02_the_science_of_life_in_the_universe revised - Chapter 2...

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Chapter 2The Science of Life inthe Universe
In ancient times phenomena in the skywere not understood!
The Ancient GreeksLaid the foundations of modern science
The Scientific MethodThe study of the universe usingexperiments and observations madewith the five senses
Observations (Data)The raw material of scienceCan be collected simply by eyeor with complex scientificinstrumentation
Scientific LawsConsistent patterns of behavior withinsets of observationsProvide no explanation as to why thepatterns existLaws predict WHAT will happen butnot WHY it will happen!Example:Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion
HypothesesInitial attempts to explainobservationsEducated guesses!A scientific hypothesis mustalways be capable of beingdisproven
ExperimentsUsed to test laws and hypothesesIf a law or hypothesis is notconfirmed by experiment it mustbe modified or replaced withanother oneEven if confirmed it must bere-tested as new data becomesavailable
ReproducibilityValid experiments are those that arerepeatable by other scientists workingindependently
In 2011, scientists in Europe claimed to seesubatomic particles called neutrinos travellingfaster than the speed of light in a vacuumHowever, these observations could not bereproduced by other scientists and were eventuallyexplained by an error in the experiment
Scientific TheoriesExplanations of observed behaviorTheories are always fundamentallycomplete and self-containedTheories explain WHY things willhappen!Example:Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity
Scientific ModelsSimulated representations of systems beingstudiedThere are three main types:Physical, Conceptual, MathematicalNot complete and self-consistent – includeadjustable parameters which must bedetermined by observation
Summary of the Scientific MethodTheories and models can be modified or eventhrown out if new data becomes available that nolonger supports them

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Term
Spring
Professor
simon
Tags
Astronomy, Isaac Newton, Planet, Johannes Kepler, retrograde motion, planetary orbits

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