Class01 - Society and Science Science Knowledge for...

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Society and Science Science Society Knowledge for scientific literacy Directed funding
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Scientific literacy is the minimum knowledge of science that citizens must have to be able to make informed decisions about science and technology This lecture introduces three components of scientific literacy: The assumptions on which science is based The methodology of science (scientific method) The deceptive deviations from the scientific method (“Junk” science) What is scientific literacy?
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What are the assumptions of science? The concepts of space, time, mass and energy can be understood even though they cannot be unambiguously defined The Universe is a vast single system in which rules are the same everywhere Most basic rule in the physical Universe is causality (cause-and-effect), a given set of conditions always produces same results Humans can discover cause-and-effect patterns by using their intellect, senses, and instruments that extend their senses
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How did early scientists obtain knowledge from their observations (“scientific method”)? 1. Obtained reproducible observations 2. Examined observations for a general pattern/rule 3. Developed a tentative explanation for any pattern found (hypothesis) 4. Tested hypothesis with many experiments and revised it based on results of tests until no further revisions were necessary 5. Published results for peer review and possible consideration as a theory (thoroughly tested and accepted hypothesis that is broadly applicable)
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1. Observations are reproducible when peers can duplicate an experiment on demand and obtain essentially the same results 2. There are two kinds of reproducible observations Quantitative - results of the observation can be expressed numerically such as the weight of a sample Expressed in International System of Units (see http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages /U/Units.html) Qualitative - results of the observation are not expressed numerically such as the color or odor of a sample Step 1 involves making reproducible observations
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Wt. of Carbon Wt. of Oxygen Wt. of carbon dioxide 1.2 g 3.2 g 4.4 g 3.0 g 8.0 g 11.0 g 6.0 g 16.0 g 22.0 g Example: quantitative reproducible observations made on the burning of pure carbon in air Can you find a simple mathematical pattern in the above data? Reactants Product(s)
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1. If the observations are quantitative, look for a mathematical pattern such as constant sums, differences, products or quotients 2. For burning carbon in air, the sums of the weights of reactants (carbon and oxygen) = the weight of the product or new substance (carbon dioxide) 3. Generalization - there is no change in weight during the reaction of carbon with oxygen.(Induction) 4. If the same generalization is obtained for other substances such as iron and oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen, etc., the generalization is called a law 5. Law of Conservation of Mass - during an ordinary chemical reaction, matter is neither created nor destroyed Step 2 involves examining the reproducible observations for a pattern
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