Tag Archives: history of science

What Is Science?

What Is Science?

Fields of Science

Investigating the World around Us

The Six Ws of Journalism and Police Investigations
Image by Image Editor

The six Ws of journalism and police investigations to elucidate or investigate a saturation — who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Plato and Aristotle
Fresco by Raphael Sanzio

Plato (left) and Aristotle used philosophy to gain knowledge about the world.

Drawing by DÜRER, Albrecht

Prayer and meditation are part of many religious practices.


A mouse uses trial and error to learn a maze.

spacer spacer spacer Science is one method of investigating the universe. Many people think of science as chemistry, geology, etc. These are fields or bodies of knowledge discovered through science or areas investigated through science. Science, loosely speaking, is a technique of investigating the observable world around us in a systematic manner and explaining it in a testable, repeatable fashion.

However, science isn’t the only technique available to us.

The Six Ws (also known as the Five Ws or the Five Ws and one H) used by journalists and police are consider fundamental for getting the "full" story on something. The idea is that for a investigation to be considered complete it must answer the six questions represented by an interrogative word — who, what, when, where, why, and how. These interrogative words should be answered by a verifiable factual answer. It is of importance that none of these questions can be answered by a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

Philosophy uses a systematic approach and a reliance on reasoned argument to study general and fundamental problems. Philosophy looks at areas such as existence, knowledge, truth, justice, beauty, validity, mind, and language.

Spirituality seeks to achieve communion, identity with, conscious awareness, or re-integration with the ultimate reality, spiritual truth, or Godhead. Spirituality uses direct experience, intuition, or insight.

I’m sure those of you who believe in God, found your fate in God not by using science but through some combination of religious/spiritual experience.

Trial and error is a general method of problem solving to obtaining knowledge.

One decides on a possible answer and then applies it to the problem. If the solution is not successful, another possibility is selected that is subsequently applied. The process continues until a solution is found or one gives up.

Exploration is a time honored method of gaining knowledge.

Who can forget past explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Captain James Cook, Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, and Neil Alden Armstrong. Today many of our explorers are not humans but machines we have created to act as our surrogates. In our past exploration of space the Galileo, Viking, and Pioneer missions gathered information for us. Today other missions such as the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, continue our exploration of space.

Explorers Through History

Composite by Image Editor

Human and machines explorers through history.

No one technique is necessarily any better than another. It just depends on what you’re are trying to learn.

Next: The Scientific Method.

February 10, 2008

    This week from the Annels of Science    

February 10

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Deep Blue
Photo courtesy IBM.

A computer system developed by IBM named "Deep Blue" was the first chess-playing computer to win a chess game against a reigning world champion (Garry Kasparov) under regular time controls rules.

Deep Blue was a combination of special purpose hardware and software with an IBM RS/6000 SP2 (seen here) — a system capable of examining 200 million moves per second, or 50 billion positions, in the three minutes allocated for a single move in a chess game.


February 11

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Thomas Alva Edison
An original Edison light bulb from 1879 from Thomas Edison’s shop in Menlo Park. Photo by Terren.
Milan, Ohio
Thomas Alva Edison, prolific American inventor of light bulb (d. October 31, 1931), was born.

February 12

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Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron (England, 1815-1879), 1868

Shropshire, England

The English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin (d. April 19, 1882) is born. He published in 1859, the book On the Origin of Species, which put forth the concept of evolution.

February 13

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William Bradford Shockley. British-born American physicist and co-inventor of transistor. 1956, He won Nobel Prize in Physics. Government photo.

London, England
Nobel laureate (Physics in 1956) William B. Shockley (d. August 12, 1989), inventer of the transitor was born.

February 14

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Image by SciTechLab.
Photo couretsy of NRCC.
Berkeley, California
Lawrencium, element 103, was discovered by Albert Ghiorso, Torbjørn Sikkeland, Almon Larsh, and Robert M. Latimer at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory (now called Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) on the University of California, Berkeley campus.


Solar System
U. S. space probe Voyager I takes first image of the Solar system showing the Sun as “star like” and six planets (Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Venus, Earth and Jupiter) as mere dots.
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NASA photo.

February 15

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Portrait of Galileo Galilei, ca. 1639. By Justus Sustermans (1597-1681).


Pisa, Italy
Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer, physicist mathematician, and philosopher (d.16420108) was born. The father of modern science developed working telescopes that had upright images, championed Copernicanism, and encouraged systematic qualitative experiments to learn about the world.

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Niklaus Emil Wirth

Winterthur, Switzerland
Niklaus Wirth (d.), Swiss computer scientist was born.
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U.S. Army photo.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
ENIAC (for “Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer”), the first general-purpose electronic computer, unveiled at the University of Pennsylvania.

February 16

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Photo by Realman208.
Photo by Chicago Daily News, Inc., 1924. Library of Congress.
Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
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Photo by Jscott.

Chicago, Illinois
The first computer bulletin board system is created by Ward Christensen.