Science

 

, blinded by

Foreigner's "Blinded by Science", on Head Games (1979)

Blinded by science, I'm on the run / Blinded by science, where do I belong?
What's in the future, has it just begun / Blinded by science, I'm on the run

I worry 'bout the world that we live in / I'm worried by all the confusion
I wonder 'bout the lies I've been reading / I wonder where this madness is leading

Is this a road going nowhere? / Or is someone leading us somewhere?
I can't believe we're here for no reason / There must be something we can believe in

Blinded by science, I'm on the run / I'm not an appliance, so don't turn me on
What's in the future, has it just begun / Blinded by science, I'm on the run

What's in the future, has it just begun / Blinded by science, I'm on the run
I worry 'bout the world that we live in / I'm worried by all the confusion

I wonder 'bout the lies I've been reading / I wonder where this madness is leading
Is this a road going nowhere? / Is someone leading us somewhere?

I can't believe we're here for no reason / There must be something we can believe in

Blinded by science, I'm on the run / I'm not an appliance, don't turn me on
What's in the future, has it just begun / Blinded by science, I'm on the run

 

 

  • What's the link between "science" and the "lies I've been reading"? What's the confusion?
  • Describe the view of science that the writer has.

Where is the class headed?

  • How we know what we know in science,
  • Energy,
  • Social context,
  • Some of the newer physics of the last century.

How we know what we know in science

Arons suggests courses in every discipline should answer questions like...

What do we know (about the physical world)? How do we know...? Why do we accept or believe...? What is the evidence for...?

We will study a number of things that you already 'know', such as how the solar system is organized, not so as to convince you that the earth orbits the sun, but rather to examine the process whereby we have come to that conclusion.

Social Context

Humanity, thanks in no small part to science, is having an ever larger effect on our planet.

We are increasingly stewards in control of the fate of many species in addition to our own on the planet. You will vote and, in many other ways, make decisions that have an effect on the rest of us. We need to be informed -- about science -- to make wise decisions.

Though, before we get carried away with ourselves, other kinds of animals have flourished as well. Insects, as measured by total number of species, are among the most successfull inhabitants of Earth. They'll probably survive anything we do to the planet.

Energy

Advice for young reporter Bernstein trying to crack the Watergate case from his anonymous source 'Deep Throat':


Advice for young students trying to understand physics:

"Just follow the energy!"

Energy is both a central, organizing theme in how physicists organize their experiences of the world, as well as a social issue of immense importance in what we can do in the economy and in how we impact our planet.

What's in a theory?

Scientific theories are not the same as mathematical theorems.

Mathematical theorem - triangles

sum of angles = 360"The measure of the internal angles of a triangle always adds to 180 degrees"

  • What if we developed better rulers and compasses than those available in Euclid's time?
  • Once proved, can this result ever be disproved?
  • Does it matter... that the universe appears to be more 3 dimensional than 2 dimensional?
  • Scientific theory - Galilean relativity

    Otto, standing by the tracks, sees the baseball whiz past going 50mph, and notes that the train is moving at 20mph.

    Speed of impact inside the cabin

    Inside the train cabin

    According to Galilean relativity, the speed of the baseball inside the cabin (that is, the speed of impact, in this case):

    vinside = 50 mph - 20 mph = 30 mph

    But Einstein has recently convinced a lot of physicists that, no, vinside = 30.000000000000002 mph

    We now understand Galilean relativity as no longer the best theory, but still, a pretty good approximation to Einstein's better theory of 'Special Relativity' as long as we're talking about the realm of speeds much less than the speed of light.

    We do not say that "Special Relativity is true", or that "Galilean Relativity is false". Maybe something better than Special Relativity will yet come along! Galilean Relativity has been disproved. But it is still a whole lot closer to what we observe than many other possible theories.

     

     

    Image credits

    NASA, Flickr users Kaibara, theregeneration, exquisitur, and Walter Fendt
    WRITING:
    
    1. What science or math classes did you take in high school?
    
    2. What science or math classes have you taken in college?
    
    3. What is your major, or academic interests in college?
    
    4. What are your personal goals for this class?
    
    5. How much time (not counting class and labs) are you counting on putting in to this class each week?