What Science Is and How It Works

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März 2002



"An outstanding book by a very fine writer. "What Science Is and How It Works" delves into the nature of science and along the way meanders into many interesting subjects. It represents a significant contribution in making science more accessible to the layperson."--Robert Ehrlich, author of "Nine Crazy Ideas in Science""Gregory Derry has identified accurately and completely the essential elements of what makes science interesting and what characterizes scientific reasoning. He illustrates his points with well-chosen examples of people, issues, and phenomena."--Mark P. Silverman, author of "Waves and Grains: Reflections on Light and Learning"


PREFACE ix PROLOGUE What Is Science? 3 PART I. EXPLORING THE FRONTIERS OF SCIENCE: HOW NEW DISCOVERIES ARE MADE IN THE SCIENCES 9 CHAPTER 1 A Bird's Eye View: The Many Routes to Scientific Discovery 11 CHAPTER 2 Nature's jigsaw: Looking for Patterns As a Key to Discovery 26 CHAPTER 3 New Vistas: Expanding Our World with Instrumentation 35 CHAPTER 4 Close, But No Cigar: Discrepancies As a Trigger to Discovery 42 CHAPTER 5 Ingredients for a Revolution: Thematic Imagination, Precise Measurements, and the Motions of the Planets 52 PART II. MENTAL TACTICS: SOME DISTINCTIVELY SCIENTIFIC APPROACHES TO THE WORLD 67 CHAPTER 6 A Universe in a Bottle: Models, Modeling, and Successive Approximation 69 CHAPTER 7 Thinking Straight: Evidence, Reason, and Critical Evaluation 89 CHAPTER 8 The Numbers Game: Uses of Quantitative Reasoning 107 PART III. LARGER QUESTIONS: THE CONTEXT OF SCIENCE 123 CHAPTER 9 Ultimate Questions: Science and Religion 125 CHAPTER 10 More Practical Questions: Science and Society 133 CHAPTER 11 Difficult and Important Questions: Science, Values, and Ethics 145 CHAPTER 12 Questions of Authenticity: Science, Pseudoscience, and How to Tell the Difference 158 CHAPTER 13 Contentious Questions: The Shadowy Borderlands of Science 174 CHAPTER 14 Very Abstract Questions: The Philosophy of Science 189 CHAPTER 15 Questions of Legitimacy: The Postmodern Critique of Science 207 PART IV COMMON GROUND: SOME UNIFYING CONCEPTS IN THE SCIENCES 215 CHAPTER 16 Fleas and Giants: Some Fascinating Insights about Area, Volume, and Size 217 CHAPTER 17 The Edge of the Abyss: Order and Disorder in the Universe 230 CHAPTER 18 Riding Blake's Tiger: Symmetry in Science, Art, and Mathematics 252 CHAPTER 19 The Straight and Narrow: Linear Dependence in the Sciences 274 CHAPTER 20 The Limits of the Possible: Exponential Growth and Decay 285 CHAPTER 21 In the Loop: Feedback, Homeostasis, and Cybernetics 295 EPILOGUE So, What Is Science? 303 INDEX 305


Gregory N. Derry is Associate Professor and Chair of the Physics Department at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland.


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2000 "[There is] no better contemporary book to convey the unity of science and at the same time to stimulate further study."--Choice "Part textbook, part manifesto, Derry's book offers both entertainment and food for thought for readers inclined to learn the ways of science."--Gregory McNamee, "How does a scientist go about solving problems? How do scientific discoveries occur? How is mainstream science different from borderland science and pseudoscience? In this lively and wide-ranging book, Gregory Derry discusses these and other questions as he introduces readers to the scientific way of thinking... Readers of this book will come away with an enriched appreciation of how scientists operate, and how science connects with our daily lives."--Robert J. Deltete, The Quarterly Review of Biology
EAN: 9780691095509
ISBN: 0691095507
Untertitel: Revised. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: März 2002
Seitenanzahl: 328 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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