The History of The Scientific Method – Science Essay
Beginnings of science originate in the Middle East, and the early civilizations of the Tigris-Euphrates valley and the Nile valley. Advances were made in both technology and theory, but separate groups within each
culture were responsible for the progress. The Babylonians devised methods for solving algebraic equations, and they compiled extensive astronomical records. In Egypt there were also developments in mathematics and astronomy and the beginnings of the science of medicine. Early Greek contributions by The Pythagoreans, Aristotle, and Plato marked a different approach to Science but made notable studies in the area of biology and anatomy. Many more are to follow, and as things were discovered and theorized, observation and manufacturing techniques were passed on from one culture to another. Using ancient methods, and building upon them, have allowed scientists to not only study and create science, but create it quicker; especially in the computer age of today. In this essay I will help you understand how technology has played a big role in the creation of new science and technologies.
The roots of science lie in the technology of early tool making and other crafts, while scientific theory was once a part of philosophy and religion. Until recent times, technology encouraging science rather than the other way around was the norm. Thus, the history of science is essentially intertwined with that of technology. The Babylonians devised methods for solving algebraic equations, and they compiled extensive astronomical records from which the periods of the planets’ revolution and the eclipse cycle could be calculated. This was the birthplace for our current calendar system of 12 months in a year, 7 days a week, etc. Wheeled vehicles and bronze metallurgy were imported to Egypt where iron smelting was discovered. But some of the greatest changes were in the area of technology, in the development of new sources of energy and their application in transportation, communications, and industry. The development of these worked as an alternator in sorts; scientists use science to create science. The creation of new tools and measuring equipment, cleaner facilities with which to work out of, the ability to go places unable before, and to observe new things, has had a great influence on how science is done.
The industrial revolution, which some might argue was greatest in the 13th and 16th century, applies more towards the years 1750 and 1850. Revolutionary economic change was apparent during the13th and 16th centuries, but between 1750 and 1850, dramatic changes in social and economic structure took place, as invention and technological innovations created the factory system of large-scale machine production, causing those formerly employed in agriculture (in which production had also increased as a result of technological improvements), to gather in great urban factory centers; for instance, Detroit. Many large facilities are located here, and it is still one of the biggest exporters of automobiles, even though it has, and is still going through some very rough times as automation is taking over where employee’s once worked.
Measurement, being one of the fundamental processes of science, provides the data on which new theories are based, and by which older theories are tested and retested. A good measurement should be both accurate and precise. Accuracy is determined by the care taken by the person making the measurement and the condition of the instrument. Old instruments might wear or break and provide inaccurate results. Precision is determined by the design of the instrument; the finer the instrument’s scale and the greater the ease with which they can be read, the more precise the measurement.
CAD (Computer Aided Design), CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing), and computers themselves, might have been the greatest achievement in the development of science. With CAD, rather than having to build prototypes and change components to determine the effects of tolerance ranges and theories, scientists can use computers to simulate these operations. The invention of micro electronics have become useful in laboratories and factories, where CAM, a form of computer automation evolved from the numerically controlled machines of the 1950’s, has revolutionized the manufacturing process. Today a single computer can control banks of robotic testing equipment and systems. Computer controlled sterile environments aid in laboratories where dangerous materials must be handled very carefully, and the contamination of bacteria is a big worry. In the world of automobile repair, todays BMW’s have pushed the envelope even further, and where we already saw a great step in computerized error-reporting equipment, the car alerts you when a service is due or something is malfunctioning, and send messages to BMW headquarters which in turn sets you up for an appointment for your repair; automatically.
In conclusion, you can see we have not only made achievements in the creation of new technologies, and the understanding of our earth and universe, but we in turn use these new technologies in a recursive process, to aid in the way information is gathered, to create complex and reliable tools used for observation, to automate the calculation and testing of theories, and, while become increasingly unpopular for many factory workers, to reduce or eliminate the requirement of human input. No telling how far the influence of new technology on science will take us into the future, but as we continue to learn more about the human body, build our space-station’s, discover new forms of life in the depths of the oceans, and find cleaner energy sources, the possibilities are endless; especially if you’re one of those that think WE are merely a small experiment in the vast laboratory called the Universe.