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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

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 to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket 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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