Where are we going with this? The information on this page is foundational to science and scientific inquiry.
What is Science?
(Well, that seems like a pretty good place to start!)
Let's be honest… Back in elementary school everyone loved science! The hamsters! Fire! Terrariums! Yeah! that was cool!
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Somewhere along the way, something happened. Good ol' science got infected with numbers. And measuring stuff. And… well… just like students, with the passing of time, science become more complicated. As we got older and able to do more with our brains, the study of science became more specific and focused.
As we grew up, our utilization of science grew to include more and more of what science is, and what it is intended to do.
The goal of science is to investigate and understand the natural world using previous results to make useful predictions.
The more mature we are, the more complicated those investigations are!
(That sort of spoils that whole hamster thing. Also, why is there no "p" in hamster?)
Unpacking the above goal of science, there are a few things to consider. The first part of the definition calls attention to the investigation process, the goal of which is understanding… understanding with the intention of—with the goal of—using what is learned in the previous results to make useful predictions about how things might behave in future, similar situations.
So, what is science? Let's go with this:
- a system of knowledge about the natural world and the methods used to find that knowledge.
- the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
When something is discovered, it lays the groundwork for future discoveries. Science is a progressive way of using evidence to learn about the natural world, and it builds on previous findings. And on previous failures to find things, for that matter!
Since science builds and grows on previous efforts, it seems reasonable that some sort of systematic approach to scientific inquiry would exist. Yeah… it does…
And it has a name! Check it out! Scientific Method
Contributions from Troy Smigielski