History of the Scientific Method

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Scientific method is the way scientists learn and study the world around them. It is the process by which scientists work over a period of time to construct an accurate (i.e. reliable, consistent and non-arbitrary) representation of the world. In the study of natural phenomenon, personal and cultural beliefs strongly influence our interpretations and perceptions. Scientific method relies on standard procedures to minimize these influences when developing a theory. Scientific method consists of four steps: (1)- Making an observation of a phenomenon. (2)- Formulating a hypotheses to explain the phenomenon. (3)- Proving the hypotheses correct by a series of experiments and tests. If the experiments do not bear out the hypotheses, it must be rejected or modified. Scientific method distinguishes from other forms of explanation because of its requirement of a scientific experimentation. Over the last few centuries there have been a large number of important discoveries. Various principles have been laid down and many rejected. Scientists have used the scientific method to get to their conclusions. Lets see how the scientific method evolved by examining a few contributions by some well renowned scientists. Aristotle laid down the foundations of modern scientific thought. He had a great amount of curiosity regarding the natural world phenomena. Aristotle introduced syllogisms as a method of reasoning in which, a conclusion was derived through two axioms based on research data and observations. This system of syllogism can be said to be the basis of the scientific method. The usage of observations to derive at conclusions confirms Aristotle as a scientist under the modern definition. His biological observations such a... ... middle of paper ... ...onishing variety of experiments involving microorganisms, which lead to him establishing the germ theory. He used microscopes for his research and experiments, and gave emphasis to sterilization. After a series of extensive experiments he discovered that yeast could live with or without oxygen and concluded that if no oxygen was provided the yeast took its oxygen from the sugar and caused fermentation. In short, Aristotle contributed towards the scientific method by using reasoning to formulate theories. Galileo used reasoning together with experimentation. Lavosier focussed on extensive calculations and mathematics in deriving principles. And as far as Pasteur is concerned, he used a combination of all these namely: reasoning, experimenting and calculations to base scientific theories. Thus in this way the present day scientific method was developed.
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