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The Nature of Science
science technology law theory
Why It Matters
Science is applied to the technologies that are used to build many important things, such as bridges and vehicles.
V How do scientists explore the world? V How are the many types of science organized? V What are scientific theories, and how are they different from scientific laws?
hen you have a question about how something works, how do you find the answer? Generally, scientists describe the universe by using basic rules, which can be discovered by careful, methodical study.
How Science Takes Place
V A scientist may perform experiments to find a new aspect of the natural world, to explain a known phenomenon, to check the results of other experiments, or to test the predictions of current theories. Imagine that it is 1895 and you are experimenting with mysterious rays known as cathode rays. These rays were discovered almost 40 years earlier, but in 1895 no one knows that they are composed of electrons. To produce the rays, you pump the air out of a sealed glass tube, which creates a vacuum. An early version of this type of tube is shown in Figure 1. You then connect rods inside the tube to an electrical source. Electric charges flow through the empty space between the rods and produce the rays.
FLORIDA T SC Sh1b; C.Sh SC.Sh1 SC.Sh r C Sh h1 SC.Sh1b; SC.Sh1c SC Sh7e; SC Sh8dc C d SC.912.N.3.2 Describe the role consensus plays in the historical development of a theory in any one of the disciplines of science; SC.912.N.3.3 Explain that scientific laws are descriptions of specific relationships under given conditions in nature, but do not offer explanations for those relationships; SC.912.N.3.4 Recognize that theories do not become laws, nor do laws become theories; theories are well supported explanations and laws are well supported descriptions; SC.912.N.3.5 Describe the function of models in science, and identify the wide range of models used in science; SC.912.N.4.1 Explain how scientific knowledge and reasoning provide an empiricallybased perspective to inform society’s decision making.
Figure 1 An early cathode-ray tube is shown on the left. A television picture tube, on the right, is a form of the same cathode-ray tube.