Physics
Synonyms and Antonyms
Science Experiments
Plural Nouns

What is an experiment?

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2014-10-08 02:26:15

An experiment is a method of testing - with the goal of

explaining - the nature of reality. Experiments can vary from

personal and informal (eg. tasting a range of chocolates to find a

favourite), to highly controlled (eg. tests requiring complex

apparatus overseen by many scientists hoping to discover

information about subatomic particles). More formally, an

experiment is a methodical procedure carried out with the goal of

verifying, falsifying, or establishing the accuracy of a

hypothesis. Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale, but

always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the

results. A child may carry out basic experiments to understand the

nature of gravity, while teams of scientists may take years of

systematic investigation to advance the understanding of a

phenomenon.

Experimentation is the step in the scientific method that helps

people decide between two or more competing explanations - or

hypotheses. These hypotheses suggest reasons to explain a

phenomenon, or predict the results of an action. An example might

be the hypothesis that "if I release this ball, it will fall to the

floor": this suggestion can then be tested by carrying out the

experiment of letting go of the ball, and observing the results.

Formally, a hypothesis is compared against its opposite or null

hypothesis ("if I release this ball, it will not fall to the

floor"); the null hypothesis is that there is no explanation or

predictive power of the phenomenon through the reasoning that is

being investigated. Once hypotheses are defined, an experiment can

be carried out - and the results analysed - in order to confirm,

refute, or define the accuracy of the hypotheses.

Asking what an expirement is pretty much like asking what an

experiment is except in the past tense. An experiment is a way one

test a theory or idea. The are many ways of going about doing this,

but all of these methods are backed by a question, hypothesis, and

a procedure.


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