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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
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