The scientific method defined and described


Science has great spinoff value



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Science has great spinoff value


Searching for one thing leads to unexpected discoveries

James Burke (BBC science correspondent), Connections, 1978, p. 289

“A second factor which recurs frequently is that the attempt to find one thing leads to the discovery of another. William Perkin was in search of an artificial forms of quinine, using some of the molecular combinations available in coal tar, when the black sludge with which one of his experiments ended turned out to be the first artificial aniline dye. Oersted’s experiments to illustrate that a compass needle was not affected by electric current showed that in fact it was, and the electromagnet was the result of that surprise discovery. Henri Moissan, attempting to make artificial diamonds by subjecting common carbon to very high temperatures, failed to do so, but trying his luck with other materials at hand he produced calcium carbide, the basis for acetylene and fertilizer.”
Knowledge leads to practical applications

Henry Margenau (prof. of physics and natural philosophy, Yale) et al., The Scientist, 1964, p. 53

“Nothing is more astonishing about science than its ability to make imaginative conjectures and then convert them into tangible realities which no one had previously suspected. Out of Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism came radio and television. Out of Einstein’s formulas on matter and energy came the atomic bomb.”
Knowledge helps the human condition

Gunther S. Stent (prof. of molecular biology, Univ. of California), The Coming of the Golden Age: A View of the End of Progress, 1969, p. 89

“The French Encyclopedists of the eighteenth century found that the cumulative extension of knowledge brought by science causes an amelioration of the human condition.”
Science promotes economic growth

Daniel Bell (prof. of sociology, Columbia Univ.), “The Post-Industrial Society” in Technology and Social Change, ed. by Eli Ginzberg, 1964, p. 52

“There is a direct correlation between technological acceleration and economic growth.”
Science is highly cost-effective

Gunther S. Stent (prof. of molecular biology, Univ. of California), The Coming of the Golden Age: A View of the End of Progress, 1969, p. 110

“Indeed, if has finally dawned on the governments of the technically-advanced nations that support of scientific research has so far paid the highest rate of return of any social investment.”
Technology is the key to solving all world problems

Robert A. Liston (freelance author on science and social issues, former newspaper and magazine journalist), Promise or Peril: The Role of Technology in Society, 1976, p. 16

“Our hopes for the future in such diverse areas as health care, education, technology, housing, economic prosperity, employment, transportation, communication, even world peace all contain technological aspects. Unless we plan to live in caves, club animals to death for food, and use their skins for clothing, people the world over must depend upon technology to solve current problems and to build a brighter future.”
Technology is the key to pollution

Robert A. Liston (freelance author on science and social issues, former newspaper and magazine journalist), Promise or Peril: The Role of Technology in Society, 1976, p. 16

“Pollution of air and water and earth can probably only be controlled by technology.”
Technology is the key to world hunger

Robert A. Liston (freelance author on science and social issues, former newspaper and magazine journalist), Promise or Peril: The Role of Technology in Society, 1976, p. 16

“World hunger can only be resolved, many experts believe, through some combination of birth control to limit world population, increased agricultural production through better fertilizers, seeds, and methods, and more efficient distribution of available food resources. This all depends heavily upon science and technology.”
Technology is the key to resource exhaustion

Robert A. Liston (freelance author on science and social issues, former newspaper and magazine journalist), Promise or Peril: The Role of Technology in Society, 1976, p. 16

“Diminishing world resources, such as oil and metals, can be stretched out and made to last into the distant future if waste is curtailed, if marginal resources of these materials can be mined efficiently, and if new, man-made substitutes can be found. Again, any such developments depend upon technology.”
Some experts believe we are the edge of a period of near-magical technological advances

Bradford Plumer (staff assistant editor), “Power Struggle,” The New Republic, June 17, 2009. p. 18

“So what are the odds that the pace of scientific discovery can accelerate? This is a hotly debated topic, with a wide spectrum of answers. In 2005, Jonathan Huebner, a physicist working at Pentagon’s Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California, published a controversial paper looking at the rate of U.S. patents awarded over time. He argued that the rate of technological innovation has actually been slowing since around 1873 — the age of Edison — and that the world could be entering a new Dark Age of innovation by the 2020s. Huebner’s paper came under heavy fire from a number of innovation scholars, including Ray Kurzweil, a futurist who is inordinately bullish on the rate of technological progress and who, to his credit, has made a number of bang-on forecasts. (He famously predicted that a computer would be able to beat a grandmaster in chess by the late 1990s.) Kurzweil has suggested that technological change will continue zooming forward until artificial-intelligence machines start replicating themselves. At that point — in or around 2045 — the pace of innovation will happen so blindingly fast as to be inconceivable.”



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