Credit: Courtesy of NASA
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.
- Science is a broad method of inquiry, the steps of which can be completed in a different order as long as the results are potentially falsifiable and verified by experiment.
- Scientific data is analyzed by mathematics. Data will often include errors, which must be included and analyzed.
- A hypothesis is an educated guess. A theory is a synthesis of a substantial body of study that is generally accepted a true. A law is a broad unifying statement usually expressible mathematically.
- Unit conversions involve multiplying fractions of equivalent units.
- All measuring tools have a limit to their precision and therefore an intrinsic uncertainty of measurement.
- The last digit of any measurement is an estimate and a significant figure.
- There are two types of error: systematic and random. Systematic error is a consistent error that is usually associated with calibration, while random error is associated with the precision of a measuring tool.