple example An example of a deductive argument: All men are mortal.Socrates is a man.Therefore, Socrates is mortal. Law of detachment P → Q.
Design of experiments In general usage, design of experiments (DOE) or experimental design is the design of any information-gathering exercises where variation is present, whether under the full control of the experimenter or not. However, in statistics, these terms are usually used for controlled experiments. Formal planned experimentation is often used in evaluating physical objects, chemical formulations, structures, components, and materials. Other types of study, and their design, are discussed in the articles on computer experiments, opinion polls and statistical surveys (which are types of observational study), natural experiments and quasi-experiments (for example, quasi-experimental design). See Experiment for the distinction between these types of experiments or studies. History of development Controlled experimentation on scurvy Lind selected 12 men from the ship, all suffering from scurvy. The men given citrus fruits recovered dramatically within a week. Randomized experiments
Metaphysics Metaphysics is a traditional branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms: Ultimately, what is there?What is it like? Prior to the modern history of science, scientific questions were addressed as a part of metaphysics known as natural philosophy. Etymology However, once the name was given, the commentators sought to find intrinsic reasons for its appropriateness. There is a widespread use of the term in current popular literature which replicates this understanding, i.e. that the metaphysical equates to the non-physical: thus, "metaphysical healing" means healing by means of remedies that are not physical. Central questions Cosmology and cosmogony Cosmogony deals specifically with the origin of the universe. Determinism and free will