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2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
2 What Is Science?
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2 What Is Science?

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Big Questions in Science series, (2 of 9). Class taught at AUC (University of Amsterdam) during the 2012-2013 fall semester.

Big Questions in Science series, (2 of 9). Class taught at AUC (University of Amsterdam) during the 2012-2013 fall semester.

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  • 1. Physics, Astronomy, ChemistrySebastian de Haro, fall 2012
  • 2. 4a Our cosmic origins 3a, 3b Time and relativity 4b, 5a Quantum mechanics 5b Chemistry 1b Classical physicsBig Questions in Science, spring 2012. SdH, AUC fall 2012. SdH, AUC 2
  • 3.  Class discussion:  List some of the essential properties of science as an academic activity (also properties that distinguish it from other activities). Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 3
  • 4.  The following elements will have appeared in your definitions of science discussed in class:  Logic, rigor.  Scientific method.  Falsifiability .  Experimental verifiability. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 4
  • 5.  One goal of the course is to demystify some of the ideas about science that you may find in popular books or media:  Science is messy, with lots of guesswork, serendipity.  Theories are not falsified by one single observation.  Scientific products are presented in the strictly logical, rigorous way. But the actual scientific process (including research and scientific discussions) is usually rather different. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 5
  • 6.  Four generic properties I would like to emphasize, in addition to the ones already mentioned: Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 6
  • 7. Key driving force behind scientific research: human curiosity. We want to know what nature around us looks like, both in the worlds of the smallest, of the largest, and in the intermediate scale of complexity. Other important driving forces:http://inhabitat.com/new-mars-curiosity-science-laboratory-will-be-nuclear-powered-not-solar-powered/ economic interests, technological http://outreach.atnf.csiro.au/ advance, societal and political needs,… Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUChttp://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hooke/robert/micrographia/plates/scheme34.png 7 http://www.umsl.edu/~fraundorfp/stm97x.html
  • 8. If artists represent (or interpret) aspects of reality that usually cannot be grasped by analytic means, scientists aim to represent its objective, quantitative features. Both artists and scientists need lots of creativity! The scientific enterprise requires abstraction from reality: retaining the aspects that are relevant to a particular question or research, searching for universal patterns, laws, and principles that can be reproduced and tested. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 8http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Meninas http://www.blogmuseupicassobcn.org/2009/06/weve-got-something-special-to-celebrate-a-brand-new-addition-to-the-museu-picasso/?lang=en
  • 9. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2004/13jul_solarblast/Experiment and observation. Experiments allow scientiststo test their hypotheses or gather new information aboutnature in a controlled setting. Changing the experimentalconditions allows to establish or disprove causal links. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 9
  • 10. Science and philosophy: “Traditionally these are questions for philosophy,a love-hate relationship but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge. The purpose of this book is to give the answers that are suggested by recent discoveries and theoretical advances. They lead us to a new picture of the universe and our place in it that is very different from the traditional one, and different even from the picture we might have painted just a decade or two ago. Still, the first sketches of the new concept can be traced back almost a century.” (The Grand Design). Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 10
  • 11. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 11
  • 12. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 12
  • 13.  Method does not guarantee full truth or even empirical adequacy. Dogmatism about ‘method’ can kill creativity:  Rutehrford wouldn’t let Bohr publish his result.  Bohr wouldn’t Heisenberg publish his result.  Heisenberg said the Higgs was not the way the world works. Methodologies change. Look at actual examples! Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 13
  • 14. Technology Future reality Model Presuppositions Experiment Axioms Mathematics Reality Logic Presuppositions (ethical, Observation epistemic, ontological)• Science aims at representing reality in a model that allows to Past reality explain the present and predict the future (retrodict or understand the past). Technology, experiment, and observation play an important role in connecting models with reality.• The model itself rests on experimental data, a number of specific axioms, as well as a broader set of assumptions. The particular logic employed depends on the particular field. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 14
  • 15. A brief history of the universeTurning points in thehistory of the universeorganized around theuniverse’s timeline.Main era’s in theevolution of theuniverse.http://planck.cf.ac.uk/science/timeline/universe Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 15
  • 16.  Documentary film Powers of Ten (9 min) Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 16
  • 17.  In groups of two: go to http://htwins.net/scale2 and look up, for ten different length scales ( , etc.), ten corresponding items in the universe. Go also to the negative powers! Pay particular attention to earth science & biology. Switch off the sound! We will make a (linear) map of the universe. You can cross-check your data with estimates that you find on the internet. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 17
  • 18. Metric prefixes Prefix Symbol 1000m 10n Decimal Short scale Long scale Since[n 1] 1000000000000000yotta Y 10008 1024 septillion quadrillion 1991 000000000 1000000000000000zetta Z 10007 1021 sextillion trilliard 1991 000000 1000000000000000exa E 10006 1018 quintillion trillion 1975 000peta P 10005 1015 1000000000000000 quadrillion billiard 1975tera T 10004 1012 1000000000000 trillion billion 1960giga G 10003 109 1000000000 billion milliard 1960mega M 10002 106 1000000 million 1960kilo k 10001 103 1000 thousand 1795hecto h 10002/3 102 100 hundred 1795deca da 10001/3 101 10 ten 1795 10000 100 1 one –deci d 1000−1/3 10−1 0.1 tenth 1795centi c 1000−2/3 10−2 0.01 hundredth 1795milli m 1000−1 10−3 0.001 thousandth 1795micro μ 1000−2 10−6 0.000001 millionth 1960nano n 1000−3 10−9 0.000000001 billionth milliardth 1960pico p 1000−4 10−12 0.000000000001 trillionth billionth 1960femto f 1000−5 10−15 0.000000000000001 quadrillionth billiardth 1964 0.000000000000000atto a 1000−6 10−18 quintillionth trillionth 1964 001 0.000000000000000zepto z 1000−7 10−21 sextillionth trilliardth 1991 000001 0.000000000000000yocto y 1000−8 10−24 septillionth quadrillionth 1991 000000001 Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 18
  • 19. The Big Questions Connecting Circle Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 19
  • 20. Different length scalesdistributed on the BigQuestions ConnectingCircle. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 20
  • 21. Examples of scientific theories distributed onthe Big Questions Connecting Circle. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 21
  • 22. Examples of sciences distributed on theBig Questions Connecting Circle. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 22
  • 23.  Presocratic science: study of matter and astronomy Atomism and Plato’s Timaeus: mathematics Greek science: First Theories of Everything Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 23
  • 24. Thales: water, predicted solar eclipse.Anaximander: apeiron,Earth cylindrical, suspended in void.Anaximenes: air (rarefaction,condensation).Heraclitus: fireEmpedocles: four elementsDemocritus and Leucippus: atoms,Flat earth. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 24
  • 25. 585 BC Thalesof Miletus Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 25
  • 26.  Time and length scales Great adventure: curiosity Abstraction Methods:question, observation, knowledge, innovation From mythos to logos Greek science: matter, geometry. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 26
  • 27.  Theaetetus via Plato and Euclides: the five Platonic solids Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 27
  • 28. Tetrahedron, octahedron, icosahedron Cube (rectangle) (equilateral triangles) Set minimal length to 1.No ! Use Pythagoras theorem other lengths follow Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 28
  • 29.  The numbers (1,2,3) are given by musical octave and fifth. Generate the Dorian musical scale: 1:2 octave 6 89 12 2:3 perfect fifth 1 2 D E F# G A B C# D 3:4 perfect fourth 4:5 major third 4/3 harmonic mean 5:6 minor third 3/2 arithmetic mean Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 29
  • 30.  Properties of elementary triangles linked with harmonies of music. Platonic solids built up of such triangles. Properties of triangles give properties of solids and will ‘explain’ properties of matter. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 30
  • 31. Earth Fire Air Water Symmetry among these three: all share same elementary triangles Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 31
  • 32. Earth Fire Air Water condensation rarification, condensation evaporation Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 32
  • 33. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 33
  • 34.  Largest volume when inscribed in sphere. Contains other Platonic solids. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 34
  • 35.  Numbers as universal language, at the root of all natural processes. Symmetry leads to ‘conserved quantities’:  Stable earth: isosceles triangle symmetric.  Interchangeability fire, air, water. Link between numbers, physiology, and arts: quantity and quality. Adds concept of ‘measure’, ‘form’ to Ionian/atomistic ideas. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 35
  • 36.  Although speculative, basic principle is a chemistry of four elements.  Reactions explained from mathematical combinations allowed by geometry. Problem of ‘asymmetry’ always present: ‘likely account’. Hypothesis open to critique. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 36
  • 37.  “Our illustrator of the atomic model [in a school text-book of physics] would have done well to make a careful study of Plato before producing his particular illustration” (Heisenberg, cited by Guthrie). Heisenberg first thought about atoms while reading Plato’s Timaeus. Pythagoras highly influential at dawn of two scientific revolutions: Kepler and Sommerfeld. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 37
  • 38.  Rational explanation Logic, argumentation Empirical (though not ‘experimental’) Universe finite and knowable Important factors:  Development of culture  Overseas trading, different civilizations  Openness to intellectual innovation Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 38
  • 39. Periodic table: classification scheme of the chemical elements based on simple physical principles. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 39
  • 40. Physical forces: seemingly distinct forces can be reduced to simpler forces and mathematical principles. Big Questions in Science, fall 2012. SdH, AUC 40

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