Making 20th Century Science: How Theories Became Knowledge

Making 20th Century Science: How Theories Became Knowledge

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Historically, the scientific method has been said to require proposing a theory, making a prediction of something not already known, testing the prediction, and giving up the theory (or substantially changing it) if it fails the test. A theory that leads to several successful predictions is more likely to be accepted than one that only explains what is already known but not understood. This process is widely treated as the conventional method of achieving scientific progress, and was used throughout the twentieth century as the standard route to discovery and experimentation. But does science really work this way? In Making 20th Century Science, Stephen G. Brush discusses this question, as it relates to the development of science throughout the last century. Answering this question requires both a philosophically and historically scientific approach, and Brush blends the two in order to take a close look at how scientific methodology has developed. Several cases from the history of modern physical and biological science are examined, including Mendeleev's Periodic Law, Kekule's structure for benzene, the light-quantum hypothesis, quantum mechanics, chromosome theory, and natural selection. In general it is found that theories are accepted for a combination of successful predictions and better explanations of old facts. Making 20th Century Science is a large-scale historical look at the implementation of the scientific method, and how scientific theories come to be accepted.In fact Hubble withdrew his public support for the expanding universe theory in 1935, arguing that the evidence did not favor his ... Even before that time he had rarely discussed the 1.8 billion year age of the universe that seemed to be implied by his redshift-distance law; ... gives an unreasonably high density as well as a a€œsmall scale Big Bang Cosmology 367 12.5 Hubble Doubts the Expanding Universe.

Title:Making 20th Century Science: How Theories Became Knowledge
Author:Stephen G. Brush
Publisher:Oxford University Press - 2015-03-16


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