What is science? Science is a body of knowledge based on the study of nature and its physical setting. The purpose of science is scientific inquiry—the development of explanations. Scientific inquiry is a creative process as well as a process involving observation and experimentation.
The scientific method is a way to ask and answer scientific questions by making observations and doing experiments.
The steps of the scientific method are to: 1-Ask a Question 2-Do Background Research 3-Construct a Hypothesis 4-Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment 5-Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion 6-Communicate Your Results
It is important for your experiment to be a fair test. A "fair test" occurs when you change only one factor (variable) and keep all other conditions the same.
How does science expand knowledge? Science is guided by research that results in a constant reevaluation of what is known. This reevaluation process leads to new knowledge. It also leads to new questions that require more research. What happens when scientists disagree? Scientists welcome debate. Disagreements among scientists often lead to further investigation. Science advances when new discoveries are added to the existing body of knowledge. For example, scientific research has dramatically increased our understanding of HIV.
What system of measurement do scientists use? Scientists use the metric system of measurement. The metric system uses units with divisions that are powers of ten. In 1960, a system of unit standards of the metric system was established. This system is called the International System of Units, or SI. In biology, the SI units you will use most often are meter (length), gram (mass), liter (volume), and second (time).
Forensic: Many popular television shows about crime are based on forensics—the field that uses science to investigate crime. The media is filled with information on medical advances, new scientific discoveries, and new technologies.
Kinds of Information : Scientific information can usually be broken down into two main types—quantitative or qualitative. In quantitative research, results are compared by using numbers. Imagine an experiment to see when different materials begin to melt. The temperature at which wax, iron, and glass each begins to melt is different. Temperatures often are measured in degrees, which are numbers on a scale. These temperatures are a type of quantitative data in quantitative research. Qualitative research is based on observation. It is also called descriptive research because it describes scientists’ observations when they do their research. If a scientist wanted to figure out how a beaver builds a dam, numbers would not be very helpful. The scientist would observe the beaver and see how the dam is built. Then the scientist would describe, in detail, all the steps the beaver takes to build the dam.
Science and Society: Scientific research often provides society with important information. What we learn from scientific research cannot be defined as good or bad. Ethics must play a role in deciding how the information will be used. Ethics are the moral principles and values held by humans. Ethics are how we decide what is right or wrong, good or bad. Suppose scientists develop a new vaccine to cure a disease, but they can only produce 1000 doses each year. Ethics help society decide who should receive those doses. Society as a whole must take responsibility for making sure that scientific discoveries are used in an ethical way. Some scientific study is done only to learn new things. This type of science is called pure science. Pure science is not done so that the results can be used for a specific need. The research is filed away for later use. Science that solves a problem is technology. Technology means using scientific research to meet society’s needs or solve its problems. Technology has helped reduce the amount of manual labor needed to make and raise crops. It has also helped cut down on environmental pollution.
How do scientists deal with inconsistent data?
When observations or data are not consistent with current understanding, scientists investigate the inconsistencies. For example, some early biologists suggested that bats had traits that were more similar to those of mammals than those of birds, as shown in the figure below. This idea led to further investigation. The new evidence confirmed that bats are more closely related to mammals than to birds. In pseudoscience, observations that are not consistent with beliefs are ignored.
Answer the following questions:
1- How does science expand knowledge? 2- What happens when scientists disagree? 3- What system of measurement do scientists use? 4- What does forensic mean?