What Is Science?

In science the man of real genius is the man who invents a new method. The notable discoveries are often made by his successors, who can apply the methods with fresh vigour, unimpaired by the previous labour of perfecting it; but the mental calibre of the thought required for their work, however brilliant, is not so great as that required by the first inventor of the method.

- Bertrand Russell, The Place of Science in a Liberal Education

Podcast of the Day

After years of unusual episodes dating back to her childhood, Anita went to the doctor and was told there was nothing medically wrong with her. “She had a gift,” she was told, and she was sent down the street to an ESP lab. Parapsychology is the scientific study of telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, precognition, and spirits. Or is it? The field has been pushed to the fringes of science for decades now. In two episodes, I first follow the study of psychics, and then the mainstream sciences of human nature, to see if they differ enough to make one worthy of belief, and the other scorn.

Listen to Hackademics: Part 1 by the Hi-Phi Nation podcast

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

One hundred years ago this month, Albert Einstein put the final polish on a new theory, one that transformed how humankind understands the fundamental nature of reality. With his general theory of relativity Einstein displaced the most famous idea in science, Newton’s theory of gravity, replacing the old idea of a force with a radically strange vision of a cosmos in which space warps and time bends.

When, four years later, during a total eclipse, measurements of starlight curving around the sun confirmed general relativity, Einstein became a global celebrity, and the first line of the catechism of science was reaffirmed: A single brute fact can destroy the most beautiful idea...

Continue reading Thomas Levenson's article: Science Doesn't Work the Way You Might Think

Further Reading

Scientific discovery is the process or product of successful scientific inquiry. Objects of discovery can be things, events, processes, causes, and properties as well as theories and hypotheses and their features (their explanatory power, for example). Most philosophical discussions of scientific discoveries focus on the generation of new hypotheses that fit or explain given data sets or allow for the derivation of testable consequences. Philosophical discussions of scientific discovery have been intricate and complex because the term “discovery” has been used in many different ways, both to refer to the outcome and to the procedure of inquiry. In the narrowest sense, the term “discovery” refers to the purported “eureka moment” of having a new insight. In the broadest sense, “discovery” is a synonym for “successful scientific endeavor” tout court. Some philosophical disputes about the nature of scientific discovery reflect these terminological variations...

Continue reading the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Scientific Discovery by Jutta Schickore

Related Topics

 Laws of Nature | Scientific Method

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