What is science?
Science is a process of trying to understand the world by making models (or theories) which have predictive power. It usually involves:
- Looking for patterns (which can be clues to underlying laws)
This may involve
- Suggesting an explanation (hypothesis) which explains all the observations made so far AND predicts new ones
Making an experiment or collecting more data which tests the prediction
- (If the experiment fails) Suggesting another hypothesis, and trying another experiment….
- Telling others what you have discovered.
Many people think that science is a set of answers, a certain look, or a certain vocabulary. It isn’t. It’s a process. Answers may change as we learn more (Is Pluto a planet?!) The scientific method: acquiring and using data to test ideas doesn’t change. As the great scientist Richard Feynman said, it is way of not fooling yourself and, I would add, not being fooled by others. It’s a way of understanding the world that is self-checking and works to guard against the tendency we all have to believe our own ideas or appealing sounding stories too much!