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Education & Language - Learning & Instruction | Critical Appraisal of Physical Science as a Human Enterprise - Dynamics of Scientific Progress

Critical Appraisal of Physical Science as a Human Enterprise

Dynamics of Scientific Progress

Niaz, Mansoor

2009, XIV, 216 p.

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  • Presents historical reconstructions that are very different from textbook presentations
  • Includes a wide range of historical episodes covering almost 300 years
  • Provides guidelines for students, teachers and researchers for further research
  • Understands science as a human enterprise

The objective of this book is to reconstruct historical episodes and experiments that have been important in scientific progress, and to explore the role played by controversies and rivalries among scientists. Although progress in science has been replete with controversies, scientists themselves either ignore or simply downplay their role. Such presentations lack the appreciation of the dynamics of ‘science-in-the-making’. This book provides methodological guidelines - based on a historical perspective of philosophy of science- that facilitate an understanding of historical episodes beyond that of inductive generalizations. These guidelines suggest that progress in science is not merely based on the accumulation of experimental data, but rather dependent on the creative imagination of the scientific community. This work shows that interpretation of experimental data is difficult and inevitably leads to alternative models/theories thus facilitating the understanding of science as a human enterprise.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » alternative interpretations of data - dynamics of scientific progress - historical reconstructions - philosophy of science - quantum mechanics - role of controversies and rivalries - science - science as a human entreprise - scientific progress

Related subjects » Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - History of Science - Learning & Instruction - Science Education

Table of contents 

Dedication Acknowledgments Introduction Quantitative imperative vs the imperative of presuppositions Understanding scientific progress: From Duhem to Lakatos Kinetic theory: Maxwell’s Presuppositions Periodic table of the chemical elements: From Mendeleev to Moseley Foundations of modern atomic theory: Thomson, Rutherford, and Bohr Determination of the elementary electrical charge: Millikan and Ehrenhaft Paradox of the photoelectric effect: Einstein and Millikan Bending of light in the 1919 eclipse experiments: Einstein and Eddington Lewis’s covalent bond: From transfer of electrons to sharing of electrons Quantum mechanics: From Bohr to Bohm Wave-particle duality: De Broglie, Einstein and Schrödinger Searching for quarks: Perl’s philosophy of speculative experiments Conclusion: Inductive method as a chimera References Index

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