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Ted's Guide to Science

Teddy bear reading a book Hello, my name is Ted. I am a cuddly character, with a simple attitude to life, and well read. I tell it like it is, in simple plain language. So you will not need your encyclopedia of jargon: "Jar be gone".

Instead of lolling around in the bedroom all day I decided to write a few short guides to business and other stuff.

This is one of my guides ...

We hear a lot about science these days. That is not surprising because science drives many aspects of our lives: health, communications, information, decisions, discovery, optimisation, innovation and (for the smart ones) business. People think science is a complicated thing, but at its core there is a simple process. You can learn science and do science!

What is science?

Science is our most robust research methodology. The following are fundamental aspects of science:

» Observations and experimentation

» Develop understanding - theories are developed and tested against observations; and

» Validation of theory - it can make accurate predictions across a wide range of scenarios; it has not been shown to be false for any scenario; and it has been confirmed by peers across the relevant scientific community by repeatable experimentation.

Science Myths

Choosing to believe the myths and ignore the science can result in adverse consequences, and can be fatal! This is why it is important to promote science and bust the myths: Science Myths busted!

Note that last point. The theory is validated by testing its predictions across a wide range of scenarios - but not every scenario possible. This means that sometimes a validated theory is later shown to be incorrect, inaccurate, or just correct for some scenarios. The important point is that the science will then correct itself, by modifying the old theory or creating a new one. So science is not perfect (nothing is), but it is our most robust research methodology!

Science checklist

In the spirit (not the ethanol kind) of simplicity here is a checklist that you can use to quickly establish if something is likely to be experimental (or observational) science. A tick in all of the boxes means that it is probably science.

The methodology has been described in detail, including the equipment used.

The data includes units and errors (or uncertainty).

Results and conclusions are provided.

It is clear what the experimental scenario was, and hence the scope over which the findings might be relevant.

... and ideally ...

Those conducting the science have relevant experience and credibility.

... and for validation ...

The findings have been repeated and validated by independent peers in the relevant scientific area.


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Fri 23 Apr 12:32:50 BST 2021