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What Science Is and How It Works
Gregory N. Derry

Book Description | Reviews

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

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

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File created: 7/11/2014

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