Sunday, 8 June 2014

SCIENCE FOR RESEARCH AND INTEGRATED KNOWLEDGE


Research in practice
Due to the increasing complexity of information and specialization of scientists, most of the cutting-edge research today is done by well-funded groups of scientists, rather than individuals. The writer notes that due to the breadth of very precise and far reaching tools already used by researchers today and the amount of research generated so far, creation of new disciplines or revolutions within a discipline may no longer be possible as it is unlikely that some phenomenon that merits its own discipline has been overlooked. Hybridizing of disciplines and finessing knowledge is, in his view, the future of science. Discoveries in fundamental science can be world-changing. For example:
RESEARCH
IMPACT
The strange orbit of Mercury (1859) and other research
leading to
special (1905) and general relativity (1916)
Satellite-based technology such as GPS (1973), satnav and satellite communications 
Radioactivity (1896) and antimatter (1932)
Cancer treatment (1896), nuclear reactors (1942) and weapons (1945), PET scans (1961), and medical research (via isotopic labeling)
Germ theory (1700)
Hygiene, leading to decreased transmission of infectious diseases; antibodies, leading to techniques for disease diagnosis and targeted anticancer therapies.
Semiconductor devices (1906), hence modern computing and telecommunications including the integration with wireless devices: the mobile phone 
Diffraction (1665)
Solar cells (1883), hence solar power, solar powered watches, calculators and other devices.
Radio waves (1887)
Radio had become used in innumerable ways beyond its better-known areas of telephony, and broadcast television (1927) and radio (1906) entertainment. Other uses included-emergency services, radar (navigation and weather prediction), medicine, astronomy, wireless communications, and networking. Radio waves also led researchers to adjacent frequencies such as microwaves, used worldwide for heating and cooking food.
Vaccination (1798)
Leading to the elimination of most infectious diseases from developed countries and the worldwide eradication of smallpox.


Science and society
 
Women in science (Online Etymology Dictionary).

Vera Rubin, the first astronomer to infer galactic clumping from astronomical data in 1953, was not allowed to use the telescope at Palomar until 1965, with the given reason that the facility did not have a women's restroom. Other woman of distinction in science includes; Trotula of Salerno, a physician, Caroline Herschel one of the first professional astronomers of the 18th and 19th centuries, Christine Ladd-Franklin, a doctoral student of C. S. Peirce, who published Wittgenstein's proposition 5.101 in her dissertation, 40 years before Wittgenstein's publication of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Henrietta Leavitt, a professional human computer and astronomer, who first published the significant relationship between the luminosity of Cepheid variable stars and their distance from Earth. This allowed Hubble to make the discovery of the expanding universe, which led to the Big Bang theory, Emmy Noether, who proved the conservation of energy and other constants of motion in 1915, Marie Curie, who made discoveries relating to radioactivity along with her husband, and for whom Curium is named, Rosalind Franklin, who worked with x-ray diffraction.
Science has traditionally been a male-dominated field, with some notable exceptions. Women historically faced considerable discrimination in science, much as they did in other areas of male-dominated societies, such as frequently being passed over for job opportunities and denied credit for their work. The achievements of women in science have been attributed to their defiance of their traditional role as laborers within the domestic sphere. In the late 20th century, active recruitment of women and elimination of institutional discrimination on the basis of sex greatly increased the number of female scientists, but large gender disparities remain in some fields; over half of new biologists are female, while 80% of PhDs in physics are given to men. Feminists claim this is the result of culture rather than an innate difference between the sexes, and some experiments have shown that parents challenge and explain more to boys than girls, asking them to reflect more deeply and logically. In the early part of the 21st century, in America, women earned 50.3% bachelor's degrees, 45.6% master's degrees, and 40.7% of PhDs in science and engineering fields with women earning more than half of the degrees in three fields: Psychology (about 70%), Social Sciences (about 50%), and Biology (about 50-60%). However, when it comes to the Physical Sciences, Geosciences, Math, Engineering, and Computer Science; women earned less than half the degrees. However, lifestyle choice also plays a major role in female engagement in science; women with young children are 28% less likely to take tenure-track positions due to work-life balance issues, and female graduate students' interest in careers in research declines dramatically over the course of graduate school, whereas that of their male colleagues remains unchanged.















Thursday, 5 June 2014

SCIENCE FOR RESEARCH AND INTEGRATED KNOWLEDGE



 
The scientific method
The scientific method seeks to explain the events of nature in a reproducible way. An explanatory thought experiment or hypothesis is put forward, as explanation, using principles such as parsimony (also known as "Occam's Razor") and are generally expected to seek consilience-fitting well with other accepted facts related to the phenomena. This new explanation is used to make falsifiable predictions that are testable by experiment or observation. The predictions are to be posted before a confirming experiment or observation is sought, as proof that no tampering has occurred. Disproof of a prediction is evidence of progress. This is done partly through observation of natural phenomena, but also through experimentation, that tries to simulate natural events under controlled conditions, as appropriate to the discipline (in the observational sciences, such as astronomy or geology, a predicted observation might take the place of a controlled experiment). Experimentation is especially important in science to help establish causal relationships (to avoid the correlation fallacy). When a hypothesis proves unsatisfactory, it is either modified or discarded. If the hypothesis survived testing, it may become adopted into the framework of a scientific theory. This is a logically reasoned, self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of certain natural phenomena.
A theory typically describes the behavior of much broader sets of phenomena than a hypothesis; commonly, a large number of hypotheses can be logically bound together by a single theory, thus a theory is a hypothesis explaining various other hypotheses. In that vein, theories are formulated according to most of the same scientific principles as hypotheses. In addition to testing hypotheses, scientists may also generate a model based on observed phenomena. This is an attempt to describe or depict the phenomenon in terms of a logical, physical or mathematical representation and to generate new hypotheses that can be tested. While performing experiments to test hypotheses, scientists may have a preference for one outcome over another, and so it is important to ensure that science as a whole can eliminate this bias. This can be achieved by careful experimental design, transparency, and a thorough peer review process of the experimental results as well as any conclusions. After the results of an experiment are announced or published, it is normal practice for independent researchers to double-check how the research was performed, and to follow up by performing similar experiments to determine how dependable the results might be. Taken in its entirety, the scientific method allows for highly creative problem solving while minimizing any effects of subjective bias on the part of its users (namely the confirmation bias).
Mathematics and formal sciences
Mathematics is essential to the sciences. One important function of mathematics in science is the role it plays in the expression of scientific models. Observing and collecting measurements, as well as hypothesizing and predicting, often require extensive use of mathematics. Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus, for example, are all essential to physics. Virtually every branch of mathematics has applications in science, including "pure" areas such as number theory and topology. Statistical methods, which are mathematical techniques for summarizing and analyzing data, allow scientists to assess the level of reliability and the range of variation in experimental results. Statistical analysis plays a fundamental role in many areas of both the Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. Computational science applies computing power to simulate real-world situations, enabling a better understanding of scientific problems than formal mathematics alone can achieve. According to the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, computation is now as important as theory and experiment in advancing scientific knowledge. Whether mathematics itself is properly classified as science has been a matter of some debate. Some thinkers see mathematicians as scientists, regarding physical experiments as inessential or mathematical proofs as equivalent to experiments.
Others do not see mathematics as a science, since it does not require an experimental test of its theories and hypotheses. Mathematical theorems and formulas are obtained by logical derivations which presume axiomatic systems, rather than the combination of empirical observation and logical reasoning that has come to be known as the scientific method. In general, Mathematics is classified as Formal Science, while Natural and Social Sciences are classified as Empirical Sciences. Although some scientific research is applied research into specific problems, a great deal of our understanding comes from the curiosity-driven undertaking of basic research. This leads to options for technological advance that were not planned or sometimes even imaginable. This point was made by Michael Faraday when, allegedly in response to the question "what is the use of basic research?" he responded "Sir, what is the use of a new-born child?” For example, research into the effects of red light on the human eye's rod cells did not seem to have any practical purpose; eventually, the discovery that our night vision is not troubled by red light would lead search and rescue teams (among others) to adopt red light in the cockpits of jets and helicopters. In a nutshell: Basic research is the search for knowledge. Applied research is the search for solutions to practical problems using this knowledge. Finally, even basic research can take unexpected turns, and there is some sense in which the scientific method is built to harness luck.
VOLUME 2