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Chapter 1: What Is Science?

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

Credit: Courtesy of NASA
Source: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/station/crew-26/html/s133e010411.html
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Science has brought countless innovations and advances to humankind.  This chapter reviews core principles of scientific inquiry including standard units, dimensional analysis, and unit conversion. 

Chapter Outline

Chapter Summary

  1. Science is a broad method of inquiry that can be done in a different order as long as the results are potentially falsifiable and verified by experiment.
  2. Scientific data is analyzed by mathematics.  Data will often include errors, which must be included and analyzed. 
  3. A hypothesis is an educated guess; a theory is a synthesis of a substantial body of study that is generally accepted as true, a law is a broad unifying statement usually expressed mathematically.
  4. Unit conversions are based on the idea of multiplication by fractions of equivalent units.
  5. All measuring tools have a limit to their precision and therefore an intrinsic uncertainty of measurement.
  6. The last digit of any measurement is an estimate and significant.
  7. There are two types of errors: systematic and random. Systematic error is a consistent error that is usually associated with calibration and random error is associated with the precision of a measuring tool.

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Courtesy of NASA; Source: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/station/crew-26/html/s133e010411.html; License: CC BY-NC 3.0


Difficulty Level:

At Grade



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Date Created:

Jun 27, 2013

Last Modified:

Jan 14, 2016
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