Recent developments in science have allowed us to determine how things work by studying them. We now use this process, what is known as experimental analysis or experimentation, to prove theories about the world. It’s all around you — electricity works because of electrons moving through wires, cold water flows down a slope due to gravity, and muscles contract when nerves are stimulated.
When we say “theory,” we mean a good explanation that fits the data for something happening in the past. A theory is never actually done nor proved but rather inferred from observations of the world around us.
A lot of theories were once thought to be false, such as the idea that astrology was a way to predict events or that the universe has an infinite number of universes beyond our own. Over time, more accurate theoretical explanations have replaced these wrong ones.
We can also create new theories by extrapolating ideas from existing knowledge. For example, after learning about atoms and molecules, people came up with the concept of matter which includes protons, neutrons, and electrons. And just like atoms, matter breaks down into other components eventually.
There are several different types of scientists, each doing their own research area of study. Some focus on creating new theories by proposing alternatives to current models, others test hypotheses to see if they match reality, and some apply mathematical equations to understand natural processes.
Steps of the scientific method
The way that scientists gather information to prove or disprove theories is by using the scientific method. This systematic approach was first formalized in the 18th century, when French philosopher Michel Montaigne wrote about it.
He described this process as having four steps: observation, reasoning based on observations, experimentation, and conclusions.
Observation is gathering new information or confirming an existing theory. Reasoning includes drawing logical implications from observations and experiments. Experimentation means trying out ideas or procedures on one thing to see what happens.
Conclusions are statements made based on experiment and reasoning. They are never proofs alone, but instead are beliefs that are supported by evidence.
This article will go into more detail on each step of the scientific method.
History of science
The field that deals with how scientists work is called historical or social sciences. These studies look at past examples to learn about what influenced the production and distribution of knowledge, and why some ideas seem to spread quickly while others do not.
Historical and sociology scholars study how people in history organized themselves into groups, and how they interacted with each other.
They also investigate how powerful individuals shaped events around them, and how these elites distributed resources to followers. All of this comes down to how things got done—and how well everyone was paid, promoted, or trusted by those above them!
The word “scientist” itself originates from the Latin word for scientist, scientes, which means knower or learner. Therefore, historians and sociologists typically focus on studying how individual learners organize their understanding of the world around them, and how they influence one another in their pursuit of truth and answers.
Science and technology
Technology has exploded in recent years, with every area of life being touched by engineering. The way we work, live, and relate to each other is influenced heavily by engineers.
Technology shapes our daily lives, from how we communicate to what we eat to how we exercise and remain active. Even our perception of reality is changing as new technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality are spreading like wildfire!
Virtual environments have been around for quite some time but only recently did they become interactive and usable on mobile devices. Augmented reality (AR) goes one step further; it integrates computer-generated imagery into our physical world. For example, you could put a digital image next to someone so that when they look up at them, there’s an overlay of information.
We use these tools actively and extensively every day, and most people don’t give much thought to where this tech comes from or who designed it. But many people know about the person who designed the iPhone, for instance!
I bet you can guess which field he/she works in? That’s right — engineer! To understand why scientists work, you first need to understand what engineers do and how they go about doing it.
Here, we will talk about three things engineers do that play a big part in how science works: experimentation, theory, and criticism.