- State the central objectives of chemistry (and this course).
- Outline the scientific method.
- Classify statements and explanations as observations, experimental data, laws,
or theories. Quiz
- Understand the importance of making controlled comparisons and obtaining reproducible data.
The introductory lecture discusses the scope, objectives, and methods of chemistry.
"What is chemistry?"
What is Chemistry?
- the study of matter and its transformations
- the study of connections between molecular and macroscopic events
Why Study Chemistry?
- learn fundamental physical models
- gain technical perspective on current events
- develop problem solving skills
- appreciate life's little mysteries
Distinguishing laws, data, hypotheses, and theories
The Scientific Method
- a systematic procedure for solving problems and exploring natural phenomena
- Observations (data)
- are the foundation of the scientific method
- data can be qualitative or quantitative.
- data is most useful when collected under controlled conditions
- experiments must be repeatable and reproducible
|Although we often hear that the data can speak for themselves, their voices can be soft and sly.|
"Beginning Statistics with Data Analysis", by F. Mosteller, S. Fienberg, and R. Rourke
- Natural laws
- compactly summarize patterns in a large amount of data
- often apply only under special conditions
- are descriptions of nature, not facts or explanations
- tentative explanations designed to guide experimentation
- a useful hypothesis must be testable
- must be rejected or corrected when they conflict with experiment
- a well-tested explanation for experimental data based on a set of
|It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.|
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- must be discarded or refined when they can't explain new experimental results
- scientific theories have three aspects: philosophical, mathematical, and empirical.
- Understand all three, or risk misusing the theory!
- a good theory...
- explains currently available data
- is as simple as possible (but no simpler!)
- accurately predicts results of future experiments
- suggests new lines of work and new ways to think
- clearly shows underlying connections
|Where observation is concerned, chance favors only the prepared mind.|
- Serendipity and intuition
- Many important scientific discoveries were not arrived at using the scientific method
- Charles Goodyear - vulcanization of rubber
- Microwave ovens
General Chemistry Online! Introduction
Copyright © 1997-2005 by Fred Senese
Comments & questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Revised 07/25/05.URL: http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/intro/print-index.shtml