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Case studies of scientists and their “experimental methods”

Francis Bacon (1561-1626): Bacon represents a first step away from sixteenth century thinking, in that he deniedthe validity of empiricism (see introduction) and preferred inductive reasoning (the method of deriving a general “truth” fromobservation of certain similar facts and principles) to the Aristotelian method of deductive reasoning (the method of usinggeneral principles to explain a specific instance, where the particular phenomena is explained through its relation to a“universal truth”). Moreover, like Roger Bacon of the 13th century, Francis Bacon argued that the use of empiricism alone isinsufficient, and thus emphasized the necessity of fact-gathering as a first step in the scientific method, which could then befollowed by carefully recorded and controlled (unbiased) experimentation. Bacon largely differed from his sixteenth centurycounterparts in his insistence that experimentation should not be conducted to simply “see what happens” but “as a way of answeringspecific questions.” Moreover, he believed, as did many of his contemporaries, that a main purpose of science was the bettermentof human society and that experimentation should be applied to hard, real situations rather than to Aristotelian abstract ideas.His experimental method of fact-gathering largely influenced advances in chemistry and biology through the 18th century.

3Hall, p 166, 167

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642): Galileo’s experimental method contrasted with that of Bacon in that hebelieved that the purpose of experimentation should not simply be a means of getting information or of eliminating ignorance, but ameans of testing a theory and of testing the success of the very “testing method.” Galileo argued that phenomena should beinterpreted mechanically, meaning that because every phenomenon results from a combination of the most basic phenomena anduniversal axioms, if one applies the many proven theorems to the larger phenomenon, one can accurately explain why a certainphenomenon occurs the way it does. In other words, he argued that “an explanation of a scientific problem is truly begun when it isreduced to its basic terms of matter and motion,” because only the most basic events occur because of one axiom.

For example, one can demonstrate the concept of “acceleration” in the laboratory with a ball and a slantedboard, but to fullyexplain the idea using Galileo’s reasoning, one would have to utilize the concepts of many different disciplines:the physics-based concepts of time and distance, the idea of gravity, force, and mass, or even the chemical composition of theelement that is accelerating, all of which must be individually broken down to their smallest elements in order for a scientist tofully understand the item as a whole. This “mechanic” or “systemic” approach, while necessitating a mixture of elements from differentdisciplines, also partially removed the burden of fact-gathering emphasized by Bacon. In other words, through Galileo’s method, onewould not observe the phenomenon as a whole, but rather as a construct or system of many existing principles that must be testedtogether, and so gathering facts about the performance of the phenomenon in one situation may not truly lead to an informedobservation of how the phenomenon would occur in a perfect circumstance, when all laws of matter and motion come into play.Galileo’s abstraction of everything concerning the phenomenon except the universal element (e.g. matter or motion) contrastedgreatly with Bacon’s inductive reasoning, but also influenced the work of Descartes, who would later emphasize the importance ofsimplification of phenomena in mathematical terms. Galileo’s experimental method aided advances in chemistry and biology byallowing biologists to explain the work of a muscle or any body function using existing ideas of motion, matter, energy, and otherbasic principles.

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Nanotechnology: content and context. OpenStax CNX. May 09, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10418/1.1
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