Alkina: So wait, Dr. Zwicky, if nobody believed you about the ‘missing mass’ or dark matter, how did anyone come to accept it?
Zwicky: That’s where the scientific method comes in! You see, I took all these measurements of galaxy clusters which pointed towards the missing mass.
Zwicky: And I said to people, ‘Hey, there’s missing mass!’ But instead of looking at my data and then performing their own measurements on the clusters, they just thought I was crazy.
Epo: The testing and re-testing of experiments is paramount to the scientific method.
Zwicky: Precisely! An experiment needs to be re-testable by others or it’s not science!
Zwicky: For over four decades no one took my claims serious enough to warrant them doing the experiment themselves.
Vivian: That’s a long time!
Zwicky: Yes, yes it was. It wasn’t until 1975 that the results of other experiments proved me right!
Teacher: That’s an excellent segway for our next speaker, Dr. Zwicky.
What does it mean?
Scientific Method – A general systematic procedure for learning about the world. It consists of gathering information (data), and testing ideas through experiments and careful observations.
Hypothesis – A hypothesis is a testable prediction about how something works based on the observations you have initially made.
In human speak please!
The basic outline of the scientific method is to
a) Be curious about some system, and make observations of it, whether an event, process, or object.
b) Make a hypothesis, based on your observations, about how the system works.
c) Make a testable prediction about the system based upon your hypothesis.
d) Devise an experiment or set of observations to test your prediction.
e) If testing shows that your prediction is wrong, revise your hypothesis and make a new prediction to test.
f) If testing does not show that your prediction is wrong, think of other predictions you could make and test those (the hypothesis of a hypothesis approach).
g) After testing, share your results and let others test your hypothesis.
Is that all?
Steps of the Scientific Method – A nice flowchart outlining the scientific method.
How can the scientific method help you get a Xbox! – The scientific method can help you in other things besides science.