The real process of science
June 2, 2009 Leave a comment
I was perhaps too glib in my previous post, summing up science as “observe, hypothesize, test, conclude, rehypothesize, ad infinitum”. As others have pointed out, this is way too simplistic, and the actual process of science involves much more at each of those steps, and does not necessarily proceed in that order. There is a lot of background reading, a lot of exploratory research, a lot of collaboration and discussion with other scientists, and a fair amount of serendipity. All of this forms a convoluted path with many false starts, loop backs, and open-ended branches.
A very excellent resource called “Understanding Science” describes the process of science clearly and in great detail, and includes some great sections on scientific publications, the social side of science, the benefits of science, and science and media/policy. Now that is a great example of science communication!