Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

The character of science

by PhilipJ on 31 May 2006

I’m reading The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynman, and the first lecture has a very simple explanation, in the context of planetary motion, of how modern science started:

The times after Copernicus were times in which there were great debates about whether the planets in fact went around the sun along with the earth, or whether the earth was at the centre of the universe and so on. Then a man named Tycho Brahe evolved a way of answering the question. He thought that it might perhaps be a good idea to look very very carefully and to record exactly where the planets appear in the sky, and then the alternative theories might be distinguished from one another. This is the key of modern science and it was the beginning of the true understanding of Nature – this idea to look at the thing, to record the details, and to hope that in the information thus obtained might lie a clue to one or another theoretical interpretation.

It was such a good idea that we haven’t had to change the process yet, some 500 years later.

  1. Uncle Al    4432 days ago    #

    (physical reality) minus (empirical reality) = faith

    Empirical reality is science. Lest one believe the remainder is large: 1) Strike a match, observe, then blow it out. 2) Pray the same match relit. We’ll wait.

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