Description

The scientific method is one of the most basic and essential concepts across the sciences, ensuring that investigations are carried out with precision and thoroughness. The scientific method is typically taught as a step-by-step approach, but real examples from history are not always given. This book teaches the basic modes of scientific thought, not by philosophical generalizations, but by illustrating in detail how great scientists from across the sciences solved problems using scientific reason. Examples include Christopher Columbus, Joseph Priestly, Antoine Lavoisier, Michael Faraday, Wilhelm Röntgen, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, and Niels Bohr. Written by a successful research physicist who has engaged in many studies and years of research, all in the attempt to extract the secrets of nature, this book captures the excitement and joy of research. The process of scientific discovery is as delightfully absorbing, as complex, and as profoundly human as falling in love. It can be a roller coaster ride of despairing valleys and exhilarating highs. This book sketches the powerful reasoning that led to many different discoveries, but also celebrates the "ah-ha moments" experienced by each scientist, letting readers share the thrilling instant when each scientist reached the critical revelation in his research.

Key Features

  • Places the scientific method in context using historical examples
  • Suitable for both scientists and non-scientists looking to better understand scientific reasoning
  • Written in an engaging style with clear illustrations and referencing

Readership

Appropriate for students and researchers from all disciplines who want to learn more about historical scientific reasoning.

Table of Contents

Dedication

Acknowledgments

1. Introduction: Humanity’s Urge to Understand

2. Elements of Scientific Thinking: Skepticism, Careful Reasoning, and Exhaustive Evaluation Are All Vital

2.1 Science Is Universal

2.2 Maintaining a Critical Attitude

2.3 Reasoning

2.4 Evaluating Scientific Hypotheses

2.5 Science at the Frontier

References

Bibliography

3. Christopher Columbus and the Discovery of the “Indies”: It Can Be Disastrous to Stubbornly Refuse to Recognize That You Have Falsified Your Own Hypothesis

References

Bibliography

4. Antoine Lavoisier and Joseph Priestley Both Test the Befuddling Phlogiston Theory: Junking a Confusing Hypothesis May Be Necessary to Clear the Way for New and Productive Science

References

Bibliography

5. Michael Faraday Discovers Electromagnetic Induction but Fails to Unify Electromagnetism and Gravitation: It Is Usually Productive to Simplify and Consolidate Your Hypotheses

References

Bibliography

6. Wilhelm Röntgen Intended to Study Cathode Rays but Ended Up Discovering X-Rays: Listen Carefully When Mother Nature Whispers in Your Ear—She May Be Leading You to a Nobel Prize

References

Bibliography

7. Max Planck, the First Superhero of Quantum Theory, Saves the Universe from the Ultraviolet Catastrophe: Assemble Two Flawed Hypotheses About a Key Phenomenon into a Model That Fits Experiment Exactly and People Will Listen to You Even if You Must Revolutionize Physics

References

Bibliography

8. Albert Einstein Attacks the Problem “Are Atoms Real?” from Every Angle: Solving a Centuries-Old Riddle in Seven Different Ways Can Finally Resolve It

References

Bibliography

9. Niels Bohr Models the Hydrogen Atom as a Quantized System with Compelling Exactness, but His Later Career Prov

Details

No. of pages:
176
Language:
English
Copyright:
© 2013
Published:
Imprint:
Elsevier
Print ISBN:
9780123984982
Electronic ISBN:
9780123985040

About the author

Gary Tibbetts

Affiliations and Expertise

Physics Department, General Motors Research Laboratories (Retired), Warren, Michigan, USA

Reviews

"…physicist Tibbetts (General Motors) humanizes the methods of several scientists, using an easy-to-read style that includes enough detail to satisfy the casual and the professional reader alike…Even readers who are familiar with many of these stories will gain new insights into the thought processes of some of the great scientists."--Choice, July 2013