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The Meaning of Data

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Jean-Claude Bradley presents at a panel at Lawrence Sowder's class on Rhetoric of Science at Drexel University on October 6, 2010. The key point discussed is that uncertainty cannot be removed from the scientific process but it can be reduced by transparency. Scientists must be comfortable with ambiguity.

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The Meaning of Data

  1. 1. The meaning of data<br />Rhetoric of Science Panel <br />COM400 Class at Drexel University<br />Jean-Claude Bradley<br />Associate Professor of Chemistry<br />Drexel University<br />October 6, 2010<br />
  2. 2. There are NO FACTS, <br />only measurements <br />embedded within assumptions<br />
  3. 3. In principle one experiment is enough to invalidate a theory<br />In practice, it takes a lot more than one experiment to make any progress because uncertainty is unavoidable<br />
  4. 4. How bad is our current system? Try to find the solubility EGCG?<br />
  5. 5. Contradictions are common<br />=2.3 g/L<br />
  6. 6. Uncertainty is unavoidable <br />But it can be reduced with transparency<br />
  7. 7. TRUST<br />PROOF<br />
  8. 8. Data provenance: <br />From Wikipedia to…<br />
  9. 9. …the lab notebook and raw data<br />
  10. 10. Interactive NMR spectra using JSpecView and JCAMP-DX<br />
  11. 11. Raw Data As Images<br />Splatter?<br />Some liquid<br />
  12. 12. YouTube for demonstrating experimental set-up<br />
  13. 13. Scientists don’t deal in facts – they deal in evidence<br />Scientists are comfortable with ambiguity and use fuzzy logic to solve problems<br />

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